This guy may be my new hero. Since I grew up in a conservative church, this speaks to me on several levels. I’d love to get your feedback.

Visit www.dcoffline.com for more . . .

Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

Correction Appended

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”

Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul — packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals — was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.

But there were also congregants who thanked Mr. Boyd, telling him they were moved to tears to hear him voice concerns they had been too afraid to share.

“Most of my friends are believers,” said Shannon Staiger, a psychotherapist and church member, “and they think if you’re a believer, you’ll vote for Bush. And it’s scary to go against that.”

Sermons like Mr. Boyd’s are hardly typical in today’s evangelical churches. But the upheaval at Woodland Hills is an example of the internal debates now going on in some evangelical colleges, magazines and churches. A common concern is that the Christian message is being compromised by the tendency to tie evangelical Christianity to the Republican Party and American nationalism, especially through the war in Iraq.

At least six books on this theme have been published recently, some by Christian publishing houses. Randall Balmer, a religion professor at Barnard College and an evangelical, has written “Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America — an Evangelical’s Lament.”

And Mr. Boyd has a new book out, “The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church,” which is based on his sermons.

“There is a lot of discontent brewing,” said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the “emerging church,” which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment.

“More and more people are saying this has gone too far — the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right,” Mr. McLaren said. “You cannot say the word ‘Jesus’ in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can’t say the word ‘Christian,’ and you certainly can’t say the word ‘evangelical’ without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people.

“Because people think, ‘Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about ‘activist judges.’ “

Mr. Boyd said he had cleared his sermons with the church’s board, but his words left some in his congregation stunned. Some said that he was disrespecting President Bush and the military, that he was soft on abortion or telling them not to vote.

“When we joined years ago, Greg was a conservative speaker,” said William Berggren, a lawyer who joined the church with his wife six years ago. “But we totally disagreed with him on this. You can’t be a Christian and ignore actions that you feel are wrong. A case in point is the abortion issue. If the church were awake when abortion was passed in the 70’s, it wouldn’t have happened. But the church was asleep.”

Mr. Boyd, 49, who preaches in blue jeans and rumpled plaid shirts, leads a church that occupies a squat block-long building that was once a home improvement chain store.

The church grew from 40 members in 12 years, based in no small part on Mr. Boyd’s draw as an electrifying preacher who stuck closely to Scripture. He has degrees from Yale Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary, and he taught theology at Bethel University in St. Paul, where he created a controversy a few years ago by questioning whether God fully knew the future. Some pastors in his own denomination, the Baptist General Conference, mounted an effort to evict Mr. Boyd from the denomination and his teaching post, but he won that battle.

He is known among evangelicals for a bestselling book, “Letters From a Skeptic,” based on correspondence with his father, a leftist union organizer and a lifelong agnostic — an exchange that eventually persuaded his father to embrace Christianity.

Mr. Boyd said he never intended his sermons to be taken as merely a critique of the Republican Party or the religious right. He refuses to share his party affiliation, or whether he has one, for that reason. He said there were Christians on both the left and the right who had turned politics and patriotism into “idolatry.”

He said he first became alarmed while visiting another megachurch’s worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service finished with the chorus singing “God Bless America” and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses.

“I thought to myself, ‘What just happened? Fighter jets mixed up with the cross?’ ” he said in an interview.

Patriotic displays are still a mainstay in some evangelical churches. Across town from Mr. Boyd’s church, the sanctuary of North Heights Lutheran Church was draped in bunting on the Sunday before the Fourth of July this year for a “freedom celebration.” Military veterans and flag twirlers paraded into the sanctuary, an enormous American flag rose slowly behind the stage, and a Marine major who had served in Afghanistan preached that the military was spending “your hard-earned money” on good causes.

In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.

“America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.

“I am sorry to tell you,” he continued, “that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.”

Mr. Boyd lambasted the “hypocrisy and pettiness” of Christians who focus on “sexual issues” like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson‘s breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public.

