The Evangelical Manifesto

This week a group of scholars and theologians released the “Evangelical Manifesto” at the National Press Club. It is a … Continued

This week a group of scholars and theologians released the “Evangelical Manifesto” at the National Press Club. It is a thoughtful, ambitious, if somewhat uneven, treatise and I wonder if the decision to premiere the document in Washington D.C. was necessarily a wise one.

It might have received a more serious reading (which it deserved) had it been unveiled at Wheaton or Taylor, or some other Evangelical college of distinction. After all, a doctrinally freighted statement like, “All too often we have been seduced by the shaping power of the modern world, exchanging a costly grace for convenience,” is not the type of claim that most journalists are equipped to assess without calling their contacts at the local seminary.

It is perhaps for this reason that media coverage of the text focused on the desire of the group to “depoliticize” faith or “take religion out of politics.” I think it’s a bit more complex than that. In fact, it’s a lot more complex than that and the lesson to theologians and intellectuals should be clear: if you willfully insert your message into the meat grinder of the national media it will come out unappetizingly reprocessed.

The Manifesto strikes me as much more a statement about the plight of contemporary Evangelicalism than a treatise on politics. In the following short and brutally incomplete contribution (which I hope to continue in my next post), I want to identify some of the themes I see in this text with special attention to how they interface with what we are encountering this election season.

*******

To begin with, I am increasingly noticing a tremendous upswing in what we might call “critical self-awareness” in Evangelical America. Many are forthrightly acknowledging that others may justifiably view their political initiatives with great suspicion.

Now, one of the ticks of Evangelical theology is an all-pervading sense of sinfulness. This has interacted with the aforementioned image concerns in a most interesting (and helpful) way. For, the Manifesto recognizes that mistakes have been made and must be rectified (may New Atheists follow their self-critical example).

Does this mean that the Manifesto counsels the full-scale evacuation of Evangelicals from politics? I think the answer here is no. Rather it wants to disassociate Evangelicalism from political partisanship.

The document it is not endorsing the type of flight from this world which Fundamentalists famously (and perhaps disastrously) executed in the aftermath of the Scopes Trial. Instead, it advises the maintenance of a cautious, independent and critical attitude towards American party politics.

For these reasons it decries the tendency of Evangelicals to become “useful idiots” for either the Republicans or Democrats. In its own words: “we are fully engaged in public affairs, but never completely equated with any party, partisan ideology, economic system, class, tribe, or national identity.”

The reference to national identity is fascinating as the document takes pains to view Evangelicalism as a global movement.We are therefore a small part,” it opines, “of a far greater worldwide movement that is both forward looking and outward reaching.” This explicit embrace of the international dimensions of Evangelicalism stands in stark contrast to the America-First, ultra-patriotism of the Religious Right.

This leads me to another important point. The authors of the Manifesto clearly want to give Fundamentalists the old heave-ho. They write: “Fundamentalism has become an overlay on the Christian faith and developed into an essentially modern reaction to the modern world. As a reaction to the modern world, it tends to romanticize the past, some now-lost moment in time, and to radicalize the present, with styles of reaction that are personally and publicly militant to the point where they are sub-Christian.”

It follows that a strong internal reaction against the rhetoric, tactics and policies of these sub-Christians is discernible (though the text is a bit muddled as to whether Conservative Evangelicals deserve sub-Christian status as well).

As such, it is not surprising to find that many Evangelicals want to diversify the “issues palette” beyond abortion and gays. (This does not mean, however, that they are necessarily pro-Choice or affirming of gay people).

I noticed this tendency at last month’s Compassion Forum. In a similar vein the Manifesto refers to the environment, poverty, the ills of materialism and consumerism, racism, disease, illiteracy, the importance of science, the importance of the arts, and so on.

In sum, its marching orders are not “turn your back on D.C./Babylon!” but “approach D.C./Babylon as a follower of Jesus Christ, not as a Republican or Democrat.” Politics, argues the Manifesto, is a necessary, but not sufficient, vehicle for the improvement of the Evangelical soul.

(For more information about religion and the candidates check out Faith 2008 by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs.)

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
May 9, 2008; 4:01 AM ET


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  • angelo

    Does their document clarify the distinction between what sins should be the basis of secular laws and which shouldn’t?We’re all sinners but we’re not all criminals. What does, say, abortion being a sin have to do with its legal status?The majority of press coverage of Evangelicals combines a New Testament doctrine of sin with Old Testament rules of law. Those don’t even mix as theology let alone jurisprudence. To say nothing of the sins the bible writers could never have thought of, like Enron or environmental degradation.If you don’t like homosexuality, ask the gays to repent.

  • James R. Pool

    We should not take this manifesto too seriously. After all the son of a recycled Pagan god should not dictate our values or political direction.

  • BGone

    What a novel idea, “take religion out of politics.”??Next thing ya know they’ll think of “the separation of church and God.”"Patent on God denied. Patent on Devil granted. Keep him. We don’t need him…”Wasn’t that gracious of the hoax buster to give religion the Devil? We certainly don’t want anyone to be president that doesn’t believe in Devil do we?“Take religion out of politics” is a brand new idea, only a few hundred years old. Giving them the Devil doesn’t have anything to do with it does it?

  • Daniel A Turner

    I applaud the thinking and the compassion that the Manifesto represents. As a evangelical liberal (that is not contradictory!)United Methodist, we have long held that a person’s theology may be conservative and his politics liberal or vice versa.I also believe its time not only to rescue the American political system and patriotism from “the religious right, but time to rescue the term “evangelical” from the religious right, conservatives and fundamentalist. The Evangelical Movement began with the Reformation, includes the denominations of the great Wesleyan Revival and the American Awakening. The “good news of Jesus Christ” belongs to no poltical party.

  • willandjansdad

    If only this manifesto was the template for American Christianity…We non-Christians might take them a bit more seriously. Too often modern American Christianity looks like litte more than a prostitute to certain political ideologies.

  • dcp

    I just wanted to say that as an evangelical, I don’t feel that either the Republican or Democrat party represents my ideals. Neither do I feel that either Republican or Democrat politicians model “Christian values” better than the other. Politics by nature involves the effort of using people to gain personal power. What one plans on doing with said power is to be judged by God. And one has to ask the question of whether God’s will can be stifled by whomever is in a position of power on earth. He’s God, isn’t He? How can man’s efforts stop the will of Almighty God anyway?

  • Mauri

    To use David Brooks’ phrase, the Republican brand is now “so badly damaged” that any group associated with it will be pulled down with it. This is not good news for Evangelicals many of whom have hitched their wagon to the falling Republican star with its siren song of militarism, security, debt, and unending war. Is it any wonder that there is some rethinking of their political affiliations? When the president who has become the de facto political-spiritual leader of the Christian right has a strong disapproval rating of %56, it is finally obvious to some that it is time to back away from politics.

