I got pilloried over at the Santa Clarita “Letters to the Editor” facebook page last week. The folks were outraged by my post-election article evaluating the spiritual conditions of our American society. I even had one dude declare how he’s caught me in a lie from a previous encounter on another local blog and I imagine he thinks that is supposed to discredit anything I write.
Such a reaction is to be expected, I guess. Haters are gonna hate. Still, I thought I would offer a response to the more choice comments.
I respect Fred a lot. He’s a thoughtful guy in his realm, advanced theology and biblical studies. When he dips his toe in politics, he comes off like a crank. Example:
“Over time, my freedom to call Mohammed a false prophet who deceives people to eternal damnation will be limited, but that will come after I am forbidden to speak against the perversion of homosexual behavior from a pulpit or in the public square with the threat of being fined or imprisoned. My religious freedom will eventually be eroded by a political party who falsely claim to be for personal freedom and the like.”
Name one thing, JUST ONE THING, that Obama did in the first four years that would lead you to believe he’s about to forbid the discussion of Mohammed.
I find it amusing that I have been boxed into a “realm” – dare I say a “compound” maybe? Living in my “realm” apparently doesn’t afford me the privilege of commenting on secular things.
A couple of thoughts here.
First, I wasn’t addressing “politics” in my article per se, though I imagine one could say writing about the results of a presidential election is “politics.” My primary concern is with the spiritual condition among Americans that would lead them to embracing a course of ultimate demise. The simple answer is as Tom Chantry noted in his post-election autopsy: sin makes people stupid.
Second. I wasn’t specifically noting the “last four years” of Obama’s administration, though I am sure we could find some examples where the establishment clause has been abused. Probably the biggest is forcing religious institutions, say for example, Catholic hospitals and Tyndale publishers, to comply with the abortion mandate in Obamacare. Another one I can think of off the top of my head that is not directly related to Obama but does reflect the climate of our age is the hapless printer who got sued for refusing to print a lesbian couple’s “wedding” invitations.
At any rate, I am thinking forward to the next four years. Definitions of “hate speech” are sure to be expanded. Take the two examples I noted, speaking against Islam and Mohammed and gay rights.
After the Libya incident this past September, Obama went to the U.N. and gave a speech in which he said the future doesn’t belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. He then went on to speak against those who desecrate crosses, burn churches, and deny the Holocaust, which I reckon he has in mind Egyptian Brotherhood Muslims who do such things against Christians and Jews, and then he quoted some platitudinous remark by Gandhi about how intolerance is in itself a form of violence and an obstacle of growth to the democratic spirit. (Honestly, I take that as just being code word for “Christians need to stop publicly criticizing Muslims and gays.”)
As “happy” as that all may sound, the protection of our free speech as Americans is what makes us unique as citizens in the world. Obama should have at least attempted to explain that to the Muslims hearing his speech. A president shouldn’t spend 70,000 dollars on Pakistani TV apologizing for a film-maker making an anti-Muslim film. In the U.S., a film-maker has the freedom to make an ultra-low budget film that mocks the prophet Mohammed. It doesn’t matter if it’s offensive. He has that “freedom.” The same could be said about San Francisco gays doing a hunky Jesus contest, or a theater troop mocking Mormons, or atheists printing up their anti-God fashion wear.
I personally find these items offensive, particularly the “hunky Jesus contest.” My first reaction, however, is not to kill them or burn down their homes. Yet, because of hyper-sensitivity to Muslims sensibilities, our government is moving toward welcoming a mind-set that will censor criticism of Islam, especially the prophet Mohammed. That will only extend to any efforts by Christian evangelists to evangelize Muslims, something our religion tells us to do, as well as stifle public criticism of Islamic beliefs. Such is happening in other countries and will only be a matter of time before it happens here.
But as to the second about criticizing homosexuality and calling it sinful, efforts are well under way to make any critical remarks made against gays to be hate speech punishable by fine or imprisonment. So if I am a parent of a teenage girl, or even a young girl participating in the swim academy at Evergreen College in WA, I have to suffer a mentally deranged 45-year old sex pervert dressing in the woman’s locker room because he’s “transgendered.” If I don’t want my daughters looking at his naked body or him looking at their naked bodies, they need to get behind a privacy curtain or get out. If I raise any concern or criticize him or call him a “sex” pervert, why I’m the hater. Do we realize how insane this is? These are the people who voted in the current president.