“Those are the two buttons to push if you want to get Christians to act,” he said. “And those are the two buttons Jesus never pushed.”

Some Woodland Hills members said they applauded the sermons because they had resolved their conflicted feelings. David Churchill, a truck driver for U.P.S. and a Teamster for 26 years, said he had been “raised in a religious-right home” but was torn between the Republican expectations of faith and family and the Democratic expectations of his union.

When Mr. Boyd preached his sermons, “it was liberating to me,” Mr. Churchill said.

Mr. Boyd gave his sermons while his church was in the midst of a $7 million fund-raising campaign. But only $4 million came in, and 7 of the more than 50 staff members were laid off, he said.

Mary Van Sickle, the family pastor at Woodland Hills, said she lost 20 volunteers who had been the backbone of the church’s Sunday school.

“They said, ‘You’re not doing what the church is supposed to be doing, which is supporting the Republican way,’ ” she said. “It was some of my best volunteers.”

The Rev. Paul Eddy, a theology professor at Bethel University and the teaching pastor at Woodland Hills, said: “Greg is an anomaly in the megachurch world. He didn’t give a whit about church leadership, never read a book about church growth. His biggest fear is that people will think that all church is is a weekend carnival, with people liking the worship, the music, his speaking, and that’s it.”

In the end, those who left tended to be white, middle-class suburbanites, church staff members said. In their place, the church has added more members who live in the surrounding community — African-Americans, Hispanics and Hmong immigrants from Laos.

This suits Mr. Boyd. His vision for his church is an ethnically and economically diverse congregation that exemplifies Jesus’ teachings by its members’ actions. He, his wife and three other families from the church moved from the suburbs three years ago to a predominantly black neighborhood in St. Paul.

Mr. Boyd now says of the upheaval: “I don’t regret any aspect of it at all. It was a defining moment for us. We let go of something we were never called to be. We just didn’t know the price we were going to pay for doing it.”

His congregation of about 4,000 is still digesting his message. Mr. Boyd arranged a forum on a recent Wednesday night to allow members to sound off on his new book. The reception was warm, but many of the 56 questions submitted in writing were pointed: Isn’t abortion an evil that Christians should prevent? Are you saying Christians should not join the military? How can Christians possibly have “power under” Osama bin Laden? Didn’t the church play an enormously positive role in the civil rights movement?

One woman asked: “So why NOT us? If we contain the wisdom and grace and love and creativity of Jesus, why shouldn’t we be the ones involved in politics and setting laws?”

Mr. Boyd responded: “I don’t think there’s a particular angle we have on society that others lack. All good, decent people want good and order and justice. Just don’t slap the label ‘Christian’ on it.”

Posted at 08:51 am by DC Offline

Posted by BP @ 08/08/2006 09:21 PM PDT
I think the term we’re looking for is: Don’t get a brother started.

First a disclaimer…all I know is what’s in this article, haven’t read his book or anything…so here goes.

Completely and utterly insane. Yep…you got it. 80% of this makes absolutely no sense. What planet did I land on where Christians cannot as a group promote political opinions supported by their religious beliefs.

NOW…I will grant the guy a few points (and congratulations, actually):

* Definitely a great idea not to promote political figures from the pulpit, or let political candidates campaign from the pulpit…(and this includes Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, John Edwards…none of which are Republicans the last time I checked). By the way there is nothing more racist than not considering a Protestant church Evangelical simply because it’s dominantly black.

* Most definitely tieing the pulpit to the Republican Party (or….) is a SUPER BAD idea. Even though the Christian right is not NEARLY as BLINDLY loyal to the Republican party (look at Bush’s polls lately!) as the African American community is to the Democratic party; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out if religious leaders on the right are as taken for granted as those on the left…well you see my point.

The problem with this guy is that he said no to a lot of the requests (in some cases I believe correctly) for all the wrong reasons. Again, I haven’t read his book or heard his “Cross and the Sword” sermons, but there is a very simple reason to keep Churches from endorsing Republican candidates as a rule.