  • Hello Prof. Berlinerblau

    angelo:Does their document clarify the distinction between what sins should be the basis of secular laws and which shouldn’t?I don’t think that’s necessary. Sin is our separation from God and therefore by definition follows the laws of God, which are higher than any secular law you could come up with. In any society, however, Christians should obey the authority of the government as Jesus said to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to give God what is God’s. The Christian should pay the government its due and obey its legislations. But when the two come into direct conflict — God’s law is always the one to follow for the Christian.Your questions presumed a divided faith, which is no faith at all. Hope this clarifies.

  • Gavin082

    It always amazes me that almost all major changes in religious organizations are not dictated by changes in scripture (obviously) or changes in God, but in an effort to maintain power/relevance in the secular world.It’s as if Evangelical leaders said ‘Oh, crap! Abortion and Gays and Republican politics aren’t working anymore!’ and decided that if they wanted to remain an influential force in America, they’d have to make radical changes.If the Bible is truly the perfect and unchanging word of God, either what they were doing before the change was ‘wrong’ or what they’re doing now is ‘wrong.’ So much for believing in Biblical inerrancy.For Evangelicals, as with all worldly organizations, in times of crisis it will be worldly concerns that drive change.

  • Steven

    Thanks for the article.I’ve enjoyed watching this political process as a citizen, and feel at least a little twinge of justice served when I see such a “manifesto” declared at such a political time, and within a purely political framework.It’s telling to me that the American voting public has made itself clear to the likes of candidates who are willing to declare it “easier to change the constitution than God’s laws,” or who boldly hold up their hands when Chris Matthews asks “who doesn’t believe in evolution,” to discern where secular politics ends and religious zealotry begins (to the peril of our intellect and secular freedoms.)However, like you suggest, I don’t for a minute believe “it’s over” in regard to political pandering by God’s own. Those gears are spinning as I write. I agree that the “manifesto” is a way to dis-associate oneself from the negative baggage that has come from 7 years of “values voters” mentality, but I think it’s being done of political expediency instead of some virtuous epiphany about the grace of God.Heaven help us as the next several months become all about “patriotism” or “inexperience.”

  • Bill Heatley

    The Evangelical Manifesto is a brilliant document that challenges all of us about a number of critical topics and issues – religion, politics and the public fourum – just to name a few. The document calls for our continued right to civil discourse in the public arena on topics of great import. The irony that Mr. Berlinerblau wants to assign the documents release to an Evangelical setting and not a public/political setting isn’t lost on this reader nor is the bemoaning of journalists needing help in understanding simple statements that they choose to write about. The issue at hand isn’t the correctness of the Manifesto, the question is, are we able to civilly, intelligently and with good-will discuss the topics and issues that it raises in a manner that informs, educates and confirms the good within our society. Is our culture, our society, strong enough, intelligent enough, good enough to dialogue on difficult and important matters. Are we able to love and respect those that we disagree with?

  • rb-freedom-for-all

    So if your against abortion don’t have one!Radical fundamentalism does not give you the right to impose your views on someone who has carefully considered their options and chosen to elect a medical procedure that is legal under our Constitution. Although you may view abortion as murder, other people don’t agree and imposing your viewpoint on others (and trampling their civil rights in the process) is not christian, much less democratic!If you believe having an abortion is murder, then for you it is! Don’t get one! But leave other people alone. You are not justified judging others by your religious beliefs. Isn’t that obvious?

  • ANGELO

    Hello Prof. Berlinerblau:angelo:Does their document clarify the distinction between what sins should be the basis of secular laws and which shouldn’t?I don’t think that’s necessary. Sin is our separation from God and therefore by definition follows the laws of God, which are higher than any secular law you could come up with. ————————————————–

  • TJ

    It has been incredible to watch a group so utterly marginalize themselves. It’s equally amusing to watch them try to dress their self-inflicted wounds.The manifesto is a start and I applaud it, but it’s going to take decades of action, not pages of words, to undo the damage that they have done to themselves, this country, and the world at large.Want to be taken seriously evangelicals? Earn it.

  • Paganplace

    Well, TJ, it won’t heal the wounds done to to others and our nation in general, either, *but,* Well, to me, what I’ve heard of this makes it sound like a heartfelt and considered statement of a very respectable intent. I suppose we’ll see how it plays out, but for now, I welcome it, and I’ll say it’s just the kind of engagement I’d hope to see from the evangelical Christians of this pluralistic nation. While I believe religion should have a limited role in the public square, that doesn’t mean that I think *Christians* ought to be excluded, as people who want to hijack the government for Fundamentalist and partisan purposes insist while trying to exclude everyone else. Maybe it’s a bit guarded, (suppose I should read the whole thing, for one,) but for starters, I feel like saying to these guys, ‘Welcome back to America.’ :)

  • TJ

    I agree and feel the same way PaganPlace. From my point of view, I extend the ‘welcome back’ too and add the following:”You’ve got a tough row to hoe so… get to hoeing. Take this manifesto, which I have read.. it’s good, and parley it into concrete results.”Despite my terse and probably-too-frank demeanor, I’m actually a hopeful individual. I think they can do a lot to heal, although not undo of course, the wounds they have caused. I’m standing on the sidelines rooting them on.

  • TJ

    Baby steps Steven, baby steps. Time and action will tell the tale. Let’s hope for the best from them and, as always, prepare for the worst from them.You write: “The only answer I come up with is this: welcome back as a secular citizen.”This isn’t small potatoes.I find the manifesto encouraging for two main reasons.1. These authors have realized that they have a problem and felt compelled to write a manifesto about it.2. They are realizing, and in effect admitting, that the gullibility that their faith requires makes them easy VERY easy candidates for manipulation.

  • Steven

    TJHowever, after having read the thing myself it appears to me to be a device primarily for self-preservation, and besides a few references to doing good works, serves mainly as a recipe to re-define what it is to be Evangelical.And as far as the fear of being manipulated, what of a “manifesto” to bring the whole concept to fruition. Does someone really need to tell me what I believe, if I’m a believer? (But that question does a dis-service to the Apostles and Nicene Creed as well.)I’m afraid I’ll have to sit this one out on the sidelines, as you suggest. However, I’m not holding my breath.

  • TJ

    Steven writes: “And as far as the fear of being manipulated, what of a “manifesto” to bring the whole concept to fruition. Does someone really need to tell me what I believe, if I’m a believer?”Consider the nature of the believers. :)

  • Aquarius

    “The sanctity of every human life” is important enough for evangelicals to condemn the “killing of the unborn”.Or is it a case of “kissing Judases – Christians who betray Jesus with an interpretation”?

  • Aquarius

    (this sounded like I’m against abortion, which I am not)

  • Paganplace

    Well, Steven, they ain’t actually *sat down* to a peace pipe, yet, they’re just talking. Sure there’s likely an element of trying to put a fresh velvet glove on what they been hitting us with all this time, to replace one that got all frayed from al the bashing, but, we’ll see, won’t we?

  • Sam

    “All too often we have been seduced by the shaping power of the modern world, exchanging a costly grace for convenience,” This line is difficult to interpret is it? Here let me translate. Evangelicals made the mistake of the century by trading a their support of an illegal invasion of Iraq for the chance to get a couple of supreme court justices on the bench that are sympathetic to their insane cause. And after their deal with the devil the devil gave them the shaft. They are admitting that theists are easily duped. Gee, do you think?

