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Duggar controversy and the battle over who has “morals” and can judge “morality”

May 25, 2015

With the revelation that Josh Duggar had molested some girls years ago, when he was 14, the internet has erupted in back and forth debate. The secular world claims it’s hypocrisy, of course, and and quickly throws up his preaching against the LGBT community, especially in his position in the Family Research Council (which he then resigned from. The Duggar’s show was then canceled from TV), and figure he should have been marred for life.
Even my wife (who’s not as active on the internet as I am) says how she sees all these horrible attacks posted on social media, even condemning the parents for having so many children. She had watched them from the beginning, and saw the kids born and grow up, one by one, right on TV.

The Christians say it was a “mistake” that he has since repented of, and “brought the family closer to God” (https://www.facebook.com/duggarfamilyofficial/posts/653931128073873?fref=nf&pnref=story i.e. the whole “He uses bad things for ultimate good” concept). My wife relayed the account that the family reported him to the police. The other side alleges that it was covered up, and then I hear this was really a friend of the family (who would later be busted on child pornography), and the only punishment was the “hard labor” of him doing construction work for another friend of the family. (see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2015/05/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-josh-duggar-police-report.html)
One article even suggests “It was not a sin, it was a crime” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2015/05/22/the-duggars-dangerous-cult-of-purity/ The premise was that “sin” was some sort of socially neutral category, that makes it wrong “according to your beliefs” [i.e. to “God”] but OK in society.
I would say it was both, and there is no need for any “either/or”.

Christian defenders note how “all of a sudden”, the liberals, homosexual advocates, etc. have “discovered sexual morality” in judging right wingers, yet throw out judging when their behavior or civil desires are on the hot seat [based on the notion that one “perversion” is no better than another], and possibly don’t really care about the poor victims of the whole ordeal, but are only using them for their agendas. (see http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/the-duggars-arent-hypocrites-progressives-are)

After my wife commented on how “the world expects Christians to be perfect”; my initial comment on this was:
Christians defending brethren caught in sin often complain “the world” expects them to be “perfect”, but when you’ve labeled them as “separate” (i.e. the “world”) because of their “sin” (and lack of “repentance” from it), then you are essentially judging them by The Law, which commands “Be ye perfect.
They know this, and thus, turn it back onto Christians; a lot of times, unfairly [like not allowing the possibility that he truly repented of it], but then we’re often unfair to them in harping on their behavior (including discriminating against them, as in the case of the LGBT community, and let’s not forget all the often hateful condemnation, usually evoking God) in the first place.

What I had found in debating legalists from many different religious groups (many of them quite ardent, and making post after post about God’s standards and how everyone else is just ignoring them), is that when it’s turned back on them, and the true extent of the demands of God’s Law (and their impossibility) are presented, they end up resorting to this “it’s not about perfection” claim, basically premised on “as long as we’re trying“; (never put that way, but i.e. “not sinning willfully“), then we show we have “repented”. So now, with their imperfections covered, they have a ‘clean slate’ to go after everyone else (“the world” and “the church” alike, often), who aren’t “trying” hard enough (if, at all).
(Problem is, we do still sin “willfully”).

The real issue

Here is the real “hypocrisy” people are pointing out (even moreso than just the fact that he did it in the first place):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/24/dan-savage-duggar_n_7429464.html

Yet these are the same people who, Bible in hand, condemn gay Christians as “a disgusting abomination and a threat to teens.”

Particularly when religious conservatives want to talk about it, they want to point a finger at non-family. They want to point a finger at people that they define as the enemies of families or not from or having families of their own — LGBT people, particularly trans people increasingly with these anti-trans bathroom bills. That is what the Duggars have dug in on; is attacking trans people and opposing this LGBT civil rights bill in Fayetteville, where they were out there arguing that the threat to little girls in Fayetteville were transwomen when they knew, when they were covering for someone who had demonstrated, at least at that age, was a threat to little girls himself.

When you say all of that stuff, it is fair for others (especially those you are saying it to) to expect a lot from you. To fall yourself, and then say “oops; it was just a mistake; I know we’re imperfect; don’t you go and judge [me/them], now…” people will not receive the way you think they should. It’s essentially “loading a heavy burden [you your]selves can not even lift with one of [your] fingers” (Matt.23:4).

Christians will claim at that point “the Devil” is attacking them, and he is, but we are warned to ourselves “give him no occasion” (Eph.4:27). In this case, he is correctly identified as an “accuser” (Rev.12:10). This is really his primary function, not some “pleasure-time pal” who leads people into “fun” just for thrills, as we assume when judging “the world” or even “disobedient Christians”.
So when we make these hefty accusations of others, we are playing his game, and he already got us in his trap. So of course, he will turn on us when we fail ourselves! That’s how it works. We make ourselves big “targets”! We are relying on our own efforts too much, and thus not really on Christ’s covering!

When we make the hefty accusations of others’ behavior that we do, we are playing the Accuser’s game, and “giving him occasion”, when we ourselves fall

I recently began communicating with someone who says her family and church were terrible to her when she came out, even fearing she would begin to molest little girls or something like that! (This was one of the stories that helped lead me recently to a final full realization that most of these people are going through tremendous struggle, and not just “jaded” from overindulgence in pleasure or some other “sinful choice”, as assumed).
Being “attracted” to females has nothing to do with necessarily wanting to have sex with under-age ones (or really, anyone other than someone you are in a consensual adult relationship with); else, every single heterosexual male then is unsafe to have around little girls! (Christians and other wise people may be vigilant about men around their daughters, but then to specifically suspect LGBT people like that is not warranted).

People just react, viscerally, and do not think these things out at all. Yet many are themselves fighting some deep “shadow” stuff that they keep suppressing, and instead “box” in others, who otherwise should not be bothering them, in their personal business.
People worry about Christians coming under “persecution” for refusing to marry gays, or even bake them wedding cakes, but while the nonChristians and liberals can become hypocritical as well, some of this is reaction to all the invective Christians spew at them. Hence, they apply the much dreaded label “hater”, and treat you as such, even though you’re at that point only speaking and not actually doing anything. But that’s because you’ve lost the power. They have heard what Christians would do if they did have the power. They can look just at history. Then, many Christians over the years have loudly bemoaned this loss of power, and have vied to “take it back” in one way or another. What would they do with the gays then? So as some memes say [to paraphrase], “You’re not being persecuted just because you’re not allowed to persecute others”.

The article even points out:

Those who like to throw the Bible around might want to know that teaching right and wrong instead of teaching Jesus is eating off the tree of knowledge [of good and evil], which Genesis 2:17 declares forbidden.

A point from the old Christian music debate

In conjunction with all of this, just to give a sense of how deep the double standard of moral projection can run, this article: http://theochlophobist.blogspot.com/2015/05/arkansans-oh-my-poor-people.html says the Duggar’s home was “close to Bill Gothard. Gothard had to resign from his ministry because he fondled at least 32 girls.”
None of this I knew.

What I knew about Gothard was that he was a “darling” of the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptists) anti-CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) sentiment, with his citing of “scientific studies” on the “negative effects of rock music”, that were totally misinterpreted. (This movement is still insisting all “rock music”, including even Christian rock, and other 20th century forms, such as “jazz”; all, having black influence; mind you, is evil!) He also put out the “ten strikes” against “the fruits of the rock beat”. (see http://www.erictb.info/ccm.html) and has even been criticized for a “a mechanistic, cause-and-effect approach to life” (https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/an-example-of-the-legalism-of-the-running-the-race-teaching/#comment-1952); “ten steps for this and five steps for that, yet eight steps for another”, which “accords neither with the variations in people or with the dynamics of Scripture.” and yet presented “as though they were the direct teaching of the Bible.” That is the approach people see as “safeguarding” against “sin”.

The entire premise of this whole “music philosophy” is how the “rock beat” is “sensual”, and ultimately leads to “sin”. (It’s even in part blamed for the “demise” of America).
This obviously is pure, unadulterated SHADOW! HE has a problem with “sensuality” (and a very SERIOUS one, at that, apparently)*, so then COMPENSATES for his problem by projecting it onto others (me sitting and tapping my feet to a song’s backbeat or rhythm, perhaps? or maybe others doing a more suggestive dance), and then urges being EXTRA “vigilant”; follow all the “rules” and “steps”, in rooting out every possible association of a beat or other sound with evil (his second point, basically; the complete argument even ultimately boils down to meticulous details like “beat accents”, “syncopation” and “harmony vs melody”), and there; the entire modern church is “disobedient” to God, and “compromising” with the devil and “sin”, —while he goes on molesting girls!

*[Edit: Now I’m seeing on his own statement: http://billgothard.com/content/statement-bill-gothard he denies ever “kiss[ing] a girl, nor I touch[ing] a girl immorally or with sexual intent”, and that there was only “holding of hands, hugs, and touching of feet or hair with young ladies”. If this is true, then it shows critics being unfair and misleading, in continuing to beef it up to full “fondling”; but, it would still be a great “double standard” (as he admits), especially given the extreme vigilance in his expression of Christianity, where it is generally taught that a man should not even counsel a woman alone, nor ever be near their bedroom, and “holding hands” is frowned upon for a dating couple (i.e., quote, below) etc. in addition to the scrutiny of music for “sensuality” (and all dancing is definitely out as well, despite its use in scripture); all to avoid the “appearance of evil” (1 Thess.5:22; a frequently cited verse by this circle in both of these issues).

