May 22, 2010

WHERE EVANGELICALS ARE DANGEROUS: Not as individuals but as a bloc, voting for the wrong people for the wrong reasons!

Pat Robertson, Christian Coalition, at the height of his power

Best-selling novelist Frank Schaeffer* grew up in the shadow of his father in L'Abri, a Christian community in Switzerland that drew thousands of young seekers from around the world.

His father's fame brought him into contact with top Christian and political leaders, and he went on to become a poster child for the evangelical movement.

Francis Schaeffer, The Last Great Modern Theologian

The son of Francis Schaeffer, one of the most influential evangelical theologians of the last century, is now a sharp critic of the evangelical world in which he was raised.

¨Most theology, to be perfectly honest, is just people making excuses for a God they don't fully understand and trying to figure out how things work. Which is fine, but let's not mistake our words about God for actually knowing about God.¨

Do you still agree with your father's theology?

¨People think that I've shifted my opinion, and in some ways I have, but in other ways, I'm still very much my dad's son.

I find his cultural analysis very pertinent. For example, the bankruptcy of the extreme left he saw very clearly, with people like Pol Pot and Mao Zedong and others.

Pol Pot in 1977 at the height of his power

He was a better man than his theology. For example, on the issue of homosexuality, he had a right-wing position. In practice, gay people were completely welcomed in L'Abri. He treated them with tremendous compassion and openness.

Southern Baptist Jerry Falwell, at the height of his power

He could never be identified with the Jerry Falwells and the Pat Robertsons and the Anita Bryants.

Anita Bryant , at the height of her power

When Anita Bryant came to his house for lunch to enlist his help in her campaign to ban gays from teaching in schools, he actually threw her out of the house because he thought she was so uncompassionate and un-Christ-like.

Only on the issue of abortion did his views overlap with the religious right. On every other issue, he was a progressive...¨

You've called today's religious right dangerous. More than half of Oklahomans self-identify as evangelicals. Are you calling them dangerous?

¨No, not at all. Where evangelicals are dangerous is not as individuals but as a bloc, voting for the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

They're dangerous because they simplify politics down to a couple issues.

I think the evangelical community, in terms of politics, has really painted itself into a corner. It's very dangerous to have a series of moralistic litmus tests that you apply to people on the basis of voting.

For instance, having had a son in the Marine Corps getting shot at in Afghanistan, I look at who the commander in chief is, and I have a lot more at stake than how he votes on gay rights and abortion. I'd like to know, is he competent? Is he intelligent? Is he decent? Is he honest? Will he govern well? Is he going to make a good commander in chief?

James Dobson, Focus on Family, at the height of his power

I fault the evangelical leaders like James Dobson, who so narrow their focus to a few moral issues that we have consistently voted for some very mediocre or worse leadership.

I'm not saying the left doesn't do the same thing. Both have their litmus tests. But evangelicals give it that religious fervor, which has really hurt our country. It's just crazy.¨

· Thanks to The Tulsa World
· Thanks to Bill Sherman, Religion Writer
· Thanks to Francis Schaeffer
· Thanks to Frank Schaeffer
· Thanks to Associated Press, Susan Walsh
· Thanks to The Huffington Post, sidebar

*Books by Frank Schaeffer Fiction (The Calvin Becker Trilogy) PORTOFINO ZERMATT SAVING GRANDMA BABY JACK Nonfiction KEEPING FAITH—A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps (Co-authored with Sgt. John Schaeffer USMC) FAITH OF OUR SONS—A Father’s Wartime Diary VOICES FROM THE FRONT—Letters Home From America’s Military Family AWOL—The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes From Military Service—And How It Hurts Our Country (Co-authored with Kathy Roth-Douquet) CRAZY FOR GOD—How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back PATIENCE WITH GOD—Faith for People who Don’t Like religion (Or Atheism)


Anonymous said...

I agree totally with this post. Christianity when reduced to a basic formula, that is devoid of human compassion, and applied to politics, equates to dangerous outcomes for some individuals and the nation as a whole! Actions like those displayed in the video on this page.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

I also agree! The Political abuse/misuse of Religion is very dangerous, not least to Religion.