Do Christians Have Something Better To Do Than Spending the Next 4 Years Hating and Lying About President Obama The Way They Did For The Last 4 Years?

On the morning after the reelection of President Obama American Christians of a conservative-to-far-right bent typified by the leadership of the evangelical establishment and the Roman Catholic bishops have to admit that along with the Republican Party they have just been resoundingly repudiated.

Since I was one of the minor nepotistic sidekick architects of the rise of the religious right in the 1970s-80s along with my late evangelist father Francis Schaeffer, (before I changed my mind and fled as I describe in my book Crazy For God) maybe I’m the right person to ask: What is the future of a politicized “Christianity” deeply infected by the politics of hate, intolerance, homophobia, xenophobia, victimhood, racism and willful delusion? Bluntly– Will it be Fox News or Jesus?

Will the face that American Christianity presents to the world be that of Franklin Graham hunkered down with Glenn Beck, the Koch brothers promoting oligarchy and conspiracy theories and the likes of Dinesh D’Souza spouting vicious lies or will Christians rediscover Christianity?

For now the “face” of Christianity in America is Franklin Graham who sold his father’s reputation down the river for political gain. It’s the homophobic anti-marriage equality editors of Christianity Today magazine. It’s Ralph Reed who narrowly escaped jail after the Abramoff/casino/lobbying scandal and who reemerged from whatever rock he lives under to “organize” the evangelical vote in return for whatever fees he managed to skim from the budget the Republicans running the Romney campaign gave him. It’s the pedophile-codling Roman Catholic bishops trying to equate religious freedom with withholding insurance coverage for contraceptives from American women.

Christians who care about our country and our faith have a choice: Circle the wagons tighter, deny reality further, hate more, or admit that once again – as with the race issues of the 1940s through the 1960s – that most conservative religious Americans have missed the boat of progress, hope and inclusion.

The Republican Party thought it could disrespect women, gays, Latinos, black people, union workers, single moms, minorities of all backgrounds and young people and yet somehow win an election. Do sane evangelicals and Roman Catholics of a reasonable disposition – and there are many – want to make the same mistake? Do we Christians really want the future of American Christianity permanently hijacked by the most putrid collection of reactionary delusional bigots since Jim Crow?

The circle-the-wagons mentality of paranoia tinged with racism that has typified the – NOW FAILED — anti-President Obama crusade has so infected large swathes of American religion that it’s an open question whether the hate-your-brother-mongers have permanently discredited religion. This is the time for religious leaders in America to humble themselves and to become once again part of our democracy rather than reacting to it while crying doom.

The Republican Party may or may not rise to the occasion and change. But there’s no reason that Christians can’t distance ourselves from a political movement dedicated to willful ignorance. It’s time to put following Jesus ahead of denying other people their basic human rights, their basic humanity and trying to win elections even when it costs your soul.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back.To book Frank to speak at your college, church or group please contact Frank HERE

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • Dr. J Gayle Gaymon

    Hi Frank.
    I do believe that Christians should refocus on their biblical promises and principles. Nothing just happens. God has spoken.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi JGG, thanks for reading my post and you comment, just so!

  • Otro Tierra

    Will frothing-at-the-mouth evangelicals begin to seek Jesus and follow the Greatest Commandment? Time will tell.

  • Linda Fisher

    Frank, thanks for your uncanny insight & smart humor on a subject that’s become so twisted here in our country. I am so thrilled that you’re willing to share your personal experience & understanding. I have your book, “Sex, Mom & God” and it’s certainly a must read.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Linda, thanks for getting my book. please keep me posted on what you think of it. Best, Frank

  • Linda Barringer

    Thank you, Mr. Schaeffer, for so eloquently saying what many of us are feeling.

  • Donald Buck

    Thank you for your courage to speak the truth.
    American Christianity is not Christianity. Period.
    Perhaps ours must be the revolutionary act of standing up and speaking out
    for the Christianity of Jesus.
    I sense that God has reserved many who have not bought into the willful ignorance and are looking for someone(s) to lead… to stand and speak the Christianity of Jesus.
    We are not alone!
    Shalom

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Donald, thanks for reading my piece and the comment. I agree, American Christianity is hardly a religion either, more a set of political social views founded on willing ignorance.

      • Michael

        Willful ignorance is the comfort zone for many.
        Believing that deceitful “truths” are superior to facts just because they bolster what one “wants” to believe is plain wrong and often dangerous.
        I’m not a Christian but, “Love one another” seems pretty clear to me.
        Good article, Frank.