However, this reason has NOTHING to do with the fricking separation of Church and State (again…don’t get a brother started) and it has NOTHING to do with whether this nation was founded as a theocracy or by those avoiding a theocracy.

The reason why endorsing candidates from the pulpit and issuing slanted voter’s guides is not a good idea is because it kills the independence of the church and its members as political entities. It means that the church as a whole and its congregation as individuals can’t make political decisions based on ideas, but must operate through a prism of political party.

The part that really bothers me is the last quote by Mr Boyd where he says, “I don’t think there’s a particular angle we have on society that others lack. All good, decent people want good and order and justice. Just don’t slap the label ‘Chrisitan” on it.” Sounds like a great point until you realize it’s multiculturalist poppycock that doesn’t even remotely answer the question that it supposedly answers.

Christianity does not equal Republican. Great. I get it. Past that, Christians have the right to push politically for Christian ideas within their government, not because they believe in a Theocracy but because they believe in those ideas.

Gays believe in gay rights, pro-choice activists believe in the right to an abortion, and anti-war activists believe we should pull out of whatever country we’re in. Almost all of these individuals have formed groups (and LOTS of them) for the express purpose of pushing a certain agenda politically, and very often support candidates and political parties solely on their position on their issue of choice.

The idea that a Church or any other religious institution has less of a right than NRA, NOW, the ACLU, NAACP, etc. to push for a political agenda is ABSURD. That’s not theocracy, it’s democracy.

(Some might believe that a Church should be completely APOLITICAL and that political groups should not be religious, and I simply disagree…I would posit that many political groups are VERY ANTIRELIGIOUS, and that some political groups are religions in and of themselves by every definition that makes a religion. I think what makes a Church–throretically–a better political entity is that it isn’t formed for the express purpose of pushing a political agenda.)

SO…kudos to this pastor for doing what ANSWER, NARAL, NAACP, is not willing to do: separating the ideas from the parties and personalities.

BUT…shame on him for not encouraging his consitituents to stand up for the ideas that his faith teaches and instead helping to lull them into a sense of “who are we to judge?” and “there is really no right and wrong.”

AND shame on those members of Woodland Hills who were so unable to think for themselves politically that they had to have a pastor say it was OK not to vote Republican.

I could go all day…but that’s all I have for now…

Posted by Emily @ 08/09/2006 10:16 PM PDT
Ok…this post did push my button, not because of what the article said (noramlly I would read this article, form my opinions internally and turn the page), but the importance of it placed by the poster (God bless you Eric).

Given the fact that this resonated with this self-professed Christain poster, I really was excited to see how I would relate. Here’s my Christain resume: I grew up Catholic, married into a predominately Baptist family, and attended several different denominations as well as “mega churches” since college. As it turns out, I’ve NEVER attended a church where politics played a roll at all, and I’ve been to many masses, services and gatherings.

The concept of any church having sermons, pamphlets or what have you promote a certain political leaning seems to me quite odd. What I strongly believe is that those churches/organizations who promote a politician/party over another should loose their tax exempt status, period. I do not pay taxes to support the democratic or republican political engine.

While I think the promotion of one politician or party is not right, the addressing of social issues (that are regularly addressed in the political arena) that affect or may affect congregation’s lives should be addressed in church. In particular, these issues (including abortion, homosexuality, giving to poor, etc.) should be addressed and this is addressed in the bible. Why should these subjects not be addressed at church? Why is it that a person having one opinion about a social issue is labeled as having or promoting a political leaning associated with that opinion? That is absurd.

It is also insulting to me to describe as “pettiness” sexual issues (I do not believe that the Janet thing should be lumped with the rest) such as homosexuality and abortion. I can’t even begin to express my frustration with that statement.

