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Tag: Culture Warrior

Why Evangelical Culture Warriors Don’t Really Believe in Freedom of Religion

the bible rock of gibraltar

Uncritically listen to Evangelical culture warriors and you will wrongly think they are strong supporters of religious freedom. They talk a good line when it comes to the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. They may grudgingly admit that Article VI of the U.S. Constitution: no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States, forbids a religious test for political office. However, they also say that the United States is a Christian Nation; that its laws are based on the Bible. Their theological and political beliefs put them in direct opposition to the Constitution. Their goal is nothing short of anarchy; the overthrow of the established political and social order. Abandoning evangelization and piety as the means of social transformation, these culture warriors have turned to politics to “save” America, and in the twice-impeached Donald Trump, they found the Lord and Savior. In 2016 and 2020, the overwhelming majority of white Evangelical voters voted for Trump. And if he runs in 2024, they will most certainly vote for him again.

On January 6, 2021, a violent mob tried to overthrow the U.S. government. Many of these treasonous “patriots” were Evangelical Christians. Their failed attempt does not mean Evangelicals have stopped trying to bring down the government and establish Jesus as King and Ruler and the Bible as the law of the land. Trump has become a useful idiot. If he is indicted and imprisoned — and he most certainly should be — other MAGA candidates such as Ron DeSantis and Ted Cruz will arise as antichrists, hoping to reclaim America for the glory of God, and destroy what’s left of our democracy. Once they gain a firm grip on federal, state, and local governments, they will use their newfound power to advance their theocratic agenda. Once this happens, freedoms will be lost and people will die.

Reversing Roe v. Wade was never the end game. Next up is banning birth control and in vitro fertilization (IVF), abolishing same-sex marriage, criminalizing homosexuality, and legalizing teacher-led prayer and Bible reading in public schools. One need only to look at what’s going on in Texas with the allowing of donated “In God We Trust” posters to be hung in school classrooms to see what Evangelical culture warriors have in mind. Next it will be posters of the Ten Commandments. And then the Gideons will be let back in the doors to hand out Christian propaganda. From there, creationism will be taught in science classrooms, Biblical morality taught in health classes, and Christian rules of conduct required of all students. Currently, local schools here in rural northwest Ohio have given Lifewise Academy — an Evangelical “ministry” — unfettered access to elementary-aged students so they can indoctrinate them. Someone affiliated with Defiance City Schools said only seven students refused to attend the “voluntary” release-time classes.

Culture warriors are making noise about Critical Race Theory (CRT) being taught in schools — a bald-faced lie. They are calling for LGBTQ-friendly books to be removed from school libraries. Transgender people are also in their sights. No longer content to homeschool their children or send them to private schools, Evangelicals want to reclaim public schools for their God. How do they plan to do this? By electing like-minded candidates to school boards; by becoming missionary teachers and aides; by infecting every aspect of school life with their pernicious beliefs.

If people don’t wake up to their agenda, it will be too late. One need only look at the reversal of Roe v. Wade to see what can happen when Evangelical culture warriors get their way. Or look at what is going on in Florida where Governor Ron DeSantis is requiring teachers to teach alternative American History and civics. What’s next, a real-life portrayal of the Man in the High Castle or The Handmaid’s Tale?

The next time an Evangelical culture warrior tells you that they believe in “religious freedom,” don’t believe them. Their version of “freedom” is much like their idea of “love”; one rooted in the belief that the United States is a Christian nation; that Jesus is the sovereign Lord of all things; that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God and is the moral, ethical standard for everyone; that the world would be a better place if everyone worshipped their peculiar version of God.

Evangelical culture warriors may smile at you and be the friendliest people in town, but behind their “I Love Jesus” facade lurk dangerous fascist beliefs. Atheists, agnostics, liberal Christians, pagans, and other non-religious people are enemies of God. LGBTQ people are deviants, as are fornicators and adulterers. For the love of reason and freedom, read the Bible! Evangelical culture warriors really believe what it teaches. We should treat them as the threats they really are.

Unlike Evangelicals, I happen to actually believe in religious freedom. I also believe in a strict separation of church and state. People are free to worship whomsoever they want. Personally, I worship reason, skepticism, and Polly. However, when it comes to government, God and the Bible have no place. Certainly, people are free to have religious beliefs and hold political offices, but what they “believe” theologically and morally should play no part in governance. I mean none. I live in a small town of 356 people. The local council and mayor hold strong religious beliefs. I went to church with some of them back in the day. A medical marijuana dispensary enquired about establishing a business in town. The council and mayor quickly said no. Why? While no official statement was issued, I have no doubt their personal religious and moral beliefs played a big part in them saying no thanks. All that should have mattered is whether it was a legal business and how much tax revenue it would provide. Instead, the business was tentatively established down the road in a different community.

My eyes are wide open to what Evangelical culture warriors are doing. Are yours? They are hiding in plain sight, and I fear that many liberals and progressives are not paying attention or think Evangelical culture warriors are just a nuisance that will soon pass. They are not, they will not and our future depends on us identifying our enemy and fighting back.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Donald Trump Lies to Evangelicals and They Love It

evangelicals and donald trump

Monday, August 27, 2018, President Donald Trump and more than one hundred Evangelical leaders met together to fawn over each other. Drunk with political power — having unprecedented access to the White House — Evangelical leaders have lost their ability to speak truth to power. Concerned more with being the power behind the king than they are advancing the kingdom of the King of Kings, Evangelicals have turned themselves into just another political action committee within God’s Only Party — albeit a PAC with tremendous (and vicious) power. These so-called servants of the most high God assure Americans that despite his immorality, vulgarity, and criminal behavior, President Trump is really a great guy, a Christian even!

What follows is a live transcript of lying President Trump telling white, aging Evangelicals what they wanted to hear: you are special and I will do everything in my power to protect your favored status; but only if you keep Republicans in power come November.

State Dining Room

6:54 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  What a nice group.  Thank you very much.  Please.

Melania and I are thrilled to welcome you.  And these are very special friends of mine, Evangelical pastors and leaders from all across the nation.  We welcome you to the White House. It’s a special place.  It’s a place we love.  We’re having a lot of fun, we’re having a lot of success.

Today we reached the highest level in the history of the stock market.  We broke 26,000 — (applause) — so I assume you have some stock.  And I view that differently.  We’re respected all over the world again, and it means jobs.  So it’s a lot of good things happening.