    • http://mortcrimspeaks.com Mort Crim

      Frank,
      Thanks for your common sense. As a “recovering fundamentalist,” I applaud your courage and your wisdom. I have not given up on God or Jesus, but I cringe at the way both have been misused to cover a multitude of sins. Too many truly believe that GOD is spelled GOP and that all those “sins” Jesus never mentioned (homosexuality, abortion, etc.) are more important than the ones he clearly identified (failure to take care of the poor, the dispossessed, hypocrisy by religious leaders, etc.) I sometimes have to wonder if these right-wing Christians have ever REALLY read the Bible. He that hath an ear, let him hear. Keep up the good work. A lot of us who are humbly stumbling along in our attempts to follow the real Jesus–not the false idols of fundamentalism–truly appreciate you and your work.

    • Jeffrey Marsh

      Not all American Christianity follows in line with Franklin Graham, Bryan Fisher, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and the RC bishops. I’ve been a Lutheran my whole life, mostly within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. And I’ve been a pastor in that denomination for over two decades. Never would I consider preaching partisan politics from the pulpit or in the teaching that I do. My job is to proclaim Jesus Christ and him crucified, not lift up the platform of the GOP or any other party.

  • Mary Knox

    Thank you, Frank, for being a “voice in the wilderness”. I so appreciate your blogs & posts. I always look forward to them. God bless!

  • confused

    Why are Christians the only ones being asked to compromise everything they hold dear? This article makes no sense.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi confused, thanks for reading my post. I didn’t know that to ask Christians to love, forgive and to be generous — not to mention to stop lying about our president — was to ask them — us — to compromise everything they hold dear. Maybe you think that Tea Party and Christian are the same. I don’t. But thanks for reading anyway even if we disagree. Best, to you, Frank

    • Heidi Fernandez

      For me that question (‘why are Christians the only ones being asked to compromise..’) sums up the perspective from which many conservative Christians view American life. The primary point being missed is ‘separation of church and state’. Churches are completely free to set and state their values for their own membership. However they are not free to set their values for a diverse nation. If that is understood there should be no confusion.
      Empathy–a key element of Christ’s teachings–is in critical short supply among the shrill voices of the conservative activists.

  • joe the plumer

    its article’s like this that make me believe people have their hear in their butt.

    • Clevelle

      It’s

  • joe the plumer

    head*

    • Kim Swink

      plumber*

    • Sarah Trebnick

      articles*

    • PJB

      *heads
      *butts

    • Dave the Plumber

      It’s*

  • http://www.twitter.com/joecaruso Joe Caruso

    Typical liberal nonsense. The only sinners in the world for people like Frank are those who proclaim Biblical Christianity. When Biblical Christians defend marriage (God ordained) they are seen as ‘haters’. When Biblical Christians defend the unborn from the evil slaughter of abortion, they are against womens rights. It is they who hate God’s Word and those who proclaim it.
    Truly a False Teacher….

    “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20

    • Jim Bentz

      @Joe from what I infer, you just voted for someone who denies the creeds! Over someone who confesses them. No more needs to be said.

      “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20

      • David H.

        Jim, I have been sorely puzzled over just that. A bunch of self-professed “Christians” all het up about voting for a non-Christian (Romney) for president. Apparently the cognitive, and theological, dissonance doesn’t bother them one bit…

    • Sarah

      “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

      John 3:17

  • confused

    It’s not about not loving, not forgiving, and not being generous, it’s about being forced to accept someone else’s sin legally and publically. It’s about the fact that two sins don’t make a right in the case of rape and abortion. Why should killing an innocent baby ever be justified? If we Christians start compromising on these very basic issues of life and family we really are doomed.

    • fiona64

      You know, I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover, in more than one English translation and in more than one language. Here is exactly what Jesus says about abortion: ” “. Oh, and here’s what he says about GLBT people: ” “. It always amazes me how little people truly know about the religion they profess.

      So, here are my questions to “confused,” since you say you are following Biblical teachings: How many hungry people have you fed? How many ailing people have you comforted? And where, in your Bible, is the codicil to “Love your neighbor as yourself” that allows you to exempt women who terminate pregnancies (the reasons for which are none of your business), excuse rape as you just did, or tell gay people that they are not worthy of equal protection under the law?

      These are new testament covenants, as directed by Jesus.

      If you want to argue old testament covenants, I guess I’ll just have to ask you questions about whether you avoid eating shellfish, wearing blended fiber clothing and going near to rabbits. I’ll also direct you to Numbers, in which a woman is forced to consume an abortifacient. In other words, don’t try cherry-picking scripture to suit your own prejudices.

