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Religious McCarthyism
Wine Skins ^ | 2005 | Keith Roberts

Posted on 11/22/2006 10:29:26 AM PST by shield

"Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

These words rang out in a Senate subcommittee hearing in 1954 from the U.S. Army attorney, Mr. Joseph Welch, signaling the beginning of the end of Senator Joseph McCarthy's witch hunt aimed at anyone suspected of even knowing a Communist.

Eventually censured by the Senate, McCarthy became a pariah because he fell into a trap common to people who become passionate about an agenda. They become so busy storming the walls of their enemy's fortress that they forget to ask, "Is this the right wall?" or "Is this the right fortress?" or even "Is this the enemy?"

Politics hasn't changed much since those days, and neither have the tactics of political destruction. They usually involve choosing and isolating the supposed enemy and then launching a smear campaign to polarize his allies and discredit him, therefore discrediting his agenda.

Sadly, this "scorched earth" political tactic often finds a comfortable home in the church. The very Body that Christ created to extend love and grace to the world can sometimes host ruthless political battles.

Agendas in the Church
We always claim it's about "truth" or "what's right" or "false teachers," but it usually isn't. If it's about "truth" then why do we always feel so dirty after the inevitable church split? And why are so many Christians destroyed by it? Because it's not about truth, but about power and agendas and winning.

I'm afraid it's always been that way. From the Salem witch trails to the Spanish Inquisition, religious people with a carnal agenda can be ruthless.

It was no different in Jesus' day. Who were his most ardent enemies? Who hated him the most? Who resisted him with passionate zeal, even to the point of having him arrested, tried, and crucified?

It certainly wasn't the sinners, tax collectors, and prostitutes with whom he ate and to whom he ministered. It was the religious professionals, those degreed hardliners who had a rigid agenda and who replaced spiritual relationship with legal correctness. They were the ones Jesus spoke about: "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life" (John :39-40).

Like so many people today, they missed enjoying a special relationship with Jesus because they wouldn't stop worshipping an agenda! These devout, religious people were so enslaved to an agenda - even one found in the Old Testament - that it destroyed them. Like a terrorist willing to blow himself up to get at his enemies, the Pharisees and their companions self-destructed while trying to silence Jesus.

Be on Your Guard
Jesus repeatedly warned his disciples not to fall for the Pharisees' political intrigues. He said, "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:5). He defined this "yeast" as (a) their teachings (16:12) and (b) their hypocrisy (Luke 12:1). Their narrow agenda ("teachings") led to their devilish behavior (hypocrisy).

Notice how this agenda twisted their spiritual lives and compelled them to destroy people who didn't share their doctrine. Look at the tactics they used:

Guilt by accusation.
Because Jesus did something on the Sabbath that violated the rules of their agenda, some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath" (John 9:16).

That's always the beginning. When others don't support the agenda, they come under fire as being "not from God." That accusation isolates them into the other camp. They're not like us. They don't have our special connections to truth. They can't be from God because they don't agree with us.

The phrase, "He's a false teacher," or "They don't teach the Truth" is a vintage guilt-by-accusation tactic. It skips past the proof stage right into the accusation stage. And it often works.

Once labeled by accusations, the accused person has an immediate disadvantage. The burden of proof is placed on the accused, and some people will never be persuaded of his innocence. This tactic often works, so be on your guard.

Guilt by association.
This one is about as old as mankind, but it usually works. To tar Jesus reputation and drive away seekers, the Pharisees accused him of being "a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and 'sinners'" (Luke 7:34). When they saw the masses seeking Jesus out, his enemies muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them" (Luke 15:1-2).

To further their agenda, the Pharisees tried to sell people on a mental shortcut around logic and proof, having them jump to conclusions about Jesus.

Just as Senator McCarthy implied that if you associated with a Communist then you must be one, today's Neo-Pharisees want you to jump to conclusions about fellow Christians who associated with "unapproved" people and groups.

