Sunday, July 11, 2021

Politics and the Distortion of Christian Values.

Politics distorts the values that motivate it. Eventually solidarity with the group and revenge dominate the ideals that motivated political action. The ideals recede into the background. Evangelicalism is a product of the south. It's notions of justice were forged in light of the slave trade and it's notions of love were rationaliztions for its raw poloticcal instincts. Let us note the way Christ's commands to love, especially love of enemies, have become distorted.
The results from a recent poll published by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/Tea-Party-and-Religion.aspx) reveal what social scientists have known for a long time: White Evangelical Christians are the group least likely to support politicians or policies that reflect the actual teachings of Jesus. It is perhaps one of the strangest, most dumb-founding ironies in contemporary American culture. Evangelical Christians, who most fiercely proclaim to have a personal relationship with Christ, who most confidently declare their belief that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, who go to church on a regular basis, pray daily, listen to Christian music, and place God and His Only Begotten Son at the center of their lives, are simultaneously the very people most likely to reject his teachings and despise his radical message.[1]
He points to militarism, draconian criminal justice, hatrod of the poor and lionizing the rich.
Jesus was very clear that the pursuit of wealth was inimical to the Kingdom of God, that the rich are to be condemned, and that to be a follower of Him means to give one’s money to the poor. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of corporate greed and capitalistic excess, and they are the most opposed to institutional help for the nation’s poor — especially poor children. They hate anything that smacks of “socialism,” even though that is essentially what their Savior preached. They despise food stamp programs, subsidies for schools, hospitals, job training — anything that might dare to help out those in need. Even though helping out those in need was exactly what Jesus urged humans to do.[2]
Examples of co opted values, according to Sean Mcelwee,  include:

(1)Immigration 
The verse: "When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." - Leviticus 19:33-34.[3]
Yet, as he points out the evangelicals oppose the imigration bill, rampage against the poor who desperately leave their homes to seek life sustaining employment, and they rationalize keeping kids in cages.[4]

2.Poverty

"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." - Matthew 19:24.

Mcelwee points out:
Because the only thing fundamentalists dislike more than immigrants is poor people. Seriously. Just this year, Tea Party congressman Stephen Fincher explained why he thought the government should cut food stamps entirely, “The role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity is to take care of each other, but not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.” Michelle Bachmann has also made a similar statement. The entire Tea Party movement is based on the idea that a huge portion of Americans are “takers” who suck the lifeblood out of the economy.[5]
as John Gehring points  out:
Too many white Christians sacrifice the gospel’s radical solidarity with the poor and oppressed with comfortable, self-serving ideologies. Prosperity gospel preachers affirm the cult of consumerism and individualism. Evangelicals rally behind political leaders who make a holy trinity out of tax cuts for the wealthy, attacks on social safety nets and anti-government propaganda.[6]
We can see the upshot in the way conservatuvee Christians blame the poor themselves for their poverty rather than the system or their circumstances. In  a 2016 study by the Public Religion Research Institute we find:
Christians, the study found, are more than twice as likely to blame a person’s poverty on individual failings than Americans who are atheist or have no specific religious affiliation. White evangelical Christians, who voted overwhelmingly for President Trump and continue to be some of his most steadfast supporters, are especially wedded to this worldview. Half of white Catholics also cited lack of effort — read: laziness — rather than difficult circumstances as the primary reason why people are poor. Less than a third of African-American Christians agree.[7]
What is the solution? It seems that politics dreches one in muck and distorts our view of the world, obscuring Christ's clear teachings. Shall we declare politics  too worldly for Christians? That would also be to ignore human suffering. Ignoring people's pain is to ignore Jesus' teaching. I think the only remedy is the litmus test "is your political stand based upon your own wordly comfort?" Only if we are willing to give and to get out of the comfort zone can we obey the gospel.

Notes:

[1] Phil Zuckerman and Dan Cady, "Why Evangelcals Hate Jesus,"Huffpost, (03/03/2011 10:11 am ET Updated May 25, 2011) https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-evangelicals-hate-jes_b_830237

[2] Ibid.

[3]Sean Mcelwee, "5 ways Fundamentalsts Mistreat the Bile ," Salon, (AUGUST 6, 2013) https://www.salon.com/2013/08/06/when_fundamentalists_get_liberal_about_the_bible_partner/

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6]John Gehring, "What is Wrpg woth White Chrstians?" Religion News Service, (August 10, 2017). https://religionnews.com/2017/08/10/what-is-wrong-with-white-christians/

[7] Ibid

30 comments:

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Yep. It's always baffling to me when their theology seems to come down to pissing all over the least of these.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

well said man.

