A Plea to Evangelicals...

Discussion in 'Politics' started by CharlestonChad, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. CharlestonChad
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    CharlestonChad Baller Deluxe

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    A plea to evangelicals — from an evangelical

    Mon Jan 14, 12:16 AM ET
    By David P. Gushee

    Conservative evangelicals are bringing a version of Christian values into the public arena where every American has to deal with it, like it or not. A recent example of this is the way grass-roots "Bible-believing Christians" in the Republican Party are boosting the candidacy of Mike Huckabee, and quite possibly sinking the campaign of Mitt Romney, mainly because Romney is a Mormon — yet another misunderstanding of the way faith is relevant to politics.

    Evangelical politics matter to the general public, which is affected by what conservative evangelicals believe and "value." In the past seven years, we have seen that laws are written based on these values. Supreme Court justices are named based on these values. Executive-branch appointments are made based on these values. And presidential campaigns now seem to advance or collapse based on these values.

    So the general public has come to understand that what conservative evangelicals believe and do matter an awful lot to everyone in this country. Many people are furious about it. But these beliefs and values also matter to other Christians, especially other evangelicals like me. Our reputation is at stake, our voice in the culture, and the health of our religious communities. If the most vocal evangelicals get this wrong, it damages all evangelicals — all religious believers, really.

    (Illustration by Alejandro Gonzalez, USA TODAY)

    I am not just talking about a bit of embarrassment in polite company. If there are people who reject God or the church, Christianity or religiously inspired moral values because of what conservative evangelical political activists do, this is disastrous from a Christian point of view. There are many such people. Here we are at the very heart of our religious mission, and it is getting fouled up by our politics.

    Conservative evangelicals are getting wrong both how they are bringing their faith to bear on politics and what they are saying when they do.

    Married to the GOP

    The "how" problem, among other things, is that they are married to the Republican Party and have therefore compromised the political independence of Christianity and the church. This is a huge mistake, an error of biblical proportions, because it verges on idolatry — after all, "You shall have no other gods before me."

    One obvious sign of this was the assumption in the Christian Right that its leaders would endorse a Republican presidential candidate — that it was just a matter of which of those GOP gentlemen was the best Christian choice. Endorsing a Democrat was and is inconceivable.

    Once any group of Christians gives itself away so completely to a political party, it ceases to be the church. The church becomes a branch office of the group's political party of choice — The First Republican Church in America. This is the root problem, and it leads to all the other specific mistakes that follow: using the church (or parachurch organizations) and its considerable resources for direct or veiled candidate endorsements, political strategizing, dissemination of essentially partisan "voter guides," and get-out-the-vote efforts. A whole lot more than tax status is threatened when churches go over so completely to the business of secular politics.

    The "what" problem is more subtle but just as important. Conservative evangelicals generally offer an unbiblically narrow policy agenda focused on just a few moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage instead of tackling the full range of biblical concerns, which include poverty, oppression and war. And when they do engage some of these other issues, such as the foreign policy of our nation, they are (ironically) not Christian enough. Their faith doesn't inform their vote in a way that makes sense biblically. They are getting their values from somewhere else — not from Jesus — which is why they look so uncomfortable whenever anyone raises the "Jesus issue" in relation to their support for, say, torture.

    We must regroup. We evangelicals must rethink our engagement with politics. The place to start is by remembering that the church is not a branch of a political party and that its distinctive identity and mission must be protected, both for the sake of the church and for the sake of our culture and the world.

    Compromised identity

    The fundamental task of a religious organization is to serve God, not win in secular politics. Once this distinction is lost, the identity of the religious organization is compromised beyond repair. This is bad not just for the integrity of that religious group, but also for society, which if it is to flourish needs a variety of social institutions performing a variety of functions — not every social institution morphing into a political organization.

    Specifically for Christians, we (should) know that the mission of the church is to be Christ's faithful people, and to do its core work of preaching, teaching and serving our neighbors. If it is true (as we boldly believe) that the church is the central location for the work God is doing to redeem the world, then our focus should be on the church's work, not the state's. As one aspect of our God-inspired love for our neighbor, we can ask the state and its leaders to do justice, protect life and advance the common good. We can do this in many quite constructive ways, from scholarly work to declarations of principles to activism on specific issues.

    But we dare not identify the work of any state, any political party or any politician with the work of God or the task of the church. Every time we do so we end up embarrassing ourselves, enraging the neighbors we are called to love, deepening the culture wars and damaging our own mission.

    David P. Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University, president of Evangelicals for Human Rights, and author of The Future of Faith in American Politics, to be released this week.
     
  2. Alucard
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    Alucard VIP Member

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    So your an evangelical that supports the murder of innocent children?
     
