September 09, 2006

"Christian Progressives Fight for Their Faith"

I'm staying on the theme of the progressive's resistance movement to the attempted Republican party's attempted coup of Christianity.

This is an excellent articlle in the Colorado Springs Independent News Weekly, right in James Dobson's backyard, that tackles this topic in some detail.

Here is one example of the outrage of Christian progressives. That is a label I would happily accept to describe my views, and I share the outrage spelled out below:

"The day after the [2004 presidential] election, Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ (UCC) pastor Robin Meyers, of Oklahoma City, delivered a fiery speech that excoriated Bush for claiming the Christian faith while acting contrary to its tenets. As examples, Meyers cited a litany of "immoral" behaviors, including prosecuting an unjustified war, giving tax breaks to the wealthy, dismantling environmental protections and using hatred of homosexuals as a wedge issue to turn out evangelical voters. "

Retired Colorado Springs pastor Jim White had this insightful take on the venom that spews from from religious right fanatics:

"The religious right has always been moralistic," White says. "Usually, they've focused on genital sins, but there have been times when other issues dominated — like alcohol, Sunday store closings, divorce. ... But people on the religious right like to shop in Wal-Mart on Sunday, and they like their beer when they watch football, and they get divorced at higher rates than atheists do. So you can't condemn that; it won't sell."

"You can sell something that people are not. You can say, "The problem is outside; it's other than me.' Terrorists, communists, homosexuals, liberals — whatever it may be. But it's someone who's not me."

I feel that instead of trying to solve more globally important social issues, they divert attention because they don't have answers. The religous right is relying on exaggerated fear and base emotions like hatred and bigotry to engergize their base and hide the fact that they really don't have effective policy ideas nor are they being true to the word of God.

Pastor White a take on the issue of homosexuality:

"People who were against slavery were folks who took a broad view of the Scriptures — namely that the witness of Scripture is for freedom, for the release of the captives, for the rights and dignities of people, and love extended to all," White says. "Other people, especially those in the South, read the Bible more literally, and there, the plain sense of the Bible was that slavery is acceptable to God ... "

"So I can say, "Yes, there are these texts which look like they condemn same-sex behavior.' But the greater, larger, stronger witness in Scripture is always on behalf of the oppressed, the outcast, the marginalized. If you want to be faithful to the basic intent of the Scriptures, you've got to be identified with the outsider, and not the power."

The right wing has the power right now and I sure don't want to be identified with them.

There's plenty more in the article I've linked. I strongly suggest you take time to check it out. Thanks to Queer Faith for the link.

September 08, 2006

"Faithful Democrats" Site Launches

Republicans can be faithful Christians, but faithful Christians don't have to be republicans, no matter how much Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Pat Robertson want you to think otherwise.

In an effort to promote that idea, a group of religious leaders, political figures, bloggers, and other "regular Americans" have just started a site called "Faithful Democrats."

Under the section "Who We Are," they posted:

"We don't believe that good Christians have to be Democrats. Nor do we believe that one religion has a monopoly on faith. But we make no apologies for rooting our identity as Democrats in our faith as Christians. That is who we are. And we are eager to act on our beliefs to make the country we love a more just and compassionate place."

Their mission is stated as:

"To provide a Christian-focused, Democratic community online. Through both dialogue and action, readers will be able to put their faith to work for the common good, holding our nation and the Democratic Party to their highest ideals."

Here is an Associated Press story on the site launch.

I applaud the idea and hope that it will attract visitors with open minds who can accept that Christ is not a card-carrying Republican. After all, I think that if Jesus registered to vote in today's world, he would be an independent.

Boy, wouldn't that just frost a lot of the religious right leaders?

September 07, 2006

"Engaging Ideas"

Let's face it, we all enjoy when someone agrees with us, and I found a column that covers some of the points I stress on this blog.

Here are a couple of points that I thought were particularly strong:

" friend remains willing to engage in spirited discourse that constantly challenges his beliefs, something that far too few Christians are willing to do even with each other despite the fact that Scripture calls on us to 'exhort one another daily."

"Christians should absolutely and always endeavor to grow in truth and knowledge. Especially in light of the fact that such intellectual apathy dishonors the Lord and may contribute to a culture of unbelief. The prophet Hosea delivered this charge against apostate Israel, " people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests..." (Hosea 4:6) Hosea later issues a general warning that, "a people without understanding will come to ruin!" (Hosea 4:14)."

If people applied these principles to understanding the "clobber passages," there would be a lot better understanding of the place GLBT people have in God's kingdon.

September 06, 2006

Minority Clergy Being Recruited to Help Right-Wing

African-American pastors are being recruited in Virginia by proponents of a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.

The goal, of course, is to entice the pastors of African-American churches to mobilize their congregations to turn out at the ballot box and vote for this amendment. Remember, Virgnia is the home base of both Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, so there's plenty of right-wing money and influence to go around, but supporters of the amendment aren't taking any chances.

"African-American churches and social conservatives have more in common in our belief system than anyone could imagine," Chris Freund, of the Family Foundation, told a group of mostly black and Latino ministers last month at Pat Robertson's Regent University.

I hope pastors are sharp enough to see through this transparent and very temporary alliance. I hate seeing any group of well-meaning people used, especially in a campaign designed to restrict the rights of a state's citizens.

September 05, 2006

WHOSOEVER: Learning of Love

Someday, faith will go away. Someday, the need for spiritual warfare will end; intercession will be a thing of the past. When we finally are face to face with the Savior of our souls; when we finally see things clearly and completely; when we are made like Him, all will be perfect. I Cor. 13 paraphrased.

BUT!! We will always have LOVE. We will always need LOVE. Love is stronger than faith, bigger than hope. Love is the greatest eternal force in the universe. GOD IS LOVE!! Love will always exist because God will always exist. God formed the universe and everything in it based on the principles of love.

While we're here on this earth we still need faith. We need it to develop and grow. Our faith won't grow unless motivated by love. Our faith will become selfish and weak without love as it's foundation.

So, doesn't it make sense that we learn as much about this incredible Love as we can, and that we live and practice Its principles? Doesn't it make sense that we should diligently seek to live our lives the way God created them to be lived... in love and faith?

Let's purpose to learn about love - God's love. Before a word is uttered or a deed acted upon let's stop and ask ourselves, "Is this motivated by LOVE?" Our faith is dependent upon it.

September 04, 2006

Would Christ Bully Gay Kids?

That might seem like a ridiculous question, but then again, why are some Christian groups trying to protect the rights of straight kids to do just that to gay kids?

Apparently, there is a school of thought that goes something like "toughen them up when they're young and they'll walk the straight and narrow when they're older."

If you have some doubt in your mind about the wisdom of that last statement (I hope you don't becuase I think it reeks of ignorance), then I refer you back to the original question:

Would Christ bully a gay child?

The answer is no, he would show him or her the same unconditional love he shows all the straight kids.