It’s like he has to micro-order life, to try to tame the sinful tendencies he’s obviously aware of, but it doesn’t work, yet he pushes it on everyone else. That’s the problem people are opposing here!
Him having to resign makes me think there might still be more to it than he is letting on. Or, maybe it’s just the severity of the double standard, given the so high standards they preach. (Then, I find this: http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/04/response-to-gothards-statement which makes this point, but then claims, among other things, that some of the girls testified to more than what he’s saying).
In any case, it does show show my point here, of no matter how strict you are, you’re still human and “sinful”, and piling on meticulous “rules” and “steps to victory”, and then judging others who don’t follow them, does not help, but is further suppressing sin into the unconscious aka “shadow”, where it will still come up and make you fall, all the more harder].

(And of course, they are conveniently against psychology as well, which often exposes stuff like this, such as calling out concepts such as “unconscious projection”. The rest of the IFB movement, takes a similar defensive view, when sex scandals erupt in their midst, arguing they will “damage our testimony”: see https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/an-example-of-the-legalism-of-the-running-the-race-teaching/#comment-2989
Old-line fundamentalists are the biggest preachers of “all have sinned”, but seem to think that because they themselves went down to an altar and “said the sinner’s prayer” ⦅usually as a preteen or something⦆, that this affect has for all purposes been erased for them, hence being so hard on the rest of the “world” and even the church).

Meanwhile, as the Washington Post article, above, points out:
“When all sexuality is a sin, when even holding hands is off limits, there isn’t a clear line between permissible, healthy forms of exploration and acts that are impermissible to anyone, not just the particularly devout. This gospel of shame and purity has the potential to be incredibly harmful because it does away with important lines.”
This I had pointed out, with a little illustration, on the CCM page!

“If a line is reasonably drawn, it sets a clearly defined boundary.

•    •    •    •
•    •    •    •
•    •    •    •
•    •    •    •
 
But if you set the line ridiculously close, people have no room to breathe. They will more quickly cross it, and then once they do, there won’t be another guideline.”

•••
•••
•••
•••
— •
— •
— •
— •

They bemoan “New evangelicals” going into all sort of styles and gimmicks (sometimes genuinely crossing lines of decency or good taste), but when you had told them beats by themselves were sinful (and then, ridiculous stuff, like even beards and mustaches), and they found no basis for that, then they questioned and challenged almost any restrictions. They weren’t given a solid foundation; they were given cultural-centered (and others-demonizing) traditions, which ultimately relativized everything, as much as the old conservatives condemned “relativism”.

Meanwhile, here is Gothard’s pamphet on dealing with sexual abuse:
Source: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/founder-of-josh-duggars-treatment-center-left-after-sexually-grooming-teens-and-young-women/

Basically, aiming to possibly blame the victim. “Why did God let it happen?” even! (“immodest dress”, etc), and what “good” can come out if it, and the insinuation that the more important “damage” is what the victim might do to themselves through “bitterness”. Also, get a load of #8, directly comparing and urging the victim to choose which is really better, having had “No physical abuse”, or this term “Mighty in Spirit”! Can you believe this? What a choice they are posing to people! This is basically sick! How cold and heartless can you get? It’s not well, at all! (So thus, we also have the tossing around of the term “spiritual power”, like some sort of energy we “tap into” as this sort of philosophy has been criticized for, and it is now used as the justification of making any physical trauma imaginable no big deal! Now we see the whole rationale behind their teachings against psychological therapy!)
This based on the old dualistic (originally gnostic) split between “body” and “soul” (and “spirit”) I had noted, insisting the “soul”/”spirit” is more important than the “body”. Ignoring they are made into one whole, much like the Trinity, and what happens to one will affect the other). And citing scriptures (like 2 Cor 6:4-5:8) to support it!
No wonder they fall into these problems!

This is the “emotional health gospel” at its most raw! If anyone might think I was out on a limb for saying in my old essays (http://www.erictb.info/psychology.html http://www.erictb.info/abundant.html) that this anti-psychology crusade is about control, here it all comes out, right before you! I rhetorically asked in those projects “Should we tell children that have been molested (who generally have severe emotional damage, that many cannot recover from) that if God allowed this, then it must be good for them, regardless of what they feel?” and here we see them come very close to that!
When looking at this chart, just remember, they will condemn all psychology and therapy (and any Christian who so much as even uses a term “associated” with it) in favor of THIS!

So now, when we see these same sorts of people put down the supposed “culture of victimization” in modern society (see https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/why-grace-doesnt-seem-to-make-anyone-nice/#comment-2995), we see what they’re getting at.
People are never victims; they’re sinners; —the real perpetrators, basically, and thus the only truly “violated” party is God; (and perhaps also his preachers, when “the world” criticizes them for hypocrisy, and tries to take away their “freedoms” to control others, tax free at that), and people “deserve” a lot more pain than a little molestation (or other abuse, oppression, discrimination, poverty, etc.) in the temporal world.
This is how they think!

The “human” factor

In learning about type, I’ve come to realize that the expression of Christianity I had come under, basically dehumanizes nonbelievers! (Though they will tend to try to soften this down in various ways, and different groups may more or less fit this).
And I fell into this, from my own shadow projections. Growing up with AS in a “secular” environment (nonreligious immediate family, and typical kids in the street and school, who weren’t showing any religion), I had a lot of problems with people, and my parents often seemed to “take everyone else’s side”, because they (the “world”) were “functioning” (or as the kids put it, “normal”), and I was the one falling out of step.

Religion I associated with older people, like one of my grandmothers, a godmother, and other “church ladies” of that generation, who weren’t exactly the most intellectual minds around. Then, the televangelists; not the watered down version of today, that has shifted to a purely “prosperity” message or “outreach”, but the ones of 30 years ago and more, who were trying to “save America” by preaching against everyone’s sin, and condemning all the “changes” of post-50’s culture, such as the sexual revolution, evolutionism, and leftist influence (but not the racism, capitalistic greed and other problems of before that time, which was held up as a golden age of righteousness).

I at first couldn’t stand them, because evolution made more sense to my introverted Thinking (sense of what’s logically “true/false” based on what I’ve learned individually or through nature) than the notion of a God patting together (with human hands, in most portrayals) the first man from a mound of dirt, literally, and only 6,000 years ago. And with adolescent hormones raging away, I didn’t want to follow their loudly insisted upon mores of having sex only in marriage (requiring a wait of several years or more). This was accompanied by this insulting insistence that there was no morality outside of people believing in God.
I right away tried to square that away with all the horrors done in the name of religion (which I heard a lot from my father, but liberals in the mainstream did not seem to be as loud as they are now, so I rarely heard any other response to conservatives besides my father).

But when I myself had no luck with girls or social situations, because of my problems with people, and it seemed so unfair and unjust, but my parents kept saying “that’s life” (on top of all the hypocrisy and corruption I was seeing in politics and even religion), then the religious message of the “sinfulness” of man began to click. When I ran across a historico-futurist reading of Daniel and Revelation, that was the final piece of the puzzle that led me to finally adopt parts of the message.

So, now I could fire back (at my father’s proclamation that “the world is what it is, and you have to take care of yourself in it; no one will care about you; etc. and you have to ‘play the game’ to get ahead, not be taken advantage of, win girls…” etc. —all incredibly hard for someone with AS), that this world was evil and had no moral values, and God was going to soon come and destroy it.

So I went for years believing this. I knew I and all other Christians were “imperfect”, but we still at least “tried” to turn and “submit” to God and keep our sin under control, unlike the hellbound “sinners” of the world (especially the homosexuals), who just “let it all hang out”.

I really believed the world had no basis of morality; that they could not be trusted! I just think of all the fighting people do, the drinking, stealing, killing, acting “bad”, and of course the sexual sins, etc. Their “philosophy” teaches them that all of this is “OK”!
I knew there were Christians who were “phonies”, but at least, I figured, the average ones were “less likely” to do the things people in “the world” would do to you.

And I felt compelled to have to “witness” to everyone, first by proving it absolutely (after all, God has “shown” the “truth” to everyone, hence, “no excuse”, and thus such an extreme penalty for “rejecting” it, and not “giving” God back what He’s “due”, as I argued) —even though I often didn’t know how (having so many issues of doubt myself).
In one IFB-related church, going along with the common belief that the world’s minds had been captured by godless science and “humanism”, we tried handing out these wordy [attempted to be] “intellectual” tracts reasoning against these things in favor of the Bible, to average people on the street, to whom we might as well have been handing out blank pieces of paper.
Meanwhile, life just went on as usual, and people were just people. The whole thing seemed like beating my head against a wall.

A decade ago, I learn about the preterist system of eschatology (in at first fighting it, strongly), and when I find out about the “Fulfilled View” variation, it finally makes sense of the Gospel. At the same time, I’m finding out about temperament, and then typology, where you have something like a “Feeling” function that forms the basis of our “moral” judgments. The introverted variant is even called by some theorists, the “Conscience”. Everyone has this, somewhere in their psyche.

