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« I'm sure we bloggers will have no trouble working out any ironic analogies for ourselves, thank you very much | Main | Par for the course: Politics as miniature golf, the back nine »

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apostate

Preach it, brother.

Gwen

How synchronistic...your post aligns frighteningly well with the article I read earlier this evening, "The Palin church video" (http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/09/02/1327574.aspx). One snippet: "While describing her family, Palin told students about her oldest son, 19-year-old Track, who is set to be deployed to Iraq this month with the U.S. Army. She urged students to pray “that our leaders -- that our national leaders -- are sending [soldiers] out on a task that is from God.” She added, “That's what we have to make sure that we are praying for: that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan.”

The article also quotes Palin saying, “I can do my job there in developing our natural resources, in doing things like getting the roads paved and making sure our troopers have their cop cars and their uniforms and their guns, and making sure our public schools are funded. But really that stuff doesn't do any good if the people of Alaska's hearts aren't right with God.”

That sounds like exactly the mindset you're describing...spooky.

sfmike

I am so happy that you birdied Arizona.

Jennifer

Perfect.

actor212

Except, Lance...

Many of us on the left are devout Christians, who remember a time when Christianity and liberalism were the same thing: Do to your neighbor what you would do unto yourself, that sort of thing.

A side note: personally, I get a little offended by analyses like yours and Aimai's which treat Christians as one lone bloc. We're not. Lutherans hate the Baptists, Presbyterians hate the Methodists, and well, you know the Tom Lehrer song, I'm sure.

What unites the evangelicals is NOT GOD.

It is religion, the kind of religion that is practiced in Muslim countries and we ought to be clear about this.

Religion is no different than any other emotional content you have to pick up as you go: sexuality, social graces, community. How you learn is less influenced by what you learn than by who teaches you.

It is the homogenization of God's Message that I think has created this mess. I learned growing up that my relationship with Jesus is most assuredly not based on the megaphonic orations of my minister. Lutherans are taught to question authority, to get closer to God in their own lives. My minister, as Morpheus says in The Matrix can only show me the door. I must walk thru.

This is not the attitude of the far right Christians, who believe not only in marching you to the door and opening it for you, but shoving you through if you balk in the slightest.

Lutherans don't shun. Other evangelicals do. Yes, shunning as a form of punishment is in the Bible, and indeed, proselytizing is as well, but these are minor points that Jesus raises as possible options for a burgeoning community struggling with, not non-believers, but active heretics.

The Dispensationalist form of Bible study (look it up, it's fascinating) has so warped these messages. It is THESE people who have homogenized and televangelized God's word into one of fear and suffering.

Jesus asks us to trust him, not to fear him. The right wing has it all wrong.

Nanuk

I love that golf course. Did you play Around the World too, or only Around the USA? And if you did play Around the World, do they still have the Iron Curtain and the red carpet for the USSR? I hope that never changes.

Jennifer

actor212- as having been raised as a Lutheran, I can say there was plenty of what Lance describes, at least in my experience. There was also plenty of live and let live; walk the walk, don't just talk the talk, do unto others... but there was also so very much vanity about virtuousness and those people were usually the ones doing the most to be ashamed of.

I agree, Lutherans are taught to question authority and are taught to get closer to God on their own. While that is a good thing, it also allows some people to believe they are acting directly on behalf of God... they forget they're often passing "God's word" through their own very human filters and are projecting their own sinful conundrums onto very young, blank slates... and you don't need to be a Lutheran to do this. We're all capable of doing terrible harm by doing what we think God has told us to do.

apostate

Actor, what kind of religion do you think is practiced in Muslim countries? I'm a former Muslim and it looks to me remarkably like the religion that is practiced in America.

God and God's Mandate is what it's all about - that, and looking down (morally, spiritually or in practical, worldly affairs) on everyone who does not have God/Allah in their lives.

The right wing may have it "all wrong" for some Christian denominations in America, but for outsiders (the ungodly), Christians are pretty much all of a piece because, at the end of the day, they're all accepting the truth of the premises on which the far right relies to build its more extreme agenda.

What you are describing is merely a squabble over details - it's still a family squabble.

(And to respect Lance's space, I won't argue more about religion. I tend to forget my manners when I do that.)

David

But it's irrelevant, because it's our politics that are veil and dangerous

What?

Desca

David , clearly Lance had a typo. I had no trouble reading "evil" there.

Interesting and thoughtful essay, Lance.

David

Yes, I know it was a typo, but I didn't read "evil" there, so I didn't know what it was he was trying to say.

actor212

We're all capable of doing terrible harm by doing what we think God has told us to do.

Pick up this month's copy of Psychology Today. Turn to p. 22, the article entitled "With God On Our Side". (sorry, not linked on the website yet)

Fascinating reading, Jennifer.

Apostate, what I argue is that the overwhelming majority of Christians in this country don't believe Liberalism is evil, anymore than they believe the NFL is evil or turkeys are evil or what have you.

As is often the case, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

As to Islam and Muslim countries, I would imagine the vast majority of Muslims, the ones who live in Africa (27%) and East Asia (69%), really could give a rat's ass about whether Allah has imbued them with authority.

They just try to find enough to eat.

Apostate

As to Islam and Muslim countries, I would imagine the vast majority of Muslims, the ones who live in Africa (27%) and East Asia (69%), really could give a rat's ass about whether Allah has imbued them with authority.

They just try to find enough to eat.

I don't think your perception is true but I could be wrong. My reading and personal experience - neither shallow - suggest otherwise. Islam is a very important and central part of the lives of people even if they're starving or embroiled in civil war - perhaps more so.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Muslim from Africa and her experience is beautifully narrated in Infidel. I grew up in Saudi Arabia - the birthplace of Islam and an Islamic theocracy - and I am originally from Pakistan, a country created specifically because of Islam, to house the Indian subcontinent's Muslim population separately from the Hindus.

In short, I know a thing or two about how Muslims live.

Islam matters. Allah is central.

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