Editorial and commentary on Christian culture, religious and political fundamentalism, and more.
Hmm.Just plain, well...crazy. Ugh.
I see more articles about this in foreign papers than I do in the States. Makes me wonder why.
Here in the United States, we aren't as free as we would like to think. For example, when I asked some questions of a Congressman on his facebook page, he answered me with Tea Party one-liners that aren't even true. I tried to get him to explain his position in different words. I gently and respectfully disagreed with the party one-liner and asked if he had proof for his claim. I was open to learning if he had something more to share that I didn't know about. I was willing to change my mind if he did. Instead he deleted my comments and blocked me. 0.0 I wasn't rude, or offensive, or spamming. I just disagreed,and then I disappeared.I was a regular contributor to a home school mom's open blog. The topic turned to "things not really stated in scripture but scripture is redefined to mean what particular doctrine calls for, i.e. proof texting". I mentioned that the verses used to demand Christians only date/marry Christians fall into that category, and I logically went through them point by point.The next day the blog closed, and a letter from another home school mom was published as the reason. She mentioned that there was a person posting regularly who was probably a liberal, who went to a questionable church, and that the blog owner should probably just close the whole thing down lest younger people be led astray by her words.Seriously. My voice was silenced based on slander and innuendo. I went to an ELCA congregation, which has since switched to the LCMC affiliation of Lutheran churches. But it was in the news that the ELCA had just voted to ordain practicing homosexuals, though our congregation had no voice in that vote and wound up leaving our denomination because of it. The home school mom receiving the letter never asked asked me if I was a liberal. I was guilty by association, and my voice was silenced.I am not the only one this sort of thing has happened to. I post on a forum of disaffected former QF home school moms and their supporters, and others have had similar experiences. Our government doesn't censor the internet, but people self-censor all the time. So it's possible we don't hear about it in the United States because the dominionists are more well-positioned than we imagined. I can't tell you how many Christians, who have no idea who Rushdooney or Phillips are, get angry with me for posting about dominionism on my wall. They think it is an attack on Christianity itself and all Christians everywhere, to criticize dominionism and warn people about it. They have been very successful at labeling anyone who disagrees a "liberal". Being called a liberal is worse than being called dog crap,and we all know it. It's a thoughtstopper. Once you can slap that label on someone, no American Christian will listen to another word they say, thanks to the hard work of Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition, Rush Limbaugh and Fox news- all organizations I have in the past listened to and in some cases financially supported. Who knew they were talking about me the whole time? I certainly didn't.
Shadowspring, the same thing happened to me only yesterday on a Gospel Coalition blog. Another commenter (not the blog owner) said anyone who didn't believe in male headship was a dangerous heretic and should not even be allowed to post there, lest young women should be led astray.What is with this justification for silencing? I have had plenty of accusations and every other kind of attack-- but this is the first time I heard that anyone who disagreed should simply be shut out of the discussion altogether.It worries me what might happen to free speech, should this group get even more political power.
For those who don't want to register, the writer, Andrew Purcell, has also posted a version of the article on his personal page...http://www.andrewpurcell.net/?p=1070
I registered so I could leave a comment. Wanted to thank the paper for running the article.
Congratulations Lewis. I'm glad to see that someone in the media is paying attention. Very interesting that this was run in Scotland, and how the subject matter of the author's other work on the website is all very different. Anything you can share about how he came to the subject?
From what I understand, his editor came across an article Libby Anne had posted on Alternet.Yeah, it's nice to see the media paying some attention to spiritual abuse issues and giving the issues the gravity and respect they deserve. The 20/20 coverage of the Tina Anderson/IFB situation and the CNN attention on the Pearls and the IFB group homes has been encouraging, too.
@KristenAnother new weird twist: disagreeing with me on politics (or others) is being painted as "Christian correction"- like someone is seeing our positions not as disagreement but as SIN! Rather than mere disagreement that requires "accepting one another as Christ also has accepted us, not arguing about disputable matters"(Romans 14)differences of opinion with the religious right are now SINS.First of all, it's not a sin to interpret the Bible differently than another Christian, or even a whole slew of Christians. Isn't that the whole point of Paul's further explanation in Romans 14: Christians can both love God and accept scripture as divinely inspired, inerrant even, and come to different conclusions about doctrine, such as whether or not one day of the week is holier than another, for example?This idea that people who disagree with a stated position of doctrine, who have scriptural reasons for doing so, are HERETICS rather than fellow disciples who get a different message out of the text is very dangerous. My husband and I are reading Greg Boyd's "God of the Possible" right now, and in the introduction he claims to have experienced the same thing. Critics of his position never refute the scriptural evidence for his position, they refute the supposed philosophical "underpinnings" of his doctrinal position. Yet he came to his conclusion by studying scripture diligently, and offers all the relevant texts and his thought processes. His reverence for getting to the truth of scripture is everywhere evident. Yet because it harpoons a very sacred cow, he is labelled a HERETIC instead of called mistaken, or illogical, or just wrong.Likewise a friend recently had a fellow Christian disagreeing with a post on his wall. Happens all the time, I'm sure, to all of us. But this Christian claims that his disagreement is some sort of God-mandated brotherly correction! He sees himself as the prophet Elijah calling out the prophets of Baal when all he is really doing is expressing offense at a crude comment making the point that people are offended when you are overbearing and persistent about presenting your religion publicly.The sense of righteousness or holy mission about being opinionated, as if the was the Great Command, is dangerous. The Great Command was "Love one another as I have loved you. Love one another. By this shall all men know you are my disciples, if you love one another." It was not, "Be politically active and certain of your Rightness. Allow no disagreement to remain uncastigated. By this shall all men know you are my disciples, if you have the correct political positions."My pastor actually thinks he is lovingly correcting my sin by telling me he thinks my political beliefs are wrong-headed- and without once showing me any scripture, asking why I came to the conclusions I have come to, presenting any proof he is right or I am wrong, without showing any proof that my politics are the true sign of my commitment to Christ or scripture! And it gets worse! Without every discussing anything with me, he claims that he is afraid to tell me he doesn't agree with me because I might "kick him in the teeth"? Seriously? Where would he get that idea? I'm an out of shape, middle-aged woman who takes in strays? He is afraid *I* will become violent if he disagrees with me?
