Fredric L. Rice
2005-05-03 13:35:24 UTC
Faith should be personal, not political
Political Christianity, the movement now driving the fight over judges
and Senate filibusters in Washington, holds that this is a Christian
nation founded by Christian men, with the vast majority of the
American people professing a Christian faith.
To some degree, all of that is true.
But among political Christians, that claim is usually followed by the
charge that the Christian majority should be free to govern based on
Christian principles, but it has been denied that right by an
Or, as best-selling evangelical writer Hal Lindsey put it in a recent
"Wake up Christians! This is a war against Jesus Christ and against
His followers. We need to bombard our congressmen with demands to stop
this 'tyranny of the minority.' "
However, if political Christianity is frustrated in its grab for
power, anti-Christians are not to blame.
The blame -- or rather the credit -- should fall on our Founding
Fathers, on more than two centuries of political experience and, most
importantly, on the traditional values of the American people.
Those values have long recognized that religion and government, when
mixed, inevitably corrupt each other.
We know from experience that once religion is injected directly into
politics, we no longer debate about the course that we as a people
want to take.
Suddenly, we're fighting over what course God wants us to take.
We're fighting about whether He's on our side or your side.
We're fighting about whose God should hold sway.
And if you need a reminder of that danger, you don't have to look in
the history books or overseas.
You can see it right now, in our own country.
Political Christians claim that by trying to halt the confirmation of
seven very conservative judges, Senate Democrats are conducting "a
filibuster against people of faith."
In other words, if you dare to disagree with political Christianity on
political grounds, you become guilty of persecuting them on religious
Disagreeing with the so-called Christian position makes you, by
To political Christians, there's a lot of power in that argument, in
part because it confirms their self-image as victims of persecution.
"These are perilous times for people of faith," says Janice Rogers
Brown, one of those judicial nominees hung up in the Senate.
"Not in the sense that we are going to lose our lives, but in the
sense that it will cost you something if you are a person of faith who
stands up for what you believe in and say those things out loud."
The problem, though, is not in standing up for what you believe.
The problem lies in claiming to speak for God when you do so.
Look at what's happening in Colorado, the home of James Dobson, the
nation's most influential political Christian.
That state's junior senator, Ken Salazar, is a Catholic who supports
his fellow Democrats in their filibuster against Brown and others.
While that makes him fair game for criticism, a spokesman for Dobson
went much too far when he claimed that Salazar's vote meant he was
ignoring "the anti-Catholicism of some of his (Democratic)
Salazar overreacted in turn, calling Dobson "the anti-Christ,"
although he later apologized.
"I regret having used that term," Salazar said.
"I meant to say this approach was un-Christian, meaning self-serving
He also pointed out that a Dobson ally, Albert Mohler, had called
Catholicism "a false church" that "teaches a false gospel," and that
"the pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office."
All this, in a political debate over judges.
Scientology crooks: http://sf.irk.ru/www/ot3/otiii-gif.html