JBsptfn said...

That is why I have left politics behind. People say to vote for the lesser of two evils. I am a Christian. I don't support evil.

Anonymous said...

Leave it alone.
This is nothing more than political mud slinging using a self righteous religious self reference as some kind of bullshit yardstick.
Why don’t you just start a political blog and cut to the chase . Dragging Jesus Christ into your rantings about politics is nothing more than blasphemy in its highest degree . Remove that massive log from your own eye first . It’s sad and pathetic Joe , give it up .

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Hypocritical bull shit! Nazi asshole fundies condemn the world to hell and keep kids in cages and that's Godly, why? because they are conservative; you can christianize and sacrolize anything conservative, drop napalm on children, keep kids in cages, cut off little girl's heads to scare away liberal voters, murder 50,000 Indians and call the demons and say they are not even human that's all Godly and God loves it. But speak up for one defenseless person and you are a communist. hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Stop Joe. I’m trying to help you. You are so consumed with politics that it is distorting any sense of rational that you may have . Look at your reply above , it’s so far away from a measured thoughtful response that it makes one wonder where your head is at . If you need to infuse your blog with political rants against perceived enemy’s then just start a political blog and cut to the chase
. One can very easily take your condemnations of others who claim Christ as a good reason for their atheism .
Matthew 7:1

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Stop Joe. I’m trying to help you. You are so consumed with politics that it is distorting any sense of rational that you may have .

Utter bull shit! First, why should we allow the right wing to politicize Christianity we don't dare speak out because that is getting political? Secondly there is nothing wrong with political analyses.


Look at your reply above , it’s so far away from a measured thoughtful response that it makes one wonder where your head is at .


I AM trying to help you grow a brain. Now we need to see actual evidence of your statement not just opinionated BS.


If you need to infuse your blog with political rants against perceived enemy’s then just start a political blog and cut to the chase

In other words you are a Trump supporter. Why don't you defend his positions?. So far you have said nothing to indicates that your views are meaningful.


One can very easily take your condemnations of others who claim Christ as a good reason for their atheism .


The evangelicals have sold out the gospel in exchange or political power. you have bought into it. You can' even see what they are doing. moreover this is called metacrock's blog not theology blog. "intellectual reflection on faith AND LIFE." politics is part o life. Now why don't you look at my back pages at the hundreds of purely theological pieces I've done

Matthew 7:1

Anonymous said...

Christianity has always and always will be politicized. The idea that one set of people have monetized the discourse to suit their political persuasions is laughable . Leave it alone . When you go slinging mud you get your hands dirty also
Luke 6:37

Anonymous said...

That should say “ monopoly “

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Christianity has always and always will be politicized. The idea that one set of people have monetized the discourse to suit their political persuasions is laughable . Leave it alone . When you go slinging mud you get your hands dirty also
Luke 6:37

That is a self contradictory statement. You admit it is politicized but if that does not mean "one set of people have monetized the discourse to suit their political persuasions" it means nothing.

Anonymous said...

It means everybody is at it , including you .
However you have chosen to point fingers at people who lay claim to Jesus Christ but their political persuasions do not meet your approval and therefore they are corrupting the message of the Gospels according to your self righteous diatribe .
Look in the mirror and you will see an hypocrite .
Romans 2:1

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

you are damn right I "have chosen to point fingers at people who lay claim to Jesus Christ but their political persuasions do not meet your approval;" they don't meet with my approval they forsaken the values of the Gospel and advocated a political agenda in place of the gospel. Pat Robertson said Trump sits at the right hand God! Do you have any idea who really sits at the right hand of God?

you narrow minded unthinking hypocritical fascist! You weren't when I agonized over this. You have not read my blog from those days you are making stupid assumptions about me based upon your ignorant fascist ideology.

You are using a double standard the right winger can be a political Christian but not the liberal democrat, You are replacing the gospel with ideology,

Anonymous said...

Sorry Joe but you have lost the plot .
I have given you 3 references from the NT that are explicit in their opposition to your labeling , judgements and condemnations of people who lay claim to Jesus Christ but whose political persuasions are the opposite of yours.
It’s not that difficult to figure this out .
Where do you stop ,and with who, in your condemnations ? At what point is the wheat considered separated from the chaff in your judgements ?
John 8:7

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...