Of course, these Evangelical leaders own stocks. Many of them, following in the footsteps of Jesus, are millionaires, having made their millions ginning up paranoia and fear.

Lie #1 — We’re respected all over the world again, and it means jobs.

The President thinks the rest of the world didn’t respect the United States before he was elected. Trump thinks by bullying the heads of other countries on the world stage, he can engender respect. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What Trump sees as respect is actually fear; fear of what this nut-job is going to do next.

I also want to thank a family of faith that is truly a blessing to our nation.  I want to thank Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence.  Where are you, Mike?  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you, Mike.

And our incredible First Lady for hosting this evening.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

America is a nation of believers.  And tonight we’re joined by faith leaders from across the country who believe in the dignity of life, the glory of God, and the power of prayer.  Everybody agree with that?

Lie #2 — America is a nation of believers.

No, it’s not. While it is certainly true that most Americans are Christian — at least in name — Trump seems willfully ignorant of the fact that not only is there great diversity among people who claim the Christian moniker, but tens of millions of Americans are non-Christians, unbelievers, NONES, atheists, agnostics, and humanists, to name a few.

President Trump has made no effort to engage any other religious group besides Evangelicals. In his mind, Evangelicals are a voter bloc that can be manipulated and used for political gain.  End of story. When they no longer deliver votes and metaphorically allow Trump to carnally lie with them, he will drop them faster than he did Stormy Daniels.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!  (Applause.)

The sound of a hundred Evangelicals having orgasms at the same time.

THE PRESIDENT:  If you didn’t, we’d have a big story, wouldn’t we?  (Laughter.)

I want to say a special thank you to Paula White, Alveda King, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Darrell Scott, Robert Jeffress, Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins, Lester Warner, and everyone here tonight.  So many great, great leaders.  Incredible leaders.  I know you, I watch you, I see you.  Yours are the words we want to hear.

I also understand that tonight is the 58th wedding anniversary.  So we have a very big wedding — where is he?  Dr. James and Shirley Dobson.  Where are they?  (Applause.)  Where are they?  That’s great.  Congratulations.  That’s something.

MRS. DOBSON:  Thank you for throwing a party of us tonight.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.  This is a party for you.  We can look at it that way, actually.  (Laughter.)  Thank you.  Congratulations.

We’re also joined by Secretary Alex Azar, Secretary Ben Carson –- hello, Ben –- (applause) — and Ambassador Sam Brownback.  (Applause.)

Before going any further, I want to extend our prayers and condolences to the victims of the tragic shooting in Jacksonville, Florida.  That was a terrible thing indeed.  And how it happens, nobody really knows.  But they’ve done an incredible job down in Jacksonville, as they always do in Florida and throughout the country.  But condolences.

Lie #3 And how it happens [mass shootings], nobody really knows.

Yes, we do know. Guns, President Trump, guns. Want to reduce the number of mass shootings in this country? Support strict gun control laws. Stop supporting the violent policies of the NRA and second amendment extremists. One need only to look to Great Britain, Canada, or Australia to see how best to regulate firearms.

Also, our hearts and prayers are going to the family of Senator John McCain.  There’s going to be a lot of activity over the next number of days.  And we very much appreciate everything that Senator McCain has done for our country.  So thank you very much.  (Applause.)

Lie #4 — And we very much appreciate everything that Senator McCain has done for our country. 

Then-candidate Trump mocked and ridiculed John McCain during the 2016 presidential campaign, saying McCain was a loser for getting captured during the Vietnam War.

Look at Trump’s childish behavior after McCain’s death: a refusal to release a statement about the senator’s death; a refusal to fly flags at half-staff.

We’re here this evening to celebrate America’s heritage of faith, family, and freedom.  As you know, in recent years, the government tried to undermine religious freedom.  But the attacks on communities of faith are over.  We’ve ended it.  We’ve ended it.  (Applause.)  Unlike some before us, we are protecting your religious liberty.

Lie #5 — As you know, in recent years, the government tried to undermine religious freedom.

There is no evidence for the oft-told Evangelical lie that American Christians are under attack and liberals want to restrict freedom of worship.

Lie #6 — But the attacks on communities of faith are over.  We’ve ended it.  We’ve ended it.  We’ve ended it.  Unlike some before us, we are protecting your religious liberty.

What are the real issues here? Evangelicals felt they were losing their hold on the collective scrotum of the American people. Voyeurs, they are, Evangelicals are obsessed with who is having sex with whom, when, where, and how. LGBTQ people asserting their constitutional rights has led to culture war skirmishes, but there has been no restriction of religious freedom as a result. Evangelical pastors will NEVER be required to marry same-sex couples, yet these same pastors continue to put the fear of gays in people, warning them if the Democrats (or any party but Trump’s party) regain political control, they will be forced to marry gay couples, and preaching against homosexuality will land them in jail.

In the last 18 months alone, we have stopped the Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights.  (Applause.)  A big deal.  It’s a big deal.

Lie #7 — We have stopped the Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights.

The Johnson Amendment is still in effect, even though it is rarely enforced. Trump has no power to repeal the Johnson Amendment. I can count on one hand the churches and parachurch groups that have lost their tax exemption over politicking.

I actually support the repeal of the Johnson Amendment. You can read my thoughts on the subject here: The Johnson Amendment: I Agree With Donald Trump.  Basically, I support its repeal. At the same time, the clergy housing allowance should be repealed, churches should be taxed like any other business, and religious institutions should be required to file annual tax returns.

We’ve taken action to defend the religious conscience of doctors, nurses, teachers, students, preachers, faith groups, and religious employers.

We sent the entire executive branch guidance on protecting religious liberty.  Big deal.  Brought the Faith and Opportunity Initiative to the White House.

Reinstated the Mexico City Policy we first put into place.  And if you know, if you study it –- and most of you know about this –- first under President Ronald Reagan, not since then –- the Mexico City Policy.  (Applause.)

We proposed regulations to prevent Title 10 taxpayer funding from subsidizing abortion.  I was the first President to stand in the Rose Garden to address the March for Life.  First one.  (Applause.)

My administration has strongly spoken out against religious persecution around the world, including the persecution of Christians.  All over the world, what’s going on.  (Applause.)  And for that, we’ve become not only a strong voice but a very, very powerful force.  We’re stopping a lot of bad things from happening.