Another issue I have with the article is how now that the white neo-cons are gone, the congregation is more diverse and apparently more enlightened. Ok, so republicans are all white and scare off minorities from attending this church? Whatever! What a minute, I could be wrong…maybe only white people from Minnesota are Republican, which would make much more sense. And how is it relevant that the pastor moved to a predominantly black neighborhood. Why doesn’t he move to a white, Republican neighborhood so he can exemplify “Jesus’ teachings by its (the church’s) members’ actions”…wouldn’t these white people lean so much about Jesus from his actions?

I don’t want to make an opinion about the pastor himself; I haven’t read his book or his sermons and do not want to base an opinion of a man based on something someone else wrote about him. I do agree with him for stopping the politicizing of the services (not recommended). Do I agree with the premises of the article…not so much!

Posted by Name @ 08/10/2006 08:49 PM PDT
How can you not agree with the premise of the arguement? This man believes that issues up for debate are best left out of the sanctuary primarily because there are things that the Bible is specific about (love thy neighbor) and things that are not specific (thou shalt not be gay? thou shalt not abort?). This I say at the risk of listening to adamant interpretation of other people. But the point is that mixing religion and politics is counterproductive to the church. Is the main objective of the church not to spread the Word of God? If it is, then when you address political issues “as a Christian/Muslim/Jew” or “according to Christian/Muslim/Jewish beliefs” you alienate people both inside and outside your religious community who do not share the same political view as you. It’s unwise to limit yourself like this, Boyd seems to think, when after all the idea is to live by the Word of God and not to enforce the Word of God. And of you believe that it is the responsibility of the church, of politicians, or of the government to enforce the Word of God, then you have a theocracy.

Posted by Name @ 08/10/2006 10:07 PM PDT
And I thought a theocracy was when a religious leader was dictating politics based solely on one religion…not basing laws on moral (and consequently religious) basis. You are right in that politics and church should not mix; however, another issue is that you cannot take the religious beliefs out of the politician. So, in America we are but one of many governments where many different religions can be and are represented in political thought and practice. Where in a theocracy, there is only one represented and allowed.religeon or its beliefs ever be out of politics.

Posted by BP @ 08/10/2006 10:50 PM PDT
Welcome, Name:

“Alienate people both inside and outside your religious community who do not share the same political view as you?”

I’m sorry…have you been alienated?

Apparently you’ve missed the point. The point is that religious people have political views based on their religious beliefs, just like non-religious people have political views based on their non-religious beliefs. (i.e.: If an Evangelical Christian believes the best thing for his community is to have a law against abortion, he should push for that law; at the same time their neighbor who may not share their religious views that believes that women should have a right to choose should push for THAT law).

The law against murder came from a religious belief, so did the law against purjury…those laws are still on the books.

Laws against adultery are still on the books in some states, but are not enforced…and only your most right wing nuts would ever try to create or enforce these laws.

Abortion is not considered a fringe right wing nut issue by any intelligent person on the planet, and anyone that thinks that gay marriage is a fringe nut issue is not really paying attention either.

There are legitimate arguments on both sides of these issues, but saying that an argument is illegitimate simply because its source is religion would force us to kill virtually every criminal law on the books.

Noone is asking the Word of God to be enforced, but simply that certain Judeo Christian principles should be enforced as laws and certain shouldn’t.

And a religious leader who feels that his faith or that of his congregation shouldn’t play any role in his political views or political activism is sadly mistaken in my opinion.

The long-time argument of the uber-secularists is that your morality and sense of right and wrong (which generally is the basis of laws) doesn’t have to come from religion. I can absolutely agree with that. However, I cannot agree with the premise that your beliefs (and sometimes as a result your political leanings) CAN’T come from religion.

Posted by Hemati @ 08/10/2006 11:38 PM PDT
Well, well! You’re welcome BP for injecting some PASSION into the debate on this site! I’m looking forward to more such fiery debate here. Logipundit has made a comeback!!

As far as NAME’s posting and Emily’s posting: Name absolutely gets the point of the man’s article (and this point can obviously be debated) – that it is somewhat hypocritical for the church to be promoting “values” that Republicans espouse (anti-abortion, anti-gay, pro-death penalty, anti-stem cell research, etc.) and simultaneously reject – or at least not promote as passionately – “values” that the Democrats espouse (taking care of the poor, education, social programs, humanitarian aid, enviornmental protection, diplomacy before war, etc.).