  • boyscout

    No need for a Manifesto. The children of God will inherit this world soon. Everything else will burn out. Is that hard to understand. The prophecy is about to happen sooner than you expected.Get use to it. We’re not going anywhere. “This is my Father’s world”. All the rest are squatters and the Father is about to claim his right to this world.

  • Seala

    And you know this how? Boyscout. Reminds me of the AOG pastor who traveled New Zealand saying exactly the same thing. All the signs were there and God had sent himand his team to prepare Christians as Jesus was coming to reclaim His world within the next 5 years. That was 1n 1978

  • Steven

    PaganPlace,I’m with you on the invitation to Christians who aren’t ready for Armageddon (for example see Boyscout’s note,) and in fact these reasonable citizens are the people who run Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and many are card-carrying ACLU members. I extend my thanks, my hand and my money to them. They are NOT the people saluted in the manifesto–in fact they are specifically vilified in it.But my suspicion about the timing of this manifesto is that it coincides with the upcoming election ferver where we’ll begin again to hear about “evil” people and nations, “values voters,” and the proclamation of hyper-”patriotism” as a virtue, and I’m sure the “moral abyss” that will describe people who promote withdrawal from Iraq. Evangelicals don’t want to have to take the flack again from the highly verbal God-speakers, because they’ve appreciated the public image that the last 7 years has wrought.

  • Thomas Baum

    BOYSCOUTYou wrote, “”This is my Father’s world”. All the rest are squatters and the Father is about to claim his right to this world.”Do you think that Almighty God became one of us just for some real estate?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • TJ

    Boyscout writes: “No need for a Manifesto. The children of God will inherit this world soon.”Could you quantify ‘soon’ for me?

  • Mauri

    Quote from the Manifesto: Evangelicals “are fully engaged in public affairs, but never completely equated with any party, partisan ideology, economic system, class, tribe, or national identity”I’m sorry but this statement seems false given what has happened in the past seven years. The authors may be pleading with other Evangelicals not to make such an identification. But the dye has been cast. It is too late. Evangelicals are perceived as deeply identified with the conservative political establishment. It will take decades to change that strong association. I admire the author’s attempt to break this connection which has corrupted many churches by turning them into “political action committees”.

  • longtimewatcher

    Sub-Christians? Sounds like what I have been calling Anti-Christians for a long time.Support for war and torture, cutting programs for the poor while supporting consolidation of wealth; these are positions that seem so patently UN-Christian as to not need proving.I am finally seeing those who think that the New Testament is the basis of Christianity push back against those who replace love with righteousness.When we see that atheists are more likely to reject torture than self-identified Christians, we should see a problem. How can I, raised as a Christian, accept that these are, indeed, Christians? May the dialog become louder. It is long overdue.

  • Steven

    LongTimeWatcherWhile I applaud your observations about conservative Christianity, I do hope you take some inventory of how you’d categorically identified a-theists. Yours is just a long line of bigoted Christian categorization of a-theists as being morally bankrupt.I mean, even “atheists” are against torture–my gosh that’s about as low as the human organism can go–and they (even as low as they are) see the evils of torture…why can’t we…What condescending drivel.

  • longtimewatcher

    Steven, that a-theists are somehow less moral than “Christians” is exactly what I would want to refute.They are the ones who promote tolerance and equality in our society. But atheists do not conduct themselves as “God” or Jesus tells them to do. They have no moral imperative other than what they choose.That people who HAVE a moral imperative are more immoral than those without should be a source of embarrassment to religious people in general.I am proud of atheists. No one told them they had to show love, and yet they do, and more so than self professed “Christians.” I understand and accept your criticism. But, if I risk being condescending to any, I think it is to the Anti-Christians.

  • TJ

    Good observations Longtimewatcher. As an atheist, I don’t find your comments condescending in the least. I find them to be lucid and refreshing.

  • mattr

    I believe there is no solution here. Interpretations of the Bible, the Koran and the Torah are as varied as the fish in the sea. Anger, intolerance and hatred seem to be common themes that arise from these interpretations. I can see this in history and in the comments of this blog. A manifesto from any source is only as good as the paper on which it is written therefore it does little to resolve these arguments. Mankind has allowed these documents and their related arguments to lead him to a self destructive path. I doubt mankind’s ability to find a common theology, least of all, a philosophy of hope, faith (in man or God, take your pick) and love. What the earth needs is a periodic scouring; whether by war or nature, this seems to be important for our moral and intellectual evolution. I would prefer that the next scouring be by nature but I cannot predict what will happen. Since each generation has preached the apocalypse and second coming, I have no faith in anyone who claims it is near.

  • mattr

    I believe there is no solution here. Interpretations of the Bible, the Koran and the Torah are as varied as the fish in the sea. Anger, intolerance and hatred seem to be common themes that arise from these interpretations. I can see this in history and in the comments of this blog. A manifesto from any source is only as good as the paper on which it is written therefore it does little to resolve these arguments. Mankind has allowed these documents and their related arguments to lead him to a self destructive path. I doubt mankind’s ability to find a common theology, least of all, a philosophy of hope, faith (in man or God, take your pick) and love. What the earth needs is a periodic scouring; whether by war or nature, this seems to be important for our moral and intellectual evolution. I would prefer that the next scouring be by nature but I cannot predict what will happen. Since each generation has preached the apocalypse and second coming, I have no faith in anyone who claims it is near.

  • candide

    Evangelicals do not need to be redefined. They remain what they have always been: ignoramuses who believe in writings that are totally fictitious when not noxious and evil.

  • longtimewatcher

    Mattr – Rather than scourging the earth, can we try educating it first? It does seem like educated people are more inclined to look upon their beliefs in the contexts of others’.Candide – Most evangelicals trace their belief to a personal event. I believe education better enables one to put that event in perspective.Change won’t come overnight. Our frustrations may continue for the near future, but your grandchildren and their children may benefit.