We brought home hostages from North Korea, including an American pastor.  And we’re fighting to release Pastor Brunson from Turkey.  (Applause.)  And we’ve made (inaudible).

We’ve recognized the capital of Israel and opened the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.  (Applause.)

We’re restoring opportunity for all Americans.  African American, Hispanic American, Asian American unemployment have all recently achieved their lowest rates ever recorded in the history of our country.  (Applause.)  And women’s unemployment recently achieved its lowest rate in 65 years.  (Applause.)

Very important to me, youth unemployment has reached its lowest rate in nearly 50 years.  And unemployment for Americans without a high school diploma –- think of that — has reached its lowest rate ever.  (Applause.)

We’re advancing prison reform to give former inmates a second chance.  And these incredible unemployment numbers are probably the greatest thing that ever happened to people getting out and wanting a second, and sometimes a third, chance.  But they’d come out of prison, and they were not hired, and bad things would happen, and they’d go back.  Now they’re coming out of prison, they’re getting jobs.  We’re working with them.  And they are very, very thankful.

I’ll tell you who else is thankful: the employers.  I have a friend who hired numerous people coming out of prison — something he never thought he’d do — and in a way, he was forced to do it, frankly.  He was forced to do it by the fact that he couldn’t get people; he needed people.  The numbers are so low in that community.  He is so happy.  He’s hired some people that he said he hopes he never loses them.  They’re happy, and he is thrilled.  So that’s a great story.  A great story.  (Applause.)

Every day, we’re standing for religious believers, because we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of American life.  (Applause.)  And we know that freedom is a gift from our Creator.

Lie #8 — We know that freedom is a gift from our Creator.

Without government, we would not have freedom for one and all. Without government, raw power and wealth controls who has “freedom.” It also can be argued that certain forms of religious expression result in loss of freedom. The Evangelicals who dined with Trump are, for the most part, theocrats. What do we know about theocracies? Freedoms are lost and people die.

Here in the State Dining Room, carved into this fireplace, is the famous prayer of John Adams.  It says, “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House.”  And that’s really what it is.  This is an incredible house.  Means so much.  It means so much to our country.  It means so much to the world.  And it means, really, so much to religion and to Christians.  So it’s an honor to have you.

Lie #9 Trumps half-quote of John Adams

Here’s the complete quote:

I Pray Heaven To Bestow The Best Of Blessings On This House And All that shall hereafter Inhabit it. May none but Honest and Wise Men ever rule under This Roof.

“May none but HONEST and WISE men rule under This Roof.” Indeed.

Together, we will uplift our nation in prayer, defend the sanctity of life, and forever proudly remain one nation under God.  (Applause.)

So thank you again to all of my friends and faith leaders for being here tonight.  You are really special people.  The support you’ve given me has been incredible.  But I really don’t feel guilty because I have given you a lot back, just about everything I promised.  (Applause.)  And as one of our great pastors just said, “Actually, you’ve given us much more, sir, than you promised.”  And I think that’s true, in many respects.  (Applause.)

And now I would like to ask a tremendous friend of all of ours, Pastor Paula White, to come up and bless our meal.  Paula, please.  (Applause.)

I have nothing more to add. Evangelical love for Trump sickens me, and I would have felt this way back in the days when I was a Bible-preaching culture warrior. Character matters. Honesty matters. Morality matters. Decency matters. President Trump has none of these things, having bought the undying allegiance of Evangelicals by throwing them a few faux jewels. These stupid men (and women) are so enamored with their own self-importance and power that they cannot see that they are being played and used for political and material gain. One day, they will awake only to find their bed empty.

 

 

One Year Later: How Many Pastors Have Been Forced to Marry Same-Sex Couples?

jerry falwell jr and donald trump
Fundamentalist Baptist Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Christian Donald Trump

A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, invalidating federal and state laws that defined marriage solely as the union of a man and a woman. Evangelical, Catholic, and Mormon culture warriors warned that the Supreme Court’s ruling would pave the way for forcing pastors, priests and elders to marry same-sex couples. Warning that pastors would soon be jailed for refusing to perform such marriages, these defenders of heterosexual marriage began working at the state level to pass laws that would exempt pastors, priests, and elders from marrying gay couples. These hysterical laws were/are little more than lame attempts by conservative (Republican) legislators to show Evangelical voters that they are still battling the secularists and atheists who want to outlaw Christianity.

Remember Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, saying:

That [refusing to perform same-sex marriages] may mean we experience jail time, loss of tax exempt status, but as the scripture says, we ought to obey God rather than man, and that’s our choice.

Or Baptist pastor Rick Scarborough telling a radio audience:

…[the clergy must] resist all government efforts to require them to accept gay marriage, and they will accept any fine and jail time to protect their religious freedom and the freedom of others.

And former Presidential candidate and Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee warning pastors:

If the courts rule that people have a civil right – not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage – then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor, who believes in Biblical marriage, who says, ‘I can’t perform that wedding,’ will now be breaking the law.

Ominous, indeed. Surely, a year later scores of pastors have been arrested and jailed for refusing to perform same-sex marriages, right?

Just today, Americans United For Separation of Church and State — a group I proudly support — posted a list of those pastors arrested and jailed for refusing to marry same-sex couples. Are you ready to see the list? Here it is:

number of pastors arrested

That’s right, not one pastor has been arrested or jailed for refusing to marry a same-sex couple. Why? Because it has NEVER been against the law to do so. Pastors, priests, and elders have always been free to refuse to perform the marriage ceremonies of couples who do not meet their personal or ecclesiastical marriage standards. Sects, churches, and pastors are free to marry whomever they wish. As long as the U.S. Constitution remains in its current form, conservative Christian churches will have the legal right to not only refuse to marry same-sex couples, but also to bar gays from being members of their congregations. Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons — along with every other religious sect — are free to discriminate at will.

Evangelical blowhards such as Robert Jeffress, Rick Scarborough, and Mike Huckabee are shameless liars for Jesus. These culture warriors only care about one thing, political power. This is why these very same men spent yesterday on their knees — not praying — but performing fellatio on Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. These warriors are so shameless that they have convinced themselves that Trump is a Christian. Several months ago, Jerry Falwell, Jr. stated unequivocally  that Trump is a member of Team Jesus®:

I’ve seen his generosity to strangers, to his employees, his warm relationship with his children. I’m convinced he’s a Christian. I believe he has faith in Jesus Christ. I’ve had conversations with him just within the past few weeks about his faith, and I have no doubts he is a man of faith and he’s a Christian.