Now, to Emily’s point – I couldn’t agree more. Growing up Catholic is very different than growing up Baptist. Just look at the difference between the Baptist/Evangelical position leading up to the War in Iraq back in March of 2002 and the Catholic position. Diametrically opposed! The difference between John Paul and Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell could not have been more different! I have always and will continue to give Catholics the props they deserve for standing up for “Democrat” social issues like the ones above.

So to wrap up, Jesus’ last command was to take care of the poor and the widowed – not to make sure that gays do not have the same legal protections that straights have. I think Evangelicals would do well to remember that.

“Letting your light shine” should not mean putting down science and subjugating groups you disagree with – it should rather mean what it means: living a lifestyle that gives a testimony to the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth.

Posted by Rothell @ 08/11/2006 09:16 PM PDT
Sorry, Butch, I keep forgetting to type my name up in the Name slot because I’m so enraged by your comments. (The second posting attributed to Name was not mine.)

To answer your question, I am not alienated by the church. I utterly reject the church. I reject the church for a number of reasons, one of which is the subject of the above article. But I don’t reject what the Bible says. You don’t have to be a Christian to believe that “Love thy neighbor” is excellent advice and something everyone should adhere to.

Hemati I think was not entirely correct in what he said regarding my previous comments. I’m not saying that the church is hypocritical, though I suppose it is, by promoting Republican values and not Democratic values. I am saying you are repelling people from the church, from the Word of God, when you begin throwing politics into sermons and sermons into politics. Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with religious people having strong political views based on their religious beliefs. That’s fine. I’m not saying that’s wrong nor is Boyd, I believe. My point, and I think his too, is not that the left is underrepresented in the church. The point is that asserting your political positions as a Christian belief is unwise. Not wrong, but unwise. Butch, there are a lot of Christians out there who are pro-gay rights or pro-life (which doesn’t necessarily mean that are gay or have had abortions), etc., who leave the church–and non-Christians who will never come to the church–because they feel that some issues important to them are under attack by Christians.

I think that you believe that abortion, gay rights, etc., are things that should be talked about in the church. But I say that that’s about as smart as bringing up the sound of your farts at the dinner table with your grandparents. Some things you talk about at the dinner table and some things are better left discussed elsewhere. Besides, you have a right to say that you are pro-life because you are Christian, but you have no right to say that every Christian should say the same.

Posted by BP @ 08/11/2006 10:40 PM PDT
MMMM…Gooodnaaa…sorry couldn’t resist.

Rothell, I can’t find anything in your comments that enrage me, but I would point out that I never said that all Christians HAVE to be against gay rights or abortion.

What my “rights” are as a Christian is not under discussion here, but I have every “right” to believe that a Church that preaches against homosexuality has the right to push against gay marriage. I don’t recall in my discussion that my personal beliefs on the issue came up.

Either way, I think you’re mixing up politics and religion. Politics is (or should be) more issue based than religion. For instance, in politics one should be able to disagree with their party 10% of the time and still be accepted by that party (unless of course you’re Joe Lieberman).

However in religion, typically if you subscribe to that religion, you pretty much believe the whole deal or you’re just not considered a “believer”. A bitch, I know, but that’s just the way it is. Now I’m not saying that if someone doesn’t believe in gay marriage they’re not Christian. But it’s certainly believable albeit regrettable that they could feel pariahed from some Churches if they expressed support for gay marriage.

It’s the nature of the beast, and I certainly can’t blame you or anyone else for feeling the way you do…my advise would be…find religious people to associate with that know the difference between politics and religion and if you want…go to THEIR church. Pretty sure those people and those churches exist, and if that’s not cool enough, then it’s not the Church or their politics that you reject, but the religion itself…or maybe all religion…either way.

