Who Is Hijacking Whose Christianity?


From Time.com, his article in blockquotes and with my remarks following. It’s amazing how much Scripture can easily be cited to refute the shallow panderings of this ‘pundit’.

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My Problem with Christianism
By ANDREW SULLIVAN

Are you a Christian who doesn’t feel represented by the religious right? I know the feeling. When the discourse about faith is dominated by political fundamentalists and social conservatives, many others begin to feel as if their religion has been taken away from them.

The number of Christians misrepresented by the Christian right is many. There are evangelical Protestants who believe strongly that Christianity should not get too close to the corrupting allure of government power.

There are lay Catholics who, while personally devout, are socially liberal on issues like contraception, gay rights, women’s equality and a multi-faith society.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 7:21

If you love me, you will obey what I command. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.  – John 14 

There are very orthodox believers who nonetheless respect the freedom and conscience of others as part of their core understanding of what being a Christian is. They have no problem living next to an atheist or a gay couple or a single mother or people whose views on the meaning of life are utterly alien to them–and respecting their neighbors’ choices. That doesn’t threaten their faith. Sometimes the contrast helps them understand their own faith better.

And there are those who simply believe that, by definition, God is unknowable to our limited, fallible human minds and souls.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. – 2nd Timothy 3:16

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”  – John 14:6-7

These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. – John 14:24

If God is ultimately unknowable, then how can we be so certain of what God’s real position is on, say, the fate of Terri Schiavo?

“You shall not murder.” – Exodus 20:13

Or the morality of contraception? Or the role of women?

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. – Collosians 3:18

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. – Ephesians 5:25,28

Or the love of a gay couple?

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5 (Jesus says)

‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. – Leviticus 18:22

‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. – Leviticus 20:13

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. – Romans 1:26-27

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. – 1st Corinthians 6:9-10

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” …Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. – Genesis 19

Also, faith for many of us is interwoven with doubt, a doubt that can strengthen faith and give it perspective and shadow. That doubt means having great humility in the face of God and an enormous reluctance to impose one’s beliefs, through civil law, on anyone else.

I would say a clear majority of Christians in the U.S. fall into one or many of those camps. Yet the term “people of faith” has been co-opted almost entirely in our discourse by those who see Christianity as compatible with only one political party, the Republicans, and believe that their religious doctrines should determine public policy for everyone.

Apart from the Republicans, what other U.S. political party is even remotely in tune with mainstream Christianity? Just look at what the opposites of the Conservative Republicans stand for:

LiberalDemocratOpinions

“Sides are being chosen,” Tom DeLay recently told his supporters, “and the future of man hangs in the balance! The enemies of virtue may be on the march, but they have not won, and if we put our trust in Christ, they never will.” So Christ is a conservative Republican?

No, but conservative Republicans are overwhelmingly Christian. Don’t try and subversively rephrase it into a sarcastic straw man.

Rush Limbaugh recently called the Democrats the “party of death” because of many Democrats’ view that some moral decisions, like the choice to have a first-trimester abortion, should be left to the individual, not the cops.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. – Psalm 139:13

This is what the LORD says – he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you – Isaiah 44:2

This is what the LORD says – your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb – Isaiah 44:23

And now the LORD says – he who formed me in the womb to be his servant – Isaiah 49:5

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart – Jeremiah 1:5

“You shall not murder.” – Exodus 20:13

Ann Coulter, with her usual subtlety, simply calls her political opponents “godless,” the title of her new book. And the largely nonreligious media have taken the bait. The “Christian” vote has become shorthand in journalism for the Republican base.

What to do about it? The worst response, I think, would be to construct something called the religious left. Many of us who are Christians and not supportive of the religious right are not on the left either. In fact, we are opposed to any politicization of the Gospels by any party, Democratic or Republican, by partisan black churches or partisan white ones. “My kingdom is not of this world,” Jesus insisted. What part of that do we not understand?

What part about living like a Christian does this guy not understand?

Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD. – Leviticus 18:5

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16

So let me suggest that we take back the word Christian while giving the religious right a new adjective: Christianist. Christianity, in this view, is simply a faith. Christianism is an ideology, politics, an ism.

The distinction between Christian and Christianist echoes the distinction we make between Muslim and Islamist. Muslims are those who follow Islam. Islamists are those who want to wield Islam as a political force and conflate state and mosque. Not all Islamists are violent. Only a tiny few are terrorists. And I should underline that the term Christianist is in no way designed to label people on the religious right as favoring any violence at all.

I mean merely by the term Christianist the view that religious faith is so important that it must also have a precise political agenda. It is the belief that religion dictates politics and that politics should dictate the laws for everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike.

In that case, we should have new labels like atheicism, liberalicism, and immoralism for those who seek to implement their godless ways in national politics. To them, their own humanist wants and base instincts are the supreme law. Quid pro quo?

That’s what I dissent from, and I dissent from it as a Christian. I dissent from the political pollution of sincere, personal faith. I dissent most strongly from the attempt to argue that one party represents God and that the other doesn’t.

I dissent from having my faith co-opted and wielded by people whose politics I do not share and whose intolerance I abhor. The word Christian belongs to no political party. It’s time the quiet majority of believers took it back.

See that Liberal (Democrat) Opinions pic again. Not all Christians are Republicans, but I suspect few Democrats are serious, born again, Bible-believing, live-for-Christ Christians.

That is why such self-seeking men as Bill Clinton (Democrat former President) and Jimmy Carter (Democrat former President, who laments that Jesus didn’t accept Satan’s temptation) must try and form their own alternative to the Southern Baptist Convention – since no mature Christian would ever fall for their foolish deception.

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Therefore in conclusion I, Scott, dare contend that it is liberalism that is attempting to hijack Christianity from its true faithful keepers.

And we already have an existing label for such usurpers that doesn’t need any -isms: hedonists, Christians-in-name-only, cafeteria Christians, Antinomianists, false prophets and false shephers who lead the flock astray.

As the Bible long ago foretold and warned:

So which do you think are more likely to be the false doctrines that are attempting to hijack the true faith – mainstream, conservative, fundamentalist beliefs that follow 2000-year old tradition?

Or 1960’s hippie counterculture fad theology?


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9 Responses to “Who Is Hijacking Whose Christianity?”

  1. Yuki Choe Says:

    I have long admired your writing, and I am so glad to have met you. But before I go on how eating shrimps, crabs and prawns can be an abomination to God, and how God commands us to kill people who work on Sundays and women who lose their virginity before their wedding night, and how women are not supposed to lead in church and wear head scarves, can you please be more sensitive on the gay issue?

    I know you have your beliefs and I do respect them. And I am not going to go slinging on another long line of arguments like we had. Please respectfully, do not accuse ‘liberalism = gays’ of hijacking Christianity, ok?

  2. Scott Thong Says:

    Well, let’s see…

    1) All of the above you have listed are still unacceptable to God for Jewish followers of Judaism (except that they are forbidden to work on Saturday, not Sunday), and the spirit of those laws still applies even for modern day Christians;

    2) Andrew Sullivan is the one who started the accusations of hijacking by purporting that Conservatives have hijacked Christianity by merely continuing to adhere to the 2000-year old basic tenets as they previously always have;

    3) One’s own blog is a record of one’s own thoughts, and no one is forced to read or agree with them;

    4) I did not use any deragotary remarks or insults against homosexuals, nor any of the other the many other issues such as abortion, euthanasia and Scriptural non-authority (which chose to ignore and instead focus on the one issue that is personally relevant to you), I merely quoted verses direct from the Bible with regards to them;

    5) From those Bible verses, my personal belief is that Chrsitianity does not support homosexual pairings, and this being my personal belief I therefore record it in my personal blog;

    6) I nowhere alluded that ‘liberalism = gays’, merely pointed out that pro-homosexulity is one of the beliefs held by liberalism (as Andrew Sullivan himself suggests in his article);

    7) Already stepping very lightly on the issue and not having enlisted any insults, being any more ‘sensitive’ about homosexuality would basically mean my not mentioning the issue at all;

  3. Yuki Choe Says:

    “Therefore in conclusion I, Scott, dare contend that it is liberalism that is attempting to hijack Christianity from its true faithful keepers”

    You already did.