Evangelicals are busy now with plans to put “Christian” Trump in the Oval Office. Once their candidate is thoroughly trounced by Hillary Clinton, these liars for Jesus will return to the culture battlefield, once again trying to capitalize on the fears of their constituents. War on Christmas! Transgender Bathroom Use! Homosexuals Preying on Children! Prayer in the Public Schools! Creationism! President Clinton Taking Away Religious Freedom!

As in past years, pastors and church leaders will indeed be arrested, but not for marrying same-sex couples. These men of God will make the front pages of their local newspapers, arrested for crimes such as child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, sexual misconduct, and sundry other crimes. These issues will be shoved under the rug, replaced by fake outrages and boycotts. These liars for Jesus will continue to reveal that at the heart of conservative Christianity lies hatred, bigotry, homophobia, and racism.

Why Evangelical Influence is Diminishing

fear mongers

Evangelicals are having an identity crisis. Sensing that they are losing their grip on the American political and cultural scene, notable Evangelicals increasingly resort to fear-mongering and shrill rhetoric in an attempt to remind the public that they are still alive and kicking. I read a number of Evangelical blogs and news sites. I have noticed in recent months, especially since the legalization of same-sex marriage, Evangelicals have become increasingly agitated over American politics. If I didn’t know any better, I would conclude that, based on their articles and emails, Evangelicals believe that the United States is on the verge of total collapse. Some Evangelicals think secularists and socialists will soon take over America, resulting in civil war.

The recent demise of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has stirred up a new round of hysteria. Fearing that President Obama will nominate a left-leaning judge, Evangelicals are asking their congressional leaders to abdicate their constitutional responsibilities and stop the nomination process. Some of the talking heads on the extreme right of Evangelicalism are suggesting that Scalia was murdered by Obama operatives, paving the way for the socialist takeover of the Supreme Court.

Part of me wonders if uproar over Scalia, same-sex marriage, Planned Parenthood, and the 2016 Presidential election is really all about keeping Evangelicals in the fold. People such as Franklin Graham, Tim Wildmon, Tony Perkins, and James Dobson know that Evangelicalism is losing young adults at an alarming rate. Even when young adults remain in the church, they are more likely to support same-sex marriage and abortion rights and are more likely to vote Democrat. These liberal-minded Evangelicals helped put Barack Obama in office in 2008 and 2012. Knowing they cannot retreat from the culture war, Evangelical parachurch groups increasingly resort to using methods meant to keep their supporters in a constant state of spiritual and political agitation. Anything that is perceived as an “attack” on Evangelical Christianity is quickly reported and added to daily email missives sent to supporters. From the war on Christmas to cries of religious persecution, Evangelical leaders paint a dire picture of the future for American Christians. Some even go so far as to suggest that Evangelicals will soon be rounded up and jailed for their beliefs.

One thing is certain, stirring up the faithful is the key to raising money. Evangelical pastors and leaders of parachurch groups frequently remind supporter of the secular/humanist/atheist/socialist/communist/liberal threat. If Evangelicals fail to support these beacons of hysteria, America is doomed. Evangelicals such as Franklin Graham and Tony Perkins are warning supporters that if Bernie Sanders wins the election, the United States will cease to be a democracy and constitutional protections will be lost. Appealing to the Fox News demographic, these preachers of gloom and doom warn that secularists will not rest until they have upended the first and second amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Evangelicals see groups such as the Freedom from Religion FoundationAmerican Atheists, and the American Humanist Association challenging government’s preferential treatment of Christianity and Evangelicals wrongly think that their rights and freedoms are under attack. They are not, as any constitutional scholar can tell them. What is happening is that secularists, atheists, humanists, Satanists, and other non-Christian groups are no longer willing to let Christianity unduly influence local, state, and federal government. These groups are no longer willing to idly stand by while Evangelicals trample the First Amendment, Establishment Clause, and the separation of church and state. No longer willing to lurk in the shadows of American life, non-Christians are asserting their right to be heard. Thanks to the internet, these formerly marginalized groups have found their voices. Non-Christians, once a scattered demographic, can now join together in the fight against those clamoring for a Christian theocracy.

It should not surprise us then that aging Evangelical leaders are scared by what they see taking place on the American political and religious scene. I am sure that privately some of these leaders are wondering whether Evangelicalism is dying. Can it be resurrected? they wonder. Or is the sun setting on the movement birthed in the fundamentalist-modernist war of the 1920s? I wonder if they will dare to ponder where things went wrong?  Will they conclude that selling their souls to the Republican party and attempting to win the culture war at any price has cost them their future? Or will they continue to demand that people pay attention to them? Dammit! We are relevant! We still matter!  Mess with us and  we will_________. Will what? Send out voters guides that are little more than endorsements of Republican candidates for office? Write blog posts? Write editorials? Hold rallies? Aren’t these the things that Evangelicals have been doing since the days Jerry Falwell birthed the Moral Majority? Yet, their support base continues to erode and grow more gray hair.

Generally, Evangelical pastors and parachurch groups have supported climate change denial, creationism, and racist Republican policies concerning immigration. Their support of these things puts them at odds with younger Evangelicals who think science and social justice issues are important. Younger Evangelicals are increasingly embarrassed by the  political, social, and scientific ignorance of their pastors and leaders. These policies also put them at odds with those who are not Christians — the very people Evangelicals feel duty-bound to evangelize.

So what should Evangelical pastors, parachurch groups, and universities do to stem the decline of Evangelicalism?

It is time for Evangelicals to drive a wooden stake through the heart of the culture war. Evangelical leaders stubbornly refuse to admit  that the 35-year culture war has weakened churches, alienated people, and turned Evangelicalism into a group that is roundly despised by non-Evangelicals. I recently wrote a post titled, The Christian God has an Optics Problem. This optics problem extends to Evangelical churches.

