About a month ago the New York Times lamented the negative impacts of the discovery of fire. This past week they asked the deeply intellectual and thought provoking question: what religion would Jesus belong to?
Nicholas Kristof laments that, “Jesus never focused on gays or abortion, but on the sick and the poor, yet some Christian leaders have prospered demonizing gays.” Unfortunately, Kristof never cares to define “demonizing gays.” If by “demonizing” he means the Westboro Baptist Church, then that is a fair and valid point. However, the number of conservatives and Christians who actually sympathize with them is minuscule.
Based in Kansas, one of the most conservative states in the country, Westboro had a 2% positive rating in 2013 and a 85% disapproval rating among Republicans (86% of Democrats and 84% of independents also disapproved). For the far left, the ever-growing consensus definition of sexual morality is that if it (sex/love) is consensual or does not involve cheating on one’s partner, then there is nothing wrong. That is not the Bible’s clear definition of sexual morality. Matthew 7:1 is not a verse that requires the embracing of sexual moral relativism.
There is a legitimate political question on what the definition of marriage should be in a free country and the state’s role in marriage. That said, until about 5 minutes ago, the prevailing wisdom in the West was that marriage was between one man and one woman. Wanting to maintain that tradition and/ or the belief that the Supreme Court is involved in too much moral based policy making is not “demonizing gays.”
As for abortion, the Bible is full of verses giving personhood to the unborn child. Exodus 21:22 explains what was to be done if a pregnant woman was physically struck causing premature birth. In Jeremiah 1:5, God tells Jeremiah that before he was born, that God knew the plans for his life. These are just two examples. Simply because Jesus did not talk about something in the first century, does mean that it gets the nod of approval. As the good folks at the satirical site Babylon Bee point out, “Jesus never said anything about felony home invasion.”
Kristof writes, “Jesus was a radical who challenged the establishment, while Christianity has been so successful that in much of the world it is the establishment.” This statement, at the least the first part, is true. Jesus, far from being the hippy, peacenik, moral relativist that some portray Him as, is someone who turned over tables in anger.
However, the idea that Christianity, or conservative Christianity, is the establishment in “much of the world” is laughable. In the Islamic world, Russia, China, and elsewhere Christianity is atop the public enemies lists. Even in Western civilization, conservative Christianity is attacked as being “anti-this” and “anti-that.” There is nothing more anti-establishment than being a conservative Christian, especially a young conservative Christian, in today’s ever-growing relativistic times.
The Church of Leftism
Kristof quotes Brian McLaren, a former pastor, as saying that conservative Christians portray Jesus as “anti-poor, anti-environment, anti-gay, anti-intellectual, anti-immigrant and anti-science.”
We hear, even from Republicans, that if you do not support the ever-increasing welfare state that the federal and state governments cannot afford and that creates dependency, then you hate the poor. Opposing the Politburo, that is the Environmental Protection Agency, or hearing environmentalist cry wolf one too many times with their Armageddon-like predictions, is proof you hate science and the environment. Rejecting the “holier than thou” attitude of some intellectuals is proof of anti-intellectualism. Wanting the laws of your country to be respected and followed is proof you hate immigrants.
The same people who claim that Nativity scenes or crosses at war memorials can be a violation of the First Amendment and that pro-lifers are forcing our religion on women, seem to be equally satisfied forcing their version of Christianity on the public.
The Gospel of Do-goodism
Christianity has always been about more than being a good person. As a “not a particularly religious Christian,” even Kristof should know the root word of Christianity is “Christ.”
He closes out his piece by saying he is encouraged by “the faithful who run soup kitchens and homeless shelters” and that religious Americans “donate far more to charity and volunteer more than secular Americans do.” It is here Kristof accidentally tells the truth.
There is a generally accepted correlation that states that the more religious you are, the more likely you are to be conservative. Kristof lamented earlier that conservative Christians were anti-poor and yet at the end of his piece he states that the more religious you are, the more likely you are to give to charity.
Maybe Kristof, and those on the left, can now finally realize government economic force can never equal virtue. Government cannot love, care, or serve you the way Kristof thinks it can and that is something the religious left needs to learn.