Christian Fundamentalists in America just don’t get it. You can claim the Founding Fathers were influenced by Judeo-Christian values and that’s fine. You can say you want to live your life according to these same values and that’s fine. You can say all other religions are wrong and only you’re right and that’s fine. You can say homosexuals are wrong and you don’t agree with their choice and that’s fine too. Its when you seek to introduce these ideas into government policy and force others to live according to your ideals do I have a problem. And apparently the majority of America feels the same way as was evidenced on Tuesday.
The irony of this comment is that it is made by a guy I happen to know is a Muslim and I heard once publicly make an apologetic for Sharia based litigation in minor court cases. Be that as it may, other than abortion and passing amendments recognizing marriage as being only between a man and a woman, where have “fundamentalists” introduced their ideas into “governmental” policy? Especially Federal policy that goes all across the U.S.? Some may say prohibition, but temperance movements entailed both secular and liberal religious groups and had far reaching impact across all areas of society not just among “Fundamentalists.”
On to the next one,
This article is ridiculous. Its like the guy standing in a public square screaming to everyone the end is nigh because he has become so paranoid about the sins of mankind that he loses his own purpose and actually becomes a plank in the eye of his creator, disengaged from society and no longer able to make the impact Jesus taught him to. The world is not coming to an end because your party didn’t win the election. And fyi, this is not the period in time in which sin was invented. Nor will it be the period when sin ends. This author and anyone who truly believes this stuff needs a basic apologetics course.
Metaphorically speaking, I am standing on a street corner screaming to everyone that the end is nigh. Indeed, it is true, as the previous commenter noted in his last sentence, that the majority of Americans don’t agree with my views. And again, it is odd that boast in the previous comment is coming from a Muslim, but I digress.
Rather than being disengaged from society, however, I believe I am very much engaged. I don’t believe the decision the “majority” of Americans made to reject the moral law of their creator and seek to live in rebellious autonomy against God is a good thing. In fact it’s a terrible thing. But rather than jumping into the throng of lemmings hurling themselves headlong over a cliff and into the sea, I will take this opportunity for complete engagement in our society. I plan to double-down in my proclamation of the truth, because when it is darkest, the light shines brighter and I believe the gospel is more powerful than the unwise consensus of our misguided youth culture.
Now, there was one comment that was truly epic. A tremendous rant against me. It rambled a bit due to being written out of sheer emotion, but the basics of it was how I allegedly hate handicapped people and anyone disabled. It’s too long to cut-and-paste, so let me just respond to the first part that gives us the gist.
I just read this post and am offended. Really, truly offended. I think there is a real disconnect between those who need government help and those who think the government should give no help. Fred writes, “My wife spoke with a neighbor the morning after the election who thinks the next 4 years will be awesome. But she’s in her early 50s, is on “disability,” and doesn’t really do anything except play with her two dogs.” I wonder, as someone on private disability, when I walk my dog if Fred would feel the same about me. Should someone on disability not do anything? Should we just be trapped in our homes and in our wheelchairs, eating only the food you allow (lord knows when we buy something they don’t like we also get slammed for using their tax dollars for some unapproved food) and doing only the things tax payers think are acceptable for someone on disability to do?
This comment offends me. I mean truly offends me. Not only does it represent a profound inability with basic reading comprehension, I’m embarrassed for the person. It’s a buffoonish, knee-jerk reaction that makes the person appear like a bigot, and I would imagine he is otherwise not like that.
Did I suggest disabled people shouldn’t be helped? Does the person seriously believe I think wheel-chaired people need to be shuffled aside, or pushed down a hill? This person doesn’t know my neighbor. Notice what I did write. I stated that a neighbor who was WALKING her dogs. The point being this neighbor is a fully healthy, fully functioning and quite capable of working. I can point to dozens of individuals I know who are able bodied yet have been successful at scamming the system to be declared “disabled.” They’ve made bad life choices that may have temporarily hurt them physically so they get on disability. Time comes when they are back to normal, but they have come to like their life of idling away the day watching TV or whatever. It’s one big extended summer vacation at the expense of society.
So, rather than yelling at me and accusing me of being a heartless, uncaring cad, he should busy himself exposing those frauds who sponge off the system and make a mockery of those individuals who are truly disabled.
Oh, and BTW, on that food comment, tell that to the first lady and the mayor of New York City.