Today we have two examples, one from the Left and one from the Right, of people making blatantly self-serving attacks on their political opponents while attempting to cloak themselves in the sanctity of God. This is partisanship at its most nauseating.
First let us examine the Leftist “religious” viewpoint:
Liberal Christians Give LESS to the Poor; Naturally We Must Expose The Conservative Reasons for Not Giving Enough! …HUNH?
I have often said that partisanship can make people believe anything about ANYTHING. Here is a good example of someone so needy for rotten fruit to huck at his opponents that he “condemns” them for… what amounts to being BETTER at something than his own side!!! To make matters worse he all but lies to do so, distorting basic facts and mixing and matching demographics at will to support his demonization of a group that has shown itself well able to expose its own demons; Conservative Christianity) I just want to ask him one thing, who gored YOUR ox?
Why Conservative Christians So Often Fail the Common Good (Part 2)
In part 1 of this article, we posed this riddle: why do so many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians — people who clearly honor the Bible — so often disregard the two requirements that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God, namely peacemaking and justice for the poor?”
From the start this piece is off track, as Jesus preached to individuals and taught PEOPLE how He wanted them to live. He did not preach to nations or governments, He never left precepts for RULING a society. The author actually seems to have bought into the heresy of the far-Right, Christian Identity folks; “Godly” society must be established BEFORE Jesus can return.
“Why Focus on “Conservative Christians”?
Some readers quite correctly pointed out that conservatives tend to be more generous toward the poor than liberals, but to frame the issue like that only muddles it. The Bible never suggests that we adequately fulfill our responsibilities through “generosity” toward the poor. Rather, the Bible summons Christians to radical solidarity with the poor and radical opposition to those demonic, systemic structures — what the Bible calls “the principalities and powers — that sustain the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and the dispossessed.”
Really? In my reality Jesus called for individuals to turn away from political structures and just GET ON WITH IT and feed the poor and live THEIR lives as their conscience commanded. In fact He had harsh words for those who felt they could legislate morality into their “flock”! He further advised in no uncertain terms that civil rebellion was NOT his way.
I also love the way the author dismisses out of hand the notion that actual ACTION to help REAL poor people, as opposed to working to create a government to force everyone to care for them, is somehow a lesser expression of Christian charity and Love. You just Gotta love group-think Virginia!
“…Further, to claim (GDeW: You said before that it was correct, but now you call it a claim?) that conservatives are more generous than liberals sidesteps the fact that neither group is all that generous toward the poor to begin with.”
Are you following this Virginia? Conservative Christian give more to the poor but since neither Leftist nor Conservative Christians do enough in the author’s eyes, it is the CONSERVATIVES that must be brought to task…umm, yes, it is a bit silly. Lets see if our dear Mr. Hughes can pull it out at the end.
“It also sidesteps the fact that neither conservative Christians nor liberal Christians are called to compare themselves with one another.”
I was unaware of the fact that it called for them to ignore their own faults and attack the other! You seem to be of a different opinion Mr. Hughes.
“Instead, if Christians are serious about following Jesus, the only meaningful comparison is with Jesus’ picture of the kingdom of God, and when measured by that standard, American Christians across the board — liberals and conservatives alike — fall woefully short.”
As a student of history I am well aware that pretty much all Christians of this day and age fall short of what the fist generation of “Chrestians” recognized as their own brethren. That said, I do not know of any major branch, original or modern, that promotes the idea of Jesus’ preaching that you must work for a GOVERNMENT to be formed in the image of the Jewish vision of a Messiah Ruled Society before a person could be considered a follower of His.
“Why, then, would I write a two-part article that singles out conservative rather than liberal Christians for a comparison with that biblical vision.”
Given that your vision is one that you made up instead of finding it in the words of Jesus, I would say that it is just so you can use God as a weapon in your ongoing partisan attacks against your fellow Christians.
“First, conservative Christians are typically far more adamant than liberals in their claims that they are “Bible-believing Christians” who take the Bible seriously at every point.”