Where does that come from? I'll tell you. That comes from Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, right wing radio, etc. branding people "liberal" who disagree with the shibboleth political positions, and then defining "liberal" for their followers/listeners as wicked, unreasonably, hate-filled idealogues. Once you have decided someone is a liberal, no need to consider any personal attributes of who they are or what they think or how they act. You already KNOW. They are a LIBERAL. So even if you have no personal proof that they are wicked, hate-filled, idealogues, you can be CERTAIN that's who they are in private because they're a LIBERAL.My next blog post, if I ever have time, is how being accused of being liberal by those home school moms caused me to do something I NEVER would have done before: actually investigate scary liberal positions to see what they had to say for themselves. I was so consistently conservative politically that I had not done anything like that since I first voted in 1980.Oops, I really need to get to studying. Thanks for the venue to discuss these things, Lewis. Hope I don't get too liberal on you and force you to shut your blog down! =D
If you don't adhere to the doctrines of Focus on the Family Christianity, you ARE a liberal now, in the eyes of many Christians, and they don't mean that in any positive sense.I am an independent voter, probably still on the conservative side politically (keep government out of it as much as possible... ) with a leaning toward liberalism socially (... until we prove we can't do it ourselves and people are getting hurt).Yet I label myself a Liberal Christian in Facebook-type atmospheres, because I don't demonize homosexuality or play Happy Posts with pro-lifers. There are others, but those are the two big issues that will get you banned to Liberal Land (it's not as bad over here as you might have been led to think, lol).
Shadowspring, I had similar issues with that same blogger and yet people around here think she's awesome. No, what she does is cover up for women trying to bully other women back into patriarchy. And she deletes all the evidence.
Very Sad article..one of the things that stood out to me the most was that this woman's husband abused her and the children..so sad that people would buy into this..
Shadowspring: I have experienced this too. One person on a blog actually told me that the source of my "biased thinking" was sin. Of course, she herself was without bias.I, too, used to swallow all the conservative party lines. Then I looked a little deeper and discovered that a lot of it is Ayn Rand coated over with Bible prooftexts. Bleh. When the Bible does say about the government of a nation, it talks a lot about support of the poor being prescribed by law. Redistribution of wealth every 50 years was also written into the law, so that one group of peole wouldn't be able to amass all the nation's resources. Human nature is selfish and needs to be curbed, or the strong will rule and the weak will suffer. So why is taxation that supports the poor ungodly? Because the religious right says so. No more discussion allowed. I'm now a centrist, but because the center has recently moved to the right, it looks like I'm on the left on many issues. Go figure.- Kristen
I was always considered a centrist in the past, too, Kristen, and without changing my mind on a single position, I got labelled liberal. That's how it is these days.OTOH< being accused of being liberal and ostracized opened up my eyes to how little respect there is for "liberals" in the fundamentalist/conservative religio-political machine. Apparently we can no longer discuss anything with the "other side" and try to see where they're coming from, or try to work together with them to find a compromise that all can live with. Compromise, instead of a respected way of making sure all sides get to be stakeholders in their government, is now considered a weakness.That's the biggest problem with American evangelical Christianity- it's a politico-business machine, making huge money off of the sheep and inciting them to indignation over moral issues so that the typical corporate tycoons can use religion as cover to get their anti-tax, anti-labor, anti-assistance candidates in power, so they can keep looting the American consumer/worker. And the Christian right is paying them to do it! In the name of Jesus to boot!Crazy.
The thing I hate about all of it the most is this...I've always considered myself a conservative person (politically and spiritually), and had always identified more with the GOP - seeing the people on the other side of the issues (those mean old libruls) as all sizzle and no steak, all symbolism and no substance. That may very well be true of the "liberal establishment", but several years ago, when I stopped accepting the conservative dogma and propaganda at face value and started actually looking as deeply as possible at the issues, the people on MY side (the conservatives) were equally as guilty, and maybe even more guilty, of being all symbolism and absolutely NO substance.In my experience, the same is largely true of the Christian community (or more specifically its leaders and policy-makers) - and the Christian community is the driving force behind conservative politics these days.A lot of conservatives probably think I'm a mean old librul these days. Fact is, despite many personal changes, my core value system hasn't changed a bit. The only thing that's changed about me (in socio-political terms) is that I no longer NEED my team to win the argument, and I want substance and truth or nothing at all.I guess I can no longer reconcile people who claim to be "anxious for the Lord's return", yet go to the polls and try to delay it (in the context of their professed belief system), or who, for instance, place a value on an unborn child that can't be quantified, but once it's left the womb, they don't care if it starves.Gotta win that argument.Life needs to be infused with things of substance. Not with the equivalent of Cowboys vs. Redskins-esque sports rivalries masquerading around as serious social and political issues.I refuse to give ownership of my mind and the resources of my soul to any movement - religious or socio-political.
"I'm now a centrist, but because the center has recently moved to the right, it looks like I'm on the left on many issues. Go figure."Truth.