Russell Brand Interviews Members of Westboro Baptist Church

Russell Brand has a show on FX (not sure why but I thank him for this).  On a recent episode he interviewed two members of Westboro Baptist Church.  This is the first time I have seen an interview of members on national TV in which they articulate their stance on love and homosexuality.  While I complete disagree with them I applaud Brand for having them on.

Of course a 10 minute segment is too short to have a meaningful conversation about this issue, but maybe it will get the ball rolling.

Below is the video of the interview.
(Content Warning: There is some language and name calling, you have been warned.  Somewhat SFW)

 

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And You Wonder Why People Arent Christians: Part IX

As the election looms in the distance, the internet is never too far away to provide us with reasons why people do not want to be a Christian.  Elections have the power to bring out in people their “true colors” but for Dr. Gary Cass he didn’t need the election, he just needed a microphone and an audience.

Cass is the CEO of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC) based in Vista, CA.

The Mission of the CADC is as follows:

The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC) is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) Education Corporation whose purpose it is to become the first-in-mind champion of Christian religious liberty, domestically and internationally, and a national clearing house and first line of response to anti-Christian defamation, bigotry, and discrimination.

The CADC will work constructively to advance a robust religious liberty in public opinion and policy so that Christians everywhere might fulfill their biblical duties to God and neighbor; to proclaim and to live out the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the whole counsel of the Word of God.

The CADC will respond in the media to attacks by any individual person or groups of persons, institutions, or nations that defame and /or discriminate against Christ, Christianity, the Holy Bible, Christian churches and institutions, Christian individuals, and Christian leaders.

In cooperation with friendly Christian grassroots organizations, in secular and Christian media outlets, the CADC will create a “rapid response” team and public relations campaigns to answer the egregious injustice and double standards used against Christians. The CADC will build its own grassroots network.

The CADC will develop strong partnerships with friendly Christian Legal ministries for the purpose of seeking and/or providing legal services on behalf of its constituents. The CADC will collect and forward bona-fide complaints of discrimination and bigotry aimed at Christians which warrant legal action up to and including litigation.

In a nut shell, the CADC promotes under the guise of freedom of religion, their brand of Christianity and everyone else, is just plain wrong.  They have the means, the resources and the guts to take on anti-Christian stances around the world.  (I hope I am not their next target.)  For example, on their website they have “Seven Reasons Why Barack Obama Is Not A Christian.”  Their seven points range from being pro-homosexual rights to he believes their are many paths to Heaven.  So if you believe one or all seven of these points, then you are in the same class as the President as someone who the CADC believes have wandered from the faith.

The leader of the CADC, this beacon of Christian truth and light and acceptance, recently told a captive audience that to be a true Christian means owning a fire arm… that’s right… to be the arbiter of love and justice means carrying a loaded Smith and Wesson emblazon with John 3:16 on the handle I am sure.  You can watch the video below or read the article here.

The CADC on many levels is troubling.  Sure I admire his gusto to be faithful to the commands to love your neighbor  but gun ownership?  I am fine with people owning guns as long as they are maintained, locked up from children and are registered with the state.  But did Christ really call for gun ownership?  I dont see that anywhere in the Bible.

The CADC once again gives all Christians a bad name; they get the most press and they get the attention.   Christianity is not about gun ownership or pointing out reasons why the President is not a Christian.  No Christianity is more than that… it has to be…

If those at the CADC want to ” advance a robust religious liberty in public opinion and policy so that Christians everywhere might fulfill their biblical duties to God and neighbor; to proclaim and to live out the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the whole counsel of the Word of God,” then we might want to include all views and understandings.  You might actually learn something new… then again maybe not.  But the fact remains that we are all in this together.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Not sure who or what “right wing watch” is I just thank them for finding and posting this video.

How We Having The Same Debate After All Of These Years

The Rev. Dr. Phil Snider has overnight become an internet celebrity.   A video of him giving a speech at the Springfield, Missouri City Council has gone viral on the internet.  The city was considering a motion that would have  added sexual orientation and gender identity protections in the areas of employment, public housing and accommodations.  As one would think it was a highly contested issue.  Many people took their turn on the microphone addressing the Council, but none stood out more than Snider’s.