The passage above is a great example of a man so eager to demonize the opposition he does not even realize he is insulting his own side! He is trying to hard not to “look mean” by calling Biblical Literalists byname that he implies that Liberal Christians do not believe the Bible seriously AT ALL. Kinda makes you wonder why they would BE Christians if Hughes has them pegged rightly, doesn’t it? Somehow I think that the average “Liberal” Christian deserves a bit more respect than that!
“ It is therefore fair to ask how successfully they live out a theme that stands at the center of the biblical text — the biblical vision of the kingdom.”
First off,it is a central Biblical theme that you do not stand hypocritically on the Temple steps and denounce the sins of others before you have examined your own! And you certainly do not do it by putting words in the mouth of the central figure of your supposed religion that support your political goals!
“The second consideration is perhaps even more important. For almost forty years, the most visible representatives of the Christian religion in the United States have been conservatives, not liberals. I have in mind the electronic evangelists — those leaders of the Christian Right like Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker, James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, and a host of others — who have been extraordinarily vocal about their vision of the United States as a Christian nation. Not once have I heard any of those preachers define the Christian religion in terms of either (1) peacemaking or (2) justice for the oppressed, the poor, the marginalized, and those who suffer at the hands of the world’s elites — themes that are central to the biblical vision of the kingdom of God.”
One wonders why Hughes doesn’t just do a piece on how televangelism corrupts preachers, given that he only lists the most controversial if not heretical of a class that polls have revealed to have about the same level of trustworthiness in the public eye as lawyers! And even with that vetting for nuttiness I would bet that if you actually read their sermons you would find examples of these things; if you ignore Mr. Hughes’ fantasy about Jesus requiring His followers to build Socialist government institutions.
“To the contrary, these preachers have often gone out of their way to support the principalities and powers that oppress marginalized people. Various televangelists at various times, for example, have told the American people that God has chosen the United States for a destiny of dominance in the world, that Jesus’ followers should prosper and never be poor, and that Christians should rally to support America’s wars against the enemies of God. In a word, most televangelists of the Christian Right have preached a gospel that is radically antithetical to the biblical text, and by proclaiming this pseudo-gospel, they have discredited the Christian religion almost beyond belief. It is surely time to measure their preaching by the biblical vision of the kingdom of God!”
Am I confused Virginia, or did we start off this piece talking about how Conservative Christians giving more to poor folks really meant Liberal Christian were the cool ones? How did we get onto Televangelists? Many Televangelists are bad preachers = All Conservative Christians are failing their duty to God? Somehow, I do not think Mr. Hughes passed Logic 101.
“The Kingdom of God and the Common Good
… The kingdom of God is universal and those who promote that kingdom care deeply for every human being in every corner of the globe, regardless of race or nationality. But earthly nations — even so-called “Christian” nations — embrace values that are inevitably nationalistic and tribal, caring especially for the welfare of those within their borders. And while the kingdom of God exalts the poor, the disenfranchised, and the dispossessed, earthly nations inevitably exalt the rich and powerful and hold them up as models to be emulated. In fact, in the context of earthly nations — even so-called “Christian” nations — the poor seldom count for much at all.”
Which is probably why Jesus preached to people and not governments!!! So intent on his political goal is he that even while describing it, Hughes misses the point of Not Of This World!
“In light of that comparison, it must be obvious that when I speak of the common good, I don’t have in mind the American dream of a chicken in every pot or three cars in every garage or the American notion that freedom ultimately means freedom to shop. In fact, I don’t have in mind anything uniquely American at all. Instead, when I speak of the common good, I have in mind what the Bible envisions for all humankind — life and not death. But when the principalities and powers define the common good, they typically mean the good life for some, and the good life for some invariably means poverty, hunger, nakedness, and finally death for all the others.”
And this is probably why the Bible envisions this perfect society needing DIRECT INTERVENTION by God to come about AFTER we have messed it all up for the last time (not MY view, but the Bible’s), not Mr. Hughes and his buddies legislating their version of “morality” upon everyone.