Evangelicals wrongly think that people hate them because of their beliefs. While this perception is to some degree true, what most people despise is how Evangelicals incessantly prattle about homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion, fornication, and adultery. In other words, people are sick of Evangelicals sticking their noses in what goes on in the privacy of non-believers’ bedrooms. They are tired of Evangelicals beating them over the head with the Bible, all the while failing to practice what they preach. Non-Christians see daily reports of Evangelical pastors and church leaders who have a problem keeping their pants zipped up. They read reports about Evangelical sex scandals and child abuse problems. They wonder, who are these people who think they have a right to say to Americans, “do as I say, not as I do?”

While some on the Evangelical-left have reinterpreted the Bible, making it more homosexual friendly, most Evangelicals are unwilling to condone same-sex carnal knowledge and marriage. Driven by a pathological fear and hatred of homosexuals, most Evangelicals are incapable of seeing same-sex relationships as loving and life-affirming. Now that most Americans support same-sex marriage and know people who are homosexuals, Evangelicals are forced to either double down and continue to fight against progress or surrender what they consider the moral high ground. Sadly, Evangelicals, for the most part, are unwilling to cede Mount Morality to what they perceive are the whims of American postmodernism. In failing to understand how much American thinking has changed, Evangelicals have relegated themselves to fringes of American society.

Those on the Evangelical left also reject the anti-science views of mainstream Evangelicals. They are increasingly embarrassed by Evangelical monuments to ignorance such as the Creation Museum and The Ark Encounter. These left-leaning Evangelicals, many of whom are under the age of 35, want churches and leaders who embrace science. They want leaders who are willing to banish creationism and its ancient sheepherder ignorance to the dustbin of human history. These modern Evangelicals have embraced evolution and love modern preachers of science such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye. Most of all, these Evangelicals are allies of progress.

I am of the opinion that mainstream Evangelicals will never embrace those on the left of the Evangelical tradition. They can’t. They have too much political, social, and theological capital invested in maintaining the status quo. To move beyond the certainty of their beliefs means admitting that they are wrong. It means admitting that the culture war was as every bit as disastrous as America’s wars in the Middle East. Since it is doubtful that mainstream Evangelicals will admit these things, perhaps it is time for left-leaning Evangelicals to exit stage left and move on to the friendlier confines of liberal and progressive Christianity. While I have numerous problems with how liberal Christians interpret the Bible, I have no doubt that this infusion of young blood into the church will benefit everyone but Evangelical churches, whose favorite hymn is I Shall Not be Moved:

I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

I have no doubt that the next year is crucial for Evangelical culture warriors. Sensing that their grip on American culture is slipping, many Evangelical pastors, parachurch leaders, and government officeholders are calling on Evangelicals to rebel against the federal government, going so far as to encourage people to deliberately break the law. Pastors are being encouraged to endorse specific candidates, putting them in direct conflict with federal laws prohibiting such endorsements. Since the IRS has been obscenely lax in prosecuting pastors and churches who violate the law, these so-called patriot pastors rightly assume that they can violate the laws governing religious nonprofits. While it is likely the IRS will ignore these lawbreakers, their lawlessness could prove to be deadly to Evangelicalism. Surrendering the high moral ground for the sake of political power will only further alienate Evangelical young adults and non-Christians. If mainstream Evangelicals fail to win the presidency and turn America back to the right, their cultural death is assured.

The David of progress and tolerance will slay the Evangelical Goliath of bigotry and extremism. Secularists and non-Christians will rejoice over the giant’s death, ever aware that there will be other fundamentalist warriors to stand in Goliath’s stead. Every generation will have to fight its own Goliath. Those of us who value secular progress and tolerance must always be vigilant. While throwing the last shovel of dirt on Evangelicalism’s rotting corpse, we must be cognizant of other ism’s that threaten our future. We dare not rest, thinking the battle is over.

Monica Cole Equates Fighting Liberals with Americans Fighting the Nazis

one million moms

Monica Cole is the outrage director for One Millions Moms (OMM), a ministry of the American Family Association (AFA). Several times a week, Cole sends out emails that are meant to stir the passions of God’s mighty army of soccer moms. In today’s email, Cole equates the work of OMM with that of American soldiers fighting the Axis powers, Germany and Japan, in WWII. Cole writes:

I sometimes fear that I fail to express to you the vital and crucial role you play in the battle to promote biblical values in our nation, as well as to preserve, protect, and defend religious liberty.

Your efforts today and in 2016 are absolutely crucial in this struggle. In fact, they are more important now than ever before.

….

I sometimes think of what it must have been like to celebrate Christmas during World War II. Today I want to remind you how those on the Homefront helped our soldiers overseas defeat the Axis powers.

They did so through the many personal sacrifices, often including their own sons and daughters. In addition, they purchased war bonds, used ration coupons for everyday items like gasoline and sugar, and wrote encouraging letters to soldiers. They took part in rubber and scrap metal drives and saved cooking fat. Women took difficult manufacturing jobs traditionally held by men. They couldn’t go overseas and fight the enemy on the front-lines, so they did their part on the Homefront.

This is the role you and your fellow 1MM supporters play. You have a family to care for, a church to support, and a job to keep. I appreciate that, and I fully understand those responsibilities.

However, your sacrifice on the Homefront – through your partnership with 1MM and AFA – is essential to the outcome of our struggle. Just as our parents and grandparents scrimped and saved and sacrificed to support the troops overseas, so is your sacrifice crucial in making possible everything we do here at 1MM and AFA.

And never was your support more necessary than it is today.

Like those who came before us, we have the challenge and privilege to “remain in action throughout the war” we’re fighting …

Just as our parents and grandparents fought and died in order to pass on to us the freedoms they enjoyed, so we are fighting for our children and grandchildren. This is our mission. We’re giving of ourselves so that they can live in a nation where they are free to live by and promote Christian principles and values in every area of culture – government, public policy, the courts, education, family, business, community, and more.

And when you consider all that’s at stake in the 2016 elections, our efforts are particularly critical in 2016 because …

… Religious liberty – our first freedom – hangs by a thread.

So, please, let’s do what the “Greatest Generation” did and – putting all of our trust and faith in God – do whatever it takes to win victory over the enemies of freedom. Meanwhile we continue the fight …

Cole believes that American religious liberty “hangs by a thread.” Evangelicals, mistaking a loss of preference for the loss of freedom, have convinced themselves that they are under attack. The women of OMM think that secularists, liberals and atheists, all of whom are the servants of Satan, are concertedly working to destroy Christianity and criminalize the worship of Jesus.  Why, if Cole’s email is to be believed, Christians are being attacked just like America in the 1940s when German submarines prowled the Atlantic and Japanese planes dropped bombs on Pearl Harbor.