When we are known for preaching God’s Law at the world, the world knows that Law commands “be ye PERFECT”, and thus, they expect the same from those who preach it. What’s missing is GRACE

And so, the splitting up of mankind was finally erased; and I see all people are essentially the same. Made in God’s image, marred by “sin” behaviorally (from “knowledge of good and evil”), but this sin “not counted against them” (2 Cor. 5:19), by the pure grace of God, acting on the Cross. (Not man’s “goodness”, or “sin being OK”, etc.) Some may have different motivations, including religion, to behave better, but everyone has a conscience, and a sense of right and wrong.
I had always commented on the apparent irony that while heterosexuals had all but abandoned monogamy in favor of “fornication” (including “shacking up”, at least before marriage, and of course, readily divorcing), the homosexuals were now seemingly the only ones advocating for marriage. When seeing heterosexuals get married, especially Hollywood couples, I wondered why they even bother, since they had had so many partners before, and knowing it was probably going to break up soon anyway.
But it shows both heterosexual and homosexual people have the same human desire for the ideals of love and committed companionship as Christians, even if the nonChristians are slower to commit and quicker to leave.

All people have a moral sense, but don’t live up to it

And so, many non-Christians, liberals, and LGBT’s, can see these actions of professing Christians (or anyone else) as morally offensive. (And even if they don’t share in Biblical moral values). 1 Corinthians 5:1 is the clear perennial example of Christians falling into sexual sins that are [legitimately] offensive to the “pagans” (Of course, Paul is using a bit of hyperbole, and these things do occur in the unchurched as well, naturally ⦅”not even named” probably conveys the sense of “unspeakable” rather than “never done”, and we can see child molestation is an “unspeakable” offense to them⦆, but the Church ends up more likely to try to cover it up, using God and fear, which will allow it to go on and fester!)

Christians often argue the [divine] Law, (with its associated fear of condemnation) is “necessary” to control sin, and “preserve society”, which becomes the basis of the assumption that nonChristians don’t have any moral values. (Even Romans 2 shows that they do, but many Christians only take that as “proof” of their interpretation of chapter 1, that there is “no excuse” for unbelief, which was really aimed at a specific people who saw a form of special revelation from God but “held it in unrighteousness”). So this is their response to any notion that we shouldn’t “judge”, (as well as any doctrine that removes the condemnation in any way).

Proof that this doesn’t work, is not only nonChristians have values, but also, the people who supposedly have the fear of God, and had “repented” of sin, still fall into it themselves. (Then, they will appeal to being “forgiven”, and their “sins” not held against them, but only because they had [officially] “repented” ⦅apart of “believing” or “faith”⦆, which included trying to be “obedient” and live a good life).
This is why “the world” keeps jumping on Christians’ sins! (The way some of them preach, they should be “perfect”!)
It is totally not fair to place such burdens on others when you cannot hold to them, (or at best, have to [often admittedly] struggle to maintain them), yourself!

Also more recently got a sense of a non-Christian-specific basis for moral values when reading a book on “integrity” (used for https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/solar-vs-lunar-in-gender-dynamics-and-individuation), by a gay SF-based Jungian analyst, who would from those descriptions be the epitome of pagan “godlessness” to many Christians. The definition of “integrity” (“untouched”) in this case is “care” and “justice”, and “care” breaks down into “amiability” (interest in pleasing others) and “constancy” (continuity of an identity of caring). The only thing lacking in this is “your lack of these qualities (or lack of ‘repenting’ of your falling short of them) is going to be punished by an eternity in the torments of Hell fire”.
This latter motivation, it has been shown yet again to not be able to stop sin. (If God were judging by Law and even “repentance”, a lot of supposedly “born again”/“saved” people would still find themselves disqualified!)

What is the purpose of having this “integrity”, then? This theory is about “wholeness”, and while wholeness would naturally eliminate a lot of problems in people’s interactions (and ultimately, society), it is not something to be coerced through fear, or used to hit others over the head with, if they haven’t attained your maturity level (which would really not be necessary if you’ve really found wholeness).

A pattern we’ve seen over and over, is of one side focusing on sexual morality, yet all sorts of other evils go ignored. The other side focuses on stuff like “equality”, which is largely ignored or even sometimes put down by the first side, and yet has a more open position on what the other side calls “morality”.
What happens, is since the first side generally links up with religion more, it more loudly claims the very name of “morality”, and what happens, is that its focus of sexual morality becomes the definition of “true” morality, and thus, they can claim the other side has no morals (and are thus the true “hypocrites” when they try to preach their own “morality”), and what it tries to say is moral (equality, etc) can be dismissed.

It ts true that liberals and non Christians do judge [often harshly] as well, as is being complained about in this issue. Often on different standards (I found “the world” of urban kids I grew up with far more “judgmental” on stuff like fitting in, sports skills, etc. than Christians), but they too think it’s so absolutely “truth”, or that what they are fighting against threatens their liberty, that judging and controlling others becomes justified, in a “defensive” pretext.
It’s a “Shadow” dynamic on both sides. One side has a persona of moral strictness, covering a suppressed shadow of lust and lawlessness, and the other advocates sexual (and other) freedom, but will manifest a shadow of authoritarianism and dictatorship (including censorship, ostracization, government control, etc.) when they feel threatened.

All of this shows, that “all have sinned”, and what’s needed is grace, not judgment. (Meaning divine, including those who purport to “relay” the divine word to others. Of course, we still need to confront abuse and injustice, and protect people, especially children, in order to live on this earth together).

(For the part of the debate on judging”, see https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/why-grace-doesnt-seem-to-make-anyone-nice/#comment-3073)

Here’s an article on this:
http://liberate.org/2015/05/26/we-are-all-the-duggars/

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33 Comments
  1. khendradm permalink

    So you have Asperger Syndrome, are theistic and yet also very interested in science, are familiar with typology as it relates to neuroscience, and you like writing and dissecting such things from about 500 different angles?
    Are you my twin? 🙂
    (I actually participated in some debates about the Duggar situation recently also. You broke it down even more than I did!)

    • Hi,
      Yeah, and it’s very hard to maintain theism, the way many things often don’t seem to add up. The “Fulfilled view” I mention made a lot of things make more sense. And it shows how the Church is hung up in the Law (as much as they quote Paul “ye are not under Law, but under grace”(Romans 6:14), which is what makes issues such as sexual morality and homosexuality so heated among them.

      I would ask if you were INTP too, but breezing through some of your articles, ENTP seems to be the one you talk about the most, so its that what you are?
      (Looks like interesting discussions).

  2. Here, Whoopi lays down why there is such outrage [from a “secular” perspective, basically], and a bit of a perceived double standard regarding “forgiveness”:
    http://abc.go.com/shows/the-view/video/pl5554876/vdka0_uswkg9n4

    The so-called “robo-call” is referring to this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/08/19/listen-to-michelle-duggars-anti-anti-discrimination-robocall/

    One problem is that Michelle is referring to transwomen as “men”, which of course is refusing to accept their identity; and tacking on the hypothetical case of “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female”.
    I myself believe we should not tinker with the body God gave us, but if those people are so inclined to do that (I know one, from the online typology community, and she has chronicled her journey, including the ostracization from a Christian family; including a divorce, which was one of the first cases that made me realize these people aren’t doing this just for fun or to spite God or whatever), then that is between them and God.
    Since many of them might not have had the “bottom [i.e. genital] surgery”, then I can understand the concern of having them use women’s bathrooms. But then, really, since they’ve likely had the “top surgery”, then no one should know in the first place. It is, however, conceivably possible for them to attack females (though if truly undergoing the change, the hormones might totally render the penis impotent), and of course, a man can cross dress and pretend to be trans, to enter a ladies’ bathroom.
    I really don’t know the solution to this concern. (But again, they can do this now, if no one knows they’re really a man). I had once wondered if you would need third gender bathrooms. Would be a lot to add to every public building and workplace.

    But the point is, the attitude being shown towards trans-gender people (and the rest of the “queer” community), when they had a (largely hidden) sexual scandal in their own lives. The “world” may get too hard on Christians at times, but then they don’t understand, when you place a big condition on divine “forgiveness” for “sins” on others (which usually includes, not just “profession of faith”, but also “repentance” of the sins you’re being forgiven in the first place), but use the term to excuse yourselves when caught in sin. It looks to them like “my sins don’t really matter now, because I’ve met this other condition that makes up for them”.

  3. Whoopi continues her point on why religion seems “under fire”
    http://abc.go.com/shows/the-view/episode-guide/2015-06/11-thursday-june-11-2015 (16:50; doesn’t seem to have its own clip like the other one. Whole conversation starts at 15:00. Was actually a followup to this earlier discussion on Franklin Graham going after Wells Fargo for an ad endorsing same sex parenting)

    Summed up:
    “And it is; and it’s under fire for, I feel, a very specific reason…because you’re all in my business; you’re in my vagina, in my families…; that’s never what it was supposed to be” [i.e. under “separation of Church and State”]
    19:00
    Most people don’t care what you feel. It only becomes an issue when you make me; when you tell me I have to feel what you feel. I’m OK with them; they’re not OK with me“.