  • Paganplace

    ” Steven:”PaganPlace,I suppose you could look at it that way, fairly enough, If that’s what it means, there’s stuff to welcome, there, (again, I ought to read the whole text of the thing carefully, which I’ve been putting off,) …I think the real test will come when we see how Evangelicals make their choices: will they really help out with the substantive problems of the world or yield to the temptation to flag-and-Bible wave and choose to take the easy way out of choosing instead to, say, make life harder for gay people and non-Christians and other outsiders instead. But, I learned early on in my own religious path that if you’d like people to change, you have to *let* them, and I’m very willing to see the better side of Evangelical Americans in play. It’s not like there’s a shortage of good in the world that we could all agree needs doing. It’s not been fun to live in America where it seems so many Evangelicals have been willing to support some really bad stuff, …just to get at people like me and so many of mine. Obviously, by nature, they want to spread their religion, but maybe they’re learning that that desire doesn’t have to mean alienating themselves from people, and trying to impose purely religious tabooes on others who simply believe differently. Much of the negative opinion of Evangelicals, particularly as a media-presented voting block, has really been their own doing, seeming to oppose any progress on issues important to our present and future, while insisting on the right to use our government to *hurt and marginalize people who have committed no crime,* in the process of defending the untrammeled greed of anyone who’ll wave a Bible at them while opposing any responsible measures that might stave off the Apocalypse they seem to yearn for. If a vast body of Evangelicals want to show ‘That ain’t us,’ then they’re most welcome to, even if there’s some generally good-natured eyerolling from we ‘Godless Commie tree-hugging dirt-worshippers’ about the recent change of presentation on environmental issues, like it was their own original idea all along, from folks who’d, yeah, until quite recently almost uniformly seemed to believe that any act of preserving a future for coming generations was ‘worshipping the Creation instead of the Creator’ and all those other excuses. Hard to resist that bit of verbal eyerolling, clearly, despite my stance of ‘Oh, let them, who cares who gets the credit, as long as it gets done.’Still, they’re most welcome. (For a start, this Green thing takes more than burning food crops that presently take as much oil to turn into fuel as you’d use just burning it. But there are other ways to make ethanol, ones agribusiness isn’t so invested in. Mixed prairie grasses, for instance. Speaking of not being ‘useful idiots,’ careful of the greenwashing. Setting up infrastructure and markets for ethanol could prove very useful, but won’t pay off till we find and develop more efficient and responsible *sources* of ethanol. (What, an ‘ecological’ measure the oil-guy *Bush* likes isn’t actually that ‘green,’ but actually preserves oil money while serving already-moneyed corporate interests? Who’d have thought, from the guy who gutted the Clean Air Act and called it ‘Clear skies? ) For starters, ‘Manifesto Evangelicals,’ let’s call you, you could start by demanding research funding for non-food-crop sources of ethanol. (the whole anti-science agenda happens to have pretty conveniently served blocking measures that might lead to new business with new tech, …while the Fundie-GOP alliance never saw a high-tech weapon system they didn’t like, they’ve de facto blocked research into options other than the fuel-and-fertilizer-intensive way to drive up both food and fuel prices we’ve got now. Mixed prairie grasses look pretty good. ) Not to digress, too far, but there’s nuance to a lot of these things, stuff my tribe, relatively few in numbers and all but silenced in government thanks to some pretty fierce marginalization, has many who pay attention to these things. (Not to mention having a tendency to see things as interconnected on levels that a ‘sin and virtue’ mentality doesn’t always. So,if you want to help, Evangelicals, take advantage of some of the diversity out here. :) For starters, though, yeah, it’s pretty recent in human history that people were able to feel that waste and excess don’t have consequences. The idea waste is bad shouldn’t be too unfamiliar. (I think it’s really just that certain ways of thinking just haven’t yet adapted to this much *abundance.* So many of us still live lives that would be the envy of princes of old and still are taught to react with revulsion at the notion that the very wealthy should pay taxes on what they earned using the public infrastructure, which they go on to neglect to line their own pockets, expecting a future to pay for it. Sustainability. That’s the key word. Anyway, pardon the digression, but it’s darn heartening to hear someone with clout wants to help save the world. As so many among Evangelicals have been willing to indict Islamic people for the perception that the rank and file tolerate and tacitly-support extremists, it’s good, too, that there’s finally some real concerted talk of *rebuking the extremists within Christianity.* Hopefully, this is more than ‘image therapy’ now that it’s become impossible to ignore that what was done in their name has gone terribly wrong. I’ll *certainly* welcome that to American public life. And, as a sidebar, don’t let the folks that post here give too much of an impression of what ‘atheism’ is about. Most atheists take their atheism and, …well, don’t come places like this. :)

  • candide

    longtimewatcher: personal event? You mean when the Blue Fairy paid them a visit?

  • Paganplace

    Sorry about the length of the below: I promise, as always, it’s all original words, not cut-and-paste. In my verbosity, I did leave out a point, though:Someone mentioned being suspicious of the timing. I think, the timing is just right. I’d be more suspicious about the ‘image therapy’ aspect if they did it *after* trying to squeeze in one more GOP term to stack the Supreme court with ideologues. Admittedly the timing is about right to angle for an Evangelically-aligned VP on either ticket, (Look close at that Huckabee, btw, he’s more extreme than he comes off) …but it’s also the timing for if they *mean it* about not being used by certain interests. So we’ll see.

  • longtimewatcher

    Candide – yes, something like that, but without the innuendo. :-)Seriously tho, it is their awakening, their phone call from God, so to speak, and it is real to them. I don’t want to denigrate it, and would be inclined to compare it to the vision quest of some of the American Indians.

  • longtimewatcher

    Paganplace – very nice post, although I think that many atheists are concerned about the roll of religion in politics, and do frequent pages such as these.I appreciate your point of view. We are one people, after all, and how we all get along is a measure of our success.

  • Aquarius

    M, well, yeah, all things considered, that manifesto is quite a step forward. Flawed in some respects (in the sense that it contradicts itself in a few places), but otherwise better than the past situation.

  • Paganplace

    Actually, Steven, on atheism, this is interesting:”It’s a re-hash of the philosophical argument of “if God is dead, is everything permitted?”"The belief of certain *monotheists* that ‘If God were dead, everything would be permitted’ is *just that* a projection of a monotheistic (And in many cases Manichean) belief that all goodness, morality *must and can only* come from their God. That’s not what atheists believe in the first place: but when you say this: “I see us all as human beings first, citizens of society second, and holders of certain belief systems third. This is where I think your premise is incorrect at its core.”…Well, that actually sounds like *exactly* what an atheist would say about where their morality comes from. Or have I read your phrasing wrong. :)I do actually take note of your insights on the ‘manifesto,’ here, and the timing: I certainly see a lot of merely trying to distance Evangelical Christianity from what it’s been associated with all along: as you say: but hey, if they wanna say ‘That’s not us,’ well, they’re welcome to become it. :)

  • Aquarius

    Well, I wish it put into perspective beliefs and consequent acts, along a scale. (there could be more)

  • Paganplace

    Well, Aquarius, maybe they could worry about their *own* souls and use government as what helps us live together. I think there’s plenty in that #3 to keep us *all* plenty busy for a while, rather than trying to make an unarticulated superstition that *my* not getting partner benefits or equal protection under the law, or the 2400 special rights and privileges accorded to straight couples …somehow helps keep *their* divorce rate to a ‘mere’ 50 percent. Wow. Who’d have thought there was so much else to be doing? :)If they want to see it in terms of ‘sin,’ well, how about prioritizing the ones that obviously hurt others, and get the government out of the-trying to-rule souls business? Doesn’t really make people more spiritual, that, anyway. Just ‘useful,’ right?Hey, besides, if you don’t like queer people being around, maybe work on getting some of these endocrine disrupting pollutants out of our food supply… I mean, just in case we’re not all ‘choosing sin,’ why throw more developmental dice than you have to when the ‘unborn’ grow an orientation? :) Might help your marriage definitions. *jibe.* :) Meanwhile, big mess out here. Let’s start with like the food and some peace and justice and stuff. :)