But how can we teach those with whom we have no relationship? Some are more concerned about protecting the purity of their agenda than about reaching people.

What are we afraid of? Are we afraid that truth will be contaminated by the process of investigation? Are we afraid of learning something that might change our minds? Are we like the preacher who said, "I hate to study; it always forces me to throw away my old sermons!"

If someone tries to influence you to think less of another Christian because of his associations with others, be on your guard.

Guilt by demonization.
This tactic tries to instill fear by exaggerating the supposed evil qualities of the enemy in question. When Jesus went around healing people and casting out demons, proving himself superior to the Pharisees' agenda, they said, "It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons" (Matthew 9:34).

By their twisted logic, the Pharisees had painted themselves into a corner. Jesus didn't share their agenda, so he couldn't be from God. If he's not from God, he must be from Satan. Therefore, if he's from Satan, his works (even if obviously good) must be from Satan. And if his works come from Satan, he must be destroyed.

That's why we can destroy each other in the name of religion and still feel justified. That's why Paul warned the legalistic Galatians, "If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other" (Galatians 5:15).

When Christians demonize people who disagree with them, it proves that their agenda, not the person of Christ, is what they worship, so be on your guard.

Guilt by polarization.
People who work from an inflexible agenda usually feel that they must polarize others into two camps: those who are for us and those against us.

When Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, the Pharisees were outraged and demanded that the people take sides. They set up an inquisition, which questioned both the healed man and his family. They had already decided "that anyone who acknowledged Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue" (John 9:22).

This kind of polarization by the teachers of the law and Pharisees was why Jesus said, "You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are" (Matthew 23:15).

The newly-polarized sons of an agenda tend to be much more inflexible than even the aged masters who spawned them. So be on your guard.

When Will It Change?
Where Pharisees rule in the church, you'll find a lack of joy (Galatians 4:15-20) and the hypocrisy of a self-righteous agenda (Matthew 23:1-36). Just as the early church had to grapple with this kind of leaven brought in by Pharisees who had become Christians (Acts 15:5), we still face the same struggle today.

So is there any hope for changing Neo-Pharisees and ridding the church of the choking heresy of legalism?

How was Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee of Pharisees, the Super-Pharisee who murdered Christians, changed into Paul the apostle? He didn't change because someone argued him out of his doctrine, but because he had a personal encounter with Jesus.

This kind of radical, transforming change comes only by knowing Jesus, not just knowing about him. If we emphasize spiritual growth disciplines - prayer, fasting, solitude, Bible study, etc. - once again in the church, then maybe hard hearts will be changed and personal agendas abandoned for Jesus. "By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35).


TOPICS: Ecumenism; General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: church; religiousagenda; religiousleft; today; todayspharisee

1 posted on 11/22/2006 10:29:31 AM PST by shield
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To: DarthVader; Quix

I thought this needed it's own thread. ;o)


2 posted on 11/22/2006 10:30:24 AM PST by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: shield
McCarthy became a pariah because he fell into a trap common to people who become passionate about an agenda. They become so busy storming the walls of their enemy's fortress that they forget to ask, "Is this the right wall?" or "Is this the right fortress?" or even "Is this the enemy?"

Commies were, and still are, our enemies. "McCarthyism", like "swiftboating", should mean combatting an enemy with the truth. I couldn't get past the headline.

3 posted on 11/22/2006 10:40:02 AM PST by RedRover
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To: shield

It does merit more discussion, I think.

Thanks.

I also wish those with more significant first hand experience being part of church splits and crashes would be more candid about their experiences.

SOME of us might learn something.


4 posted on 11/22/2006 10:40:05 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: RedRover

I think most hereon would agree that McCarthy was right on . . . except for some of his blackwashing on minimal info in some particular cases.


5 posted on 11/22/2006 10:42:33 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: shield

Very interesting article.