    In other words, both views may be opposed, and both may try to use the state to enforce their values, but the Christian view is the one saying you’re SO wrong that God Himself is going to send you to Hell. The other side doesn’t say anything like that. They’re the ones known for the “relativism” of “if it works for you, then believe it; just let me live my life”. It’s just that they see the Christian view crossing the line into impinging on them, first, or at least having the potential to, so then in defensiveness, it becomes “control them before they control you”, and hence, the political or legal pressure they try to put on religion.

    Should mention, as my wife pointed out, that if “in my vagina” refers to the abortion issue, then it is true that it is not just your body, but also another life up there, but they don’t see it as another life —unless a person kills a pregnant woman; then they are punished severely for taking two lives! This is a legitimate double-standard.

    Saw this today:

    To be honest and fair, it’s an older battle that has since been retreated from. Those who oppose gay marriage certainly oppose adultery and divorce, and had fought fiercely against those things generations ago, but society did what it wanted, accepted them anyway (and then “fornication” increased on top of that, as many then didn’t even bother marrying any more, but instead, “shacking up”, at least at first).
    So the conservatives lost the battle, and then homosexuality eventually became the next “ground” they would try to hold. And so here they are today.

  4. Unfortunately, scandals continue to rip through the American church; the latest wave brought about through the Ashley Madison hacking revelation.

    Here is a two part article addressing that:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2015/09/01/the-uncanny-sex-fiends-of-christianity-today-no-1/
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2015/09/01/the-uncanny-sex-fiends-of-christianity-today-no-2/

    It starts out saying “I’ve been reading the newsfeed from Christianity Today, which means I’ve been reading a lot of stories about sex.
    It’s not quite the case that every article in that newsfeed is about sex, just most of them.”

    It points out how “…much of what’s gleaned in CT’s ‘Gleanings’ blog is just a long list of sex stories — affairs, divorces, scandals, birth control, abortion, unhidden horror at unhidden LGBT people, worried reports of licentious societal decline, surveys alleging the sexual apostasy of youth, and various other articles lamenting that human bodies include any parts within the strike zone.”

    So citing a CT article (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/august-web-only/christian-college-president-falls-jimmy-epting-ngu.html) on the fall of a Southern Baptist college president from an affair videoed by his son, [emphasis added]:

    So to play up the claim that this is newsworthy, CT tries to portray this man’s “fall” as part of a trend affecting all of society. But here’s where we find that uncanny twist. That larger trend, in CT’s view, doesn’t have anything to do with the ongoing pattern of repressed social conservatives exposed for the hypocrisy of their private lives. Of course not. For CT, the trend can only be the same trend they see everywhere — the narrative of decline that sees libertine liberals threatening to turn America into Sodom due to their no-co-pay birth control and their equality under the law for LGBT people.

    Thus we get the weird, aggressively dishonest framing of the story in CT’s subhed: “Video of apparent affair surfaces as Christian higher education leaders are debating sexual ethics standards.”

    Ah. This stalwart conservative man’s adultery, you see, is linked somehow to the debate over “sexual ethics standards” that those nefarious liberals have forced upon us all. That debate is the context for this man’s affair — perhaps even the cause of it.

    This strange context-setting subhed is wholly unexplained by anything in the first 27 paragraphs of this story — wholly unsupported by anything in the actual story itself. But if you skip all the way to the bottom, you’ll find this odd appendix tacked on:

    The controversy over Epting’s alleged misconduct comes at a time when North Greenville and other Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) members are already dividing over issues of sexuality. Union University, a Southern Baptist school in Jackson, Tennessee, recently left the CCCU in protest of the decision of two colleges — Eastern Mennonite University and Goshen College — to affirm same-sex marriages for staffers. Other CCCU members have threatened to quit if the CCCU does not remove Goshen and Eastern Mennonite as members by August 31.

    Thanks to those evil liberals at Eastern Mennonite and Goshen College, none of us is safe — not even at some obscure Southern Baptist institution tucked away in South Carolina. These liberals have created a disturbance in the Force. By questioning the “sexual ethics standards” that anchor our faith, they’ve put everything up for “debate.” Now, because of them, all that was once solid is melting into the air.

    This is why, as social conservatives have been telling us for decades now, same-sex marriage can’t be thought of as a simple matter of live-and-let-live equality under the law — something that neither picks our pockets nor breaks our legs. Here is the evidence that same-sex marriage threatens to destroy every existing Christian marriage between one man and one woman. This poor college president was innocently going about his good Christian life there at North Greenville when suddenly he was swept away by the powerful current created by those same-sex marriage condoning Anabaptist liberals. They put his marriage up for “debate,” you see, and now his marriage has been destroyed and it’s all their fault.

    And this could happen to any of us now if these liberals are not stopped.

    This reminds me of the old CCM controversy, and the Greenville-based (likely BJU-associated “old-line” fundamentalist) author I was citing, who said, among other things, in assessing Amy Grant and others in the 90’s that there was a “new wave of sensuality” being “discovered” [or something like that] by CCM artists. I at the time agreed with it, but of course, was arguing that it was not the fault of a music style or beat by themselves.
    Recently, that statement came to mind, (particularly in light of my discussions of “nature” vs “integrity”, as well as the constant political race-blaming) and I then realized that a statement like that stems from the denial of “nature” within themselves. They (the more “conservative” or “old-line”, the worst it is) believe this nature has been stamped out of them (through their “conversion”), and since they had been leading the “orthodox Church” for generations, which in turn shaped “early American culture”, which of course was seen as originally “godly”, yet in recent generations, ruined solely by outside influences brought in by inside “compromisers” (whether political “liberals”, dangerous/lazy/immoral “minorities”, or contemporary Christian music, or a combination of things like those).

    So when this “sensuality” comes to the surface in their own ranks, it has to be disowned (isolated), and “split” off, by blaming those “other” forces. That is what we see here.
    I had thought CT (which I came to associate with the very honest and sensible Philip Yancey) had moderated out enough to be beyond this, but apparently not everyone in the medium. (And of course, the IFB “old-liners” may chalk this up as the ultimate proof of the “sensuality” and thus “apostasy” of the “new-evangelicals”, which they had even tossed the SBC into the category of awhile back, but even they have sex scandals too, which they try to quash under the premise of “the damage to the testimony” or something like that!)

    The second part of the article then goes into the equally shocking RC Sproul Jr. scandal. It seems to justify him as simply being “lonely”, after losing his wife to cancer.

    It points out:

    Take a moment for gratitude here. This could’ve been you — raised and groomed for leadership in an ultra-Calvinist sect that conceives of God’s grace as something that reveals itself to us primarily through fear and shame. Imagine what it would mean to have been indoctrinated (literally) to believe that grief and loneliness aren’t natural, human emotions, but sinful flaws through which Satan works to tempt us. (To fully appreciate that, understand that you would have been taught your whole life that those adjectives — “natural” and “human” — refer to something dirty, wicked and depraved. Thus, Calvinism.)

    I would say “grief” and “loneliness” are not reasons to go visiting a site like that (and the article mentions he could have used a more appropriate option like eHarmony), still, the point I like is how those things have been made “sinful flaws” (by both Calvinists and Arminians, actually), under the premise, again, of the [behavioral] “conversion” state; that if you just sufficiently “devote” yourself to God, He “takes these feelings away”, yet, (the catch), is that it’s really a hard, long, slow day-by-day “process”. This right here is where there’s plenty of room where people could get hung up, because if the “process” is not complete (and it never really is, in this lifetime, most will admit), then they are apparently still susceptible to “falling” into sins like these. Yet that does not seem to be granted as an “excuse” by people who believe like this.

    • khendradm permalink

      Fascinating to read your continued thoughts on this process.

      I have a close online friend (an ISTJ, fwiw), whom I generally really respect, who has regrettably been surrounded by a heavily Calvinist, Reformed, Patriarchal brand of Christianity in his family and friends circle. His wife and her siblings grew up in the ATI movement, his brother and his brother’s wife’s family are/were heavily into the now technically-defunct Vision Forum, and one of their closest family friends is a hardcore Calvinist. He may not (thankfully) buy into every aspect of these very-prone-to-legalistic movements, but to say their legalistic approach hasn’t been a major influence would be very inaccurate; he is still heavily swayed by many of their arguments.

      Naturally, watching he and his family attempt to explain away Bill Gothard’s scandal, Doug Phillips’ scandal, Josh Duggar’s scandal, and now R.C. Sproul Jr.’s scandal, has been interesting to observe. How many more church leaders of these movements will have these scandals for him and his family to finally realize the error of the approach of these movements? I don’t know; perhaps he and his family will always be blinded in this respect. Anyway, as you might guess, his (incorrect) view is essentially, if they just try hard enough, and made better choices, you know, this would stop.

      I thought one of his wife’s brothers made a very good and insightful post about the Josh Duggar news. Sadly, he did not hit “like” on the FB post (though several of his friends did – none of them of the Calvinist, Reformed, or Patriarchal brand, predictably). He is still wanting to cling to “if they just tried hard enough” angle instead. Anyway, this is what his wife’s brother wrote:

      “Saying that sin is something that he will struggle with for the rest of his life is underestimating the power and effect of God’s grace on ones life. Josh can be free from porn, something that the vast majority of people are addicted to. He can be free from temptation, from all of it. But in order for that to happen he has to know the one who sets people free. The RELIGION that the Duggars live, and the same religion that I grew up in, is crippling. It is full of law and far from Grace and Love. The counterfeit is so close, that it can be hard to make the leap into grace, but that is where the power and freedom from sin comes from. The power of sin is in the law. Saying that he just needs to start making better choices is a path of works righteousness, and bondage to sin. Instead, a relationship with the your creator and understanding His love and letting His grace change your life sets you free. Free from the burden of the law where the power of sin is, and therefore free from the power of sin. Rehab is a good headline, but a bad savior. Josh needs to meet Jesus and His love.”

