Saturday, November 12, 2005

God, It's Pat Again! Get Out the Ear Plugs!

The "intelligent design" crowd might want to try reining in Pat Robertson; he's making them look like a bunch of liars.

On Tuesday, Dover voters ousted the local school board, which had tried to introduce the concept [of intelligent design] as an alternative to the theory of evolution.

Pat Robertson told his TV show that the town had turned its back on God.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Mr Robertson said on The 700 Club.
[...]
Following his comments on Thursday, Mr Robertson issued a statement saying that he was simply trying to point out that "our spiritual actions have consequences".

"God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in His eye forever," Mr Robertson said.

"If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."

Didn't the Dover school board members who testified in favor of presenting ID as an "alternative" to evolution say that intelligent design was not the same thing as creationism, had nothing to do with religion, and did not require belief in God? Now here Pat R. is saying exactly the opposite: that saying no to including ID in the public school curriculum is equivalent to saying no to God.

Pat seems to think he's a prophet:

...[T]he prophets' primary task was to call the people as a community to accountability and responsibility in their relationship with God. If we use the metaphor of covenant to describe that relationship between the people of Israel and God, then the prophets were mediators of the covenant. They helped the people understand what was expected of them in that relationship. In doing so, they often interpreted history, the flow of events, in light of relationship with God. They tried to understand how God was at work in certain historical events, and how the people should respond to those events. That meant that frequently the prophets were very much concerned about the present, and how the people should live in the present as God's people. Even when they spoke about the future, it was for the purpose of calling people to be responsible before God in the present.

Here are some examples of how seriously Pat Robertson takes his prophetic responsibilities:

  • He called for the assassination of the president of another country whose policies the U.S. does not care for.
  • He suggested that the offices of the U.S. State Department should be blown up with a nuclear device.
  • He said that the idea that women are human beings equal in rights and dignity to men (aka feminism) is a dangerous philosophy that leads to the child murder, witchcraft, socialism, and homosexuality.
  • He rails against abortion and homosexuality, and tells his followers that what God most wants from believers is to spend all of their time and energy condemning and fighting premarital sex, contraception, abortion, divorce, and equal rights for gays and lesbians.

Does Robertson prioritize these issues because the Bible does? Are there thousands of references in the Bible to the evils of abortion and homosexuality? Do the biblical prophets exhort the people to assassinate foreign heads of state, shun premarital sex, support the accumulation of wealth, fight the equitable treatment of women?

Obviously not -- because the one theme that emerges over and over in the bible, both in the Hebrew and the Christian bibles -- is feeding and clothing the poor, shunning wealth, working for social equity and justice.

Jim Wallis talks about this in an interview with Mother Jones about his recently published book, "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It":

The American Right has been able to define "moral values" narrowly, almost exclusively in terms of wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage. It doesn't have to be this way, Wallis argues. Drawing on more than 30 years of work combating poverty, as well as an intimate knowledge of the Bible, Wallis, an evangelical Christian, argues that moral values encompass actions and attitudes toward a host of issues, including poverty, the environment, criminal justice and war.

Through a conversational combination of first-person stories, news analysis, statistics and old fashion preaching (on the written page), Wallis paints a very different picture of what religion means than the one President Bush and many of his supporters have in mind.

The Mother Jones interviewer asks Wallis about the subtitle of his book:

MotherJones.com: The subtitle of your book is "Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get it." What does the Right get wrong?

Jim Wallis: The Right is comfortable with the language of religion, values, God talk. So much so that they sometimes claim to own that territory. Or own God. But then they narrow everything down to one or two issues: abortion and gay marriage.

I am an evangelical Christian, and I can't ignore thousands of verses in the Bible on [another] subject, which is poverty. I say at every stop, "Fighting poverty's a moral value, too." There's a whole generation of young Christians who care about the environment. That's their big issue. Protecting God's creation, they would say, is a moral value, too. And, for a growing number of Christians, the ethics of war -- how and when we go to war, whether we tell the truth about going to war -- is a religious and moral issue as well.

I think the Right has made a serious mistake in adopting a moral-values strategy, because they're winning in the short run. [But] in the long run, they're going to lose this debate because they won't be able to restrict it to two issues. Once you open that door to a values conversation, it's going to undercut a right-wing economic agenda, which values wealth over work and favors the rich over the poor, or resorts to war as the first resort and not the last. To quote the White House, when it comes to moral values in this discussion, I say, "Bring it on!" Let's have the conversation, because the Right's going to lose this debate in the end. But not if the Left doesn't even get in the conversation.

MJ.com: Is that what you mean when you say the Left doesn't get it? '

JW: [Democrats] forget their own progressive history. Every major social movement in our history was fueled in large part by religion and faith. Abolitionism, women's suffrage, child labor law, and most famously, civil rights. Where would we be if the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had kept his faith to himself? Here's a party that was vitally connected to the civil rights movement, led by black churches, now has driven so far [away], they're successfully portrayed by the Right as a secular party hostile to religion.

I think people who are religious or, say, even spiritual, have not felt like there's much of a home on the Left. That's at least a huge political concern. Even those who aren't religious need to respect people of faith. The connection the world's waiting for is to connect the hunger for spirituality with passion for social change. Because spirituality, when it isn't disciplined by social justice, in an affluent society, becomes narcissistic. We buy the books, we buy the tapes. We hear the guru speaker. Barnes & Noble has a whole wall of how to be spiritual, balanced, healed, whole. Spirituality becomes a commodity to be bought and sold. So spirituality has to be disciplined by social justice.

MJ.com: And the Left's big mistake is that it has ignored that potential?

JW: Not just ignored; they've ceded the territory. They've ignored it at their peril and they've turned it over so that the Right gets to say, "Okay, we'll define it our way. Abortion, gay marriage. That's it. That's all. Nothing else."

1 comment:

Lance Carter said...

I like your blog.
I am by definition a Right Wing Christian.
As a right wing Christian I believe the Bible verse upon verse, precept upon precept. There is a well known story that many of my right wing brothers and sisters seem to not understand.
The woman who was caught in the act of adultry and was brought to Jesus to be stoned. Many of us know that Jesus said "Let he who is wothout sin cast the first stone'" This statement alone should open our eyes but it is what happens next that we right wingers seem to forget. Jesus ask the lady "Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? " She replies " No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. " If Jesus forgave her and ALL of us right wingers our sins don't you think we as right wing Christians ought to do the same?
Im not sure I would want the State teaching anyone about GOD. Intelligent design does seem like a worth while thing to look at to me. That is a right wing view. LOL Sorry Pat!
Take care and thanks for the blog! You made my night.