Skip to comments.Schizophrenic left and uses of religion: Michael Medved says Jesus is just alright with liberals
Posted on 12/23/2002 12:20:25 AM PST by JohnHuang2
A quick glance at the American left reveals a movement in the midst of a nervous breakdown, displaying behavior that goes beyond inconsistency into the realm of bipolar moods and multiple personality disorders.
Nowhere do these violently conflicting impulses manifest themselves more clearly than in the contradictory attitude toward religion. On the one hand, leading commentators and activists maintain secularism's traditional hostility toward the very idea of applying religious values to public issues. On the other hand, the newly re-energized "religious left" openly invokes the name of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible in its desperate bid to advance a stalled agenda.
Consider a full-page ad in the New York Times that appeared in the first week of December, under the headline:
The sponsoring organization identified itself as "Religious Leaders for Sensible Priorities" and bore the prominent signature of the Rev. Robert Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches. The text of the ad promised that "a strong faith-based revolt against war on Iraq is coming together in the first weeks of December." It also made a highly personalized plea to the commander in chief, baldly declaring that "Your war would violate the teachings of Jesus Christ."
Imagine the dismissive reaction if a conservative Christian organization had placed an ad suggesting that the foreign policy approach of President Clinton had "violated the teachings of Jesus Christ." Critics would rightly point out that the Jesus of the Gospels left few direct instructions about how to handle diplomacy or foreign affairs.
In fact, I had the opportunity to raise this point with Rev. Edgar (a former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania) when he joined me as a guest on my radio show. I asked him to cite the specific "teachings of Jesus Christ" that war on Iraq would violate. After a painfully long pause, the best he could offer was a mumbled response about "blessed are the peacemakers."
I then asked if he would also interpret this verse as forbidding war against Serbia over the issue of Kosovo, or U.S. participation in the first Gulf War. Rev. Edgar hurriedly replied that neither of these conflicts would conflict with Christ's teachings. I naturally requested a biblical citation in which Jesus provided direct guidelines for drawing distinctions between appropriate and inappropriate wars. After another long pause, Pastor Edgar conceded that he couldn't identify any clear Gospel instructions on the matter.
In the same spirit, Rev. Mark Bigelow of the Congregational Church of Huntington in Centerport, N.Y., sent a letter to Bill O'Reilly of Fox News defending the offensive Planned Parenthood holiday card that proclaims "Choice on Earth." To Rev. Bigelow, this slogan made perfect sense because he felt certain that Jesus endorsed abortion.
"Even as a minister I am careful what I presume Jesus would do if he were alive today," he wrote, "but one thing I know from the Bible is that Jesus was not against women having a choice in continuing pregnancy. Jesus was for peace on earth, justice on earth, compassion on earth, mercy on earth, and choice on earth."
Since the good Dr. Bigelow insisted that he "knew from the Bible" that Jesus accepted abortion, it seemed reasonable to ask him to provide the specific citation that provided him with this unique knowledge. Of course, Rev. Bigelow refused all requests to back up his outrageous claims, or to pursue further discussion of the authentic biblical approach to what liberals so delicately call "terminating a pregnancy."
The most amazing aspect of these embarrassing leftwing attempts to mobilize scriptural authority isn't that they lack all scholarly basis (though they do), it's that they so obviously contradict liberal orthodoxy about the importance of keeping religion out of politics. When politically correct pundits attack religious conservatives for referring to the Bible on contemporary issues (abortion, the primacy of the family, homosexuality) they do so not because they disagree over substantive issues of scriptural interpretation, but because they oppose any effort to mix faith and politics.
Somehow, when it's the left that raises strident religious voices, this opposition to faith-based activism instantly disappears. While conservative clergymen regularly receive condemnation as "religious fanatics," left-wing Christian activists earn unequivocal endorsement as people of "deep, abiding faith" and bracing "voices of conscience." The admiring, even glowing obituaries for the late Phillip Berrigan, the militant ex-priest and genuine religious fanatic, prove the point. None of his eulogists questioned Berrigan's efforts to impose his radical brand of Catholic pacifism on society at large, though it's hard to imagine that they'd prove similarly tolerant when it comes to the religious activism of, say, Jerry Falwell.
When Pat Robertson ran for president in 1988, the mainstream media regularly questioned the very idea of a Christian minister making a bid for high officeeven though another clergyman, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, ran for the White House the very same year without incurring similar challenges to his mixture of politics and religion.
In the same week that the "Jesus Changed Your Heart" ad appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post ran a column by the often thoughtful William Raspberry expressing his "growing fear of an imposed theocracy." In the course of that column he warns against "people for whom religion is the source of wisdom and truth, whose religious and civic lives are seamlessly connected. ?" In this context, he specifically concentrates on that favorite liberal boogeyman, the horrifying John Ashcroft.
The fact that Mr. Raspberry feels no fear at all over the seamlessly connected "religious and civic lives" of the Rev. Robert Edgars, Rev. Mark Bigelows, not to mention the Rev. Jesse Jacksons and Rev. Al Sharptons of this world, indicates more than hypocrisy; it suggests that he, like other liberal leaders, may be undergoing a full-blown schizophrenic break.
Ahh, but Michael, surely you know that that Mr. Raspberry knows that these gentlemen of the left don't mean what they say. And that's why they get a pass from him.
Of course, that throws him from the frying pan of hypocrisy into the evil of the fire.
...the Devil twists holy writ to serve evil purposes, and not God's will. So, it appears, do those who serve the Prince of Darkness.
I love Medved's work and logical approach. However, he's making this WAY to complex. There's no "schizophrenic break" going on here, just intellectual (as well as spiritual) dishonesty. Leftists (and) Democrats are dishonest, out-and-out Machiavellian style liars. If their statement advances a cause considered "good" in their own eyes, then they consider it to be a virtuous deceit, not a "lie".
John 12:40 applies (we conservatives DO know scripture):
He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with [their] eyes, nor understand with [their] heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
Or, better yet, 2nd Corinthians chapter 4:1-4:
Therefore , since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
All of which is to say, that if a man wants God to leave him alone, and wants no part of the Christ Jesus of the Bible, then God will eventually leave him to his own devices. Then all the "scholarship" in the world will not keep him from looking like a horses-ass as he stumbles and bumbles past truth in the scriptures. The dishonest liberal so-called "Christian" clergy make me want to upchuck!
Jesse Jackson's "faith" was acceptable by the left for the same reason that Congress authorized Bill Clintons "use of force" against Iraq...everyone knew he didn't intend to use it.
Yes... the ploy of the past decade. Name your wacko group "____ for Sensible ____" and you are automatically good and credible. Anyone against you is not for things that make sense.
Anyone want to start "Human Beings for Sensible Liberal Control?"
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."
"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again".
As you can plainly see, this man lies in the name of Jesus. Guess what his future holds for him?
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