  • Steven

    PaganPlace,If it was to imply that I believe human morality to come from a completely human experience, and NOT from an outside diety that either 1) declares things moral and commands us to follow them, or 2) decides which things already out there are indeed moral and which are not and relays that to us in scripture or by some authority figure, you have read me right.I personally believe that morality has evolved and continues to evolve within our species with adaptive pressures from our culture and our place in time, and that folks who believe that there is no place for “moral relativism” haven’t studied their scripture very carefully, or seen how history has dictated they modify their understanding of those scriptures (ie witch burning, genocide, etc.) I was thinking earlier today of how much I learned from Richard Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene.” He makes a pretty good biological case, using many examples, of the reasons that altruistic behaviors are good for the community in general, and for the individual as well. (And he only approaches it from the biological angle in that book.)If, in my relaying to LongTimeWatcher you see a discrepency in the statement that I consider us all first to be members of the human species (and thus suffering from and evolving within and subject to and benefiting from similar and sometimes different culturally-shaped moral frameworks), instead of starting with a premise that those without gods are starting from a framework of “anything goes” (which I believe to be in error) versus those of us with gods who “should know better” (in the context of LongTimeWatcher’s statement about her/his observation relaying disappointment of avowed Christians in moral comparison with atheists), then I’ll need some further clarification of your question.I would be interested, if LongTimeWatcher is still reading, about their take on this issue.

  • Dwight

    followers of Christ do not support abortion.

  • frank burns

    In terms of fundamentalist religions, the indoctrination and relgious inculcation of children should be outlawed. Fundamentalist religions should take place between consenting adults, but have a govenrment mandated protection in terms of minors. It is like Hustler magazine — adults can buy it, because there is freedom of speech, but it is sold in an opaque wrapper, to protect young minds. I include conservative Baptists here — I grew up as one, and can vouch for the insidious and totally unfair pressure and tactics they wage in terms of inculcating the children.

  • candide

    Evangelicals, following Paul as they do and the Gospels, know nothing of the real Jesus. His earliest followers were led by his brother James. They believed in him as the True Prophet sent to restore the corrupted scriptures. He was not considered divine or pre-existant. He died not to be a sacrifice because they abhorred the temple sacrifices and shedding of blood. They disappeared after several centuries in Syria but their beliefs found their way into Islam. Thus, evangelicals can find the real Jesus more in Islam than in their silly redneck Christianity.

  • Paganplace

    Dwight:” Dwight:”followers of Christ do not support abortion.You’re entitled to your own beliefs, you aren’t entitled to your own facts: you don’t have to ‘support’ abortion, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to dictate to others about their own beliefs and lives. The fact that the country is so divided on the issue, should be a pretty clear sign that it should be left up to individuals, not left for one minority to try and get a fifty-one percent vote through to restrict that choice. Just because government doesn’t make abortion illegal and force the desperate into back alleys or poverty or abusive situations, doesn’t mean you have to get one or can’t teach your religious view on it. As for ‘supporting gay choices,’ well, saying it’s a choice is something certain religions say to justify unequal treatment toward others. (certainly there’s a problem here in that religious teachings that claim it’s a ‘sinful choice’ are faced with another one of those cases where reality just contradicts those teachings) Sexual orientation is not a choice, which is something that the science and the experience of GLBT at the least strongly indicate. Gay people having equal rights and privileges and protections under the law to what people in heterosexual couples enjoy isn’t ‘support of a choice’ or ‘special rights,’ …it’s the equality and liberty promised by our Constitution. You can preach that gay marriage makes the Virgin Mary cry or whatever all you want, but it’s simply an *untruth* to claim it’s a ‘choice’ and that people should instead choose to obey your view of your religion. It’s also ridiculous on the face of it that free and equal gay marriage would increase the already-nearly-50 percent divorce rate among Evangelicals, or otherwise ‘degrade marriage.’ No one can reasonably-articulate how this would be, and in fact, states that have had gay marriage a while *still* have the lowest divorce rates in the country. More proof this is a religious taboo you’re trying to enforce, rather than anything the government ought to be showing favoritism to straights over. You ask people to suffer a lot for some vague notion that ‘heterosexual marriage is sacred.’ These are actually places in politics where Evangelicals would probably do *well* to *back off,* and concentrate on helping steer our government toward peace, sanity, justice, and economic and ecological fairness and sustainability, rather than obsessing on ‘punishing sexual sin’ as you have. It’s not ‘supporting’ anything to acknowledge government doesn’t have the right to make our personal choices for us, or abridge our freedoms *just* because of a minority’s (or majority’s, for that matter) religious tabooes.

  • BGone

    The commies had one of them manifestos. Next thing ya know there won’t be any evangelicals left either.A manifesto is a manifesto derived from the word maniac. Yep, seen one maniac seen’em all. Today’s Sunday and they’re busy getting their weekly booster shot of faith that a being living in fire just like the fire hell’s made from will save them from hell. Figures.

  • thishowiseeit

    What TJ writes (” the gullibility that their faith require make them easy candidates for manipulation”) can be said for any religion or cult.Why ? If just anyone would use their common sense when reading that tome and try very hard for once not to be gallible.

  • Dieterman

    Paganplace – Great postings. Of course the irony is that evangelical attitudes toward gay people really have no Biblical basis or even a basis in any traditional Christian theology despite their claims to be the ultimate defenders of the Bible. It’s acts that are sinful or not (whether it be eating crustaceans or engaging in homosexuality), not one’s constitution by nature. As a gay person who has actually been celibate for many years I can assure anyone that the typical evangelical still regards me as just as profoundly sinful as when I had a partner – simply for being what I am. It’s this bigotted and unBiblical attitude that informs most evangelicals and has led them not only to oppose gay marriage but any and every piece of legislation, from anti-employment legislation to military service, that might serve to confer respect on gay people. No where in the Bible can anyone find elucidated the fact that people have an abiding sexual orientation.

  • frank burns

    Dieterman — What doubletalk. Like saying being born black is not bad, just don’t show black skin in public! People will express their sexual orientation, and have that right, and any religion that says it is a sin is obviously half-baked.

  • Dieterman

    Frank Burns – Double talk? I simply pointed out that even from a CHRISTIAN perspective the attitudes evangelicals have toward gay people as such, apart from any sexual acts, have no basis in the Bible and that in actuality they don’t condemn gay people for anything they DO sexually but condemn them for what they ARE. I didn’t say I accept the Christian position that gay sex is sinful. That would be odd since I’m an open and honest gay man whose done as much as I can for gay rights my entire adult life. Please read more carefully.