“One final introductory comment: several who commented on the first article also questioned the accuracy of my claim that the biblical vision of the kingdom of God is really all that central to the biblical text or, for that matter, to what Christians call “the gospel.” But the Christian gospel always has two central components — the unmerited grace that God extends to us and, in response, the unmerited grace that we should extend to others. I John makes this point as well as any other biblical text: “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (I Jn. 3:16) That is as clear a picture of the kingdom of God as one is likely to find.”
It is simply astonishing to see someone hold up a black book and declare it to obviously be white! It is just sad when that person does it for personal glorification and to put down their opponents. It is simply disgusting when that person does it using God.
Where, Mr. Hughes, does the Bible tell us to legislate that grace so our neighbor is forced to dispense it in exactly the measure WE define as acceptable? Pardon me while I go get reacquainted with my breakfast. The fact that all that poison was just “introductory” to your “point” put my stomach over the top.
Now let us move on to the Right-Wing side of the Pew and see how a “conservative Christian” shows his love by lying and distorting everything he can in order to “Save” his sheep:
“Traditional Values Coalition Opinion Editorial For publication on or after Wednesday, October 31, 2001
New FBI Hate Crime Statistics Expose Homosexual Lies
By Rev. Louis P. Sheldon Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition
… This legislation begins with this somber comment: “The incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem.”
This introduction to S. 625 is filled with lies and half-truths about the nature of hate crimes in America-yet this bill is being seriously debated-despite the facts. The recently released FBI hate crime statistics for 2000 shed new light on what Ted Kennedy alleges is a “serious national problem.””
And now Rev. Sheldon will put his own lies and half-truths on the table as a counter-balance!
“Most Americans are tolerant and compassionate individuals who do not wish anyone to be harmed. Unfortunately, homosexual activists have exploited this compassion in the promotion of the idea of “hate crime” legislation. A “hate crime” law typically includes enhanced penalties against an individual for his negative thoughts when he committed a crime against a person who is part of a protected class. For example, a common thug who mugs a lesbian for her purse will receive a higher penalty for his anti-homosexual thoughts or motivations than if he had mugged a woman simply for her money.”
I have my doubts about many, if not most, hate crime laws, however lying about them does not help! Claiming the label Reverend and then proceeding to lie is “just not done”!
A hate crime law does not criminalize the thoughts of the thug who HAPPENS to mug someone who is a lesbian, they only apply if the lesbian is attacked BECAUSE she is a lesbian. If a person mugs two women, one of whom is openly lesbian, and then verbally insults that woman for being gay and kicks her in the face, all the while not harming the “straight” lady, they HAVE committed a hate crime in addition to the “regular” crime. I fail to see that the basic idea of making crimes that are committed ONLY because of prejudice a special class is wrong.
“Homosexuals have been successful in getting many states and communities to add “sexual orientation” as a protected category under hate crime laws. This creates what amounts to “thought crimes” and unequal justice under the law for those not given protected class status.”
I can’t see why, if you are gong to have a hate crime law, why ANY definable grouping should not be included. The whole idea of “hate crime”is of a crime that WOULD NOT HAPPEN if the criminal did not see the victim as “acceptable to attack” because of their race,religion, politics, sexuality or WHATEVER. IF someone attacked and beat someone for being a street mime it should be classed a hate crime. “Normal” crime is impersonal,it is about transferring money or property from one who has it to one who wants it but, hasn’t earned it. Committing a crime not for financial gain, but solely to satisfy an inner need to dehumanize ANYONE, is what the hate crime ideology is all about at its core.
“The FBI’s newly released hate crime statistics should be welcomed news to homosexuals. The latest hate crime numbers have been posted on the FBI’s web site. …The FBI hate crime statistics show the following: In 2000, there were a total of 8,152 hate crimes reported involving a total of 9,524 distinct incidents. Out of a total of 8,144 single-bias incidents, for example, 5,206 were racially motivated and 1,568 were bias crimes against a person’s religion.