Sorry Joe but you have lost the plot .
I have given you 3 references from the NT that are explicit in their opposition to your labeling , judgements and condemnations of people who lay claim to Jesus Christ but whose political persuasions are the opposite of yours.

Anyone can take verses out of context and that is what you are doing. No passage says you can never call down wayword brothering. Paul called many down for their actions and their beliefs.

take Rom 2:1 --"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things." Nothing in that passages says one can never analyze the values expressed by believer's and discuss how it is being misapplied. That is just what Paul does throughout Galatians. IN fact he says it is being true to the Gospel to point out social inequities in Christian behavior.

Galatians 2:11–13 says: When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray."-- he calls them hypocrites now is he contradicting himself? Or have you misapplied the passage?


these are all different translations of assemble passage from John that says we cam judge.

John 7:24

Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

New Living Translation
Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”

English Standard Version
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

Berean Study Bible
Stop judging by outward appearances, and start judging justly.”

Berean Literal Bible
Do not judge according to appearance, but judge the righteous judgment."


that says do not judge by appeared ad that's what you are doing they go to church they say they are christians that's good enoigh for you. That is surface appearance. That passage says we can judge. I have been called to preach to the wayward to return to the values of the faith you standing in tine way of God's work.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

It’s not that difficult to figure this out .
Where do you stop ,and with who, in your condemnations ? At what point is the wheat considered separated from the chaff in your judgments ?
John 8:7

[7] "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

You have clearly taken that out of context. First of all I have not advocated stoning anyone. I have not condemned anyone. I have not said they are not Christians, I have not said they are going to hell. I merely said the values are getting colored by political ideology. Nor did I say it is only conservatives that do it. WE all all do it. I will make more of a point o that when the book comes out.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Where do you stop ,and with who, in your condemnations ? At what point is the wheat considered separated from the chaff in your judgments ?

the whole of the next chapter deals with with these issues. this passage is part of a chapter in a forth coming book.

Anonymous said...

If the point of the column is to point out how people’s political persuasions distort their religious beliefs that would be fine but the reality is that it is a nothing more than an attack on people who vote different to you using their “ distorted beliefs “ as some kind of barometer that one begets the other . This is a form of yellow journalism and does nothing more than fan the flames of hate and division amongst people . We are all sinners in the eyes of God and he will be the one that judges , not you .

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

I have every right to critique and criticize right wingers who turn belief in Christ into a republican propaganda machine. You are sore because you cat use your belief to bully political opposition.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

We are all sinners in the eyes of God and he will be the one that judges , not you .

Pat Robertson tried to tell us Trump sits at the right hand of God. You would never judge his Christianity but you try to judge mine.

Anonymous said...

No , I’ve never questioned your beliefs , I don’t even know what they are .
I’ve questioned your “ polemic “ linking a set of political persuasions to some ill defined broad brush strokes of people who you judge to be claiming to be “ Christians” but their actions betray that belief . I’ve posted 4 refs from the NT that are explicit in their opposition to the categorizing and labeling that you have laid out in your column and subsequent reply’s . Your fixation on Pat Robertson for one , as if he represents anything but himself speaks volumes .
For equity , why don’t you post some observations on “ Christians” who share your political viewpoints and bludgeon the gospels with a ferocity of humanism every day as they justify their actions with religious words scavenged from the NT .

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

No , I’ve never questioned your beliefs , I don’t even know what they are .
I’ve questioned your “ polemic “ linking a set of political persuasions to some ill defined broad brush strokes of people who you judge to be claiming to be “ Christians” but their actions betray that belief .


Where do you come off stating it's ill defined when I clearly stated
"And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of corporate greed and capitalistic excess, and they are the most opposed to institutional help for the nation’s poor — especially poor children. They hate anything that smacks of “socialism,” even though that is essentially what their Savior preached. They despise food stamp programs, subsidies for schools, hospitals, job training — anything that might dare to help out those in need. Even though helping out those in need was exactly what Jesus urged humans to do.[2] Examples of co opted values, according to Sean Mcelwee, include:"



I’ve posted 4 refs from the NT that are explicit in their opposition to the categorizing and labeling that you have laid out in your column and subsequent reply’s . Your fixation on Pat Robertson for one , as if he represents anything but himself speaks volumes .

No they are not. No passage said that. I blew you away on those, you aren't very well read. Just read again what I said your points are wrong. No passage you quoted said one cannot compare words to actions and make a judgment I quoted passage stating we must judge. YOU ARE WRONG! YOU HAVE BEEN PROVEN WRONG


For equity , why don’t you post some observations on “ Christians” who share your political viewpoints and bludgeon the gospels with a ferocity of humanism every day as they justify their actions with religious words scavenged from the NT .

