Saints, sinners and bigots

Bonnie

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When my mother died at the grand old age of 91 she left behind a long letter to her children, filled with loving reflections and one exhortation. "I think if I had one wish for all of you other than a long and healthy life," she wrote, "it would be that you give the grandchildren a little religion. Something that has lasted for over 6,000 years has to have something going for it."

She knew that her assimilated Jewish family was tempted by the secular culture. At the end of her long life she was puzzled by how difficult it had become for the generation following hers to integrate religious faith into their lives.

Whether Jewish or Christian, organized religion has fallen on hard times. Millions of Americans attend synagogue, church and cathedral services every week, but even among the devout, God is less integrated into daily life than in earlier generations.

The Founding Fathers, tutored intellectually and sometimes theologically in the Judeo-Christian tradition, counted on the wall separating church and state to insulate religion. This would allow the faithful to go about their business of spreading their good news freely. Skeptics would always assert their prejudices in the public square, but intolerance would be exposed as bigotry.
References to God -- such as "In God We Trust" -- are commonplace in our history, indeed right on the money. What astonishes me is that people of faith rarely sneer at nonbelievers, but scientifically oriented cosmopolites rarely hesitate to mock believers. Evangelical Christians are routinely scapegoated with impunity, as if they're troglodyte know-nothings unified in a cabal to promote ignorance.
George W. Bush is ridiculed as chaplain-in-chief because he openly speaks of his faith. Does anyone doubt his sincerity? Kevin Phillips, betraying an ignorance of American history, writes in The Washington Post that under George W.'s leadership, "The Republican Party has become the first religious party in U.S. history." Gerhard Schroeder, the former chancellor of Germany, writes in his memoir that what bothered him about the president "and in a certain way made me suspicious despite the relaxed atmosphere, was again and again in our discussions how much this president described himself as 'God-fearing.'" (Would that an earlier generation of Germans nourished a little fear of God.)

Critics of evangelical Christians usually lump evangelicals together as if they all walk in lockstep with Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and Pat Robertson. The evangelicals I know are an independent lot who take pride in their ornery resistance to taking orders from anybody, and hold varying views on gun control, capital punishment, stem cell research, evolution and just everything else except, as one Baptist friend says, "deep-water baptism" and the right to do as conscience pleases.
Andrew Sullivan, author of "The Conservative Soul," is a lump-'em-all-together" critic, snidely referring to the evangelicals as "Christianists" as if they're looking for an office tower to ram a jetliner into. David Brooks, reviewing the Sullivan book, writes: "When a writer uses quotations from Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and the 'Left Behind' series to capture the religious and political currents in modern America, then I know I can put that piece of writing down, because the author either doesn't know what he is talking about or is arguing in bad faith."
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http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/SuzanneFields/2006/10/26/saints,_sinners_and_bigots
 

Kagom

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The problem is that the evangelical Christians who do make news and are more seen ARE as psychotic as Falwell and the others. I know evangelical Christians personally and they're far less crazy, except my aunts. They're almost as bad (well, one of them is a habitual liar as well).
 

glockmail

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The problem is that the evangelical Christians who do make news and are more seen ARE as psychotic as Falwell and the others. I know evangelical Christians personally and they're far less crazy, except my aunts. They're almost as bad (well, one of them is a habitual liar as well).
Come on now, Kag, don't you think you might be influenced by popular culture just a little bit on this?
 

Annie

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Come on now, Kag, don't you think you might be influenced by popular culture just a little bit on this?
Actually I've run up against some that think they have the ability to say who's 'saved' and who's 'not.' That's just not in my conception of Christianity. I'm plenty conservative, but figure it's wise to leave what is God's to God.

I know very few people, who bother to get their children and themselves to weekly or more often, services, that have failed to give their children a good sense of morality. On the other hand, many that go to church often, still are providing a contrary example for their children in other ways. (We won't even get into the leaving the parking lot of church stories.)
 
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Bonnie

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Actually I've run up against some that think they have the ability to say who's 'saved' and who's 'not.' That's just not in my conception of Christianity. I'm plenty conservative, but figure it's wise to leave what is God's to God.

I know very few people, who bother to get their children and themselves to weekly or more often, services, that have failed to give their children a good sense of morality. On the other hand, many that go to church often, still are providing a contrary example for their children in other ways. (We won't even get into the leaving the parking lot of church stories.)
I agree mostly but I would also say that what I see as extremist is one who blows up abortion clinics, stands on the street corner with a bell and sandwich board telling everyone either get saved or go to hell for the end is nai, one who assaults homosexuals in Gods name, not one who has a pray to end abortion bumper sticker on their rear window, and dares to vote pro-life.
In this country thanks in large part to the yes the MSM, extremism is portrayed by anyone who thinks abortion is wrong, or anyone who home schools their kids, or attends mass regularly, who dares to not want their kids being taught morality by anyone other than (gasp) them!!

It's sickening and it's wrong...
 

Annie

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I agree mostly but I would also say that what I see as extremist is one who blows up abortion clinics, stands on the street corner with a bell and sandwich board telling everyone either get saved or go to hell for the end is nai, one who assaults homosexuals in Gods name, not one who has a pray to end abortion bumper sticker on their rear window, and dares to vote pro-life.
In this country thanks in large part to the yes the MSM, extremism is portrayed by anyone who thinks abortion is wrong, or anyone who home schools their kids, or attends mass regularly, who dares to not want their kids being taught morality by anyone other than (gasp) them!!

It's sickening and it's wrong...
I agree, and of the few abortion clinic bombers, a couple have been 'far winged Catholic' though not most, contrary to public opinion.

I believe that churches, synagogs, mosques in US have a right to worship in freedom, with the caveat they are not undermining the tenets of US Constitution. When a person or group 'kills', 'blows up', 'threatens' other citizens in the name of their religion, they deserve jail. If successful in their sick agenda, they deserve a life sentence or capital punishment.
 

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