Geez, This Sounds Familiar

CNN reports,

What the hell happened? Where did we go wrong? How was Christianity co-opted by a political party? Why are Christians supporting laws that force others to live by their standards? The answers to these questions are integral to the survival of Christianity.
While the current state of Christianity might seem normal and business-as-usual to some, most see through the judgment and hypocrisy that has permeated the church for so long. People witness this and say to themselves, “Why would I want to be a part of that?” They are turned off by Christians and eventually, to Christianity altogether. We can’t even count the number of times someone has given us a weird stare or completely brushed us off when they discover we work for a church.
So when did the focus of Christianity shift from the unconditional love and acceptance preached by Christ to the hate and condemnation spewed forth by certain groups today? Some say it was during the rise of Conservative Christianity in the early 1980s with political action groups like the Moral Majority. Others say it goes way back to the 300s, when Rome’s Christian Emperor Constantine initiated a set of laws limiting the rights of Roman non-Christians. Regardless of the origin, one thing is crystal clear: It’s not what Jesus stood for.

Full story.

3 thoughts on “Geez, This Sounds Familiar

  1. If you can convince people that denying gays equal rights and restricting women’s access to abortion will make their lives better, despite falling wages, lack of health insurance, corporate fraud and greed, etc., then there’s big money and power in scaring people rather than encouraging compassion.
    For another analysis–historical, sociological and religious–read Karen Armstrong’s excellent book on fundamentalism: The Battle for God. She discusses fundamentalist movements in Christianity, Islam, and, yes, Judaism.

  2. I think that two reasons stand out. Evangelicals/fundamentalists, attempting to remain aloof from the corrupt, secular world, used to retreat from politics, often refraining from voting. That began to change in the late seventies/early eighties, as Bakker says, under the influence of conservative Christian political action groups. The seizure, by conservatives, of the Southern Baptist Convention, their largest denomination, contributed to this.
    The other factor – Southerners used to vote largely along Democratic Party lines, and that included a lot of, perhaps most, evangelicals. Civil rights changed all of that. When LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act, he is reported to have said, “We’ve just handed the South over to the Republican Party for the foreseeable future.”
    Bakker and Brown are kind of interesting characters. They identify as evangelicals, but I just heard a recording of a talk given by Brown (available at their website) in which he argues like a liberal theologian – that the homosexuality condemned in Leviticus isn’t the same as the homosexual behavior of today. I’ve also read that Bakker’s parents were much more welcoming to people who disagreed with them – including the gay community – than were their fellow conservative Christian leaders. Mel White, who used to write for Jerry Falwell and others in that arena, and who later came out, claimed that this contributed to their downfall – that their friends in the “industry”, such as Falwell, refused to support them when allegations of their questionable financial practices came to light, and that a lot of it was due to the fact that they were made uncomfortable by the Bakkers’ warm attitude toward gay people.
    So, if Bakker’s tolerance is genuine, he would appear to come by it honestly.

  3. “If you can convince people that denying gays equal rights and restricting women’s access to abortion will make their lives better …”
    Yeah, Lewis Black does a funny bit on this in (I think) Black on Broadway – that this president has convinced a large segment of the population that all of these problems will go away if we can just “get rid of the queers”! I can’t believe that we have to deal with two more years of this shit.

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