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March 08, 2005

Deeper inside the “Religious Right”

While it is almost a month old, I just found Dignan's post “Inside the ‘Religious Right’” (linked from James Taranto's Best of the Web, no less) and I wanted to address some of the things he wrote. Yes, I could have simply commented on his blog, but then I prefer doing it here, with a trackback there. (We've already exchanged comments on a post of mine)

If you want to read his post first, go ahead, I'll wait.......[whistling]

Oh, you're back. Well as you could tell the bulk of the post was his own personal experience, which of course I won't debate. There are parts I take exception to, though.

I was active as well in the '88 Presidential election, being 26 years old and as always avidly interested in politics. Robertson brought Conservative Christians into active politics, not because they were following his lead, but because they were appalled at the constant media criticism of his candidacy, solely based on his religious beliefs. Robertson resigned his position in his ministry, and did not go by “Reverend” even though he is an ordained minister. He didn't do this to hide anything -- few people didn't already know he was a minister -- but because he wanted to show that he had no intention of using his position, if elected, to impose his religion on anyone. Jesse Jackson, another candidate, didn't drop the “Reverend” and made no bones about his plan to impose his personal irreligious views on people, if elected. The media focused on Robertson as the harbinger of a Theocratic despotism.

Locally, when fellow church members went to help out at the local Republican headquarters they were condescendingly told that their help wasn't needed. That didn't sit well with them, so they attended, en masse, the next precinct meeting and summarily tossed (figuratively, of course) the old guard. These were Christian business men, who'd never before thought much about politics, but rose up in outrage as they were barraged with the message that as Christians they had no right being involved in politics.

I also was involved in the Pro-Life movement, and even marched at abortuaries. It was never violent, and no one was arrested. I remember the summer Operation Rescue jumped into high gear. Philosophically they felt that to stand by passively while babies were being murdered was wrong, therefore they took a more active approach. I also remember the media distorting the coverage. The pro-death activists knew the Christians wouldn't fight back, and therefore planed dirty tricks for them. Spraying them with mace, getting bulky high school or college football players to body slam the smaller protestor. the media would make such images were shown with no reference to who was on which side, thus giving the impression that both sides were violent. The pro-death ghouls won the PR battle, and most of the support for Operation Rescue was lost. Meanwhile babies continued to be murdered.

But this is the part I have the most problem with:

I realized that politics could not heal this world of evil. As a result, I swore off politics completely.

First of all it's a really bad analogy. As far as I know few medicines prescribed by doctors completely heal an illness. In fast the vast majority of modern medicine is designed solely to aid the body in healing itself. To completely reject any single medicine because it alone could not heal the illness is ludicrous.

Second, such an approach is unscriptural -- and sin.

In Matthew 22:15-22 the Bible says:

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

The civil authority that God has placed over us is due certain actions from us. Taxes, obedience (as long as it doesn't contradict God's law) and in the case of our nation, a Constitutional Republic which utilizes the democratic process -- our participation. Our “Caesar” asks of us our participation. If a Christian doesn't vote, he's sinning because he's neglecting his duty to his country (or city or state, whatever). If a Christian votes without knowing who or what he's voting for -- he's sinning because it's not a responsible vote. But beyond that there are matters that we may not ignore.

John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” If Christians refuse to participate in government, then a very significant part of that moral equation is missing (Notice I didn't say all of it). We have politicians and judges actively trying to deny the Constitutional rights of Christians. Imagine how worse it would be if no Christians bothered to vote or campaign or run for office. We have people working hard at making sure careless woman may murder their unborn babies if they find them inconvenient. We have people working hard at making sure the religion of Evolution is taught as fact in government schools. We have people working hard to rip apart the meaning of family by redefining it.

In the Old Testament we have example after example of God's people participating in civil authority at all levels. The New Testament covers a much shorter time frame, but even then addresses political activity. John the Baptist was beheaded because he criticized the moral behavior of Herod. Jesus said of John, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist...

The typical government in those days were non-participatory. You paid the taxes, obeyed the law and hoped whoever was in charge was a nice person. Democracy is a fairly new concept in terms of human civilization. But it is a form of government that requires the willing participation of the governed.

Paul wrote in Romans 13:1-7:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour

How in the world can we be subject to a democratic form of government -- without being involved in politics?!?

