Religious Right

The Profound Silence

I get a daily email newsletter / update from Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” (“Citizen Link“). As of today, the silence about Pat Robertson’s terrorism-promoting remarks (on Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, see recent posts) is eloquent.

I guess “moral values” and “family values” do not overlap into issues of economy, political democracy, oil, and international relations.

And apparently they do not apply to prominent spokespersons for the radical right (or “fundamentalist clerics” who have great influence in the government) in this country.

I think they should.

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  • Barb, I will heed your advice and not press any further on the grounds of two reasons: Firstly, turning down an apology is a hard thing, it needs 100 percent inward certainty in order to follow contentiously such a decision. And I do not feel myself completely beyond doubt. I hope and pray someone else will tell the SBC.

    Secondly, I asked for advice and got your answer, that resonates with some not yet full-fledged opinion of my own regarding the Christian Right as being some kind of memento for us that we must well heed, but not counfound with our chief enemy. Our chief enemy is the “liar and father of lies” (John. 8,44), who works by a quite a lot they do, yet is more openly pronounced by secular deriders of the Gospel. As to myself being led by love (or likewise in the grip of the “murderer and liar”), I cannot decide this by fathoming if I have any sympathy for them, because I try not to think any too much of them at all. You’re welcome to correct me and be frank about it, but I think trying to fan any love for them would be a kind of just that bravery Jesus dissuades us from when he instructed us to pray “lead us not into temptation”. I try to be honest with them, which is an indirect way to love. What do you think?

  • Martin,

    In my opinion, there are people from the religious right who read this and similar sites, just as Larry receives Mr. Dobson’s alerts. I’ve seen many of their comments, and sometimes tirades, and I do think that this forum can reach people on the religious right. I do think however that you can send them links to these and other comments, as long as you are aware of how those comments may be used. Some of the comments here are inflammatory and insulting – there simply is no more Christian love in these comments than there was in Mr. Robertson’s comments. Leaders of the religious right are not going to see those comments as being closer to Christ’s behavior than their own behavior because they simply are not closer to Christ-like behavior. Those comments are essentially fighting evil with evil, and as I’ve said in other comments, in that case evil always wins (my reason for pointing out that the religious right is a warning to us all is that those advocating sending people these comments is in fact attempting to lead us astray every bit as much as Robertson, Dobson, etal lead astray the religious right). As a result, some of the very good comments on this site could be lumped in with these comments and used to denigrate the entire site, which might keep those on the religious right who currently read the site from doing so in the future. This is why I think that not casting your pearls before swine is relevant – remember that the Pharisees tried to trap Christ with questions about paying taxes, etc., and he did not play into their hands.

    I am not telling you what to do or what not to do, I am just telling you to be aware of the dangers. However, if you are coming from a position of Christian love, you will know it is in God’s hands and will not let it bother you. For this reason, I don’t mind at all if anonymous disagrees with me as he/she did in the last comment, but for their sake, I just hope that any comments they or anyone else makes to the religious right is grounded in Christian love.

  • I’m probably going to sound predictable here, but may I gently disagree with Barb’s point that the extreme right is not the enemy. I hold that the leaders of that movement are the most effective enemies Jesus has on this planet.

    Why? Look at the greed. We see greed. Now, if we found out they were romping with male prostitutes (some have their day coming…), we would quickly condemn them.

    But greed has become all too tolerable in the sight of the church. Greed, hyper-ambition, and the like. These too are sins for which Paul would have instructed us “not to even eat with such a oneâ€? who also claims to be a brother – as with idolaters and fornicators, to use Biblical terms.

    Greed? Obese people on TV? We have all of that in spades. People are disgusted and turn away from Jesus because of all of this. Or how could you like someone who was even attracted to that in the name of God?

    Remember Billy Graham’s fleet of Cadillacs? We got used to it right there. But let’s see these leaders – whom believers have not voted upon, nor many of us ever recognized as walking upright in Christ – appeal to the rest of the planet. Not. It’s just in the US we’ve gotten used to holding our noses around greed and ambition. Out with it.

    This spiritual doubletalk – pushing Jesus while pursuing gluttony and greed – is open enmity with God. Period.

  • Barb, this interpretation of Matthews 7:6 is really interesting – though if it’s true the verse must have hold a polemic note even in the original deliverance by Jesus himself. For “dog” is, on the Hebrew background an expression for pagans, non-Jews. Jesus widening the concept of “dogs” to include the hypocrites can save this verse from standing out as erratic in this context.

    Maybe you’re right, Barb, that addressing Mr. Robertson directly is just futile. But who knows? You are certainly right that this is a public forum where you speak up. But Mr. Harper is right too if the core of his grievance should be that it is not at all satisfactory if people talk only to them that are already on their side. Perhaps he wants more real discussion when matters come up that affect the basic requirements of republican order and decency. We Christians can agree and co-operate with him with even the additional reason that there are certainly many deluded but well-intentioned Christians in the ranks of the Christian Right that need someone to open their eyes for them in time.

    Though Katrina has certainly faded this matter already pretty much, I still keep marveling if somebody ought not tell the spiritual elders of Mr. Robertson at the SBC that we would like them to better fulfill their biblical duty to demand of him that he straightforwardly and reliably abandon his irresponsible talk. What do you think? Should I still try? Can it do any good to give them a link to what I said on this site?

  • I’ve been away for a few days, but I am thoroughly confused about exactly what Mr. Harper’s point is. He praises some of us for criticizing the religious right and attacks others of us for the same thing.

    I am not going to respond directly to attacks from Mr. Harper or anyone else, and I am going to leave it to anonymous to point out to Mr. Harper that this IS a public forum in which he spoke out . I tried to put the discussion in a biblical context. Just as the religious right leads people away from Jesus by taking things out of a biblical context to a political one, so can anyone else who tries to lead us away from a biblical context. It might be helpful to remember that the religious right is not an enemy per se but are a warning of what can happen to any of us if we are not vigilant.

    In much the same way as I am not going to respond directly to attacks, I am not going to contact Messrs. Dobson and Robertson and tell them I think they are wrong. Their past comments and activities have left me with the impression that they are too self-righteous and too carried away with their own “power” to listen to alternative views. As a result, I have always focused my comments on bringing a biblical context to the discussion in the hopes that with God’s grace, others may listen to an alternative viewpoint before being led astray. Ironically, the notes in my study bible referring to the passage on not casting pearls before swine says “He (Matthew) may have taken the saying as applying to a Christian dealing with an obstinately impenitent fellow Christian”. We would all benefit if we remember that we too could become inpenitent fellow Christians.

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