The FBI says the most common hate crime was that of “intimidation” with a total of 3,294 cases. A person who was “intimidated” was a victim of profanity, racial slurs, or verbal threats by another individual. In short, a third of these hate crimes were non-violent and amounted to name-calling.”
One wonders if the good reverend has ever been seriously harassed or taunted or threatened in his life! He blithely dismisses as mere name calling things as serious as multiple, physically aggressive and verbally hateful people trailing someone down the street telling them in graphic terms just what they plan to do to that person, their family and anyone who is close to them…Remember, these statistics only refer to those verbal acts that were considered by the FBI to be CRIMES!
Virginia, what do you think of a reverend who thinks that a truck load of rednecks trailing a black schoolgirl and taunting her with rape and assault on her family is “name calling”? Good girl, I can’t fault your instincts. But, you should not use language like that in public. Ladies have better use of their vocabulary than that! To be fair it should be noted that he also probably considers 15 Muslim youths chasing and screaming threats at a Jewish kid half their size to also be “name calling.” The Rev. only promotes Equal Opportunity Callousness I am sure!
“…Overall, there were only 1,517 hate crimes of bias committed because of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation in 2000. It is likely that at least a third of these were intimidation or name-calling. The FBI gathered these statistics from 11,691 law enforcement agencies encompassing a total of 237 million Americans-or 84.2% of the entire population.”
Here is a good example of how partisans use statistics dishonestly. The number 1,517 is called “only’ and then several much larger,but irrelevant, numbers are listed to further diminish it in the reader’s mind. The good Rev obviously does not expect his audience to stop and THINK about the numbers he has revealed to be a veritable gospel for American homosexuals.
1,517 out of 8,144 means that more or less one out of every five incidents of ”single bias” against ANYONE was about that person’s sexual orientation! Almost TWENTY PERCENT! And this is measured against all the bias incidents against Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, women, men, old folks, young folks, Republicans, Democrats and whatever other groups you care to name!!! TWENTY PERCENT of this type of crime is committed against gays? And the Rev feels that gays should rejoice in this “Good News”?
“No compassionate American is in favor of someone being verbally or physically assaulted because of his sexual preferences, but neither should we be subjected to thought crime legislation that provides special legal protections to homosexuals not accorded other Americans. Criminalizing a person’s views on sexual behavior should not be a matter of federal law.”
I agree that EVERYONE should have protection against bias motivated crime. But, this does not give the morally-ambiguous Reverend the right to lie and say that criminalizing bias-based ACTIONS (that in themselves are criminal) is criminalizing a person’s VIEWS!!!
“Out of 11.6 million crimes committed against persons and property in 2000, only 1,517 were hate crimes directed at homosexuals-and a third of these were undoubtedly name-calling. This should be good news to homosexual activists, but it undercuts one of their primary objectives: The passage of federal hate crime legislation that will add homosexual behavior as a protected class status under federal civil rights laws.”
I guess that it is possible to admire the economy or language in the above passage, it is impossible to find morality in it. First the Rev pulls the TOTAL person and property crime number out (not the much smaller, but RELEVENT, single-bias number) and compares it to 1,517, next he applies his “name calling” dismissal to further reduce the importance of that number. Finally, he slaps homosexuals in the face by calling this number good news and uses the sum of his hypocrisy to “prove” that the numbers “undermine” the need for hate crime laws, ESPECIALLY regarding homosexuals! Tums anyone?
“…The FBI’s recent statistics showing how few hate crimes were committed against homosexuals in 2000 are irritations that will undoubtedly be ignored by activists. The truth has undercut their claims of an epidemic of hate crimes against homosexuals, but that won’t stop them from attempting to gain special rights under federal law for their preferred sexual behavior.”
I guess the Rev follows the old “Big Lie” theory; tell it with a straight enough face and tell it often enough, and people will believe ANY nonsense! Notice how he tosses in the gibe implying that gays CHOOSE to be as they are!
Left or Right, it does not really matter. Those who seek power for power’s sake will show themselves as morally empty,no matter what “God” they claim to follow.