one hand, "the Christian right," the left's favorite pejorative label for the
"back to godliness" movement I often advocate, has been in the news for decades,
back to and beyond the "Silent Majority" invoked by Richard Nixon in 1969. But
on the other hand, it seems to have emerged in new strength and public visibility
through the 2004 Presidential elections, and to have been recently bolstered by
the outpouring of emotion and "values clarifying" self-examination attending the
judicial killing of Terri Schiavo, the passing of Pope John Paul II, and the subsequent
selection of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to succeed him. Even those of us who are
not Roman Catholic have been inundated by the far-more-than-usual discussion of
first principles and their defenseor their advocated dismantlingthat
has occurred through the course of these events. One proof of the claim that a
breakthrough has taken place for the "Christian right" in recent months is that
now for the first time in my memory the mass media can generally use the word
"evangelical" without mis-stating it as "evangelism" or some other distortion
of the adjective that covers the majority of America's non-Catholic professors
of Christianity, almost all of whom have conservative social leanings.
evidence of the breakthrough is that now for the first time, instead of pitting
evangelical or fundamentalist conservative Protestants against the old mainline
liberal Protestants, more and more media and Democratic politicos are trying to
find "liberal evangelicals" to bolster their claims that not all
Christians oppose the liberal social agenda. This is a tacit admission that theologically
liberal Christianity (with its acceptance of skepticism about everything supernatural
about religion) hardly qualifies for the title "Christian" at all. Exhibit
A in the quest to find "evangelical liberals" to endorse Democratic planks has
been Jim Wallis, who emerged in the days of the "Jesus People Revival" of the
1970s as a pacifist advocating "progressive" (socialistic) government programs
but who maintains a "high view" of the Bible as God's Word in written form and
accepts evangelical rather than liberal interpretations of most of it. Thus far,
Wallis seems to be the only articulate "liberal evangelical" the media can find,
because he pops up everywhere these days. Finding politically liberal Catholics
(even "pro-abortion nuns") and, of course, both politically and theologically
liberal mainline Protestants, isn't as big a challenge.
"liberal evangelical" critique of the Christian right always begins by saying
abortion and "gay rights" are not the only social issues that should concern Christians.
Next, it's always: What about poverty? What about justice in the workplace and
affordable medical insurance for all Americans? And they usually throw in their
pious opinion that allows no kind of justifiable international warfare or any
government use of capital punishment.
Though all Christians,
in our calling to be our brothers' keepers and good neighbors to all, are conscience-bound
to be concerned about justice in every sphere of life, the Scriptures are hardly
specific about what role governments should play in management-labor conflicts,
medical insurance, and gainful employment for all. It's much easier to establish
that Scriptures support governments going to war and executing murderers than
it is that Scriptures mandate government welfare programs and socialized medicine.
So here the "evangelical liberals" are found wanting.
here I'll take up exploring a more detailed explanation next time.
complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005
O'Malley walks into a pub in Donegal, and says to the first man he meets, "Do
you want to go to heaven?" The man said, "I do Father." The priest said, "Then
stand over there against the wall."
the priest asked the second man, "Do you want to got to heaven?" "Certainly, Father,"
was the man's reply. "Then stand over there against the wall," said the priest.
Then Father Murphy
walked up to O'Toole and said, "Do you want to go to heaven?" O'Toole said, "No,
I don't, Father." The priest said, "I don't believe this. You mean to tell me
that when you die you don't want to go to heaven?" O'Toole said, "Oh, when I die,
yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now."
it is, very hard,
To travel up the slow and stony road
To Calvary, to
redeem mankind; far better
To make but one resplendent miracle,
the cloud, lift the right hand of power
And with a sudden lightning smite
the world perfect.
Yet this was not God's way, Who had the power,
set it by, choosing the cross, the thorn,
The sorrowful wounds.
there is, perhaps,
That power destroys in passing, something supreme,
whose great value in the eyes of God
That cross, that thorn, and those five
wounds bear witness.