Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's Sunday Morning So I'll Be A Voice Crying In The Wilderness

Ed Kilgore files the following while at the"2012 FAMiLY Leadership Summit, a gathering of Christian Right leaders and troops in one of its stomping grounds:"
Even poor old Chuck Grassley, who could barely stumble through his pithy remarks (“…the usurption of unconstitutional power by the President of the United States and his cohorts.”), got into the spirit, listing the propositions that a Romney/Ryan administration would promote “without apology:” “life begins at conception;” “gun ownership is an absolute right;” “choice in education is an absolute right;” “voter ID;” “marriage is between a man and a woman;” “American support for Israel,” and so on through the whole secular liturgy of the Christian Right.
I'll leave aside comments about Grassley's lack of eloquence, but I want to address a few elements of this"liturgy."

I grew up in a church populated by good country folk who might have thought the 5 solas  meant there was going to be a lot of special music during the Sunday morning service. They certainly would not have used the terms Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide even though they held beliefs encompassed by those doctrines. Nearly every Sunday morning sermon featured the phrase "thus saith the Lord." Sunday school instruction featured simple tools: know what you believe; know why you believe; back it up with chapter and verse.

I have long been confused, therefore, by "conservative Christians" who assert "gun ownership is an absolute right." What's the chapter and verse for that? I'm also hard pressed to think of any Biblical justification for voter ID.

I understand parents are Biblically enjoined to train children "in the way [they] should go." My father reminded me several times, "Son, you may have to know it for a test but you don't have to believe it." If parents aren't able to give their children that simple effective tool, will they be able to choose schools wisely? Also, the "school choice" argument is more about tax dollars or vouchers than it is about choice. Once again, I'm hard pressed to find scriptural support for "vouchers."

I'm equally confused by an assertion that Christianity demands complete and unequivocal military support for Israel. Even God didn't do that. Whenever ancient Israel broke the covenant, the opposing military won.

The use of the term "conservative Christian" prompts another question. That exclusionary term reminds one of the situation decried in I Corinthians 3:
1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly —mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Is there really a difference between claiming "I follow Apollos" and "I am a conservative Christian"? Both identifications imply that that the follower is right and others are wrong.

The mixture of God and mammon than Kilgore documents prompts an important question. A little yeast leavens the whole loaf; how much political yeast is running through an allegedly Christian loaf?


John T. Spencer said...

There are thousands of verses about taking care of the poor and hundreds about looking after the alien. James 1:27 states, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress."

I cringe at their so-called calls for theocracy. However, if they want to invoke the name of God, they might want to start by standing up for the poor, the neglected, the widows, the orphans and the immigrants.

LK said...