      Only thing I’d change for sure there is the wording of “religion” to “legalism” (for there is a true, pure, and undefiled form of religion, as written in the book of James; sadly, few in the church today understand this distinction and often continue to use “religion” in the sense of “legalism”). I do also wonder about the emphasis on “relationship” I hear so often as the proper “replacement” for legalism. Is that the most proper word? Still, it seems he’s far closer to the truth than most others I’ve seen write about these issues.

      Speaking as someone who has lust issues of my own (still, at times; another incorrect assumption those aforementioned groups make is that only men are tempted by the opposite gender, and so they are made uncomfortable when women admit to lusting after men), I wonder just what the best solution is. I only know what it is *not*: hyper-legalism.

      • People like this loudly disclaim “struggling”, “for the rest of your life”, but when they (or at least most of them) begin breaking down the daily “steps”, they say it does continue for the rest of your life. (And this also goes for stuff like “reparations therapy” for sexual orientation).
        They use scriptures like “I die daily” (1 Cor.15:31); one of the most egregious examples of tearing a phrase (not even a verse; just three words!) from its context. (Paul is talking about “stand[ing] in jeopardy every hour” for the cause of the Gospel. In other words, he faced death daily, or was put in situations where he potentially would be killed. Yet others also speak of this process as our “daily choices”, reminding us that “the Christian life begins with a simple choice”, thus insinuating that these “choices” are connected with salvation, like if you’re not doing one, you should question whether or not you have done the other!)
        Yet THIS is what they are referring to there as “GRACE”! (And sure enough, you can see the insinuation that he doesn’t “know” “the one who sets people free”; i.e. he needs to “know Jesus”, and thus apparently doesn’t currently “know” Him, enough).

        This is the point when they might try to substitute the “daily choices” for the initial “choice”, to avoid the charge of making salvation works. And he rejects the notion of “Law”, but all he has done is create a new kind of Law, which he calls “relationship”. That’s the problem here. And the result is the same ol’ judgment.
        I’ve been there with them, and it’s all about a “systematic” (as one pastor put it) approach to this “relationship” (compared to physical stuff like us needing “food”). If you don’t do it, you’re questioned as to whether you’re really “in Christ”!

        They will all decry the non-Christians (media, etc) being so “hard” on the fallen bretheren, but they do it themselves. Until they get caught themselves!

  5. When you tell someone 'Do ntot judge', you are being hypocritical

    Problem is, people being told “don’t judge” are not always judging righteous judgment, as they presume they are. So yes, people who don’t know scripture will tend to take that statement without the full context, but they are often still correct that from that full context, people are really not in the “righteous” place to judge. (And those who do know scripture more are the ones who should know better). That’s why the Gospel is about grace and mercy.

    • [moved from “Why Grace Does Not Make People Nice]
      'Do Not Judge is only the tip of the iceberg; [cannot find image, FB copy expired]

      “Without a doubt, the most common complaint or accusation we hear from skeptics is that we are “judging” and that as Christians, more the reason we shouldn’t be doing it. The two ironies that are somewhat humorous at times are the fact that the very skeptics that vehemently accuse us of “judging” commit the very same act as they hurl insults and names at us in their emails and guestbook posts as “hateful,” “hypocrites,” “unloving,” and the list goes on. Sadly, adjectives of a profane and vulgar manner are often used.
      .
      The most grieving side of this is when “professing” Christians use the very same adjectives. The second irony is I find that many of these very same skeptics attempt to quote scripture to support their reasons for claiming that we, as Christians, are not to “judge”..
      .
      …Unfortunately, many are under the impression that the bible teaches Christians not to judge. In fact, try this – select a handful of people you know, both Christian and not, and ask them “Any idea what the bible teaches about judging – are we allowed to judge people?” I wouldn’t be surprised if the overwhelming answer would be something like “the bible says ‘do not judge’. Again, these isolated and truncated scriptures reveal nothing of the true context in which they were spoken.”

      Learn the details here: http://www.goodfight.org/a_t_judging.html

      And for further information on this subject go here: https://carm.org/what-does-you-shall-not-judge-mean

      And the iceberg itself is part of a larger “big picture” (like breaking off of a glacier), and the clue is the next quote part of it; “for what judgment you judge, you shall be judged”. The “big picture” is that ALL have sinned, and if all judge, then all shall be judged.

      So what this meme is doing is trying to override the message, and make it ultimately mean (or at least allow) the opposite of what it says. In the process, what’s forgotten is the central message that justification (the removal of judgment) is by grace, and not works (people will often figure “If I’m doing the good works, ⦅or if I’m “spiritual”, as is culled from another text⦆ then I can judge”. But this is precisely what Jesus is teaching us we can’t do!) We end up becoming fixated on behavior, as if the Gospel is about cleaning up everyone else’s life, so we MUST judge, surely!


      Here’s another one:

      Christians And Judging
      http://www.christianissues.biz/judging.html

      “He went on to say that when a hypocrite cleans up his own life then he will be fit to judge another.”

      That’s the hook. The problem is, when is a person’s life “cleaned up”, and isn’t it possible for someone to presume it is, but it’s not? The Pharisees sure believed their own lives were “cleaned up” (and judging by the Law on the surface, it sure looked like it), and hence, always “judging”.

      So with this argument, Jesus’ instruction can be voided, and people go on looking at others while believing they are already up to “par”.

      (All of the examples of Paul and others are of course from the NT Church age, which was part of the overlap period, of Law and Grace, so there was more a a behavior focus, and there was also a supernaturally guided Church leadership, who personally saw Christ ⦅at least in His risen form⦆. Afterwards, leaders would on their own begin “judging” matters, but often ⦅being not supernaturally guided⦆ overlooking their own sins, and yet being hard on others. Exactly like the leaders Jesus challenged! But they missed that the new age had arrived when the old one finally ended in AD70. So there is no longer a “little flock” that must be kept “pure” from false teaching, which took over and transformed the Church for centuries afterward anyway, even as leaders steadily “judged”! Whoever gained the most power would then set the standard of “orthodoxy”, and later leaders would rebel and leave, such as the Protestants and various sects, such as the ones writing pages like this, which is from some sort of “Lordship” group, which has strong legalist tendencies infused with Calvinistic “election/sanctiffication”).
      That’s why “Do not judge” stands, as is.

      • khendradm permalink

        “some sort of ‘Lordship’ group, which has strong legalist tendencies infused with Calvinistic ‘election/sanctiffication’).”

        I had longtime friends who were part of this very group. Got so fed up with them that I ended up blocking them on my social media account earlier this year after they insisted, with clever hermeneutics applied, that individuals who have gone through no-fault divorces are living in “perpetual adulterous sin” unless they go back to their prior spouse. No amount of practical reasoning, such as “what if you cannot locate your prior spouse,” “what if your prior spouse doesn’t want to remarry you,” etc. could dissuade these folks from their absurdly doctrinaire views. (I had a dog in the fight because I believe my father had one of these years ago, before he met my mother.)

        What makes them all the more obnoxious? Lusting after women and other kinds of adultery aren’t that big of a deal because they are supposedly just “temporary,” not supposedly “perpetual,” sins. As a result, their men frequently describe their sexual fantasies and struggles on social media for the whole world to see, and they see nothing particularly socially inappropriate about sharing this. (Their women, naturally, claim to have no such thoughts, which is equally absurd, but I digress.)

        They have no idea how far removed they are from the general evangelical community, grace, healthy and loving marriage relationships, and the like. It’s no surprise that extremely legalistic, cult-like groups such as Vision Forum, and all the radical legalism and sex scandals thereof, have resulted from this kind of thinking. Their women always have the look of being frightened and needing to put on the perfect look of happily conquered submissiveness, not the ideal spiritual submissiveness that comes from actual love and godly obedience.

        It’s disturbing, and I’m still battling with the repercussions of having been exposed to these types for so long on social media…

      • Another wacko group, with twisted morality. Precisely why we cannot judge! We may be ourselves blind, as much as we claim we can see. (A pertinent scripture that strikes at this, and is almost unheard of is John 9:41 “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. (Don’t see how I didn’t even quote that one, above!)

        I don’t even know what group this is. I just followed some of the links, and saw one on “Lordship”, so whatever they are exactly, they fall into that camp, and didn’t waste any more time on it.
        Your description of the women also fits what I saw in IFB “fundamentalism” (the ones that still say rock music and all “psychological concepts” are bad).

  6. https://nathanielscottlake.wordpress.com/2015/11/08/why-merrychristmasstarbucks-is-everything-wrong-with-american-christianity/

    Totally embarrassing!

    Another reason #MerryChristmasStarbucks is everything wrong with American Christianity is its improper, miscalculated expectation of Christian values from a non-Christian entity. Simply put, Starbucks is not a Christ-centered company. That doesn’t make Starbucks bad.