Reminding readers of the sacrifices the Greatest Generation made on behalf of the American war effort, Cole pleads with supporters to scrimp and sacrifice so OMM can continue to battle the evil forces of darkness. In other words, OMM needs money and they want their supporters to cut back on lattes and Redbox rentals so that the money saved can then be sent to the OMM war effort.

At the end of her fundraising appeal, Cole uses a bit of Biblical imagery in the hope that doing so will move OMM supporters to cough up more money. Cole writes:

In addition to your active participation in our projects, the two ways in which you can help 1MM and AFA most right now are through your prayers and your financial gifts. Think of Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ arms as he prayed for victory over the Amalekites. Your prayers and your donations hold up 1MM and AFA so we can fight the enemies of Christianity and freedom.

In Exodus 17, Amalek and Israel are fighting one another. Moses tells Joshua that he plans to stand on a hill overseeing the battlefield with the rod of God in his hand, hoping to spur Israel on to victory. Like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, when Moses raises the rod, Israel prevails in battle. When Moses’ arms weaken and he can no longer hold the rod high, Amalek prevails. Concerned that the battle might be lost, Aaron and Hur have Moses sit on a rock and they, one man on each side, hold Moses’ arms high. And sure enough, thanks to the work of Aaron and Hur, Israel defeats Amalek.

Cole uses this story to portray the American culture war. Amalek, in the guise of secularists, liberals, and atheists, is waging war against Evangelical Christianity, and OMM  is Moses, with rod held high, standing on a hill. As the battle continues, the arms of OMM become weak. If OMM doesn’t find someone to hold up their arms, the battle will be lost. Well, not really someone, but something. Something as in cash, checks and credit card donations.

Previous posts on the American Family Association and One Million Moms

Follow the Money: The American Family Association and their Support of the Gay Agenda

One Millions Moms Says a Boy is a Boy Even if She is a Girl

One Millions Moms Upset Over FOX Making the Devil Likable and Human

One Million Moms Outraged Over Women Not Wearing Underwear

One Million Moms Offended Over Old Woman Flashing Her Husband in Taco Bell Commercial

The Homophobic Hysteria of Tim Wildmon and the American Family Association

Same-Sex Marriage: Will God Answer the Prayers of the American Family Association?

The American Family Association Runs Ad That Says Only God Can Define Marriage

Tim Wildmon Says Satan Hates the United States

Evangelical Culture Warriors Find New Enemy

slide into modernism

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex-marriage, handing Evangelical culture warriors a bitter defeat. Unless they can figure out how to remove several Supreme Court justices or amend the U.S. Constitution, Evangelicals must live with the fact that same-sex marriage is legal.

The culture war pits Evangelicalism, along with Mormonism and conservative Catholicism,  against any societal ill considered by Evangelicals to be a sin against God or a move away from Christian nationalism. Now that they have lost the homosexual/same-sex marriage battle, Evangelicals must find another enemy to fight against. According to Think Progress writer Jack Jenkins,  the new enemy is liberal/progressive Christianity: (link no longer active)

For decades, conservative Christians who oppose LGBT equality have singled out the federal government or secular atheists as their preferred enemy in public settings, blasting both groups for supposedly attacking “traditional marriage” or infringing on their religious liberty. Yet in the months surrounding the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the country, right-wing Christians have become increasingly willing to cast blame — seemingly hypocritically — on a group they have often dismissed or outright ignored: Progressive Christians, especially those who support marriage equality.

The first hints of a growing front against liberal Christians came in May, when a coalition of conservative churches in Fountain Hills, Arizona publicly ganged up on a local progressive Methodist community. Unhappy with the church’s teachings, eight congregations launched a campaign entitled “Progressive Christianity: Fact or Fiction?,” a coordinated teaching and preaching series that included op-eds, a half-page advertisement in a local newspaper, and a massive banner with “progressive” written in jagged red letters and hemmed in quotation marks.

“The progressives are at it again, and for a small fee you can join the primary proponent of this apostate religious movement to get answers,” Tony Pierce, a pastor of First Baptist Church of Fountain Hills and one of the participants in the effort, wrote in a letter to the editor. “The good thing about the progressive movement is it gives people a clear choice. The ironic thing about progressive Christianity is that it is neither!”

The source of their outrage? Rev. David Felten, the left-leaning pastor of Fountains United Methodist Church. He reportedly stoked ire by preaching a variety of progressive concepts to his parishioners, such as theological support for interfaith dialogue, scientific discovery, and, of course, LGBT equality.

Felten, like many progressive Christians, was used to criticism for his views — he has even published a book about progressive Christianity. But the intensity of the local attack — which included churches from denominations that are generally more liberal than his own United Methodist Church — caught him off guard.

This same sentiment reemerged in June in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, which was gleefully celebrated by a host of progressive faith groups. Just a few days after the decision, Kevin DeYoung, a pastor in East Lansing, Michigan, published a blog post at the Gospel Coalition entitled “40 Questions For Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags” that quickFor decades, conservative Christians who oppose LGBT equality have singled out the federal government or secular atheists as their preferred enemy in public settings, blasting both groups for supposedly attacking “traditional marriage” or infringing on their religious liberty. Yet in the months surrounding the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the country, right-wing Christians have become increasingly willing to cast blame — seemingly hypocritically — on a group they have often dismissed or outright ignored: Progressive Christians, especially those who support marriage equality.

The first hints of a growing front against liberal Christians came in May, when a coalition of conservative churches in Fountain Hills, Arizona publicly ganged up on a local progressive Methodist community. Unhappy with the church’s teachings, eight congregations launched a campaign entitled “Progressive Christianity: Fact or Fiction?,” a coordinated teaching and preaching series that included op-eds, a half-page advertisement in a local newspaper, and a massive banner with “progressive” written in jagged red letters and hemmed in quotation marks.

“The progressives are at it again, and for a small fee you can join the primary proponent of this apostate religious movement to get answers,” Tony Pierce, a pastor of First Baptist Church of Fountain Hills and one of the participants in the effort, wrote in a letter to the editor. “The good thing about the progressive movement is it gives people a clear choice. The ironic thing about progressive Christianity is that it is neither!”
The source of their outrage? Rev. David Felten, the left-leaning pastor of Fountains United Methodist Church. He reportedly stoked ire by preaching a variety of progressive concepts to his parishioners, such as theological support for interfaith dialogue, scientific discovery, and, of course, LGBT equality.

