Two Issue Christians…..

This is the second post in the series about how I believe today’s Christian establishments disappoint God.

If one believes that God is only really concerned with a couple of issues, it becomes easier to ignore others.  But human life and particularly the words of Jesus are just too complicated for this kind of reductionist approach to our faith and beliefs. How can we even think otherwise?  We must approach Scripture realizing that it is the story of God’s interaction with humanity, and this story constitutes the disclosure of God’s nature particularly through the words of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately I believe that the extreme right wing in today’s politics and that especially includes the recent Tea Party movement have kidnapped much of the evangelical vote using this reductionist approach. They deem that God is only interested in two topics: abortion and homosexuality. As long as they shout about these two issues frequently enough they expect, and mostly see, many evangelicals falling in line with all their right wing issues. They want us to believe that all other of life’s issues outside of abortion and gay marriage are secondary at best.

It is sad to see how many Christians fall for this two-issue mantra. Those that do totally ignore the fact that the only two laws as verbally stated by Jesus is to love God with all your soul and to love your fellow man. Jesus told us that ALL the laws of God are wrapped up in these two items.

If I were to be a two issue Christian I would latch on 1)loving God and 2) loving my fellow man instead of the ones currently fed us by right wing politics today.

So many of today’s evangelicals seem to totally ignore that Jesus told us to give the stranger the shirt off your back if they are in need. Instead they seem to actively support  via their votes and their donations eliminating all of the so-called entitlements such as food stamps and medical care and such to the poor and marginalized in today’s world. Instead they are inclined to  favor lower tax rates for the wealthiest among us at the expense of those needing “shirts”. Where are God’s words supporting that view!!

I am just dumbfounded at to how this kidnapping occurred!

Yes, God is certainly concerned about taking of human life and that includes those who are not yet born. But he is also equally concerned that every three seconds throughout the day some where in the world a child dies because of inadequate drinking water or not enough food.  He is surely  also concerned about how we manage to kill each other in our endless wars. He told us that the peacemakers, not the warriors were the blessed ones. We seem to have, like so many other things, gotten that message reversed. Why do so many evangelical Christians minimize the other causes of senseless deaths by putting almost total attention to the first? That minimization of God’s commands is certainly not what He intends.

This reductionist approach to our beliefs promoted by many of today’s Christian establishments greatly saddens me. Why do we allow secular politics to have such a strong hold on us?

Sanctity of Life??

I am going to take on a hard one here. The big “A”.  I have been in a conversation with some Christian friends of mine about the current healthcare reform now being debated in congress and around the country.  Some of my friends said the following: “I can’t support this reform as it might allow some to have abortions funded”!  I, certainly am also against abortion. It is killing an innocent life and definitely against Jesus’ teachings.

But how do Christian who make abortion a litmus test for everything else answer these typical questions by some:

 You Christians only believe in the sanctity of life in the nine months before birth, not in the eighty years or more after birth. You are a bunch of hypocrites!

To support their statement they give the following examples:

  • You support killing people who commit certain types of sins (murder, rape, etc). You say Jesus came to die for all of us. That we are all loved by him. Does that include just some sinners and not others? And didn’t God say “Vengeance is mine” not yours?
  • You will  eliminate the possibility of saving thousands of lives who otherwise be  lost to health issues in order to “maybe” save some fetuses.  What about all those people who die daily due to not being able to afford healthcare? Are they somehow less important to your god than those yet to be born?
  • You condone and often enthusiastically support killing your neighbor in a war simply because your government tells you to kill. It doesn’t matter that they are your “enemy” simply because they were born in a different country than you and are also following what their politicians say!
  • Where do you get off classifying which lives are sanctified and which aren’t? You are a bunch of hypocrites!

 I don’t know of any pat answers for the above examples.  Jesus clearly said that revenge is no longer justified and an eye-for-an-eye is no longer acceptable in the new covenant he brought to us. He told us unequivocally to love our enemies, and turn the other cheek. Again and again in the Bible Jesus tells us to follow his example . To my knowledge Jesus never passed judgment, except for the religious establishment of course, on anyone let alone killing anyone.  God said “Do not kill”. My bible doesn’t add “except for time of war or really bad guys”. I definitely think the Amish, Mennonites, and other like minded sects have it right in this regard. About the only thing Jesus killed was a fig tree for not having fruit out of season? I don’t understand that one but will let it slid as it is not important to my following Christ.

 Are we Christians being hypocrites when we want to enforce only our limited definition of “Sanctity of Life”? I am tending to think so but I will respect your right to think otherwise. This is a very difficult issue between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world.