    What Starbucks’ position as a secular entity does imply, though, is that we shouldn’t expect the corporation to make decisions based on Christian tradition or Christian values. What if Starbucks’ holiday cups were black? What if they featured upside-down crosses? What if they were embroidered with pentagrams? If these outlandish scenarios were in fact realities, I’d hope that Christians would be no less surprised – and no less offended – at the changes. Yet at the simple change to red, we’re shocked, offended, and filled with an anger that’s anything but righteous.

    American Christianity has adopted the unfair, improper, and potentially hurtful position that non-Christians should somehow live by Christian moral standards before Christians show love to them. “If we fix their behavior, we’ll show ’em,” we think. Did we forget the words of Romans 5:8, that God presently and continuously demonstrates his love to us because “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us?”

    And it’s not even Jesus or a Cross or something being pulled off of the cup; it’s a snowman, snowflake, etc. Like in Christmas music, where I’ve distinguished “Nativity” themed songs, from all the winter and Christmas party, Santa/toys themed stuff (“Ho, ho, ho and deck them halls…!”) How do those represent Christ? They’re the secular elements of the holiday, that they could argue are “Christ-less” when they are focused on instead of the Nativity!

    I also add, that as conservatives in the political sphere, these people are likely to agree with their secular counterparts in hurling the pejorative term “whining” at others complaining about inequality (whether real or exaggerated; and I’ve debated them, and I saw the term tossed out a lot), but if this isn’t ridiculous whining, then there really is no such thing!

    Someone commented that this is America, not a communist country. Ironic, as conservative Christians have been the biggest condemners of Communism (in defense of “private business”, to “do what they want with their property”), but here they are accused of acting the same way (but then, that’s “godless” communism, and this would be “godly” communism? It shows, as I’ve frequently poited out, that the problem is not just right vs left, but authoritarian vs libertarian, and the Christians, while on the “right”, can be very authoritarian, just like the worst dictators on the “communist” left!)
    And on the View, someone mentioned “political correctness”. Again ironic, as Christians have been the biggest critics of “PC”, when their views are truly censored.

    This here shows the “shadow” of the Church, which has long been projected onto everyone else. They share the same humanity, including its sinfulness, and proclivity to control others, but just don’t ever see it in themselves. But everyone else does (which is the fourth pane of the Johari Window).

  7. [moved, found better, more relevant topic I had forgotten in the moment: https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/emulation-the-forgotten-sin-oneupmanship/#comment-3386 ]

  8. the world has redefined the word love WARNING it now means aceptance of false religions, sinful behavior false doctrines refusal to rebuke expose offend anyone with truth

    The reason it comes off as all of that, is because those five premises are all based on an assumption that the purpose of the Law (which is what defines “sinful behavior”, “true” vs “false” religion and doctrine, and the need to get people to change their behavior; and thus what is being apealed to here, whether one thinks of it that way or not) is for the purpose of creating a Kingdom through controlling people’s behavior.
    In the Old Testament, and the transitional period of the New Testament Church, this held, but the end result of Law was still death, and hence Love was what superseded that. Religion has held onto Law (in one form or another) for centuries, and you still had sin, false doctrine and resulting dissension, with everyone rising up aiming to “rebuke and expose” everyone else; with “truth” that was different for every leader, and always rigged to offend everyone else but the one preaching it!

  9. I’m sorry, but they’ve all FLIPPED now, with Trump:

    Donald Trump Is Playing the Religious Right for Rubes
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/09/05/donald-trump-is-playing-the-religious-right-for-rubes.html

    Here, as it has to be seen to be believed, is the Jerry Falwell Jr tweet:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  10. Popular Christian Author Is Downright Baffled By Evangelical Support For Trump
    Philip Yancey wants to know: How can evangelicals support someone who “stands against everything that Christianity believes”?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/philip-yancey-donald-trump_us_57e95557e4b08d73b8328566

    Followup:

    A pastor’s take on Trump
    http://www.courier-journal.com/story/opinion/2016/03/03/pastors-take-trump/81277810/

    Why ‘God And Country’ Christianity Is Just Another Phony Prosperity Gospel
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-god-and-country-christianity-is-just-another_us_57e0324ee4b0d5920b5b32db

    Rejecting the Cult of Christianese
    http://christandpopculture.com/rejecting-cult-christianese/

  11. The Conservative Intellectual Crisis
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/28/opinion/the-conservative-intellectual-crisis.html

    This one nails the issue:

    Make The Church Great Again
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lee-c-camp/make-the-church-great-again_b_12658092.html?

    The root of the problem, it seems to me, is that we think America is the problem, and that the most important public work we can do is fight for our vision of America. So we fall prey, in vast, outrageous numbers to stupid rhetoric like “Make America Great Again.”

    Look, America is not the problem. Nation-states have never had the calling to be the primary locus of the “wisdom of God.”

    There has been no “fall” in America, because America was never on a pedestal. America was never a “Christian nation,” nor any sort of Garden of Eden. The effort to suggest that it was understands neither American history, nor orthodox Christianity.

    The U.S. has, in some respects, been better than other empires and nation-states: her tradition of respect for persons and the rule of law against arbitrary or capricious power; respect for a free press; encouragement of industry and creativity; respect for the beauty of the human spirit; her non-violent transfer of the reins of executive power; her distrust of unchecked power and thus the genius of three branches of government; and more.

    And the U.S. has in some respects been much worse: her practice of making space for herself through genocide; building her economy on the backs of slaves; her cavalier disregard for unborn children; her mass slaughter of civilians in warfare; her celebration of conspicuous consumption; her continued practice of Jim-Crow-like oppression through mass incarceration; and more.

    If we feel the need to go all preachy in public, we’d do better to practice self-introspection rather than nation-bashing. In other words, it may be more fruitful to speak of the “fall of the Church” than lamenting the perceived sins of America.

    One common interpretation of the “fall of the Church” goes this way: Christianity began to go astray when it began getting in bed with the powers-that-be. Its status evolved from persecuted; to legally protected; to the only legal religion. It evolved from non-violent minority; to war-justifying sub-majority; to war-making majority. The cross of Christ evolved from a symbol of suffering love to symbol of crusading militarism. In other words, the cross was transformed from a soul-shattering embodiment of love which refused to “make things turn out right”—to a feared symbol of violent self-righteous that would do whatever it had to do to win, by hook or by crook.

    And this one seems, really, well, prophetic:

    An Evangelical Deal With The Devil
    http://www.stevehackman.net/an-evangelical-deal-with-the-devil/

  12. This only brings to mind “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you” (Romans 2:24)

    Michele Bachmann: “God Made Trump President”

  13. Someone posts this just now:

    A lot of the point about Trump’s vulgarity, is that Christians are the ones who have long condemned society for its sins, yet now many of them embrace him and ignore his moral flaws. This is showing something wrong. It’s very inconsistent.
    Then, you take the other things about him, which the liberals and nonChristians are really more concerned about more than vulgarity (the misogyny, xenophobia, etc), that’s what’s leading them to say “not my president” (which was started by Conservatives, in their reaction to Obama, who was nothing like Trump in any of these issues). No, most of the same people who openly reject Christian morality are not the ones who voted for him. It’s the ones who claimed to be moral and Christian, but apparently other things are ultimately really more important than those things.

    But yet again, we see a conservative Christians turn others’ unhappiness into a talking point for what they were long unhappy with society about. (“See, we told you so!”)

  14. Christians’ Call to Speak Truth to ‘Alternative Facts’
    https://sojo.net/articles/christians-call-speak-truth-alternative-facts

    Also,
    Evangelical Preachers, Stop Crediting God With Donald Trump’s Victory
    http://johnpavlovitz.com/2016/12/18/evangelical-preachers-stop-crediting-god-with-donald-trumps-victory/

    Letter From Hank: “What is the greatest lie in the history of the world? (‘Islam is a religion of peace’)”
    http://www.equip.org/letter-from-hank/

    He justifies “inevitable outcries” with:
    1) Truth always has been divisive.
    2) If, as Christians concerned about truth and the kingdom of God, we don’t wake up, the long-term consequences could be unthinkable.

    While what he is saying about the history of Islam is basically true, he dismisses (while claiming to “not contest”) the claims of “those who might be quick to protest that they personally know Muslims who are peaceful” with “But they’re peaceful in spite of Islam, not because of it.”

    While he doesn’t get into the charge of Christian history, the obvious answer to that is always what’s called the “no true Scotsman” argument.
    The main point is how Islam is growing while Christianity is shrinking.

    Still, just as there are Christians who claim the “true” Christianity is one that takes over and dominates, and numerous levels of more moderate Christians who don’t, while you can claim “true Islam” makes the same claim (which he grants as true for that religion, but would disclaim as “true” for Christianity), calling out alarms like this by naming a group always ironically leads to those rogue factions within the first group to rise up and become exactly what they’re fighting in the other group (and it doesn’t matter if “the other side does it more”).

