Sunday, November 14, 2004

A Voice From Within the Flock

This, in an e-mail from a real Christian who has heard the voices of the right-wing extremists and not recognized the teachings of her own faith in them:
"I am not eloquent, so for what it is worth, I agree with all that you say. What I have a difficult time with is having something that doesn't sound rabid to say to the Bush lovers who are standing on their moral ground. What are they (Bush voters) really thinking about, responding to, wanting from the gov't.? Can't they see the Rep platform as the propaganda that it is? Why can't we Dems present a winning argument about large deficit/large gov't/increased taxes (records of former Rep presidents) that they can hear? What "moral values" are they talking about? Have they been defined?
Did you watch Nightline last night(about) tThe Viet Nam Vets that are homeless--is it 1 in 3 of homeless Vets have no shelter? Is it their fault that they cannot function in a material world after seeing death and murder? Can't people see the faith-based programs are over-burdened with paperwork, mission, people in need, and low resources? Where is the solution? I guess we already have some homeless Iraq War Vets. Can't we see the cost of war? How can anyone support it? Especially followers of Jesus Christ! He was tempted like us in every way but did not sin. They equal themselves to Jesus, but forget that he was tempted by satan in the same way we are everyday, and He did not go for the power, riches and fame---He went for humility.
So, my point is, there is plenty of fodder for the destruction of the propaganda machine, but why can't we seem to get a stick in the wheel to trip them up?
I think we need our leaders to debate more in prime time and not just 4 debates at election time every 4 years. Now there's some reality TV."

It seemed plenty eloquent to me. And why aren't more voices like that above being heard? In part of my response, I sent this:

"One of the dialogues (or in some cases rants) that the liberals and Dems at the sites I visit have been embroiled in since the end of the election is how the right has hijacked the concept of "moral values" (as opposed, I guess, to immoral values?) like they did love of country, and have been posing as though their greed, intolerance, selfishness and hate were all part of their Christ's plan. What's really frightening is that when people think they have God on their side, they become capable of so many atrocities with a clear conscience, as history has well shown.Liberal and mainstream Christians, despite the fact that they make up the mass of Christian thought in the country, have not been very good at getting the message out that what is being done by these fanatics in the name of their religion is actually anathema to their theology. There are a number of really oustanding Christian weblogs like Slacktivist, Bad Christian, Real Live Preacher , Killing the Buddha, and Obsidian Wings, and some good websites like Sojourners , and beliefnet, where the right is being challenged on these things. There are even organizations of mainstream Chrsitian churches that have taken out ads in papers and magazines to try to get the message across, but none of this can equal the power the right has gotten from setting its people into places of power, from the courts to the Congress to the White House.
E.G., Last year, during an election in Mississipi, there was a referendum to cut welfare payments from the pittance it already was, something like $400+ a month for a family of 4, to less than $300. Now, even in a poor state like this, no one can be expected to find a place to live, buy groceries for 4, pay utility bills, and afford transportation to look for work, on that kind of money. It's a joke. Well, the people who opposed the cut thought that if they tried to frame it as a Christian issue, and had someone well-known from the evangelical right to be a spokesperson, they could convince the voters not to go along with this. Charity, mercy, compassion, duty to be your brother's keeper, all that. So they fought it, and what happened? All those ostensible Christians conveniently failed to hear that call, and the cut became so much history faster than you could say "moneychangers".
The problem is that people like me, who really can't claim to be Christians in the theological sense, we may understand the dynamics what is happening here because of our exposure to it as kids and young adults, but we really have no standing with the flock. I can speak on it from the standpoint of a human being pleading for humanitarian behavior, but if I start spouting scripture, it comes off like Jerry Falwell trying to quote the Koran. That's why it's so important for people who really are in the church to speak out, and confront these people on the scriptural issues they so horribly contort."
Not much else to say after that.

There's your Sunday sermon.

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