Dignan wrote:

I would never in a million years endorse the actions of an extremist group like Operation Rescue again. I think that it could easily be argued that Operation Rescue and some of its affiliated groups are domestic terrorists.

It peeves me to no end the idiocy of irresponsibly tossing around the term terrorist. Operation Rescue is by no stretch of the imagination any sort of “domestic terrorist” group. To accuse them of being such is irresponsible -- and an outright lie. Dignan should be ashamed of himself for bearing false witness.

Dignan said:

When I hear someone like Jerry Falwell say that Tinky Winky is gay...

Since Jerry Falwell said no such thing -- this also is a lie. Falwell's magazine, The National Liberty Journal said:

The sexual preference of Tinky Winky, the largest of the four Teletubbies characters on the series that airs in America on PBS stations, has been the subject of debate since the series premiered in England in 1997.

The character, whose voice is obviously that of a boy, has been found carrying a red purse in many episodes and has become a favorite character among gay groups worldwide.

Now, further evidence that the creators of the series intend for Tinky Winky to be a gay role model have surfaced. He is purple --the gay-pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle -- the gay-pride symbol.

Furthering Tinky’s “outing” was a recent Washington Post editorial that cast the character’s photo opposite that of Ellen DeGeneres in an “In/Out” column. This implies that Ellen is “out” as the chief national gay representative, while Tinky Winky is the trendy “in” celebrity.

The magazine (not Falwell) quotes secular sources that mentioned the item. CNN ran the same claim in 1997. To accuse Falwell of calling Tinky Winky a homosexual is an obvious lie.

Dignan writes:

My church would certainly be considered theologically conservative. We believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. However, our pastor often talks about our church being "purple". There are certainly plenty of members who tend to vote Republican. Yet there are also many Democrats, including someone who works for the state Democratic party. As far as I can remember, our pastor has rarely mentioned abortion, never talks about homosexuality, and refrains from talking politics from the pulpit.

I've ran into these type quite a bit on the internet. Liberals posing as Conservatives, who get furious when you point out their inconsistencies. It's unfortunate that Dignan's faith wasn't real or he would have been able to withstand the poison they spew at universities, which is apparently where he was converted to Liberalism.

Now in his post Dignan made quite a number of false accusation, called people names, etc. but watch how quickly he'll respond with the typical knee-jerk response of the theological Liberal, “You’re judging me!”

.

UPDATE: While Dignan saw no problem posting a link to an entry on his blog in a comment on mine (That imaginary Amendment) He's deleted the link to this entry I placed on in a comment on his blog. He's also deleted the trackback. No, it doesn't surprise me. Censorship like that is very typical of Liberals.

Posted by Jack Lewis at March 8, 2005 06:54 PM

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Tracked on June 30, 2006 09:50 AM

Comments

Dignan is a LIBERAL??? Oh my goodness, you are hilarious.

Please be careful whose character you attack and what sorts of completely ill-informed assumptions you make. Dignan is a dear friend of mine, and this edges pretty close to fighting words.

As a believer, I would be a lot more careful about judging whether any other believer's faith is "real." What in the world do you know, particularly on the evidence of one blog post, about what's going on between that person and God?

(You also may want to ask Dignan for some of the info he DIDN'T share about his involvement with O.R. before you blithely dismiss his "terrorist" claim as unfounded.)

Posted by: Godric at March 8, 2005 10:23 PM

Danny,
Please email me so that I can respond to your objection of my use of "terrorism". I completely stand by that claim, but would prefer to discuss it privately.

Peace,
Dignan

Posted by: Dignan at March 8, 2005 10:41 PM

Godric, you proved me right. First response has the "you're judging" response. You Libs are so predictable. I posted the truth, and backed it up.

Dignan, I think hiding the discussion in emails would be unproductive. If you have evidence of activities of OR (who the media have watched like a hawk to report anything negative about) then spit it out. The facts are plain -- you lied. You owe an apology to Jerry Falwell and to the people of OR, and you need to ask their forgiveness for bearing false witness against them.

Posted by: Jack at March 9, 2005 04:15 AM

Wow! Now I'M a liberal! Amazing that after a life of never voting for a national Democrat (even pulling the lever for Pat Buchanan in the 1992 primaries - yow), spending 30+ years in a theologically conservative denomination that believes in such unfashionable doctrines as Biblical inerrancy and participating in numerous peaceful pro-life protest events... turns out I'm a liberal! I'm so ashamed. Thank you for enlightening me.