  • Karen

    I see it as the Evangelicals trying to disentangle themselves from Karl Rove’s use of them and the cynical manipulation of them by the Republican Party. They seem to be saying, albeit belatedly, that they were not baptized Republican. They are, in the process, rehabilitating Jesus and the call to serve the poor and the abandoned. The biggest agent of that abandonment has been the right wing of the Republicans so they need to do what Karl Barth urged them to do in the Barmen Declaration — remember that Christ is the head of the church and not Bush or Dick Cheney. I will believe it all when the Evangelicals start campaigning for universal health care coverage, the rights of women, good schools for every child and sensible health education so that kids don’t wind up pregnant and HIV+ because they were deprived of the truth about sex. I will believe it when they are foursquare behind the Constitution and the right of everyone else not to be Evangelical Christians — when they come out for secular government. Then I will be convinced that they have gotten out of bed and opened their eyes to what was done to them over the years where to be an Evangelical meant anti-abortion and anti-gay period.

  • Paganplace

    Karen: That’s, of course, the hopeful possibility about this thing, even if of course, certain folks just got right back on the ‘gays and abortion’ thing on this thread. Probably won’t happen overnight, …those issues have been used for political manipulation for a reason. Some people will in fact obsess. There’s more commentary below that, of course. And, Dieterman, I wasn’t sure what you were getting at, either Frank Burns seems to have assumed the worst, is all. :) Thanks for the clarification. :)

  • Karen

    Boyscout and others in the comments section have shown the limitations of the more fundamentalist end of the Evangelical spectrum. They have an enclave mentality that says the rest of the world is not pure enough to allow it into their calculus of beliefs and actions. This is distressing and wrong headed and it leads to a kind of irrelevance and often not so gentle mockery. For other Christians, they become the uncle who makes a fool of himself at family gatherings but who is beloved nonetheless because they really adored his daddy.Richard Cizik and the Fundamentalisms Project of Martin Marty and R. Scott Appleby have made the point that Evangelicals need to allow contact with “the world” and not to think of the world as a cesspool which will be zapped into non-existence when Jesus returns. They have to make a contribution to the world and see it as full of possibilities. They have to work on strengthening the good parts rather than pointing at the bad parts. As long as they were under the sway of Robertson, Falwell, Dobson and others, Evangelicals couldn’t do that. Now that the old lions are dying out or being shown for the frauds they were, a new generation is coming up, activist, committed, caring and giving. They have gone past gays, guns and abortion and are standing up for people who are disadvantaged. The antics of Fred Phelps nauseate the new Evangelicals. They have made common cause with Catholics, Jews and even Muslims where possible to bring relief to victims of natural disasters like Katrina. In fact, they serve as condemnation of the government response by doing so much with so little red tape.These are good people and they deserve support but not uncritical support. The world is out there to be encountered and Evangelicals have a role in that.

  • Karen

    Boyscout and others in the comments section have shown the limitations of the more fundamentalist end of the Evangelical spectrum. They have an enclave mentality that says the rest of the world is not pure enough to allow it into their calculus of beliefs and actions. This is distressing and wrong headed and it leads to a kind of irrelevance and often not so gentle mockery. For other Christians, they become the uncle who makes a fool of himself at family gatherings but who is beloved nonetheless because they really adored his daddy.Richard Cizik and the Fundamentalisms Project of Martin Marty and R. Scott Appleby have made the point that Evangelicals need to allow contact with “the world” and not to think of the world as a cesspool which will be zapped into non-existence when Jesus returns. They have to make a contribution to the world and see it as full of possibilities. They have to work on strengthening the good parts rather than pointing at the bad parts. As long as they were under the sway of Robertson, Falwell, Dobson and others, Evangelicals couldn’t do that. Now that the old lions are dying out or being shown for the frauds they were, a new generation is coming up, activist, committed, caring and giving. They have gone past gays, guns and abortion and are standing up for people who are disadvantaged. The antics of Fred Phelps nauseate the new Evangelicals. They have made common cause with Catholics, Jews and even Muslims where possible to bring relief to victims of natural disasters like Katrina. In fact, they serve as condemnation of the government response by doing so much with so little red tape.These are good people and they deserve support but not uncritical support. The world is out there to be encountered and Evangelicals have a role in that.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that this manifesto is essentially damage control for their becoming percieved as essentially co-extensive with one party. Obviously, this becomes a liability when that party turns out to be pretty unsuccessful. Most people have lemming-like tendencies, but Evangelicals seem to be very visible in that regard. And it’s very easy to identify the right button to push. Did you know Obama’s middle name is Hussein? Just look at the ridiculous flap over the Dixie Chicks.That said, I believe Fundamentalism is the only long-term viable path to remaining a Christian, and I understand their leaders trying to keep the flock as compliant as they can. They just picked the wrong battle.

  • Paganplace

    *facepalm*Ok, ‘theholy,’ *that’s* not productive. Chill.

  • Dieterman

    I think anyone who believes evangelicals will any time soon, if ever, abandon their near-pathological fear and loathing of gay people doesn’t know them well enough. Even the supposedly enlightened ones like Cizik continue to regard them as grave sinners whose “lifestyle” the government should in no way “endorse”. As PaganPlace points out, they feel the need to argue that it’s a choice in order to justify discriminatory laws. As a (former) Catholic I was taught that honesty is a fundamental Christian virtue and I doubt most evangelicals truly believe this “choice” nonsense. Anyone who spends a few moments thinking about it should recognize it leads to absurd conclusions – either everyone is really heterosexual and gay people intentionally, perversely and very mysteriously choose the sex to which they’re not actually attracted, often at tremendous social costs OR there’s no such thing as sexual orientation at all, in which case there can be no truly gay people and heterosexuals also cease to be heterosexual when not actually engaged in sex. This intellectual dishonesty on the part of evangelicals becomes immediately apparent when they’re asked if they don’t then not have a heterosexual orientation. “Of course I’m heterosexual” is the inevitable and very quick response.

  • fwonschik

    Who cares what a bunch of nut jobs who “believe’ that the Earth was created in less then 7 days and is less then 6,000 years old? Further, these fairy tale psychotics actually ‘think’ that two of every spieces fit into “Noahs Ark.” The right wing Christian Taliban gave us Bush twice. They should be shot.

  • Dieterman

    I forgot the third possibility as per evangelicals – homosexuality is just so damned irresistable and fun that it attracts people like bees to honey and being so attractive it must by its very nature be sinful. We’re all gay if we let our guard down.