Felten, like many progressive Christians, was used to criticism for his views — he has even published a book about progressive Christianity. But the intensity of the local attack — which included churches from denominations that are generally more liberal than his own United Methodist Church — caught him off guard.

This same sentiment reemerged in June in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, which was gleefully celebrated by a host of progressive faith groups. Just a few days after the decision, Kevin DeYoung, a pastor in East Lansing, Michigan, published a blog post at the Gospel Coalition entitled “40 Questions For Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags” that quicly spread through conservative and progressive Christian circles. Many of the inquiries were phrased in an accusatory manner, harping on old tropes that LGBT parents harm children and that supporters of marriage equality also support polygamy: “Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?” question 14 asked, followed by, “Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?” and “On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?”

The post launched a heated war of words between progressive and conservative Christians, including LGBT evangelical Protestants such as Matthew Vines, who published his own list of 40 counter-questions in response. It, predictably, triggered spirited retorts from traditionalist conservatives.

But while DeYoung’s post was at least framed as an attempt at theological dialogue, other subsequent critiques of progressive faith have abandoned conversation for castigation. In mid-July, Peter Leithart, a Reformed theologian and head of the right-leaning Theopolis Institute, penned a piece in First Things that bemoaned the Court’s decision and explicitly asked conservatives to condemn LGBT-affirming Christians.

“Most important is what happens in the churches,” Leithart writes. “Even before Obergefell, some churches were making peace with same-sex marriage. Now that same-sex marriage is law, the tribe of ‘Good Churches’ will increase, and the division in the churches over sexual morality will sharpen. Many leaders, churches, and denominations have condemned the Court’s decision, and more will; but others support it, and we have no trans-denominational mechanism to adjudicate between them.”

Saying what’s right is necessary, but it’s not enough. Pastors need to be willing to say that other churches [that support marriage equality] are wrong, and dangerously so.”

Granted, conservative Christian denunciation of people who hold different beliefs than they do isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. Organizations such as the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which has spent years lobbying against LGBT equality from within several Christian denominations, have long sought the eradication of liberal theology. Right-leaning Catholics and evangelical Christian leaders such as Franklin Graham have repeatedly made sweeping claims as to what “Christians” believe, implying that people of faith who don’t share their views are not, in fact, Christians. What’s more, faith communities — conservative or otherwise — have lashed out at each other almost since their inception, so it’s not necessarily surprising that conservative Christians, having lost legal battles over LGBT issues, are now sliding into a theological debate with fellow believers.

Yet the newest push against liberal Christianity appears hypocritical, as it coincides with a massive campaign waged by various right-wing Christians to insist that the political left respect their “religious liberty” — namely, the right to deny jobs and services to LGBT people in the public sphere, private business, and in Christian schools by invoking faith. Within hours of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, Andrew Walker, Director of Policy Studies at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, began insisting that the decision will only lead to the erosion of religious liberty — for evangelical Christians.

“Slowly and surely, Americans are now witnessing a slow erosion of religious liberty happening in the public square,” he wrote. “From backlash at expressing a belief about marriage that results in dismissal, to the real fear that institutions that desire to maintain accreditation may not be able to do so, the concerns registered in the past are being catapulted into the present.”…

You can read the entire article here. (link no longer active)

I Know Why Sharks Are Attacking Humans Off the North Carolina Coast

shark attack

snark and ridicule ahead!

I am at a loss to understand why government officials in North Carolina haven’t called me so I could tell them WHY sharks are attacking people along the North Carolina coast. Based on everything I’ve read on Evangelical and Catholic blogs and news sites, the reason for the shark attacks is because

THE SUPREME COURT LEGALIZED GAY MARRIAGE

This will be the reason given for every calamity from this point forward. And don’t think for a moment there’s not some Schlitz-drinking, AK-47 carrying, mud wrasslin loving, King James Bible toting, fundamentalist Christian who thinks this way. In their mind, once same-sex marriage was legalized, the foundation of Western civilization came tumbling to the ground.

Here’s what you’ll hear in the future after Sunday go-to-meeting at Thirteenth Baptist Church in Rednecknakedville, North Carolina:

  • You hear about that tsunami killing all those folks in Japan? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.
  • You hear about those forest fires in Arizona? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.
  • You hear about the water shortage in California? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.
  • You hear about someone shooting up the Episcopal church? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.
  • You hear about the KKK guy assassinating the President? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.
  • You hear about ____________________? Yep, that’s God saying he’s upset over same-sex marriage.

Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority ramped up the culture war in the late 1970’s.  Since then, groups like the American Family Association, Family Research Council, Christian Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Traditional Values Coalition, and Focus on the Family, have presented a long list of societal ills that upset God and his chosen ones on earth: abortion, taking prayer out of school, taking the Ten Commandments out of school, teaching evolution, taking Bible reading out of school, etc. Like the petulant, violent child stomping their feet and throwing toys when other children won’t play the game by their rules, God is pouring out his wrath and judgment on the United States. Or so we are told.

we are gay

Have you ever noticed that these prophets of doom, gloom, and anal sex, keep getting richer?  Perhaps the culture war is really about money, about keeping this or that church and ministry afloat on prosperity sea. In other words, cultural change is good for business. According to Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association:

…This brings us to what the Supreme Court did to Muslims last Friday. The entire world knows exactly how the “religion of peace” deals with homosexuals: they tie them to chairs and throw them off eight story buildings, and then, if they survive the fall, stone them to death.

In fact, on Friday, the very day the Supreme Court handed down its abominable gay marriage ruling, ISIS threw four homosexuals off the roof of an apartment building, perhaps to stick a thumb in the eye of the United States.

The Muslim world justifies its attacks on the United States because they believe, not inaccurately, that we are the chief exporter of wickedness and decadence in the world. That’s why they call us the Great Satan. When we insult their god, their religion, their prophet, or their values they claim a divine sanction to punish us for our transgressions…

…But wait. The Supreme Court insulted and offended the entire Muslim world last Friday by celebrating and gushing over a sin that Muslims regard as so offensive to Allah that practitioners must be hurled to their death. (By the way, the great difference between Christians and Muslims with regard to homosexuals is that we want them healed while Muslims want them dead.)

