Friday, June 23, 2006

An Evangelical speaks out

Randall Balmer takes fellow evangelicals to task for abandoning evangelical ideals and emphasis. Balmer is the author of the upcoming book, Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America: An Evangelical's Lament". In general, his point is that evangelicals have lost their way.

Here are a few of his points in one essay:
  • Religious groups should not ally themselves with a political party.
  • The early followers of Jesus were counterculture -- obviously apart from the norm.
  • If you oppose abortion on religious grounds, you should also be opposed to torture and the death penalty. These are moral issues not just PR problems.
  • The bible contains 2000 references to the poor and our responsibilities to the poor.
  • The religious right seems to have allied itself with power and wealth, even adopting a so-called "prosperity gospel".
  • The leaders of the religious right have adopted a language of militarism. They viciously attack anyone that does not agree with them. (Karl Rove would be proud.)
  • The conduct of an evangelical "roll call of rogues ... makes Bill Clinton's adolescent dalliances pale by comparison".
  • Leaders of the religious right seem fearful of pluralism, but pluralism is healthy. These religious extremists seem to want enforced religion -- their type and style done their way.
  • Balmer would not make abortion illegal -- he'd make it unthinkable. That requires educating people at home and in church, not at school and not by law.

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