The ignorance of your political views are showing, I already covered that." Nor did I say it is only conservatives that do it. WE all all do it. I will make more of a point of that when the book comes out."

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

notice that last point I already said "Nor did I say it is only conservatives that do it. WE all all do it. I will make more of a point o that when the book comes out."

Anonymous said...

You are only parroting what I wrote “everybody is at it “. If you truly grasped that then you wouldn’t have penned your column to begin with . Your intent is obvious , you want to smear and denigrate people who have different views on politics and their religious beliefs to your own . You failed . Your column and subsequent posts only put the spotlight on your own failings with your judgmental and derision of people who think differently to you .
Matthew 5:22

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

What is obvious is that You know I am right, you sold out the Lord and you sold out America and now you want impunity for those who sold out. God is calling the church to repentance. Go argue with him.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Liberals have also allowed politics to distort their view of the gospel, But their politics have not had the disastrous result of the fundi support or Trump has had. No liber kept kids in cages.

Anonymous said...

As I have said , you have lost the plot Joe .

Several 2014 photos of detained immigrant children in cages went viral in May, and former Obama administration officials rushed to offer explanations.

There is nothing more to say , your words are your own indictment .

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

That is an old lie that was shot down years ago. Notice reader he spots his lie and runs way without hearing the answer. Congressmen saw first hand.

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/10/30/500-000-kids-30-million-hours-trump-s-vast-expansion-of-child-detention

But new data shows that over the last four years, detention times lengthened as the number of children held at the border soared to almost half a million. The detentions, which include both unaccompanied children and children with their families, peaked last year at over 300,000, with 40 percent held longer than the 72-hour limit set by a patchwork of legislation and a court settlement.


Washington post "Democracy in darkness
By
Nick Miroff
October 23, 2020 at 12:

To defend taking immigrant kids from their parents, Trump blamed Biden

Biden responded by stating, correctly, that the Obama administration did not systematically separate parents from their children at the border, a practice that generated such backlash that the first lady and Trump’s daughter Ivanka joined the groundswell of people who pressured him to end it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/us/politics/fact-check-trump-family-separation.html

WHAT PRESIDENT TRUMP SAID

“President Obama had separation. I’m the one that brought them together.”
— in remarks to reporters on Wednesday

False.
Mr. Trump’s immigration policies were in the news again on Wednesday with the administration’s release of a regulation that would allow it to detain indefinitely migrant families who cross the border illegally.

Questioned about the new policy, which is sure to be challenged in court, Mr. Trump continued his pattern of blaming “loopholes,” nonexistent laws and former presidents for his own administration’s practice of separating migrant families who cross illegally. President Barack Obama, in particular, has been wrongly cast as the instigator of the practice by Mr. Trump at least two dozen other times.

Under Mr. Trump, the Justice Department announced its “zero-tolerance policy” for illegally entering the United States in April 2018, describing it as “new” and in response to an increase in unauthorized border crossings that spring.

The policy called for the criminal prosecution of everyone who enters the country illegally. As a result, nearly 3,000 children were forcibly separated from adult family members who were detained under the new policy, which multiple top Trump officials have characterized as a deterrent.

Mr. Trump signed an executive order in June 2018 that was meant to end the practice of family separation.

While previous administrations did break up families, it was rare — for example, in cases in which there was doubt about the familial relationship between a child and an accompanying adult, according to former officials and immigration experts.

“Nothing like what the Trump administration is doing has occurred before,” Sarah Pierce of the Migration Policy Institute told The New York Times last year.

Mr. Trump’s aides and political allies have misleadingly claimed a 1997 consent decree known as the Flores settlement necessitated family separation. That court agreement limited how long the government could hold migrant children and set standards for their care.

After a surge of families from Central America began arriving at the United States’ southwestern border in 2014, the Obama administration opened family detention centers. That prompted criticism and more lawsuits, which argued that the move had breached the Flores settlement by not releasing children swiftly.

In 2016, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals ruled that the Flores

tinythinker said...

Well, as I said to someone else familiar with old school CARM, it's like all of that nonsense has gone mainstream among the evangelical conservatives and those who follow Fox News/QAnon. Thought I could just log off from that website and leave all of the mind-killing ignorance and warped values behind but it's just everywhere now...

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

hey Tiny great tp see you stick around, man!