The Supreme Court, perhaps unwittingly and carelessly, just gave the Muslim world another reason to attack us. And a terrorist attack appears imminent, perhaps even planned for this weekend. The FBI has set up command posts all over the country and is taking the threat so seriously that 4th of July leave has been canceled for every single agent.

If Muslims attack us, and refer in any way to our celebration of homosexuality as part of the reason, then according to liberals culpability must be laid at the feet of the Supreme Court.

So, the next time there is a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and there will be a next time, it’s all because of the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. No matter what ills befalls us, it will be blamed on, by Pastor Nutter, Sister Ignor and Brother Amus, the legalization of same-sex marriage.

This kind of thinking is the direct result of too much exposure to Fox News, Worldnet Daily, and the Sunday morning preaching of conspiracy nuts. Once entropy starts there is little that can be done to stop it. Brain cell after brain cell dies until all that is left is a mind unable to distinguish between fact and fiction. They become the Walking Dead.

holy war

 

Songs of Sacrilege: Jerry Falwell’s God by Roy Zimmerman

This is the twenty-sixth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Jerry Falwell’s God by Roy Zimmerman, an American satirical singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Video Link

Lyrics

Jerry Falwell’s god was standing by the elevator while we were talking about the party, so we had to invite him.

Secretly, we were all wishing that he wouldn’t come, because he’s vengeful and jealous and he tends to smite people.

And, of course, he knew we were thinking that, so it made him all the more determined to show up and punish us.

And I wanted to invite my god, but I couldn’t find him.

But, Jerry Falwell’s god is hard to miss… the gossamer robe and the beard down to here, and the button that says, “What would Jesus do?”

And sure enough, day of the party, there he was at the door.

And he spoke, spaketh he, saying, “I AM COME.”

And I knew there was a joke there… but Jerry Falwell’s god will not be mocked.

So I said, “Come in.”

Jerry Falwell’s god
Jerry Falwell’s god
Huh!

Now, I’m no heavenly host, but I throw a decent party, and there were people of all kinds there — black, white, Swedish, Norwegian, the whole human spectrum.

And right away, Jerry Falwell’s god found the two people who would listen to him and began spaking in a voice so loud, it made the Beastie Boys sound like the Vienna Boys Choir.

And he made the lame to walk.

And these were my friends, so they were still lame, but they could walk.

And he turned the loaves to fishes, and the Oreos to Hydrox.

And he divided up the room, divided he, saying “Gays here, lesbians here, pagans here, abortionists, feminists, civil libertarians, People for the American Way,” and frankly, some of us did not know where to stand.

I went with the lesbians.

Jerry Falwell’s god
Jerry Falwell’s god
Huh!

And he pointed his huge finger at each group in turn, saying, “I blame you, and you, and you, who have secularized society and cast me out of the town square,” and I thought, “Man you are the town square.”

He said, “Lo, I have lifted the Veil of Protection, for the end days are here, and the judgment is nigh, where I will draw the faithful to heaven and will leave the unrepentant to walk a desolate earth.” And I thought, “More polyester for the rest of us.”

And he spat fire, and he rained toads, and he brought forth seven bowls of seven plagues, and finally I just said, “Look, I’ll tell you one thing Jesus would not do.

Jesus would not wreck a guy’s party.

And Jesus would not preach hate.

And Jesus would not stand in the rubble and say, ‘I told you so.’

And Jesus would not use an international catastrophe to score points for some misogynistic, narrow, homophobic, anti-Semitic interpretation of his life and teaching.

And if people are jealous and judgmental and vengeful and violent, maybe it’s because you made them in your image.

And if people have cast you out of the town square, maybe it’s because you are a finger-pointing, moralizing, rageaholic, stone drag who gives deities a bad name!

And if people have turned away from your word, maybe it’s because you have spinach in your teeth!”

And he smote me.

Jerry Falwell’s god
Jerry Falwell’s god
Huh!

 

Why is the Evangelical God Silent?

letter to the editor

What follows is a letter I sent today to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News:

Dear Editor,

There seems to be no end to the sermons printed in the editorial section of the Crescent-News. Intractable warriors for the Evangelical God preach against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion, and the evils of socialism, humanism, secularism, and atheism. Letter writers claim to know the mind and will of God on every matter, warning that failure to heed their preaching will result in God pouring out his judgment and wrath on the United States.  They warn that two people of the same sex marrying will bring an end to Western civilization. Yet, it seems that their preaching is falling on deaf ears.

Several months ago, St John’s United Church of Christ came out of the closet and declared themselves to be an open and affirming church. This means gays and same-sex couples are welcome at St. John’s. When I read the news report, I could hardly believe it. I thought, have I been beamed away to an alternate universe, to a county where people are not judged for who they love or how they express intimacy? No, right here in Defiance County, a church that is not ashamed to welcome one and all.

Young adults are increasingly gay friendly and are no longer interested in the bigoted, homophobic religion of their parents. Some of them join the ranks of the nones, those who are atheists, agnostics, or indifferent towards organized religion. On many of the issues that seem to cause Evangelicals great consternation, young adults show that they think love, fairness, justice, and compassion are more important than dogma and literalism.

When I read  the letters from Evangelicals, I see an aging group of people desperately trying to regain power and control over a culture that has little interest in what they are selling. 40 years ago, instead of focusing on personal piety and good works, Evangelicals sold their soul to groups like the Moral Majority and the American Family Association. They traded their place in the community for political power. They abandoned reason and rationality and became the purveyors of ignorance and bigotry. And now they are being weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Come June, despite millions of Evangelical prayers, conferences, rallies, and sermons, it is likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will set aside state laws forbidding same-sex marriage. I wonder how Evangelicals will respond? Will they turn to the heavens and ask God why he turned a deaf ear to their prayers? Will they point the finger at their homophobic rhetoric and bigotry? I doubt it.  It will be atheists like me, liberals, socialists, and the Kenyan-born usurper in the White House that will be blamed for their inability to return America to the love, joy, and peace of the 1950’s.

Evangelicals are like the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. They call out to the heavens asking their God to show his power and act on their behalf. Yet, from my seat in the atheist pew, it seems their God is either deaf or on vacation.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Bruce Gerencser