Another thing that might be worth pointing out is that abortion and gay rights are probably the absolute WORST examples of Christian political issues.

For instance the “civil rights” of gays can easily be separated from their insistence on having gay “marriage”. I heard a gay rights activist on CSPAN a couple of years ago say that gay rights activists could exercise a little “tolerance” by accepting more readily the ideas of “civil unions” that give them all the inheritance rights, etc…since “marriage” has such religious connotations (not Christian connotations, but religious connotations).

And abortion…the problem with abortion is that both sides constantly talk past each other: “A woman has a right to do with their body what they choose!” and “it’s wrong to murder unborn children!”. Can anyone disagree with either statement? I can’t. It always boils down to a simultaneously religious and scientific argument: when does life begin? Neither science nor religion has sufficently answered the question therefore the “straw” arguments will likely continue.

Hemati talks about other issues that are supposedly promoted by the “Church”:

Pro-death penalty–been to every denomination known to Christendom and never heard a sermon encouraging the death penalty. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen…just never heard it.

Anti-stem cell research–never heard that either…have heard anti-embryotic stemcell research (see above on abortion).

And those that the Church rejects or (here comes the qualifier) does not “promote as passionately”:

taking care of the poor–haven’t been to church yet that didn’t take up an offering for the poor, and haven’t been to one yet that DID take up an offering for a pro-life rally or anti-gay rights campaign.

education–what percentage of private schools are supported by a church? Not sure, anyone want to look that up?

Social programs–what kind of social programs?

humanitarian aid–see above taking care of the poor

enviornmental protection–got me there, not sure of any biblical basis there, but Lord knows there should be, huh?

diplomacy before war–yeah, not a good example…have you read any of the Old Testament? Should George Bush lead a batallion around Iran 7 times then blow a horn or something?

Overall, I just don’t see less enthusiasm in any church i’ve ever been involved with for helping the weakest among us than I have for pro-life and “anti-gay” causes. In fact I would argue that humanitarian and civic responsibility has been VERY present in most churches I’ve been to.

Now if you insist that the humanitarianism HAS to be in the form of social programs developed by the Federal Government and funded by federal taxpayers, instead of developed by local communities and international humanitarian organizations (religious and otherwise) and funded by willing volunteers…well then that is a political issue that is open for debate.

However, I just don’t buy that your average Church just doesn’t care about humanitarian issues, nor do I think that the “other side” (meaning the anti-religious and socially liberal) are innocent of using abortion and gay rights as “token” issues.

Posted by BP @ 08/12/2006 12:07 AM PDT
I’m sorry it seems I’ve repeated myself on the whole abortion thing…I promise I’ll try to wait at least 30 days before I say…again…that “both sides simply talk past each other and never address the real issue.”

Posted by Rothell @ 08/12/2006 02:31 PM PDT
Butch

You go off on too many tangents that have little direct relevance to whatever it is you’re responding to. I feel like you are persistantly missing the point I’ve been making with this topic and taking the opportunity to both have the last word and to expound in your usual rambling manner as many of your political/religious/pseudo-philosophical points as you can think of. (E.g., “…the problem with abortion is that…”) It’s not unlike how when our phone conversations lead to political discussions you ramble for five + minutes without me squeezing in a single sentence.

If you always want to have the last word, cool, it’s your website, do what you want. But it won’t go unnoticed…by our grand audience of six people. (I always chuckle when reading stuff like “y’all logifans out there”… 🙂

I sometimes have trouble following the logic of your comments. In fact it seems that the logic breaks down. Where do some of these thoughts come from? For example: “…in politics one should be able to disagree with their party 10% of the time and still be accepted by that party..” Says who? Is this a rule written somewhere or at least an idea that has been thrown out there recently?
Then you go on:
“…in religion, typically if you subscribe to that religion, you pretty much believe the whole deal or you’re just not considered a ‘believer’.”
Again, says who? You? I just don’t find your assertion supportable. I frequently meet people who are actually following not only one but two religions! Yes! I met a gal at a bar two weeks ago who is both Baptist and Buddhist! I also have a teacher who is both Jewish and Buddhist! Naturally there’s a significant divide between the religions with major disparities in core beliefs, such as where you go when you die and, well, who you’re supposed to be praying to. But whether you are like that or if you’re praying to Jesus every night, I don’t think that the majority of people within any religion here in our part of the world have an all or nothing attitude. After all, most Christians will say that “to be Christian you must profess your faith that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior” period, the end. Everything else should be gravy.