I am glad to see a minister from the Disciples of Christ taking a stand in such a public venue.  His argument is not one that is bashes people over the head with the Bible, rather it makes the hearer recall previous ways the Bible was used for the segregation of people.  Too often the Bible is used as a weapon of separation and not unity.

Enjoy the video.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Football and the Bible

The tiny town of Kountze, Texas was placed on the national radar this past week.  After a series of court cases and injunctions, the Kountze High School Cheerleaders are allowed to continue to use Bible scriptures as part of their pre-game, run though banner.  (read here) Because of their actions it has caused a firestorm of press, debates and protests.  The central issue (as I understand it) is whether or not it is appropriate for the cheerleaders to use Bible scriptures at a school event.  The superintendent of Kountze ISD stated that he barred them because the banners violated school policy and so the debate started.  Do the banners that the players run through before kickoff amount to school sanctioning of religion?

I am not a lawyer by profession but I believe there is a different issue at the forefront here.   The cheerleaders in my opinion are walking a very fine line.  Yes they are student lead and under the letter of the law they should be “ok” to continue, but what about doing it in uniform on the field of school sponsored football game?  Does that change the context and thus change the nature of the event?  I believe it does.

What this boils down to is that in a predominately Christian area of the state, Christianity can not be professed everywhere and this upsets people and any push back is seen as an attack of freedoms.  The fact of the matter is that at Kountze ISD there is an amalgamation of people from various faith backgrounds, contexts and ideas.  By having the cheerleaders promoting their brand of religion is stating that their way is more correct than the others.  Since they have the platform to promote their voice to a wide audience, they have the opportunity to broadcast what ever they want.  This is not fair or correct.

People have been arguing that this issue is centered on the notion of freedom of speech.  While I agree with this, would the fine people of Kountze be ok with an uplifting passage from the Koran or from the Bhagavad Gita?  If you open the door under the notion of freedom of speech then you open it to all.  You have to give the same platform for Muslims, Jews, Atheist, Agnostics and even Satanist.  It has been reported that the cheerleaders take turns choosing the uplifting message; would the parents who fought so hard to get a Philippians 4:13 banner, fight just a hard for a Hindu cheerleader to promote her religion?  Maybe, but maybe not.

There is this idea that society is assaulting Christianity or that the world has some vendetta against Christianity.  I do not believe this is the case.  I believe that some people have an issue with religion being shoved down their throat.  This has been an issue with Christianity for centuries.  Some followers of Christ believe that they have a moral imperative to make sure that everyone believes their version of Christianity.  I believe that Christianity is multi-faceted and complex; it is rich and layered with multiple ways to interpret and act upon the scriptures.   Yes there will be those who will claim that their foundation is in the Bible and the Great Commission, but I think this is pushing it past the limits of its intent.  The Great Commission calls on all who follow Christ to spread the message of love, hope, peace, joy and reconciliation.  Christ had many enemies but it was his changing of social structures and acceptance of those who society had cast out that helped the movement to grow.  No where in the Bible does Christ ever command his followers to many banners and have padded football players run through it.

Don’t the scriptures deserve better respect than to have a team of players tear it to shreds?

Faith is something that is inherently personal and for some Christianity has left a bad taste in their mouth.  Maybe it was a bad experience with a minister or perhaps they were told that because of their life choices they were not accepted in the Kingdom of God.  How would it feel to then see a banner proclaiming the best virtues of Christianity when those were not shown to you?    Instead of making a situation worse, why not live your lives in a way that expresses the faith that you hold so dear?  This will be the biggest witness that you can ever have.  I understand that to many this is a ‘non-issue’ but for the church to be seen in a positive light, people must know that just because a banner is not raised does not mean that Christianity is dead.