  15. https://byrslf.co/why-i-left-the-right-how-studying-religion-made-me-a-liberal-177b804c21f1#.kj5qy0lxb

    As I continue to observe the curious twists and turns of evangelicals, particularly during this election year, I remain fascinated by the ways they reconcile their theology with their policy. Evangelicals do not represent a monolith, but they traditionally align with conservative politics. Much has been made of Donald Trump’s evangelical supporters due to his personal life reflecting anything but the “family values” they espouse, but Christians often choose the policy over the person. From Ronald Reagan’s divorce to Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, evangelical Christians give passes to those whose rhetoric is most in line with their philosophy and who they believe can win the election, even if that person’s biography isn’t in line with their religious doctrine.

  16. The religious right is steeling itself for a Biblical battle on Trump’s behalf
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/03/06/the-religious-right-is-steeling-itself-for-a-biblical-battle-on-trumps-behalf/

    Dying before We Reach the Promised Land
    How moral degradation didn’t come for evangelicals, but from them

    https://www.fathommag.com/stories/dying-before-we-reach-the-promised-land

    Of course, Robertson is still in there:

    Conservative Pat Robertson Says People Against Trump Are “Going Against The Will Of God”
    https://www.truthexaminer.com/2017/03/conservative-crazy-person-pat-robertson-says-people-against-trump-are-going-against-the-will-of-god/

    (Never knew the part about becoming ” a billionaire by way of African diamonds”. It’s actually on Wikipedia).

    American Evangelicals Need Leaders Like Russell Moore

    https://christandpopculture.com/american-evangelicals-need-leaders-like-russell-moore/

  17. On Quora appears the question:

    What are some reasons that Evangelical Christians in the US feel that they are persecuted?
    https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-reasons-that-Evangelical-Christians-in-the-US-feel-that-they-are-persecuted

    And I add this answer:

    You have to think in terms of the “base-line”, or what is expected to be a given, and that anything less is seen as deficient.
    Western culture was for centuries Christian, at least nominally, and in early America, a heavily pietistic strain shaped the overall atmosphere (even though many Christians ignore that many of the founders were deists, Masons, etc.) Still, Christianity was the dominant religion, and shaped the “morality”, which became the most important issue. Conservative Christians believed God “gave” them the land, and placed them over it to rule, according to God’s “Law”.
    So when people began turning away from this, and also changing laws to reflect other beliefs, then the Christians saw it as loss from what they had before. Someone was “taking” what God “gave” them. Which made the “takers” the tools of the Devil, and while the Christians believed God was “in control”, they could point to scriptures saying the righteous would be “persecuted” for “the truth”, which would include the “heritage” God gave them. So they would be “standing up for the truth” when they complained about the “takeover” by the “godless”. Which ever so conveniently shifts the attribution of their own “selfish” humanity (which just wants comfort, ease and self-pride like everyone else), which they believe has been reduced by their conversion and upbringing in the “godly” culture.
    Of course, by this time, they have totally forgotten what “persecution” really meant in scripture and history. So they can hold up others merely opposing them as if they’re being sawn in half, burned at the stake, crucified, or even imprisoned, like other Christians. So then, they just project this into the future; this is what this turning of society is LEADING TO, so they can complain like it’s already happening. (And the same with they and other political conservatives acting as if we are under a totalitarian socialist regime already). Regardless of the fact that they’re still living the American dream.

  18. Thought this (from last year) was up there already, but I guess not. Don’t know how I missed it:

    The Christian Myth of America’s Moral Decay
    http://johnpavlovitz.com/2016/05/16/the-christian-myth-of-americas-moral-decay/

  19. White American Evangelical Christianity Is a Bubble — and It’s About to Burst
    By Jim Wallis
    https://sojo.net/articles/white-american-evangelical-christianity-bubble-and-it-s-about-burst

    Links to this earlier article, and I had heard of this, but blending in with all the other stories of Christians loving Trump; I didn’t even realize it was new:

    Jerry Falwell Jr.: ‘Evangelicals Have Found Their Dream President’
    https://sojo.net/articles/jerry-falwell-jr-evangelicals-have-found-their-dream-president

    Here are some of the claims Falwell made for why Trump is a “dream president” for evangelicals:

    •Trump is more pro-Israel than Obama.
    •He appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
    •He has appointed people of faith to his Cabinet.
    •Trump will destroy ISIS, thereby saving the lives of many persecuted Christians in the region.
    •Trump supports secure borders (e.g. the wall).
    •Trump is bringing jobs back to America.
    •Trump is cracking down on “sanctuary cities.”

    This clearly shows what the true priority of conservative Christians is!

  20. How the Bible Belt lost God and found Trump
    He’s a divorced adulterer who ran a gambling empire, so how did America’s Moral Majority get so evangelical about Donald Trump?

    https://www.ft.com/content/b41d0ee6-1e96-11e7-b7d3-163f5a7f229c

  21. Here’s another one (can’t even seem to find what his exact movement ties are):

    http://www.liberalamerica.org/2017/06/25/wingnut-pastors-warn-lack-respect-trump-sign-antichrist-coming/

    “Never seen so much ‘lack of respect for the presidency’ in his lifetime”? They forget all that stuff they or their side said about Obama; or since they hold it as “truth” or him a virtual anti-president, they don’t see it as “disrespect”..

    And his whole take of the law of God is totally off, even from an in theory evangelical view. The divine law was given to show man could not keep it and needed grace. He has the law given to maintain order in society via leaders like him wielding it in control over everyone else, and to gain personal salvation. That is more the “cultic” view! (i.e. various sects that openly reject the evangelical premise of “grace alone”. And as always, it denies all the evils done in that “golden age” of the past when society was supposedly so good and lawful).
    This basically is the guy that would stand before God and say “thank you, Lord that I am not as these lawless sinners”!

    If anyone takes offense to the article hurling the term “wingnuts” (which of course, he takes as the ultimate proof they are on the side of truth), just remember Romans 2 “the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you”, and Eph.4:27, about us “giving Satan occasion” to attack us.

    Then, there’s this reprint that someone recognized as being from last year, and now updated for post-election:

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/06/fundamentalism-racism-fear-and-propaganda-an-insider-explains-why-rural-christian-white-america-will-never-change/

    I had remembered it for the “I dated their calico skirted daughters” part.
    I thought I had linked it already, but reading it again; I see why I didn’t:

    When a 3,000-year-old book that was written by uneducated, pre-scientific people, subject to translation innumerable times, edited with political and economic pressures from popes and kings, is given higher intellectual authority than facts arrived at from a rigorous, self-critical, constantly re-evaluating system that can and does correct mistakes, no amount of understanding, no amount of respect, no amount of evidence is going to change their minds, assuage their fears.

    Again, “the name [and let’s add, Word] of God is blasphemed because of you”. The Bible is getting blamed for these problems, but in total truth, what’s being described here is the very antithesis of the Biblical Gospel, but they had so filtered the Gospel through a moralistic message that says one is saved or proved righteous by following “the faith of our fathers” (which itself was millennia removed from the last scriptures written and stained with all the tumult of Western Christian history), and the “world” takes their word for it, and lumps all of their ignorance in with the background in which scripture was written.

  22. This is very good:

    Regent Student Thrashes Pat Robertson In Biblical Proportion — Awesome Open Letter
    http://americannewsx.com/oped/pat-robertson-open-letter/

    You have promoted a man who, in the past, has groped women’s private parts, as admitted to by his own lips. He has defrauded people from their hard earned dollars, always paying the people who worked for him, a tiny fraction of what was agreed upon. Surely, you have heard of the verse in I Timothy 5:18 which states: “The servant is worthy of his hire,” right? Surely, you have read the text where Jesus Himself tells His listeners in Matthew 5:28 “That whosoever looks on a woman to lust and wants to sin sexually with her, in his mind he has already committed adultery with her in his heart?” Or, do you only believe these verses apply to “those” people, Pat?

    You see, Pat: I was attending your school when you were making such a big fuss over Bill Clinton lying over his supposedly “not having sexual relations with that woman,” and I had agreed with you then. Back then, I was somehow able to ignore your ignoring Newt Gingrich’s infidelity on his wife, leading to his stepping down as Speaker of the House. My problem now? You do not seem to care one iota how the current occupant of our Oval Office violates the very Word we not only believe in, but preach to others, in nearly every way possible, yet you still provide him a sanctuary allowing him to lie yet again.

    Pat, let me just cut to the quick here: I have worked for 15 years as a Senior Minister in one of the most conservative denominations in our country; Southern Baptist, and not one single time have I preached politics. I simply stand aghast that you really have no issue promoting the current occupant on your show, as though there is no spiritual deficiency. And it is here again, that I take issue with you and 81% of White Evangelicals who made a “conscious decision” to pull the lever “for” this man, when you had two other alternative choices apart from Clinton. THAT is what I cannot comprehend here, Pat.

    Ephesians 5:11 specifically states Pat: “Do not participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them.” You? Well, you and folks like Kenneth Copeland, Robert Jeffress, Jim Baker or any of the slew of other “evangelical pastors” openly “promote” the guy. You made the argument – leading so many other younger believers to rationalize their decisions – that “we ought to prefer an openly sinning President.” Others even justified their voting for the current occupant by stating, “we are not electing a spiritual leader, but a President,” as though this alone justified his mocking a disabled reporter, his demoralizing a female anchor from a major media outlet, his advocating depriving our own citizens of their liberty through his promised “ban on Muslims,” or his mocking a Gold Star family, whose son sacrificed his life for our freedom.

    Sadly though, your works from the past counter your current position. How do I KNOW? Because I witnessed your public statements about our former President, with my own eyes, Pat. You guys and the same crowd including Franklin Graham – had the temerity to question the former President’s “Christian” faith, when he exemplified precisely what our faith stands for. Don’t get me wrong: as with every other human being, he was imperfect, but at least he cared about the “least of these.”

    You cry out that YOUR religious freedom is being taken from you – as you did back when I attended your school – and for the life of me, Pat, I cannot see what you are referring to. I can attend the church of my choice on any given Sunday. I can pray in my home, should I wish to, with nobody stopping me. I can celebrate the holiday of Christmas in any manner I wish, and so can you or any other Believer in this nation do so, too! Your real issue Pat, is you want dominance! No, let me correct that last statement; you really do not ‘want’ dominance; you and the church leaders of our modern era, demand it. Instead of leading lives which provide the fruit spoken of in Galatians 5:22-23, you want people who do not believe to simply agree with your understanding of biblical truth, while providing fruit which in no way aligns with the very gospel I spent 15 years preaching.

    The truth of the matter Pat? We are dying, whether we realize it or not. It is a fact of life, Sir. We each begin our process of dying the very moment we are born. Failure to acknowledge this truth, especially for people such as yourself and myself – publicly professing belief in Christ – is foolish. Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes, “the day of death is better than the day of birth.” But what about the very gospel we represent? What about the modern-day Church? How shall it go on considering those who currently are part of it, having somehow found nearly every rationalization possible for supporting a man, who has engaged in the acts I described, and continues to do so today?

  23. In one of my e-mails, I see this title:

    “It’s not ‘fake news’ that’s doing us in… it’s the dangerous ideas that go unexamined”

    https://www.equip.org/product/cri-resource-cri1711ea07/

    It reminds me of Lutzer’s Exploding the Myths that Could Destroy America, whose one time cover listed what you would think would be every “error” imaginable, but, like this new one, is just another list of the same old political, theological and “moral” enemies. And as we have been seeing in conservativism, including much of the Church, “fake news” becomes good and quite justified, becuase of the “error” of others, which must be opposed at ANY cost!

    Darwin and Freud and listed alongside Hitler, who’s buried in the midst of all these names, and it’s not him, but rther Marx, who woukd “win the award for the most malicious book ever written”. (This ranking basicaly tells us which philosophies American Christians feel the most threatened by. One commenter in the link below says it “has the gall to directly compare Betty Friedan to Adolph Hitler”).

    Saying books “messed up” the world would assume the world was fine before they were published, and thus denies the Fall just as much as the philosophies they’re condemning in books like these. These books are just reflecting what’s in man’s heart, and even the “good“ Christian nations have fallen into these things, not from failing to “examine“ these things (all many have done is nearly obsess over them, but alway as external evils being foisted upon them), but instead reading equally evil agendas into scripture. (Then getting annoyed that these rebels or other philosophers or dictators then reject it as an inefficient manmade tool).

    Apologists are still beating these dead horses as they have for the better part of a century. Meanwhile, so many of these Christians don’t realize that exceptionalism is totally anti-Gospel, and that to root for Donald Trump is very contradictory to the earlier values they espoused, and shows earthly desperation. The same that led all of these secular readers to hild the philosophies they articulate in their books.
    The whole premise is grounded on exceptionalism: That God rose up this Christians “civilization” that showed itself “chose” through its “exceptional” good works. But there was a “bad seed” that rose up and wrecked it all. It was undeniable that the source of these political movements was the same “Western” society that was supposedly so “godly” (couldn’t blame it on the Africans this time!), so it has to be “split” off. “Those people over there, outside the Church.

    Paul in Romans 3 lays down fro God’s Word that no one is righteous (especially when judged according to the Law, which of course is what religious “conservatives” always appeal to, in one form or another), and that “that every mouth may be stopped” (v.19); but all I have seen is that conservatives’ mouths keep running; even while claiming to uphold this scriptural truth, and bash others as erring on it. “None are righteous, no not one… BUT…”. None may be righteous, at least by default, but some are still “better” than others, especially nations; no, no individual may be righteous, but by forming a “nation”, unrighteous individuals, can somehow create a righteous nation; by “following God’s principles”. (I guess it’s supposed to be all of the imperfect individuals put together, whose partial righteousness will add up to overall righteousness? That’s still not the way God’s judgment works!)

    Here we can see the testimony we’re sending to all these secular individuals “deceived” by all the false philosophies:
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2583623-10-books-that-screwed-up-the-world

    Here’s a liberal answering this sort of charge, that his belief system (in this particular case, in regard to the gun issue) is the cause of all problems.

    https://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/11/07/my-liberal-agenda/

  24. It gets worse and worse! The Church is becoming a blend of the worst of Corinth on one hand, and Galatia on the other, and throw in fro Revelation, Ephesus and yes, Laodicea (“lukewarm” doesn’t mean ‘not fervent enough”; the attitude described is “rich and in need of nothing”).

    Why Evangelicals Can’t Quit Roy Moore
    Not even pedophilia is out of bounds for a political movement that is less animated by religiosity than resentment.
    https://newrepublic.com/article/145775/evangelicals-cant-quit-roy-moore

    “Worse, many aren’t even denying the allegations.”

    “I really don’t blame Roy Moore’s voters for sticking with him and I know they are going to come under withering attacks for standing by their man. They don’t deserve it. Clearly a lot of people would prefer to avoid dealing with how we got to this point of moral decay among conservatives who used to really believe character counted,” Erick Erickson wrote, before pivoting to a discussion of the Sutherland Springs shooter’s “militant” atheism.

    Moore, for his part, is framing the controversy in terms familiar to any evangelical: as spiritual warfare.

    “The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal –– even inflict physical harm –– if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me.”

    This isn’t accidental, and it reveals quite a bit about why many white Alabamian evangelicals will stick with him. Never underestimate the depth of the evangelical martyrdom complex: In their view, Moore has taken public stands for the word of God, and now the secular world is punishing him for his righteousness. This is the fate promised to all faithful Christians. Thus, Moore’s brother compared Moore, an alleged pedophile, to Jesus Christ.

    There is not a shred of Christian feeling here, certainly not for the women who claimed they suffered from Trump and Moore’s predations. What animates this movement is a sense of persecution; after all, you can’t be part of a faithful remnant unless you are surrounded by enemies. This is such a bedrock belief for some evangelicals that little can change it; the claims of mere women do not suffice.

    This is the upsetting truth: Religious traditions that embrace retrograde beliefs—that female sexuality somehow endangers men, that women should submit to men in the home and in the public sphere—aren’t equipped to deal with accusations of abuse. Whether it happens on the mission field or in the church sanctuary or in a lonely moment with a Christian politician, conservative Christians have often greeted sexual abuse as a cause for outrage when victims speak up.

    Silence is a kind of death; it is a wage of sin. And repentance, as everyone knows, only works if you first admit your error. It is much easier to blame the persecutors, to live inside the world you know.

    Here, we see a point made in an above comment, on trying to blame a ‘larger pattern’ of “mortal decay”, which of course is really the fault of others; the “godless” and “militant atheists”. And of course, it’s these same ‘forces” that are now using these allegations to “silence” Christians. Never mind scripture’s own warnings about our testimony!

    ALABAMA EVANGELICALS MORE LIKELY TO SUPPORT ROY MOORE AFTER SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS, POLL SHOWS

    http://www.newsweek.com/roy-more-sexual-assault-alabama-evangelicals-709015

    Meanwhile, here’s Limbaugh’s ridiculous “save”:

    Rush Limbaugh Just Came Up With The Most Laughable Defense Of Predator Roy Moore
    http://verifiedpolitics.com/rush-limbaugh-just-came-laughable-defense-predator-roy-moore

    Limbaugh says when Moore did those inappropriate sexual things with girls as young as 14, he was still a Democrat. Later he became a Republican and since then, if Limbaugh is to be taken seriously, he has been a married man who has put her [sic] pervy days behind him.

    Limbaugh isn’t saying that a 32-year-old man hitting on a 14-year-old girl is wrong, just that he did it when he was a Democrat, as if he had a disease but is now cured.

    Moore is a born again, evangelical member of the Baptist sect of Christianity, which often pushes for the homeschooling of children so they aren’t tainted by civil society, and encourage young women – as young as 14 – to marry older men who will shape them into the wife, mother, helpmates that the church wants them to be.

    What Limbaugh doesn’t seem to accept is that Moore pre-1992 and Moore post-1992 may have carried a different political label, but his religious beliefs were the same now and then, and he was the same self-serving creep.

    Moore has never really admitted he went after underage girls and certainly has not apologized, because his beliefs, his values, and his religious affiliation have not changed.

    Edit:
    Here’s a good one, covering the dynamic of projection:

    Roy Moore fights his inner demons. It’s not pretty.
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/roy-moore-fights-inner-demons-not-pretty-100036594.html

    And of course, while all of this goes on, in addition to going after the movements mentioned in the previous comment, they also continue to vilify Kaepernik

    Kneeling Black Men, Running White Predators
    https://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/11/14/kneeling-black-men-running-white-predators/

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