    “1) All of the above you have listed are still unacceptable to God for Jewish followers of Judaism (except that they are forbidden to work on Saturday, not Sunday), and the spirit of those laws still applies even for modern day Christians;”

    You have a lot to study on the Written Torah and the Oral Torah.

    “4) I did not use any deragotary remarks or insults against homosexuals, nor any of the other the many other issues such as abortion, euthanasia and Scriptural non-authority (which chose to ignore and instead focus on the one issue that is personally relevant to you), I merely quoted verses direct from the Bible with regards to them;”

    It is your choice to parrot someone’s judgemental opinions. Hey, it is your credibility on it and not mine.

    “7) Already stepping very lightly on the issue and not having enlisted any insults, being any more ’sensitive’ about homosexuality would basically mean my not mentioning the issue at all;”

    It is one thing to mention and talk about homosexuality. It is another to impose it on homosexuals which are people. Homosexual is a noun mind you. Did you mother never tell you it is bad to talk about people? I am sure in your excellent writing skills you can learn how to separate that.

    Having said all this, I really admire your arrogant but thoughtful stance.

    I am preparing a blog project. It is a for bridging both sides and employing dialogues between LGTs and straights on Christianity.

    If you do not mind, I would like invite you to be in it as an Asian perspective. I will inform you of everything once I get everything set up.

    Hope to get David Chong (The Hedonese) on board the Asian Christian side too. But it is sort of a friendly forum for intelligent discussions only.

  4. Scott Thong Says:

    You have a lot to study on the Written Torah and the Oral Torah.

    Then apparently, so do Billy Graham, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson,half the Anglican church, all the Catholic Popes, and the vast majority of Christians and followers of Judaism.

    Can you like, be specific where I insulted homosexual persons? Or imposed on them? Or even mentioned them?

    To my mind, the entirety of my post was to defend the notion that Conservative Republicans DO represent the mainstream of Christians. Homosexuality was but a small part of this post.

  5. Yuki Choe Says:

    “Then apparently, so do Billy Graham, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson,half the Anglican church, all the Catholic Popes, and the vast majority of Christians and followers of Judaism.”

    Unfortunately they did not. If they do they would know the law:

    Ve-al tadin et chavercha ad she-tagia li-mkomo: Pirke Avos 2:5

    (Do not judge your fellow until you are in his place: Ethics of the Fathers 2:5)

    Apparently it would be futile for me to continue here because I am able to see more as a third party to the discussion then you and the means you chose to justify your beliefs. Perhaps homosexuality is not your field, dear.

    Anyway, I am only back here to share this video with you. I am proud of your work on politics here, I am sure you know what to do with it. Ditto.

    Spread the word, and the humour.

    Mahathir Mengaku.

  6. Scott Thong Says:

    ‘Ethics of the Fathers’ or not, since when has Judaism ever condoned homosexuality? Only Islam is stricter on this subject.

    And if that quotation from Ethics of the Fathers is to be used as the sole guide to life, then law-abiding police, judges and ordinary citizens would have no right to oppose and punish criminals, no? (LITIGATIONLAND DISCLAIMER: I am not equating homosexuals to common criminals.)

    The socio-psychological aspects of homosexuality not be my field per se, but I do know my Scripture, which is the only thing I’ve been quoting in this post.

    Out of 9 times I quoted Scripture to refute Andrew Sullivan’s article, only one time has to do with the topic of homosexuality. And I didn’t even mention homosexual persons or state my own views, I merely copy and paste verses out of the Bible.

    You still have not pointed out specifically where I insulted homosexual persons, imposed on them, or even mentioned them. I contend that I did NO SUCH THING in this post.