I know that many of you do not share the same view as I do and that’s ok.  Its not about who is right and who is wrong, rather it is about the conversation and the examination of widely held beliefs.  Many people might consider me (like many do about the Superintendent of Kountze ISD) un-Christian or even anti-Christian, but that is off the mark.  I am just expressing a theological opinion, the right of every person.

This situation is far from over, but the fact remains that Christ’s central message was love.  Let’s remember that.

 

In Christ,

 

Rev. Evan

And You Wonder Why People Aren’t Christians: Part IV

Here we are again… much too soon I am afraid.

Dennis Marcellino, author and political advocate as well as Christian has taken to the web to give the impression that there is only one way to understand the Bible.  On the website “Conservative Byte” Marcellino postulates that if a Christian votes for a Democrat and then  dies that person is destined for the fiery pits of hell.

Don’t believe me?  Read the article here (don’t worry its short… just like his argument.)

Obviously Marcellino did not read my article concerning religion and politics, Mr. Marcellino if you are reading this welcome to my blog and secondly click here and be sure to leave a comment.

But that is besides the point.

Even the newest of Christian converts would tell you that the words “Republican” and “Democrat” are not in the Bible anywhere so I do not know where Marcellino gets off telling the Christian faithful that voting for a Democrat would result in a one way pass to Hell.

IS THAT THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN?!?!?!

To figure it out… let’s breakdown this 282 word article…

First, Marcellino is polite enough to tell us that “This is not meant to be emotional or inflammatory…”  Thanks!  But then he continues and says “it is simply stating a fact and to warn.”  D’Oh!  So this is his job… telling people via the internet that they are on a one way course to hell for your political beliefs.

Next he comes roaring out of the gate tells his readership that the Bible does in fact support his ideas (surprise, surprise)… if you know where to look.  He then offers this as warning to “blacks” (not African-Americans… blacks) and Hispanics (which he doesn’t capitalize in his article) but as he claims these two groups primarily vote for the Democratic party.  So by say this is he affirming that most people who are Caucasian, Asian American, Native American and any other race are most definitely Republican voting.  But these two groups of people are not just voting for Democrats for the sake of agreeing with their platform, Marcellino makes the claim that they are voting “lock step” with the Democratic Party… meaning they just vote that way because they have always voted that way. Hmmm…

Next, Marcellino gets into the Bible meat of his claim.  He quotes 2 Thes. which reads, ““Then everyone who did not believe the truth, but was delighted with what God disapproves of, will be condemned.”  He claims that people express their own delight is who they punch their ballot for.  Then he quotes Romans 1:32 which basically states that the righteous of God (I guess he means Republicans?) should not stand for “such things” nor should they approve of them.

Now in a fine bit of exegesis, Marcellino claims that the rest of Romans 1 claims that when Paul was referring to “such things” he was referring to “homosexuality, lesbianism, strife, deceit, slander [political sound bites], gossips, idol worshippers, God-haters, atheists” which he claims are “all primarily attributes of liberals.”

Mr. Marcellino, proof text much?  I mean you are condemning nearly half of the US population to hell because of their political beliefs and you base it on 50 words or less than 1% of the entire Bible or only 18% of your entire article?

Are people who are not Christians flocking to churches around the country to repent especially if they voted for the President in 2008 and weren’t sorry for it?  Are the number of Christians who are also Democrats declining across the nation less then five months from the Presidental election?  Umm… no.

Marcellino is completely off the mark on this one.

Not only does he distort the Bible for his own political agenda, he himself does not have clean hands in this matter.  During his examination of Romans 1 he gave a quite lengthy list of “attrobutes” of liberals… dare I say that he was judging them?  Something that Christ warned against…right?

This is not an effective evangelism tool and as a Christian minister it makes me shake my head and reminds me to be careful what you read on the internet, not everything is true.

Christians will continue to have the perception that they are closed minded, literalist ‘hell bent’ on sending people to hell for their minor transgressions.  Let’s leave out the grace, let’s leave out the love, let’s leave out the acceptance.  But let’s do add a list of things you are doing wrong and a list of people to vote for.  In Marcellino’s mind, its the ones with the “R” by their name.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan