Sunday, May 11, 2003

Is this the face of Christianity today? Jim Boulet at NRO linked to this story at a Christian-Right website. The comments that made me take notice are:
This domestic war has been simmering for decades, but fighting has intensified since 9/11 and more recently the Iraqi war. It is the struggle for the soul of America, which is being carried out by two diametrically opposed armies. One is made up of traditional Americans with Judeo-Christian beliefs, who contend as President Bush does that America is a force for good in the world, which is ruled by God.

The other army is made up of the secular left, who don’t like words like “cowboy,” “evil” or “war.” They worship at the altar of the United Nations. Ironically, one of the strongest regiments in this godless army is America’s mainstream Protestant leaders. But they are mainstream Christians in name only for they gird themselves for battle with the breastplate of left-wing ideology.
This is a Hollywood guy to boot! How can any person who is not a theocratic fascist really believe this simplistic contention? Last I checked there were plenty of mainline Christian Churches. They generally do not get very political, at least when I went to one as a kid. Mr. Berg's comments are classic examples of "Themism," where he paints "them" as non-fundamentalist Protestant Christians. I think Mr. Berg also seems to not know much about religious demographics. He states: "Leading the charge for the Protestant fringe left are the leaders of the United Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Evangelical Lutherans, but especially the Methodists." Ok, those four Protestant sects have populations as follows




United Methodists8,340,954
Presbyterians3,485,332
Episcopalians2,300,461
Evangelical Lutherans 5,125,919
Total 19,252,666


When the leaders of over 19 million people take a stand, is Mr. Berg somehow suggesting they are "bad Christians," and are "leftist" anti-Christs trying to destroy their respective sects? What is Jay Leno feeding this guy? Is Mr. Berg familiar with the quasi-pacifist interpretation of Christianity that is very common in mainstream sects? Turn the other cheek was something he missed in Sunday school? If this kind of thinking is common among most fundamentalist Christians, then I honestly think there will someday be a religious war in this country. If people seriously want a theocracy, then there will be problems. I hope Mr. Berg is on the Fringe of Right Wing Christians, but I am starting to have more and more doubts. On the surface today it appears that the only people who are involved in religious churches or groups are the most fervent and/or fundamentalist incarnations. This movement has a parallel in the Roman Catholic Church, were "Orthodox Catholic" is becoming a term that I think will be its own sect at some point, unless a Reformed Catholic Church breaks away.

Bottom line: Religion and politics don't mix well, but it if one sect or party is going to mix the two, then opposing parties have the right and often the duty to mix them as well. We live in a secular state, but with people like this, I fear that more conflict is ahead on this front. I feel like Chicken Little or the boy who cried wolf, but I fear the polarization of ideas, opinion, and ideologies that has plagued American Society today has now found its way to religion. Zeus help us all.

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