Skip to comments.Schiavo Case Spurs More Christophobia
Posted on 04/02/2005 1:37:42 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
I talked about Christophobia in my book "Persecution," written almost two years ago, so I hope no one accuses me of stealing the term. But it is rearing its head again in light of the Schiavo case. It makes a lot of people, including some Christians, even Republican Christians, when Christians join together to influence current events or politics. Today, former Missouri Senator and friend of the family, John Danforth, published an op-ed in the New York Times lamenting the increasing Christianization of the Republican Party -- my paraphrase.
Danforth's column begins:
By a series of recent initiatives, Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians. The elements of this transformation have included advocacy of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, opposition to stem cell research involving both frozen embryos and human cells in petri dishes, and the extraordinary effort to keep Terri Schiavo hooked up to a feeding tube.
A little later in the piece he writes:
I do not fault religious people for political action. Since Moses confronted the pharaoh, faithful people have heard God's call to political involvement. Nor has political action been unique to conservative Christians. Religious liberals have been politically active in support of gay rights and against nuclear weapons and the death penalty. In America, everyone has the right to try to influence political issues, regardless of his religious motivations.
The problem is not with people or churches that are politically active. It is with a party that has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious movement.
When government becomes the means of carrying out a religious program, it raises obvious questions under the First Amendment. But even in the absence of constitutional issues, a political party should resist identification with a religious movement.
When government becomes the means of carrying out a religious program, it raises obvious questions under the First Amendment. But even in the absence of constitutional issues, a political party should resist identification with a religious movement. While religions are free to advocate for their own sectarian causes, the work of government and those who engage in it is to hold together as one people a very diverse country. At its best, religion can be a uniting influence, but in practice, nothing is more divisive. For politicians to advance the cause of one religious group is often to oppose the cause of another.
I find this very disappointing. Christians lobby politicians, some of whom are Christians or those who otherwise share their values, others aren't and don't. In our system of government, any individual or group should feel free to lobby politicians on any basis whatsoever. And the fact that politicians sometimes adopt policies in sync with those values, does not "raise obvious questions under the First Amendment." If that were true, the entire Constitution would be suspect since it was crafted predominantly by Christians and incorporated Christian principles.
Danforth says the party should avoid identification with a religious movement. Why? Aha. He answers the question: because to do so might not promote unity in "a diverse country." I find this an incredible capitulation to the so-called multicultural movement, which has been chipping away at the unique American culture, Western civilization, and Judeo-Christian values for years. Mr. Danforth, I suppose, would have us abandon our values for the sake of "getting along."
With all due respect for a man I genuinely respect, this is nonsense and wrongheaded. It is analogous to the fuzzy thinking that says we can't legislate morality. We can't incorporate our values into our laws, either legislatively or judicially. But it is impossible not to pass laws in a values-void. Almost all of our criminal and civil laws are grounded in moral principles and seek to vindicate moral principles.
Mr. Danforth's real problem with all this is not the intermixture of church and state or religious people influencing government, but the type of values that are being promoted by a strong grassroots Christian movement. He reveals as much with these paragraphs:
During the 18 years I served in the Senate, Republicans often disagreed with each other. But there was much that held us together. We believed in limited government, in keeping light the burden of taxation and regulation. We encouraged the private sector, so that a free economy might thrive. We believed that judges should interpret the law, not legislate. We were internationalists who supported an engaged foreign policy, a strong national defense and free trade. These were principles shared by virtually all Republicans.
But in recent times, we Republicans have allowed this shared agenda to become secondary to the agenda of Christian conservatives. As a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around.
You see, what bothers Mr. Danforth, obviously, is that the wrong values are being emphasized. He is basically saying that he's an economic conservative (I have my doubts about that too, by the way), but not so much a social conservative (though he opposes judicial activism). He doesn't like it that legislators are worked up about social issues, such as gay marriage or euthanasia.
That's essentially the difference between Libertarians and conservatives. Libertarians are mostly nauseated by Christian conservatives getting all worked up about social issues. Mr. Danforth, while probably far from a Libertarian, appears to share this revulsion. But it's unfortunate that Mr. Danforth characterizes this as a systemic problem rather than just a disagreement on policy. People who are not social conservatives often fear the coordination of those who are and therefor seek to characterize it as something threatening to our democratic and republican processes, when it is anything but. There is nothing healthier to representative government than for genuinely motivated groups to attempt, within the law, to influence policy. Nothing could better define the essence of our participatory government.
Mr. Danforth further reveals his true concern with this closing paragraph:
The historic principles of the Republican Party offer America its best hope for a prosperous and secure future. Our current fixation on a religious agenda has turned us in the wrong direction. It is time for Republicans to rediscover our roots.
I beg to disagree -- strongly. We Christian conservatives are not focusing on a religious agenda, but on policies that are consistent with our principles -- the most important one being "the sanctity of life." If we don't recapture our culture from the systematic attacks on it, we can forget about economic issues. Nothing is more foundationally important to our liberties and to the preservation of our republic than our underlying values, which we abandon at our peril.