  • Paganplace

    Well, let’s not forget that much of this manifesto is an attempt by some Evangelical leaders to actually *rebuke and deny* the extreme Religious Right… yes, they’ve been associated with a lot of the positions we see here, but it’s also supposed to be toward some reform. They do specifically reject the anti-science thing we hear so much about: I think in the case of queer rights, there remains some challenging of them to *apply* this, in this case. I think a lot of them believe that sexual orientation is a ‘choice’ in part cause, in my estimation, a whole lot of people are naturally-bisexual: while it’s not possible to choose to not be bisexual, it’s possible to be convinced you’re ‘choosing straightness against temptations to gayness’ by simply denying your attractions and loves *part of the time.* That can confuse one for a while, (trust me, as someone who’s bi, herself, even if happily in a committed same sex relationship for a number of years, now. When you’re younger, you can be like, ‘Ok, what’s this, am I gay now? Did I change? Wait a minute, that felt straight, Nope, still like girls, too.’ ) I can see how a lot of straight-identified folks who are taught a Christian worldview might be confused, too, and preach *that,* but it doesn’t give anyone the right to use government to tell me who I can fall in love with without being punished for it, either. Frankly, I think conservative Christian religion is *replete* with people who try to work out some kind of internal conflict in terms of trying to repress attractions as though they must be some ‘devil’s temptations,’ …in the process, of course, end up *using* those scandalous partners or victims, rather than treating them, and gay people in general, as human beings worthy of love, and better than, say, bathroom stalls. This is obviously unhealthy and doomed to failure, no matter how much they externalize it into trying to ‘control’ gays to ‘preserve’ ‘sanctity’ of ‘straightness,’ …cause their unwitting straight partners aren’t talismans of heterosexual sanctity to be *used* in a personal drama of fear and denial, either. Cause that’s not love, even with government ‘support,’ either. Love and respect just are. Gotta be honest.

  • American viewing from overseas

    Karl Rove and the boys are chuckling over how they duped the Christian right – fundamentalist, evangelical what’s the difference – into locking step with the Republican party. These bible thumpers are finally starting to realize their rolls as sheep to the Republican chopping block for so many years and are engaged in a stumbling thought process that might lead them out of the Republican shepard’s pen. All the overlays of reflection on the greater Christian worldview are just window dressing on this great escape. It could all be summed up by “We’ve been fools long enough, let’s cut out.” It doesn’t take the assembled “scholars and theologians” (this must be tonge and cheek) to postulate how dumb they’ve been.

  • VA_Lady

    I do hope that the evangelical Christians have finally realized that they were sold, and credulous not only bought but have continued to actually defend, quite a bill of goods, behind which there was absolutely nothing.Karl Rove and his satanic pals have carefully and assiduously courted the so-called (and I do hope self-proclaimed) leadership of the Evangelicals, promising them all sorts of things that are not only not possible, but also are not even vaguely Constitutional. Rove and his friends have barely deigned to cover their mouths with their fouled hands as they laughed at the “gullible believers.”That said, I have considerable difficulty believing that the “majority” of the Evangelicals have “come around” to the ideas of “live and let live.” They still seem hell-bent on converting our “religion is your own business, we won’t impose it from above” country, as documented in the Constitution, into something that cossets, endorses, and helps pay for (using my hard earned tax dollars) the conversion of America into their notion of a “Christian state.”I do believe Jesus is appalled at what his pretend followers have been doing. We have learned, those of us who choose not to check our IQ’s at the church door, that temptation and evil is frequently sent to is in extremely attractive form, the better to lead us astray, if we’re not paying attention.And that is exactly what has happened to these people. They’ve been gulled, suckered, and that’s not the worst of it: they’ve stood up with and supported the minions of Satan. They probably already know they’re going to have to answer for a lot in the next life. I’m sure their leaders really don’t care, because they are getting so many “goodies” in this life.Pity.

  • foottesnamn

    Hello. I am DruMotana

  • Anonymous

    We need to see a lot more of this. There was no excuse for evangelicals’ goosestepping to whatever tune the Republican party happened to play. It will take a long time and a lot of repetition for this enlightenment to penetrate the rank and file after so many years of partisan politics masquerading as Christianity.

  • Bill

    As an evangelical, I strongly believe the primary mission of an evangelical is to spread the good news of Jesus, that is, that God loves every one and wants to be in relationship with us all. The involvement of Christians in politics over the last 20 years has been heavily skewed to conservative issues (Please, anyone find for me in the Bible discussions of military build ups or tax cuts). Now arguably, the moral issues emphasized by current “evangelical politics” are significant issues outlined in the Bible. However, Jesus much more dramatically emphasized our need to share the good news with every one and care for our “neighbor.” I think the key verses that details this is “Love God with all you heart, all your mind, and all your soul; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Modern conservative Christian politics has completely forgotten the second half (“True faith is this, to care for the widow, orphan, and the alien in your land”, and more broadly all in need), and driven to use politics as a bludgeon for morality. To my horror, conservative Christian politics has driven most of the non-conservatives, non-Christians I know to be utterly repulsed by the gospel not because of the call of Jesus but because of the vitriol of the loudest voices in current Christian politics. It is my contention that in a possibly well intentioned, but absolutely misguided effort to introduce Christianity to the wider populace, the conservative Christian movement has had the effect of driving a wide swath of the American populace away from Jesus. I feel that many of the modern Christian political leaders (i.e., Dobbs, Roberson, Fallwell, etc.), possibly, with good intent have done almost nothing but harmed the mission Jesus called us evangelicals to.

  • Bill

    As an evangelical, I strongly believe the primary mission of an evangelical is to spread the good news of Jesus, that is, that God loves every one and wants to be in relationship with us all. The involvement of Christians in politics over the last 20 years has been heavily skewed to conservative issues (Please, anyone find for me in the Bible discussions of military build ups or tax cuts). Now arguably, the moral issues emphasized by current “evangelical politics” are significant issues outlined in the Bible. However, Jesus much more dramatically emphasized our need to share the good news with every one and care for our “neighbor.” I think the key verses that details this is “Love God with all you heart, all your mind, and all your soul; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Modern conservative Christian politics has completely forgotten the second half (“True faith is this, to care for the widow, orphan, and the alien in your land”, and more broadly all in need), and driven to use politics as a bludgeon for morality. To my horror, conservative Christian politics has driven most of the non-conservatives, non-Christians I know to be utterly repulsed by the gospel not because of the call of Jesus but because of the vitriol of the loudest voices in current Christian politics. It is my contention that in a possibly well intentioned, but absolutely misguided effort to introduce Christianity to the wider populace, the conservative Christian movement has had the effect of driving a wide swath of the American populace away from Jesus. I feel that many of the modern Christian political leaders (i.e., Dobbs, Roberson, Fallwell, etc.), possibly, with good intent have done almost nothing but harmed the mission Jesus called us evangelicals to.

  • Rick

    What happened to the personal aspect of religion? What happened to religion as a guiding light in a person’s personal life, rather than in the words they use to describe themselves?I grew up in a very Catholic environment, and believe that much of my moral and ethical development stems from that upbringing and the fact that my parents were good people… but in my late 30′s I question much of the church’s teachings… and leaders. I also frankly wonder about the concept of “God” and ask myself what role “Jesus” really has in this world beyond the one it’s proclaimed followers so readily remind me he does have. If there is a God, and that god did consciously give us the power of reasoning we have, then I suspect he wishes us to use it. This is where I draw the line with much “religion” talk… it often feels to me like the tough questions are referred off to an interpretation of the Bible. I’m not at all convinced this is God’s instructions to us.