    • Celli

      I can see why you’re confused. You’re confusing your sins with the sins of others. Guess what? It’s okay for you to have to “accept” someone else’s sin because it’s your sin, not theirs. The law of the land is not the Law of God. It’s your responsibility to follow God’s law and INFORM others of what God’s law is. It is not the responsibility of the government to conform with the laws of God. If you are against abortion, defend abortion rights by offering help to mothers-to-be in need and advising anyone you can against getting an abortion. You don’t have to “compromise.” A law against abortion will not stop it; encouragement from a true Christian will.

      • http://www.cookingveganwithsoul.wordpress.com FAITH

        Thanks for giving this great reply. It expresses a lot of what I believe– take that plank out of your own eye. When you see the splinter in your neighbors? Share your faith. But don’t think you have the right to live someone else’s life. If they come to share your point of view, or if they come to be believers, they can’t live vicariously through your beliefs and your faith. They have to make it their own.

    • midwestmatt

      What in the heck did you just spew? Legally forced to accept the sins of others?

      Run along. Your desire to force YOUR life down our throats just got bashed up side its head by free thinking Americans.

      Your version of America NEVER EXISTED outside the minds of fringe thinkers like yourself.

      You lost and you lost big.

    • Faith Buster

      You’re NOT a Christian. There’s nothing Christianly about your post or your attitude to life. It’s not your place to judge what’s sinful and frankly speaking your outlook is hateful and Jesus Christ would reject someone like you. He said that the First commandment of all is love. You’re not God and you don’t get to determine what’s sinful and what isn’t. There’s nowhere in the bible where Jesus Christ talked about or against Homosexuality and he didn’t talk about abortion either. I bet you support the death penalty and wars – those are killings. what a woman does with her body is none of your business. Get a life! A REAL ONE! Nobody put you in charge of other people’s lives.

      • Rebekah

        You people need to re-read your bible again.. One of many verses on homosexuality:

        Leviticus 20:13

        “‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
        Verse 22:
        “‘Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out
        Leviticus Chapter 20 talks about the things that the Lord detests. This is only one of many verses.
        Before the majority of you go calling me a “hater” or a “carnial christian” of some sort, I voted for Obama. I do not believe in “shoving” my religion down America’s throat because as Americans we have the freedom to choose. That is what being a christian is about.. choosing to believe: faith. Leviticus also goes on to say:
        You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations. Yes I believe in God and his teachings in the Bible, and it clearly states that he hates homosexuality. However, if you take a look back in the Bible, who were the people that Jesus was “hanging out with” while He was here on earth? The sinners, the unrighteous and the perverse sinners. He loves them and does not turn His back on them, and we are suppossed to be examples of Him. I do not condone it, but I will not judge others for it. I will love them and show them Christ’s love through me. I will be a witness for Him and witness to others when and how I can.

        • quietly considering

          I hope you don’t have earrings or tattoos because that’s body modification, and according to the person you are quoting, enough to get you into hell. As a Christian, I’m just going to listen to the words of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior; loving all my brothers and sisters without hate or judgement as he wanted. It’s much better for the spirit than bigotry and prejudice.

        • LiveAndLetLive

          I’m going to assume you also advocate and support slavery, rape, kidnapping, mass murder, and pedophilia as those can also be found in that bible you are so fond of using as justification for your beliefs.

        • fiona64

          Oh, Rebekah. I really do grow tired of explaining this, but I’m glad to do it again for your benefit. The word in those verses is “toevah,” which means “ritually impure.” It does not mean “detestable” or “abomination” or anything else. It means that the person must be ritually purified before returning to temple, just as women had to be each month after their menstrual periods.

          Human sexual orientation was not understood in Biblical times as it is nowadays. To put it simply, there were the “do-er” and the “done to.” Sex was not something between equals. A man could have sex with a woman because she was his property and “beneath him.” A man could have sex with slaves of either gender because slaves were his property and “beneath him.” Free men together were considered “toevah.”

          Really, though, if you want to argue Levitical law, please do avoid consuming shellfish, wearing blended-fiber clothing and going near to rabbits. No tattoos or pierced ears, either.

          • Doru

            fiona64, your definition of “toebah” is at least misleading… Here we go:

            H8441
            תּעבה תּועבה
            tô‛êbah tô‛êbah
            to-ay-baw’, to-ay-baw’
            Feminine active participle of H8581; properly something disgusting (morally), that is, (as noun) an abhorrence; especially idolatry or (concretely) an idol: – abominable (custom, thing), abomination.

    • Val

      Are you for real?? “It’s not about not loving, not forgiving, and not being generous, it’s about being forced to accept someone else’s sin legally and publically.” REALLY??? Since when did God appoint you judge? The sins of others are NOT your business, you were not put here to police everyone else. You will be judged based on YOUR sins, not someone else’s. You need to get over yourself. People like you are the reason people scoff at religion now. Somehow, you’ve managed to elevate yourself (in your own mind) to a height that God never intended.

