August 23, 2006

The Left's Nightmare

*resposted from Rightwingsparkle from January '06

The one thing that astounded me when talking to the protestors outside Justice Sunday II was the fact that they were convinced that the religious right wanted a theocracy. Surfing around the leftwing blogs I find similar ridiculous beliefs about religious conservatives. Things like the belief that we hate anyone who disagrees with us or that we want some sort of forced religion in the schools or that we would want women who had abortions to go to jail. Consider the reaction to "The Chronicles of Narnia" as pointed out in this article:

"The novelist Phillip Pullman has described CS Lewis' original book as 'one of the most ugly, poisonous things I have ever read'. With the zeal of a veteran cultural crusader Polly Toynbee of the UK Guardian cut straight to the chase: 'Narnia represents everything that is most hateful about religion.'

The author continues:

The liberal elite's obsession with the insidious threat posed by faith-based films is paralleled by its paranoia about the religious right. Anti-religious crusaders, in particular in the US, continually exaggerate the influence of Christianity in culture and politics. Every time I visit America, this fear seems to have worsened. Raising the alarm about Christian fundamentalists has become a taken-for-granted affectation among those who define themselves as liberal or left-wing, who are forever telling horror stories about the power of the religious right."

Look at, whose entire web page is one long scream "The sky is falling! The sky is falling! And the religious is making it fall!!" On it's front page it quotes D. James Kennedy, Pastor of Coral Ridge Ministries as saying "Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."

Pastor who? Quoting some unknown pastor as representing the religious right is like quoting your college Marxist professor and saying he represents the left in this country.

Then it has this "chilling" warning:

"Today's hard right seeks total dominion. It's packing the courts and rigging the rules. The target is not the Democrats but democracy itself."

It would be funny if I didn't hear pretty much the same thing from leftwing bloggers and even commenters here. It's delusional.

I have lived in 8 different cities. I have attended church in each one. I have never met any Christians that even begin to look anything like the ones the left have nightmares about. I haven't seen anything but compassion for those caught up in sin. My Church has 85 ministries that serve the poor, those in prison, the elderly, and those in crisis pregnancy. There are support groups for those with substance abuse problems, those divorced, widowed, and just about anything else that people have to deal with.

When I lived in Dallas I was a part of a prayer group where women reached out to each other with such love that there was hardly a time I didn't leave there shaken from crying. Crying for those who were suffering and crying for the outpouring of love that was given for the person suffering.

Think about it. If Churches really were like the left likes to paint them, then no one would join, would they? What makes people come to a Church? If there was nothing but hell and judgment being given out, then the church wouldn't last long.

The truth is the religious right is just like anyone else. We care about our children. We want a better society. We see too much that has gone wrong. We see a political agenda being forced on us that contradicts our values. Are we not free to fight for our values as well? Whether one is on the right or left, we both fight for what we want our society to be. The left may fight for abortion rights, gay marriage, and less defense spending. Just as the right will fight for unborn rights, against pornography, and a stronger military. But both sides have a right to fight.

Not believing in God doesn't make you unpatriotic, but believing that those who do believe in God don't have a right to have a say in our government does.

Posted by Rightwingsparkle at August 23, 2006 02:30 PM

i agree with you in this matter, but please be aware that though you are not familiar with D. James Kennedy, he IS a well-respected, nationally well-known pastor & authored an evangelistic-training series in the 1970s that became very influential in how evangelism is & was done.

I realize that you did not belittle him. But you cannot use the argument that he is hardly known.

Kennedy is not pastor over all believers, & in that respect you are correct he does not represent us all.

You might want to change your article just a little in order to keep from demonstrating ignorance of this brother & his calling.

Nice job, nice article. Keep it up

Posted by: me at August 23, 2006 04:31 PM

Just a friendly tip from a "right wing religious nut" but D. James Kennedy is not some "unknown pastor. In evangelical circles he's VERY widely known and has about the same name recognition as the ever-hated Jerry Falwell.
In that respect, the detractors at theocracywatch have shown a bit more savvy than you did in your response. At any rate, I agree with you and they're still wrong: trying to reclaim your culture NON-VIOLENTLY through evangelism and outreach is 180% out of phase different than slicing heads off on video to intimidate the masses into your faith. While the theocracy watch hand-wringers are screaming in fear at Christians, they seem to be missing the Jihadi next door.