  3. eots
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    eots no fly list

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    where you not calling for killing them all and letting god sort it out in another thread. suddenly you take the moral high ground on the murder of children
     
  4. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    Got this bit of fearmongering out of your system now?
     
  5. Paulie
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    Paulie Platinum Member

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    This is one of the main reasons I'm so turned off by Christian politics.

    I'm not a Christian, I'm not even religious, but I'm accepting. Although, the way Christianity has been whored out by American politics is disgraceful.

    It's the whole "I like your Christ, I just don't like your Christians" thing.

    It's really made a mess out of the Republican Party.
     
  6. Angel Heart
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    Angel Heart Conservative Hippie

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    I consider myself to be a Christian but only in that I believe in Christ. I don't attend a church. I think too many only carry themselves as Christians only on Sunday forgetting his teaching the rest of the week. Then there's the ones that force their faith upon others. I choose to live my life by the example that Christ provided. He spoke of loving your neighbor. Forgiving of others even the ones that are considered 'unclean'. I don't see many 'Christians' doing this. I see most stepping over those that need their help the most or requiring them to degrade themselves to get help. I do know a few that are not like this but they are the exception not the rule.
     
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  7. Taomon
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    Taomon Active Member

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    And people wonder what my beef with Christianity is. This article is true; Evangelicals have such a warped sense of Christianity and faith that they end up pushing people away fom God as they themselves stray.

    A true Christian knows that both parties are corrupt and that a person must be evaluated, not on political affiliation or even religious beliefs, but on ethics and reasoning.

    That said, Mitt Romney has proven himself to be unworthy of the presidency based on his leadership (and lack thereof) in MA.
     
  8. Taomon
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    Taomon Active Member

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    Good, you prove his point. Misguided interpretations of bibical references that are used to divide rather than heal.
     
  9. Taomon
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    Taomon Active Member

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    Fearmongering? Labeling Iraq insurgencies as terrorist is fearmongering, referencing 9/11 over and over is fearmongering, denouncing dissenters as terrorists is fearmongering. Warning that a mushroom cloud will explode in America if we do not invaded Iraq is fearmongering.
     
  10. Shogun
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    Shogun Free: Mudholes Stomped

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    I think the above article makes a few very valid points. The hypocracy of turning the christian back against a mormon candidate makes it clear that only one version of the jebus vote is considered despite numerous denominations. Also, his point about the automatic republican nod is clearly true. Indeed, so is the point regarding jebus and torture, war, poverty etc. In fact, I agree with the premise that much of the perceived anti-christin motivation from secular america is the direct result of christian behaviour. Do I need to post the evidence of intolerant christians again?

    PS,
    You christians that scream about abortion crack me up considering the fact of your bible. Here, let me highlight just how much your god cares about the life of kids:

    Exodus 7
    1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pay close attention to this. I will make you seem like God to Pharaoh, and your brother, Aaron, will be your prophet. 2 Tell Aaron everything I command you, and Aaron must command Pharaoh to let the people of Israel leave his country. 3 But I will make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 Even then Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. So I will bring down my fist on Egypt. Then I will rescue my forces—my people, the Israelites—from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. 5 When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”

    Exodus 11
    Death for Egypt’s Firstborn
    1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave. 2 Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” 3 (Now the Lord had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.)

    4 Moses had announced to Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord says: At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. 5 All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. 6 Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again. 7 But among the Israelites it will be so peaceful that not even a dog will bark. Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites. 8 All the officials of Egypt will run to me and fall to the ground before me. ‘Please leave!’ they will beg. ‘Hurry! And take all your followers with you.’ Only then will I go!” Then, burning with anger, Moses left Pharaoh.

    9 Now the Lord had told Moses earlier, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, but then I will do even more mighty miracles in the land of Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed these miracles in Pharaoh’s presence, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he wouldn’t let the Israelites leave the country.


    Exodus 12
    11 “These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed,[m] wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the Lord’s Passover. 12 On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord! 13 But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.



    Elisha's She-Bear retort to kids making fun of his bald head.


    2 Kings 2:23-25

    He went up from there to Bethel. As he was traveling up the road, some young boys came out of the city and made fun of him, saying, “Go on up, baldy! Go on up, baldy!” When he turned around and saw them, he called God’s judgment down on them. Two female bears came out of the woods and ripped forty-two of the boys to pieces. From there he traveled to Mount Carmel and then back to Samaria.



    Indeed, preach on about what your god thinks about abortion. Notice the casual nature of the description of the death of 42 kids. Yup, you silly christians sure are consistent. Don't EVEN get me started on the RAPING of virgins found in the OT by the chosen...
     

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