15 October 2006

The Politicized Jesus

In last month's NewsMax, there was an article on the resurgence of the Christian Left. Last week, Gun Guys praised the Amish for meeting violence with forgiveness. Recently, on the Democratic Underground, Nance Gregg rants on How Jesus Would Vote.

I find it ironic that the Left, which has striven so hard to marginalize faith, now sees some value in it. But they still miss the point. Faith is not a political commodity.

Take the Amish, for example. While I can't quite agree with them on their total commitment to pacifism (happily, Christianity accommodates a spectrum of stances on this issue) I can respect the strength with which they live out their convictions.

But it's lost on the Gun Guys:
That is the kind of virtue and principle that is missing in the culture the NRA supports and enforces. They shout “eye-for-an-eye” (a sentiment that’s prehistoric, even by Biblical standards) and call for revenge and more violence when a shooting takes place. They think forgiveness is foolish and weak, and the only way to make a stand is with a pistol and a full clip of ammo.
Since theological discussion is absent on the rest of Gun Guys' blog, I highly doubt their assessment of Biblical standards comes from their knowledge of the Good Book.

For myself, being a Christian also involves understanding the depravity of human nature. I would prefer to turn away a nasty situation by more diplomatic means--and happily, most situations require little more than that. But I've also seen the element of human nature that cannot be turned aside unless some sort of force is presented to make it very clear that there are consequences if they follow through with a certain course of action.

Being a Christian also involves avoiding excesses, and praises the virtue of self-control, which as we all know, is a critical part of gun safety (something else also lost on the Gun Guys and their ilk). I remember after buying my first H&K, I was showing it off to one of my friends who was also one of my pastors. He said, "It is good that someone like you owns this." Better in the hands of the faithful than in the hands of the lawless.

But now, let us go on to Nance Gregg's rant. She's reacting to something she heard Dennis Prager say on Larry King Live, and is astonished that Christians would still be voting Republican for all the moral depravity she sees in that party:

The disconnect between what is morally just and the actions of the elected Republicans in control of our government for the past few years should be glaringly obvious. Where is the morality in a war that has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis? Where is the adherence to Christian teaching in abandoning social programs that assist the hungry, the sick and the homeless? How does one equate moral rectitude with policies that have enriched and empowered the wealthy, while plunging the hard-working middle class into debt? Who can honestly condone the use of torture and consider it to be in keeping with anything remotely resembling Christian values?
Ah yes, the "immoral war"--forget who started it, and the thousands of American lives lost in that opening blow. I guess it's moral only if Americans die.

Social programs: This is a leftie favorite. What they fail to understand is that there is a difference between giving out of the kindness of your heart (whether it be donating money, goods, services, or time) and having it forced out of your hand by a government program. That's not charity.

And as for the empowerment and enrichment policies--that knows no ideological boundaries. Was everyone truly equal in the East Bloc countries during the height of Communism's power? Nope, you had the Politburo skimming the cream off the top, and then some. What about Whitewater, murder, drug abuse, and molesting chubby interns? How's that for moral rectitude?

We righties recognize the failings of the system, and choose the lesser of two evils.

It is not for the party that has proven itself to be more in keeping with the tenets of Christianity to prove itself worthy; it is for those espoused followers of the teachings of Jesus to prove the strength of their own convictions by supporting what is right, what is just, what is morally responsible.

We did just that, Nance. In 2000, and in 2004. Don't know where you were.

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