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Preview: Comments on Brain Cramps for God: Are Evangelicals "Owned" Politically?

Comments on Brain Cramps for God: Are Evangelicals "Owned" Politically?

Updated: 2018-03-03T03:18:19.967-08:00


Good work. I plan to read both of the "The troubl...


Good work. I plan to read both of the "The trouble with . . ." essays. I'm afraid that most of the church members I am most familiar with are indeed captive to a political party -- in this case, the Republican one. Bush, Rove, et. al. seemingly can do no wrong, as far as they are concerned.

I found this through the Christian Carnival.

Good post, JCH. I agree with most of what you hav...


Good post, JCH. I agree with most of what you have to say. I think it's instructive, when imagining whether and how Christians as Christians (rather than as parents, union members, gun enthusiasts, etc.) should act politically, to look at historic examples. They give us some distance that we typically lack when considering the debates of our own times. My favorite example is Lincoln, who observed that both North and South prayed to the same God, that the prayers of both could not be answered, and in fact the prayers of neither had been answered fully. In a private note he said of God's providence that two sides in a conflict could not both be right but they could both be wrong. I think he was on to something, and I think that in retrospect his view is almost impossible to argue against.

In other words, I tend to be suspicious (as you seem to be) of identifying "God's way" with anything like faction, party, etc. God's will, providence, or whatever you want to call it is not necessarily, or even typically, revealed through the concerted actions of Godly people but rather through the clash of different factions that do not by any means "own" God.

Alan,Of course, I think the existence of God is TH...



Of course, I think the existence of God is THE reality - so the error of secular evolutionists isn't my problme :-)

Certainly, I also do not think the political state in the US is anywhere near the theocracies the colonists fled - nor do I believe there is a real threat of theocracy in the US

However, that doesnt mean a Christians secular political priorities should be higher than their Kingdom ones

"If being progressive is what moves progress forwa...


"If being progressive is what moves progress forward, then flying in the face of a sovereign God is not progressive."

That, of course, depends on your perspective and set of values.

The statement is true for the Christian, but certainly not seen as true by secular evolutionists.

As for Christians not belonging to any secular ideology, it's certainly refreshing for me to hear an American Christian talk that way. Most of the rest of us outside of the States think that your religion and politics are just a little too closely knit, which is exactly what you fled from in the first place when you formed your own union, isn't it?

oopsThat was 60 denominations and 45,000 churchs t...



That was 60 denominations and 45,000 churchs the NAE had to bring into line on it's statement on human rights and torture.

That is work they are still doing within their constituancy

Hi Patrick,Good to see you again.Let us be clear. ...


Hi Patrick,

Good to see you again.

Let us be clear. I am talking about evangelicals and their churches - and not the political NGO's that the media tends to rush to for an interview. I am far more concerned with the butts in the seats than the FRC, etc. Focus on the Family and their like are mostly single issue political action groups; and not particularly the churches, seminaries, church organizations, etc. that make up Evangelicalism.

In that sense, I am not sure you know what "the average evangelical" says about torture; or how much that affected their vote last November - and what it will do in November 2008. I am not sure I know either and I am part of the movement - which is sort of the reason for this post.

However, it is curious that (knowing how much time you spend at Joe Carter's site) that, while you were connecting him to the FRC you didn't mention this post he wrote after he went to work for the FRC;

"I can't make excuses for us on this one anymore: We have to take a firm stand against torture. Yes, there is a debate about what exactly is meant by that term. So let?s define it in a way that consistent with our belief in human dignity. And then let's hold every politician in the country to that standard. Our silence is embarrassing."

or the Symposium on torture he sponsored long before that (December 2005) with very anti-torture posts by a number of theologically conservative Christians.

I assume you knew about this stuff - why didn't you mention it to give some balance to your comment?

I also assume you know that the National Association of Evangelicals recently came out in opposition to torture. I know you will think that is late (I do too); but we are talking about bringing 27,000ish churches into agreement before they can take a position in their name.

Now, being pretty sure you knew all this - why the lack of balance in your comment? There is not even a hint of "at least you idiots are finally getting it together" in what you said.

The major Evangelical organizations, and the major...


The major Evangelical organizations, and the majority of conservative Christian-oriented political groups, such as the Family Research Council, (Joe Carter's employer) are completely driven by a desire for political power.

The proof? The current President's Administration has authorized and systematically used torture on terrorism suspects. Not to mention rendition, secret CIA prisons and outsourcing torture to other countries like Saudi Arabia. . Even the watered down restraints passed by the last Congress were met with a "signing statement" that allows the President to bypass that meager law if he wishes. Keep in mind that even a few years ago, such things as "Coercive Interrogation" would have been morally unthinkable and abhorrent.

What was the response of the major Evangelical groups, both the political orgs and the Church associations? For that matter, what was the response of the average Evangelical Christian? ...crickets chirping.

Go look at their websites of the major Evangelical groups and do a search on "torture". See what you come up with. Pretty much zilch. Except the Traditional Values Coalition which actually supports it outright. The only major Christian group that I have seen making any kind of noise about it has been the Catholic Church, and then mostly from Rome.

When it comes to torture being carried out by our Government in the US, Evangelicals practice a strict "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. They just don't seem to care whether or not terrorism suspects are tortured or even treated inhumanely.

Funny thing, thats not the Christianity I was taught growing up and that I respected. Instead all anyone seems to care about is the gender of the person I go home to at night. Its the moral Achilles heel of Evangelicals. I think its discraceful, disgusting, shameful, and deviant. And unlike say, homosexuality, the blatant lack of concern by Evangelicals on this issue shows a truly corrupted moral character.