Our Common Good

In 1968, Christianity Today published a special issue on contraception and abortion, encapsulating the consensus among evangelical thinkers at the time. In the leading article, professor Bruce Waltke, of the famously conservative Dallas Theological Seminary, explained the Bible plainly teaches that life begins at birth:

“God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: ‘If a man kills any human life he will be put to death’ (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22–24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense… Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.”

The magazine Christian Life agreed, insisting, “The Bible definitely pinpoints a difference in the value of a fetus and an adult.” And the Southern Baptist Convention passed a 1971 resolution affirming abortion should be legal not only to protect the life of the mother, but to protect her emotional health as well.

sojomag:

Ad Campaign Calls on Christians to ‘Love Your Neighbors’ of All Faiths

“It is amazing that loving our neighbor is such a radical statement, as it is foundational to the teachings of Jesus,” said Rev. Steve Jerbi, pastor of All Peoples Church, which has been actively involved in responding to the shooting at the gurdwara. “Yet, the walls of division, fear, and even just knowing our neighbors is too often our reality. This statement reminds us, in light of both tragedy and in everyday life, that we are called to love our neighbors. This is a chance for Christians to continue to express not just our sympathy, but our love for sisters and brothers in the Sikh community.”

sojomag:

Ad Campaign Calls on Christians to ‘Love Your Neighbors’ of All Faiths

“It is amazing that loving our neighbor is such a radical statement, as it is foundational to the teachings of Jesus,” said Rev. Steve Jerbi, pastor of All Peoples Church, which has been actively involved in responding to the shooting at the gurdwara. “Yet, the walls of division, fear, and even just knowing our neighbors is too often our reality. This statement reminds us, in light of both tragedy and in everyday life, that we are called to love our neighbors. This is a chance for Christians to continue to express not just our sympathy, but our love for sisters and brothers in the Sikh community.”

Ayn Rand, an occasional darling of the Tea Party, has become a cult figure within the GOP in recent years. It is easy enough to see how her tough-guy, every-man-for-himself posturing would be a natural fit with the Wall Street bankers and the right-wing politicians they fund—notwithstanding the bankers’ fondness for government bailouts. But Rand’s philosophy found most of its adherents in the libertarian wing of the party, a group that overlaps with, but is certainly not identical to, the “business conservatives” who fund the bulk of the GOP’s activities. There has always been a strong strain of rugged individualism in America, and the GOP has cleverly managed to co-opt that spirit to its advantage. The problem is that Rand proclaimed at every opportunity that she was a militant atheist who felt nothing but contempt for Christianity as a religion of weaklings possessing a slave mentality. So how do Republican candidates manage to bamboozle what is perhaps the largest single bloc in their voting base, the religious fundamentalists, about this? Certainly the ignorance of many fundamentalist values voters about the wider world and the life of the mind goes some distance toward explaining the paradox: GOP candidates who enthuse over Rand at the same time as they thump their Bibles never have to explain this stark contradiction because most of their audience is blissfully unaware of who Ayn Rand was and what she advocated. But voters can to some extent be forgiven their ignorance, because politicians have grown so skillful at misdirecting them about their intentions.

nonplussedbyreligion:

Thank you Pat Robertson for continuing to be amongst the lowest beings in existence who continue to use tragedy and suffering as a platform for your intolerance.  

divineirony:

Televangelist Pat Robertson on Monday reviewed the case of a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that left at least seven dead and came to the conclusion that places of worship were being attacked because “people who are atheists, they hate God.”

Robertson opened Monday’s 700 Club broadcast with the news that there had been a mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek.

“What is it?” the TV preacher wondered. “Is it satanic? Is it some spiritual thing, people who are atheists, they hate God, they hate the expression of God? And they are angry with the world, angry with themselves, angry with society and they take it out on innocent people who are worshiping God.”

“And whether it’s a Sikh temple or a Baptist church or a Catholic church or a Muslim mosque, whatever it is, I just abhor this kind of violence, and it’s the the kind of thing that we should do something about,” he added. “But what do you do? Well, you talk about the love of God and hope it has some impact.”

U.S. Attorney James A. Santelle on Monday said that the man who murdered six people in Wisconsin before being shot himself was 40-year-old Army veteran Wade Michael Page. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identified Page as a neo-Nazi who led a racist white-power band.

