12 September 2010

slacktivist: The Scandal of the Evangelical Mosk

slacktivist: The Scandal of the Evangelical Mosk:
...all those stories about Glenn Beck. Beck has been reaching out to evangelicals to support his call for a moralistic brand of nationalism, and many evangelicals view him as a natural ally who shares their 'conservative' values.

But Beck is also viewed as 'controversial' because he is a Mormon. This controversy, and only this, was the subject of dozens of articles, columns and blog posts clogging my news feed. They all asked one and only one question: Should evangelicals avoid supporting Glenn Beck because he is a Mormon?

The answer is No. They should not be shunning Beck because he is a Mormon. They should be shunning Glenn Beck because he hates his brother, because he preaches hate, nurtures it, multiplies it and feeds on it.

He's also a liar and a con-artist running a shameless pump-and-dump scam on overpriced gold coins. Both of those far outrank whatever discomfort some evangelicals might have due to Beck's alleged Mormonism, but they fade in importance relative to the imperative to love.

How is it possible that so many evangelical Christian writers and reporters have taken the time to express their qualms about Beck's Mormonism but have scarcely any reservations about his relentless message of hate? 'Straining out a gnat while swallowing a camel' was Jesus' term for this sort of thing.

I disagree, well, sort of.

The point about Glenn Beck being a Mormon is important because it shows up the true values of those "evangelical" pastors who support him.

It shows that they have broken the first commandment "You shall have no other gods before me" and that "conservative values" (or whatever they see themselves as having in common with Glenn Beck) are more important to them than Christ.

It shows that whatever the religion of the "religious right" is, it is not Christianity; it is an idol.

I don't know enough about Glenn Beck to judge whether he is good or bad. Nor do I know enough about the evangelical pastors to support him to know whether they are good or bad. But what I do know is that their theology differs.

I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing for people with differing theology to get together to achieve a common political objective. I was once a member of the Liberal Party of South Africa, which had as members Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, atheists, agnostics. They would all give different theological (or atheological, in the case of the atheists) reasons for working for the same set of political objectives. For more on this, see Religion, spirituality and politics | Khanya.

So where does it cross the line and become idolatry?

That's where I think Slacktivist is right -- where it is preaching hatred rather than love. Where political objectives are compatible with Christian objectives, it is fine to support them, but where political objectives supplant Christian objectives, it becomes idolatry.

This comes to the fore when you consider what you are against rather than what you are for. You can oppose a certain political policy because you believe it is impractical for various reasons. You might not object to it in principle, and think that its objective is OK, but object to it on the grounds that it is unlikely to achieve the stated objective. That is not a problem. It is not idolatry.

But if you are a Christian and you oppose a policy in principle, then if your reason for opposing it is incompatible with Christian theology, it becomes idolatry. And the grounds for Glenn Beck's attacks on Dorothy Day are something I believe no Christian can support.


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