How was Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee of Pharisees, the Super-Pharisee who murdered Christians, changed into Paul the apostle? He didn't change because someone argued him out of his doctrine, but because he had a personal encounter with Jesus.

Reading this really made me see a strong correlation between Saul of Tarsus and the jihadi leaders in the mid east today.
How great would it be if OBL fell off his camel at the brilliant holy sight of Christ setting him straight!!?


6 posted on 11/22/2006 10:42:36 AM PST by TheKidster
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To: Quix

I can tell you that it destroys the faith of some, and causes all involved to harden thier hearts at least a little bit toward organized religion or denominations.


7 posted on 11/22/2006 10:44:34 AM PST by TheKidster
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To: Quix

Agreed.


8 posted on 11/22/2006 10:44:44 AM PST by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: TheKidster

Amen to that.

I don't know how demonized he is . . . or whether he's crossed an irreconcilable line, or not. But I almost think that's more possible than that Shrillery could have such a conversion. But either one or both would be super miraculous and an exceeding blessing.


9 posted on 11/22/2006 10:45:46 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: TheKidster

Of course, The Lord would need to convert the whole region or spirit him out via Holy Spirit airlines else he'd be instantly Jihad-ed.


10 posted on 11/22/2006 10:46:45 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: RedRover
Commies were, and still are, our enemies. "McCarthyism", like "swiftboating", should mean combatting an enemy with the truth.

Yes, I agree.

11 posted on 11/22/2006 10:46:52 AM PST by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: TheKidster

It prevents us from seeing Christ as who is clearly both a loving but also a righteous, holy God who does command us to love one another.


12 posted on 11/22/2006 10:47:19 AM PST by DarthVader (Conservatives aren't always right , but Liberals are almost always wrong.)
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To: TheKidster

Yes, and against any hint of organized religion.

It's also been my observation that the most rigid, most intense, most self-righteous, most controlling, most authoritarian, most pharisaical etc. folks are the ones precipitating and making worse such church splits.

Anyone else noticed such?


13 posted on 11/22/2006 10:48:26 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: TheKidster

Of course, such are also amongst the first and loudest to decry church splits.


14 posted on 11/22/2006 10:49:14 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: Quix

Yes I noticed this and have also noticed that the type you mention often have major sin issues they are trying to distract themselves and everyone else from


15 posted on 11/22/2006 10:50:21 AM PST by TheKidster
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To: DarthVader

Yes.

And seems to at least obscure, if not obliterate Christ's own declaration about the primacy of that caring.


16 posted on 11/22/2006 10:50:26 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: TheKidster

Ahhhhh . . . yes. I'd forgotten that aspect.

And usually, pride/arrogance is chief amongst such. And many of us know from painful personal experiences all the crud THAT spawns.


17 posted on 11/22/2006 10:51:34 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: TheKidster

Good point it is a lack of true humility on their part before God in recognition of their own sinful nature which all of mankind is afflicted with.


18 posted on 11/22/2006 10:52:04 AM PST by DarthVader (Conservatives aren't always right , but Liberals are almost always wrong.)
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To: DarthVader

Good point it is a lack of true humility on their part before God in recognition of their own sinful nature which all of mankind is afflicted with.
= = =

QUITE SO.

Thx.


19 posted on 11/22/2006 10:53:03 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: Quix
There are scriptures in the Old Testament that points directly at Iran as becoming a Christian Nation. There is a huge underground Christian Movement there so I always keep my eye on any info coming out of there. 700 club keeps us pretty upto date on the Christian Movement in Iran...

I'll post those scriptures relating to Iran [Persia] in the last days later.

20 posted on 11/22/2006 10:53:30 AM PST by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: shield

I'd love to see those.

Thanks.


21 posted on 11/22/2006 10:57:53 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: Quix
I also wish those with more significant first hand experience being part of church splits and crashes would be more candid about their experiences.

I've been through three myself (two splits and a crash, all involving the same congregation/pastor). What would you like to know?