Mr. Danforth, and others, have it backward. Christians are not trying to take over the system and convert it to some sort of a theocracy. We are not the aggressors. We are merely reacting to the systematic destruction of our culture and the undermining of the Judeo-Christian values that undergird it.
And Mr. Danforth, himself a Christian, is not the only one complaining. Here's an article in the Omaha World Herald offering advice to Republicans as to how they can prevent the party's takeover by the religious right -- something Mr. Danforth clearly believes has already occurred.
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special thanks to lafroste for generous technical and web assistance.
Thank you for this post, Joe....
I have been looking for the right verbiage for it but we needed a writer to establish one. I am deeply appreciative of the word "Christophobic".
I really think that the real definition is anti-Christ because that is where the "rub" comes but this will do for now.
In the interest of being upright and upfront, however, I will continue to use anti-Christ where it is blatant because that is the source of the itch and the twitch.
I didn't see the fight over saving Terris life as a religious one, I saw it as plain old common decency. And I do think globalism has the potential to cause a massive nuclear war if we are not careful and not rush into it like we are doing.
Basically Christians are being demonized for defending the traditional mother/father unit that is one of the pillars of a healthy society, defending the Liberty and Life of every human being whether in womb, aged or handicapped, warning that excesses of any vice can be destructive, while pledging allegiance to a nation also recognizing that a man devised government is no without its flaws etc..
Really. Is it so hard to understand why people fear Christians? Even if you take the spiritual side out, Christians certainly are "inconvenient" to certain counter social and governmental agendas.
I'm not of a mood to be quiet in face of this bigotry, or persecution if one would rather? However my combative stance doesn't arise from shock or fear. I knew what I committed to when I became a Christian. So far...we haven't yet been put to death in this country for professing Christ. Others across the world cannot state the same. In this we are blessed.
The left get so spun up over that term that I've continued to use it. Protests included, "That's not really a word!" (but it's OK for them to make up terms? LOL--hypocrites!)
I like the newest "Christophobic" version even better. I even remember the pope (R.I.P.) saying "Christianophobia" a few months ago.
Very true. In addition, a big factor is that Christians rely on Peace through Jesus, rather than secular "peace," a false security based on appeasement.
Christians aren't part of that false unity , but united with one another as the Body of Christ.
Terri Schiavo Internet Memorial
to light a candle and leave a personal message.
A rather Christophobic tone to his argument, coming from an Episcopalian minister..
There are basic moral issues that the Christian conservatives are more vocal about. However these moral values are not the sole provence on Christians. The value of life is enshrined in Christian theology, However it also valued among other religions, such as Judaism and Buddhist and Hindu. I am not an expert on religion. Even atheists or secularists can agree on the value of life. Some put more emphasis on the quality of life. Christins are not the only ones that think gay marriage and abortion are wrong.
I don't think that the Republican Party is hostage to the Christian right. It is only that there are shared basic values.
Values are incorporated in law and religion. Early law was done through religion. Islamic Sharia law is an example of this. I don't sgree with Sharia law but can understand that it has greater force if posited through religious dogma.
Without basic shared moral values civilizations can not exist. Thou shall not kill, steal, defame etc. are necessary for people to reside together. To fight to maintain those values is a fight for survival of our society. Since we are a Republic, when the people see that we are straying from these core values they are correct to agitate for change or to prevent perversion and degeneracy from becoming the norm.
You were way ahead of the rest of us.
I thought Christianophobia was a bit unwieldy but this is melodic. It is sorely needed even on FR, unfortunatley.
I dont ascribed to the notion that these values are only Christian. Most of all American have internalized the same basic values. Just that people have been deluded by their own desires not to continue to exist when kept alive by machines. Then these personal desires are projected onto a person who can not verbalize her own desire. Those who are fervent Christians value life period. Others want a better life.
My father had a stroke, lost his mobility and later his sight. He was a very active person. However his attiude was that his was thankful for his life , even if it was diminished. He never got depressed. This made an impact that even with physical losses that life was worth living.
He died when he choked on some barbecue meat and his heart failed.My brother said that he could not get to him in time to force the food out and he had congestive heart problem so his margin was less. However he died eating food which was one of his own pleasures. So I can console myself that he had a good death. He never wanted to die hooked up to machine. We did extreme measures on previous health problems but he was able to come back to some degree of enjoyment. He hated being in rehab homes. We later figured that he got more physical therapy by my brother taking him out every day to store and restaurants.
I am sorry your father passed away.
I admire your father's attitude that life is worth living even if in a deteriorating body.
I wonder sometimes if our society is so obsessed with perfection that it makes people feel worthless if they dont meet that standard. As a result, Americans who are still whole in body cannot fathom existing in a disabled state.
I always remember how one radio talk show host (Dennis Prager) related how he was in India and met a man with no legs. His friends would cart him around with them in a wheelbarrow, and he was never made to feel like he didnt belong. He was just plain Mishra (or whomever) who happened to have no legs. I thought that was lovely. I wish we were more like that.
Get better friends.
Aside from the important value we should place on any life, I simply could not trust Mr. Schiavo to be honest regarding his wife, and no matter what she had said to him during a flippant conversation, without a will. I think we should have relied on her parents to make the final decision.