(I have absolutely no problem with making judgements if the evidence is sufficient. You just don't have enough evidence to back up your assertions, and I think you know it.)

Perhaps you should consider a quick prayer before posting or commenting? (I certainly do, as I'm prone to intemperate comments otherwise!)I'm not going to mimic you and question your salvation, but I do see very little grace in your language. We may think liberals are wrong, but God loves them and Jesus died for them.

And not even *e-mailing* Dignan? All I can say is: your loss.

Posted by: Godric at March 9, 2005 09:09 AM

[Godrick: Wow! Now I'M a liberal!...]

In my experience, theological Liberals are the ones who immediately jump to the "Don't judge me" argument, typically after judging someone else.

[Godrick: (I have absolutely no problem with making judgements if the evidence is sufficient. You just don't have enough evidence to back up your assertions, and I think you know it.)]

Then please point out anything which I said that lacked evidence.

[Godric: We may think liberals are wrong, but God loves them and Jesus died for them.]

...and that means what? I can't point out when you or any other Liberal is wrong?

[Godric: And not even *e-mailing* Dignan? All I can say is: your loss.]

No, the loss would be to people reading the blog. I don't put stuff here to hide it.

Posted by: Jack at March 9, 2005 11:29 AM

[Then please point out anything which I said that lacked evidence.]

... that Dignan's faith "isn't real." Seeing that assertion is what had me steamed enough to weigh in.

At times, and within friendly company, I may venture to say that about someone I know well, but it certainly wouldn't be on the evidence of one blog post.

My comment about Jesus dying for liberals had nothing to do with reasoning, but a lot to do with tone. I think you may be right about a great deal (and this "liberal" has actually written for WORLD magazine, a publication it seems you admire) but I find the apparent lack of grace and humility in your discourse quite distressing. There are real human beings behind the positions you delight in tearing down, and I'm not sure it comes across that you get that.

In your offline life, do you know any "liberals" or non-believers? Do you witness to them? Pray for them? Build relationships with them? Attempt to find common ground?

Perhaps you do, but I have to say it that finding that out would surprise me. Please forgive me for judging.

Posted by: Godric at March 9, 2005 01:11 PM

[Jack: Then please point out anything which I said that lacked evidence.]

[Godric: ... that Dignan's faith "isn't real." Seeing that assertion is what had me steamed enough to weigh in]

“For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.” -- Luke 6:44

When someone espouses such unscriptural ideas, the fruit is obvious.

[Godric: I think you may be right about a great deal (and this "liberal" has actually written for WORLD magazine, a publication it seems you admire)...]

I would hardly expect that World magazine is able to thoroughly research the background of every single person that ever writes anything for them. Besides, posing as Conservatives is the latest fad among Liberal churches

[Godric:...but I find the apparent lack of grace and humility in your discourse quite distressing. There are real human beings behind the positions you delight in tearing down, and I'm not sure it comes across that you get that.]

So now you're saying people in the “Religious Right,” Jerry Falwell and the people involved in OR aren't human beings?!? You're unbelievable!

[Godric: In your offline life, do you know any "liberals" or non-believers? Do you witness to them? Pray for them? Build relationships with them? Attempt to find common ground?]

...and comments that drip with condescension are full of “grace,” how?

[Godric: Perhaps you do, but I have to say it that finding that out would surprise me. Please forgive me for judging.]

Now you mock the concept of forgiveness.

Posted by: Jack at March 9, 2005 03:36 PM

Wow! I might as well have been talking to a cement block wall. I am ending this unproductive discussion now. If you wish to have the last word to show everyone what a right-thinking person you are, go right ahead.

Please, enjoy your life of neverending correctness and foolproof certainty. I just pray that maybe one day you'll actually see fit to search your heart and truly answer the last question I asked, if only for your own edification.

Posted by: Godric at March 9, 2005 04:16 PM

So now I'm a cement block. Your loving and gracious words just sweep me off my feet.

You've completely lived up to just about every stereotype of Liberal debate tactics there are, and have proven a perfect example for the very thing I wanted to emphasize with my post.

Posted by: Jack at March 9, 2005 08:53 PM

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