22 posted on 11/22/2006 11:35:29 AM PST by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

I have found in my own personal experiences of many types in life . . . that it's often edifying

to note, discuss, explore

what the individuals learned about the other side

and

what the individuals learned about themselves.


23 posted on 11/22/2006 11:49:46 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: shield
RE: McCarthyism and swiftboating -- and many times, "neo-con."

My reply is not germane to the tenor of the posted article but using any of these words as pejorative words is annoying.

As far as I remember the 1950s the CP/USA first used McCarthyism.

As far as I have read the New Left first used "neo-con" as a sarcastic condemnation of the betrayers of the self-described intellectual 1960s "Bring it all down, man" revolution. The traditional, patriotic Party is gone -- we now have (sorry, but I saw this the other day and like it), Pelosi galore.

Swiftboating came from the haters of John O'Neill -- I still remember something as frightening as any horror movie. To wit, Lawerence O'Donnell's repeated guttural growling "Liar" as though a demon refused to give up and vacate his body.

All lack substance and depend deeply upon distortions and emotion.

I have a better perjorative word: Watergating.

Doesn't mean Nixon, et al. did no wrong -- it simply asks the question, "Hey MSM! LBJ bugged Goldwater, where were you guys? The Democrats' Dick Tuck played dirty tricks too. Where were you guys?. . . ."

24 posted on 11/22/2006 12:04:59 PM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: WilliamofCarmichael

I agree with your points.

Thanks.


25 posted on 11/22/2006 12:21:05 PM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: RedRover; WilliamofCarmichael; Quix
McCarthy became a pariah because he fell into a trap common to people who become passionate about an agenda.
Some times "the medium is the [real] message," and the medium denies the nominal message. That is illustrated by a story by the B&W TV standup comic Herb Shriner:
A man walked up to my sister in the lobby of a hotel once and handed her a note. It read, 'You are the only woman I have ever loved. Please come to me in room 216.'

She wasn't sure it was sincere, though - it was mimeographed!

(For those of you in Rio Linda, a mimeograph was the kind of duplicating machine people used before there were Xerox machines. The markings it produced on paper were a distintive blue color).
In the spirit of Shriner's joke, Leslie Fiedler in 1954 captured the essence of the smear perpetrated on (not by) Joe McCarthy thusly:
From one end of the country to another rings the cry, 'I am cowed! I am afraid to speak out!', and the even louder response, 'Look, he is cowed! He is afraid to speak out.'
You cannot, after all, scream on nationwide TV that you are afraid to speak out, without having the medium of the message drown out the nominal message. If you are so afraid to speak, how come you're on TV speaking??? If you tried to speak out like that on TV in Iraq under Saddam, you would go into the plastic shredder before you got near a TV broadcast studio. Allowing Saddam appologists to point out that you never heard anyone complain. And that Saddam got essentially all of the (public, not secret) ballot.

Yet it is just this sort of "proof" that liberals rely on to convince people that McCarthy was censoring people for no reason. But mostly, they depend on not having to prove their smears. Ann documented this thoroughly in Treason - but although she was able to get a book tour, she was always "balanced" by a liberal critic as well as the "neutral" moderator who was in fact as liberal as the "balancing" critic.


26 posted on 11/22/2006 2:48:58 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
Great reply! Thanks!

(Yes, I remember Herb Shriner.)

27 posted on 11/22/2006 2:52:33 PM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

Great points.

THanks.


28 posted on 11/22/2006 4:07:23 PM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

Herb Shriner bump.


29 posted on 11/22/2006 4:20:54 PM PST by RedRover (Some of us didn't just fall off the turnip truck.)
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To: Prov3456

Self-ping for later.


30 posted on 11/22/2006 7:54:30 PM PST by Prov3456
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
Exactly. The left is shameful.

Ann Coulter could be the modern day McCarthy. Boy, do we ever need one.

31 posted on 11/23/2006 8:57:28 AM PST by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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