  7. Yuki Choe Says:

    “Out of 9 times I quoted Scripture to refute Andrew Sullivan’s article, only one time has to do with the topic of homosexuality. And I didn’t even mention homosexual persons or state my own views, I merely copy and paste verses out of the Bible.”

    But before you said:

    “Therefore in conclusion I, Scott, dare contend that it is liberalism that is attempting to hijack Christianity from its true faithful keepers”

    So do you refute or agree that liberal Christians are hijacking Christianity or not? Lol.

    It is your opinion however, and I respect it.

    But I am in the opinion, as you mentioned this, but I am not sure whether you pasted this passages or you are just continuing from your ‘dare’ assertion’.

    “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. – Matthew 7:15-20”

    You are absolutely right to say so. We of course would know a bad fruit originates from a bad tree.

    Conservatives politically lobby against minority groups.
    Liberalists defends minority groups.

    Conservatives use religion to incite and foster fear with intolerance.
    Liberalists defends the inclusiveness and the two greatest commandments of Christ Jesus.

    Conservatives uses religion as a way to make money out of scriptures.
    Liberalists uses religion as as a way to make love out of scriptures.

    Conservatives impose values upon others.
    Liberalists defends itself upon imposement of conservatives.

    And many more…

    Of course, any decent believer in Christ would realise that. That is why major denominations are losing members, non-denominational churches are gaining members.

    As for the topic of homosexuality, you did parrot homosexuality as one of the liberalists acceptance of the matter in Andrew Sullivan’s article, then went on to DARE that liberalism is hijacking Christianity, geddit?

    Or perhaps as a person reading this article there are spots where I actually missed the point? Anyway, if you insist there is no such thing, what can I say? And mind you incomparison to Christians that have countless ex-gay ministries all across the States, Judaism only has one in JONAH. In fact, Jonah works more closely to Christianity that the Jews.

    In fact, the only deviations of Christianity that bear semblence to the ignorance on the new evidences and facts about homosexuality is the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons. And they TOO are affiliated to Christian groups. Why? I guess the end justify the means.

    And I reiterate again. It is your opinion and I respect it. Or maybe I misunderstood. In any case, I am just sharing the Mahathir video. I am glad you enjoy it, thanks for spreading the word for the sake of Malaysia.

  8. Yuki Choe Says:

    By the way, wow, I cannot believe you found the full length version of the Mahathir video. Nice. : )

  9. Scott Thong Says:

    So do you refute or agree that liberal Christians are hijacking Christianity or not? Lol.

    The entirety of my post insinuates that. So yes, I accuse liberal Christians of hijacking Christianity.

    Conservatives impose values upon others.
    Liberalists defends itself upon imposement of conservatives.

    Not so black and white. Liberalists are imposing their own brand of values on the nations – free sex, easy abortion, disregard for hard work, socialism.

    As for the topic of homosexuality, you did parrot homosexuality as one of the liberalists acceptance of the matter in Andrew Sullivan’s article, then went on to DARE that liberalism is hijacking Christianity, geddit?

    Pro-homosexuality is a subset of liberalism. So if I reject liberalism, I’m attacking pro-homosexuality? If that’s your logic, I get it. But I in no way targeted homosexuals directly, specifically or aggressively.

    All I did was to point out that traditional Christianity, as based on the Bible, does not accept the many tenets of liberalism that Andrew Sullivan quotes. Therefore, how can he claim that conservatives have hijacked Christianity simply by adhering to its traditional form?

    Or perhaps as a person reading this article there are spots where I actually missed the point?

    EXACTLY. My post is, as the conclusion states, about liberalism as a whole trying to hijack Christianity, kick the Conservatives out, and call the Conservatives hijackers. I refute Andrew Sullivan on all sorts of points, not just focus on and hammer homosexuality.

    It is NOT about LGBT and pro-LGBT groups trying to hijack Christianity. That’s a whole nuther post entirely.

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