  • Judy Smith

    My religious tradition is personal and private. It is between the Creator and me.It a part of who and what I am. However, it is self-serving and exploitative to wear it on my sleeve as though it is an advertisement to condemn those who do not share my tradition.Church is where many find fellowship with those who share their beliefs. Since God is everywhere, one can communicate anywhere.Our world would avoid many wars and other violence if we would ONLY stop fighting over God who does not, in my opinion, discriminate and pit one tradition over another.Let us ALL live in love, acceptance and peace.

  • Brendan

    so evangelicals are doing some navel gazing, wondering why their brand is so sullied. why don’t they ask forgiveness from their moral ayatollah, GW Bush?

  • iona

    As Christopher Hitchens said, “religion poisons everything.”

  • Franklin

    Murder and deconstructing the family seem like pretty core issues. Just saying we need to “move ahead” won’t make these fundamental issues go away.Poverty? How can you be poor when you’ve been killed in the womb? How can you be kept from poverty and disfunction when you aren’t afforded the right to both a mother and a father?The manifesto attempts to shift Christians away from basic, society-wide sins of abortion and non-heterosexual marriage without first renouncing and then overturning the acceptance of these sins in our culture. These lefties in religious clothing think they can simply wish away the “Culture of Death” (John Paul II, not a known “fundamnetalist” called it that) and get on with using governmental power to redistribute wealth (talk about “nonpartisanship”) and to make sure folks everywhere have clean drinking water, etc. But the reality is that their movement acquiesces to the sins of abortion and homosexuality that stain our polity. Clean drinking water, or Life itself? We shouldn’t have to choose, but since we are being told by this Manifesto that we must, the answer is clear to me as a (non-Evangelical, non-Fundamentalist) Christian. Choose family and choose life. Nothing partisan or political about that.

  • Paganplace

    Err, Franklin, you maybe better *read* the thing before you go denouncing it as a leftie conspiracy. A morning-after pill or use of a condom isn’t ‘murder’ unless you have a religious belief that a human soul is created at ‘conception’ (which for most Catholic and Evangelical political authorities seems to mean ‘The moment of sex that our God destines as being going to *lead* to a pregnancy in a few days,’)And people who don’t believe in your interpretations of your tabooes about homosexuality aren’t ‘deconstructing your families,’ …what kind of superstitious nonsense is that, when Evangelical families and Red States with the most discriminatory anti-gay laws and cultures have the highest divorce rates in the nation *as it is?* You can teach people of your own religion what you want to, but if you want to make it the business of government to *hurt people you like to use as scapegoats for your own failures* …then that’s exactly why people don’t respect your demands to have disproportionate power in government…And find you to be total hypocrites, given what you come out in favor of, as long as it supports candidates that hurt gay people for you. So much for your Jesus’ ‘message.’ You’d think you didn’t have a *church* to teach your hate in. Maybe you ought to read your manifesto, there. Seems it’s *you* that might get cut loose. No, you *don’t get to hurt real people and claim that *eventually* this will help the poor, and somehow save the country and environment from *what you keep demanding government do,* … after everyone kneels to you, of course.*At least put a fresh velvet glove on that iron thing you swing. It’s gotten all frayed from busting up America, and for that matter *families that have queer people in em.* Thanks so much. :P

  • Steven

    Rickthanks for a heartfelt and meaningful post. You didn’t use so may words, but your questions and observations are very wise in my view. It’s refreshing to see people at various places in the “faith walk,” and you seem to be at a good place.And it’s refreshing to see commentors who recognize the purposes of the “manifesto” as perhaps being something other than “let’s all get together and sing Kum-ba-ya.” I wonder if the challenge will be for Christian Evangelism to contribute to a secular democracy without feeling the need to proselytize via positions of governmental influence, as has been the case recently, and thus the potential backlash and loss of public respect and support. It’s a stragetically wise position to take of “we won’t let poisonous politicians spoil our message” but it’s also a little unbelievable, given the last 7 years.But I will maintain a zealous skepticism. They’ve earned it.

  • Aquarius

    Suppose, Franklin, that you have a choice:On A: you have one gay, one American soldier, Saddam, ten poor American families, a hundred Iraqis and a hundred poor Asian families and one whale.On B: you have ten embryos, one rich American family and five enormous hurricanes (we assume they can be killed by a train too). What do you choose?Disclaimer: may not be a real life situation or may be a distorted representation of a real life situation.

  • Paganplace

    *taking a breath.* Anyway, Franklin, this manifesto ain’t exactly pro-choice or even gay-friendly. It says that in fact Christians ought to prioritize what *Jesus* prioritized, (Yes, in this case, this involves choosing things like clean water and helping the poor and sick, *not* trying to ‘stone’ people over the tabooes you see as an excuse to scapegoat people for real problems while making the same injustices *worse.* )Sure, they still want everyone to be Christian, but if that’s what you desire, then your chances are a lot better if you start living up to your own hype rather than superstitiously blaming and trying to ‘punish’ others for the effects of what *you* have already *chosen and demanded.* You try to call others a ‘Culture of Death,’ but you’re the one talking about poisoning the actual waters in the name of …what… Promise of something nice after …what… Death. That’s your Jesus? Not according to these guys. That’s what *you* chose.

  • Kenneth

    Evangelicals are disgusting. The US would be better if they were all raptured into heaven.Also, why do evangelicals mourn other evangelical when they die? If they believe in something as retarded as heaven, it makes no sense to mourn.

  • Aquarius

    PS. I forgot to put Jesus on both tracks – ups the difficulty, a bit :)

  • candide

    The earthquake in China is God’s punishment for persecuting the Tibetians.

  • Eric W

    The flood in New Orleans was God’s punishment for not letting gay people marry.

  • candide

    The choice we will have between the candidate of the rednecks (Hillary) and the candidate of the blacknecks (Obama) is God’s punishment for our sins.

  • Aquarius

    PSS. I forgot to clarify that (more) oil consumption causes (more) hurricanes.

  • Reasonable not hateful

    Candide-Sounds like YOU are the (pick the name you called evangelicals starting with “i”) that can’t read the gospels or Paul’s writings at face value.You are probably like many on this forum that believe the speculation of liberal theologians that reject the legitimacy of the gospels and what Paul had to say explaining how the death and resurrection work. What you can’t understand, or don’t want to understand, leads you to call people names which is the bottom of the barrel type thinking and leads to no discourse at all.Christ said “I am” and the Jews picked up stones to kill him? Why? What you fail to understand is that Christianity’s basis IS in the gospels and Paul’s writings, and Even though I reject Islam, I would not call Muslims ignorant. Just mistaken. As are you.The real Jesus is revealed in Paul’s letters, but you can’t see it. Sad.

  • lottaboo

    …In order to prove that Jebus wasn’t gay, you first have to prove there was a Jebus….

  • lottaboo

    …In order to prove that Jebus wasn’t gay, you first have to prove there was a Jebus….

  • dvdpt

    Here we go again just because a person does not

  • dvdpt

    C-di-de:

  • Paganplace

    Well, this got awful literate, didn’t it?I can see why so many on the Religious Right believe they ought to be able to rule without question in America. (/sarcasm)

  • Sniciskbeania

    Hi.

  • exchangeecyrr

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