But, back to the point at hand:
“…you pretty much believe the whole deal or you’re just not considered a “believer”. A bitch, I know, but that’s just the way it is…It’s the nature of the beast, and I certainly can’t blame you…” Please refrain from using cliches to support your argument.

“…Find religious people to associate with that know the difference between politics and religion and if you want…go to THEIR church…”
But you just said above that you either accept it all or you’re not considered a “believer.” Now you can not accept it all and still be a “believer.” Change of logic.

“…Now if you insist that the humanitarianism HAS to be in the form of social programs developed by the Federal Government and funded by federal taxpayers, instead of developed by local communities…”
Butch, first of all where is this coming from and what does it have to do with the point of the article, my point, and Hemati’s point(s)? Secondly, who insisted it? Who?
“I just don’t buy,” you go on, “that your average Church just doesn’t care about humanitarian issues…” Okay, but, again, who among us suggested that the Chuch doesn’t care about humanitarian issues? I am being nitpicky here, but if you want to carry on a real debate, don’t put words in the mouths of other people and don’t distort what other people have said. “..Nor do I think that the ‘other side’ (meaning the anti-religious and socially liberal) are innocent of using abortion and gay rights as ‘token’ issues.” Again, Butch, where is this coming from and whom are you quoting?

In conclusion, I’ll once again throw out here what I think is a piece of wisdom that Boyd offers, that when you attach your religion to your public debate you estrange people from the religion. Boyd believes that as a Christian your priority is taking care of the poor and the widowed, like Hemati said, and teaching the wisdom of God. Issues that are up for debate ought not be labled “Christian” or else you drive people away from that religion. That’s just basic human psychology. It’s the same with selling books. You want any family to buy a Basic Knowledge because it will help the kids in school, not because it was made by a Bible publisher. And if in your demo you mention that you vote for Bush, believe in pro-life, think gays ought not marry (or the opposite) some people will tell you to take a hike, despite how desperately they or their kids need the book. Boyd realizes that. Some people desperately need the Book. Better to stick with the selling points and how they can use it. And don’t say “buy.”

I’ll leave it at that. Post your retort. I’ve had enough of this one.

Posted by Johnny @ 08/13/2006 02:51 PM PDT
Whatchoo gonna do when the Logifans run wild on you? Oh, yeeeah!

Posted by BP @ 08/13/2006 08:28 PM PDT
Rothell. I’ll make this brief…no retort…just keep in mind that I’m responding not only to Boyd’s ideas but the article itself and Hemati’s take on it…I pointed out very clearly where I agree with him, but just wouldn’t want to see a trend where preachers don’t encourage their parishioners to push for the ideas that they believe…

Anyway…so just a few points.

1) Never wanted the last word or wouldn’t have invited people to comment on my site.

2) You’re absolutely right…you can be religious and not believe in 100% of your religion of choice. My only point was that MANY people believe ONE religion that singularly. Probably wasn’t clear on the point, so my sincerest apologies.

3) The points about the church supporting humanitarian cause was a direct response to Hemati’s:

“that it is somewhat hypocritical for the church to be promoting “values” that Republicans espouse (anti-abortion, anti-gay, pro-death penalty, anti-stem cell research, etc.) and simultaneously reject – or at least not promote as passionately – “values” that the Democrats espouse (taking care of the poor, education, social programs, humanitarian aid, enviornmental protection, diplomacy before war, etc.)”

4) I know I ramble…sorry.

Evangelical Pastor disowns Conservative Politics

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