SPLC’s Heidi Beirich told the Journal Sentinel that there was “no question” that the suspect was part of the white supremacist movement and had attended “hate events” around the country.

Reports also indicated that Page had a number of tattoos, including one that said “9/11″ and a Celtic knot, which is commonly used as a symbol of the Christian Holy Trinity. There is no evidence that Page was an atheist.

(Read More)

In recent years, evangelicals have expanded their outreach in the military, public grade schools, “faith-based” community services and international aid programs, leveraging existing structures and secular funding streams when possible to support their work. To qualify for grants or gain access to public facilities, they argue that they are social service providers, not missionaries. From a personnel standpoint they argue that they are churches, exempt from civil rights laws. America’s Supreme Court has been remarkably willing to let them speak out of both sides of their mouths, which means this trend will continue. Evangelical organizations like Officers Christian Fellowship, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Prison Fellowship Ministries and World Vision will proselytize as much as they are allowed to, diverting as many public dollars as they can, because that is what their reading of the Bible demands.

Inside and outside of Christianity, vigorous debate is challenging the pillars of fundamentalist belief, like the idea that the Bible is literally perfect or that Jesus was the ultimate human sacrifice. But the evangelical quest for converts will be constrained only by whatever moral limits the rest of us set.

liberalsarecool:

Rick Warren was on ABC’s This Week yesterday, and Jake Tapper asked him what he thought about President Obama’s suggestion that God tells us to care for those less fortunate than ourselves.

“I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation.” -…

shizumataka:

Obama Breaks Down Why We Need Separation of Church & State

Obama says we are not a Christian nation, we can not claim to be a religious based nation, too many other religions reside here… and then there are us of no belief. Thank you Obama. 

Also, as a side note, related videos on YouTube to this are all bashing Obama for apparently, “mocking Jesus and the bible” or “Obama praised Quran”… really people, come on. >:(

To many Christians their immense privilege seems invisible. They don’t understand how much of our society panders to their unspoken power. The churches on every corner, the holidays and celebrations structured around Christian dates, the pandering of politicians, the ceremonial deism that acts as a placeholder for state-sponsored religion. Even our vernacular is colored by Christianity: “God bless you,” “we’ll pray for you,” “I’m in heaven,” or even “go to hell.” Yet despite this, many Christians, particularly conservative Christians, have a major investment in seeing themselves as part of a persecuted minority. This was reinforced for me in the comments section of a recent post at the journalism commentary site Get Religion. There, I was informed that Michele Bachmann was part of a religious minority, and that due to mainstream media criticism “one has to speculate that perhaps Christians are a small minority in the United States.”
Where does this inaccurate perspective come from? How can a group see itself as a minority when it holds so much power?

motherjones:

Women isolated from secular society, scarred for life, and beaten for crossing the religious authorities. Kandahar? No, Missouri. And conservatives keep the system running.

A truly strange thing has happened to American Christianity. A set of profound contradictions have developed within modern conservative Christianity, big and telling inconsistencies that have long slipped under the radar of public knowledge, and are only now beginning to be explicitly noted by critics of the religious and economic right.

Here is what is peculiar. Many conservative Christians, mostly Protestant but also a number of Catholics, have come to believe and proudly proclaim that the creator of the universe favors free wheeling, deregulated, union busting, minimal taxes especially for wealthy investors, plutocrat-boosting capitalism as the ideal earthly scheme for his human creations. And many of these Christian capitalists are ardent followers of Ayn Rand, who was one of - and many of whose followers are — the most hard-line anti-Christian atheist/s you can get. Meanwhile many Christians who support the capitalist policies associated with social Darwinistic strenuously denounce Darwin’s evolutionary science because it supposedly leads to, well, social Darwinism!

Meanwhile atheists, secularists and evolutionist are denounced as inventing the egalitarian evils of anti-socially Darwinistic socialism and communism. It’s such a weird stew of incongruities that it sets one’s head spinning. Social researchers like myself ask, how did these internal conflict come about? And why are not liberals and progressives doing the logical thing and taking full advantage of the inconsistencies of right wing libertarianism by loudly exposing the contradictions?[…]

Far from being an evil materialistic organization, Planned Parenthood helps the poor, the alienated, and women who have nowhere else to turn for health care. By all Biblical standards, that’s not something to curse: that’s something to celebrate.