Posted by: Stephen D Oliver at August 23, 2006 06:44 PM

Ok, ok I will trust you that he is well known in evangelical circles, but that doesn't represent the religious right. I am a member of the largest Christian Church in the world (The Catholic Church with over a billion members) and I doubt hardly any of us know him at all. I asked a few protestant friends around here if they had heard of him and they said no. So, even if he is well known in some religious circles he certainly doesn't represent us, which was my point.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle at August 23, 2006 07:05 PM

I got you but you have to understand that the "Religious Right" as historically used did not typically include Catholics, at least not as it was originally conceived. And I'm not saying that to be offensive! You'll remember that it came about after the rise of the Moral Majority which was largely a Protestant movement. Before that, a lot of Protestants had checked out of the political scene. Not saying that Catholics weren't heavily represented, especially in the Pro-life movement, but in my 20 years watching politics (not that I'm some kind of expert), "Religious Right" has been a pejorative term aimed mostly at folks like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham, C. Everett Koop, Francis Schaeffer, ALL the Bible Belters, and yes, (LOL) D. James Kennedy.
I've been heavily involved in Evangelicalism for almost a quarter century now and I can tell you, there isn't a SINGLE large Evangelical Church in the Seattle area that I couldn't just pop in and say "Who knows D. James Kennedy?" where I wouldn't get a majority of hands. I don't know what to say about your evangelical friends not knowing of him. In fact, if your friends have ever heard of the big "Evangelism Explosion" outreach program that was huge in the late 70's early 80's, then they've at least seen his efforts.
Anyways, no need to haggle but I just thought I'd add my two cents because like myself, and the commenter before me, I'm betting it leaves a lot of Evangelicals scratching their heads when you say, "No name" and "D. James Kennedy" in the same sentence and they lose your overall point. I totally agree that no one person represents the Religious Right (and he doesn't claim to). The Left just likes to say stuff like that to belittle us. I would say he is a GOOD EXAMPLE of what they call the Religious Right. Ok I'm done nitpicking! :)

Posted by: Stephen D Oliver at August 24, 2006 12:26 PM

The left may fight for abortion rights, gay marriage, and less defense spending. Just as the right will fight for unborn rights, against pornography, and a stronger military. But both sides have a right to fight.

I have a real hard time with juxtaposing gay marriage and fighting against pornography. How can the desire that two people have to enter into a loving union be compared with the filth that is pornography? As a straight, happily married person, I cannot understand how religious conservatives can possibly feel that other people wanting to express their commitment to one another jeopardizes marriage. I guess I will never get it.

Posted by: Jill Armstrong at August 25, 2006 08:17 AM

I have a post over at my Houston Chronicle blog that explains my feelings on gay marriage:

Ok, the comment thing won't let me put the link in, so google "TexasSparkle gay marriage" and you will get my post. Thanks!

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle at August 25, 2006 04:13 PM

The Religious Right is an enviroment where the most extreme views and the loudest shouting are heard best. It gives them a reputation problem. While there may be hundreds of thousands of polite, moderate and concerned people in it... from outside, it is the Phelpes, the biblical creationists, and such that get the attention.

Posted by: Suricou Raven at August 26, 2006 08:20 AM

Suricuo Raven,

You are aware that Phelps is a Democrat, right? And that his son gave a fundraiser for Al Gore during his Presidential campaign.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle at August 26, 2006 11:09 AM

I wasn't aware, and considering his political views, there is no way I am going to believe that he is. Ive heard a few people suggest he may be a plant to reduce the credability of the religious right, but he has far too many followers for that... no plant would bring their entire family in.

I only mentioned Phelps because he is a well-known example of a Christian with extreme views. He is far from the only one. Hunt, for example, said that Harry Potter must be banned because it teaches children to summon demons. Even the more well-known and popular representatives are often a bit crazy - just look at some of the things Robertson has said over the years. Then there are the creationists I mentioned - those are so ridiculed by the more educated subset of the population, just being near them is bad for credability. The clearly puritanical introduce a problem, because they make judgements suspect: On many issues, even the most careful arguements of religious organisations will be dismised on the grounds that they probably just dont want people to have sex and any other reasons given are an excuse. Abstinance-only education, pornography, gay marriage...

Posted by: Suricou Raven at August 28, 2006 04:30 AM

I bought Kevin Phillips' AMERICAN THEOCRACY. Boy, was I disappointed. It was advertised as an expose about a well-entrenched group of true believers who want to use the power of the State to force obedience to their irrational dogma. I thought it was about liberals!

Posted by: Bilwick at August 31, 2006 02:27 PM