      • NakedAnthropologist

        Thanks for that. As someone who has lost all belief and faith in religion, I can say one of the main reasons for it was because the message was one way, and most adherents to that faith another. Religion never equated love, equality, fairness, or community to me – it was just another tool used to keep people in line and punish those who stepped outside their “place” (and fuck that). Honestly it’s been giving me a little (tiny) bit of hope to read this blog and some of the replies here – maybe you guys aren’t all bad after all. Not that you need my opinion, and all, but still. Thank you.

    • Marcia S

      “It’s not about not loving, not forgiving, and not being generous, it’s about being forced to accept someone else’s sin legally and publically.”

      Hi, first comment here.

      I’m pro-choice on abortion, at least in the first four months or so; but I can understand where people who are opposed to it are coming from. However, equal legal standing for gays, including marriage equality, is another matter. The US is not a theocracy and although any nation-state with its roots in Europe has been shaped by Christianity, we don’t make laws on the basis of any religious scriptures or whatever group deems sinful or not sinful. Some of the more high-profile legal decisions, including that in California over Proposition 8, have pointed out that as marriage tends to be a socially stabilizing force, extending it to gays is in the best interests of society overall and denying it serves no useful purpose.

      Anyone who views homosexuality as sinful has a right to do so; but civil law is another matter entirely. And we’d better be sure to keep it that way if we don’t want any other religious groups enshrining their teachings into civil law.

    • Tired of the judging

      I am a Christian but why is it the far right constantly condemning abortion and anyone who has one, even sometimes in the cases of rape or incest, but could care less about those babies once they are born into poverty? You all preach that there are too many people including babies and children living off the government but yet you condemn a poor woman with no job, no health insurance and no means to support herself or her child for getting an abortion? Do you see a glaring inconsistency here? I see complete hypocrisy. Instead of condemning people, why don’t right wing Christians help people instead of condemning all the time. The thing Jesus talked about constantly was helping the down trodden and the poor. I don’t see anything remotely reflecting Christ coming out of the mouths of the far right. If these far right Christians were treated by Jesus the way they treat their fellow man, they would all be condemned to hell by him. How can we freely receive the mercy and forgiveness of our Savior, but refuse to extend that same mercy or compassion to anyone else?

  • Jim Bentz

    Thank you, Frank. Was happy Claire won and Obama’s race in MO was not close enough for me to regret not pushing harder for your trip there. -Jim

  • Wayne Crawford

    Good article, Frank. Last two posters highlight the reality. What would make any right-wing Christian even contemplate standing in the shoes of those they are so quick to condemn?

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Wayne, great to see you on the page old buddy! Trust you’re well.

  • confused

    Once again I’m being asked to compromise, you’re pretty quick to condemn, try standing in my shoes. I already know what it’s like to sin and ask for forgiveness, last I checked I’ve never condemned anyone.

    • http://lifevisioncoaching.co.uk Bill Gordon

      Dear Confused,

      If you enter the lists of the Culture Wars don’t expect respectful treatment or any attempt to understand where you may be coming from. I like Frank, ‘but’ he is a culture warrior who once poured contempt and rage on the Liberal Left (from his position on the Religious Right) and is now pouring contempt and rage upon the Religious Right (from his position on the Liberal Christian Left) but with the same attitude. So something has not changed.

      Frank once wrote a book called A Time for Anger in his youthful bad old Right Wing days and he is still raging, even thought he has changed sides and on the threshold of becoming a senior citizen.

      So I wonder. What would happen if Frank began to show the same love and charity and respectful attitude (agreeing to disagree over some really important issues) towards the Religious Right in the same Spirit of Christ that he wants the Religious Right to show to everyone else.

      Frank is till wielding the rhetoric of hatred, mockery, sarcasm and derision across the Culture War divide as he is getting back from those on the Other Side. Is it not time to stop this sort of thing?

      I am reminded, at this point, of the writings of Brian D. McLaren (in a passionate book like Everything Must Change) who certainly agrees with Frank on some central issues but is not so much in the grip of belligerent and angry spirit and abstains from ranting and raving. Genuine dialogue and discussion of key issues cannot take place if both parties are just hurling abuse and invective at each other. It does seem to me that Frank is ‘demonising’ “Bronze Age” Fundamentalists in just the same way that many Fundamentalists demonise Liberals.

      • Frank Schaeffer

        Bill, you should be less worried about style and more interested in substance. Then again you seem to have some sort of very personal grudge here. That of course is about you not me.

        If you disagree with my facts such as they are lets have it otherwise quit whining. You haven’t earned the right to bitch about my writing because you obviously haven’t read my books, say the ones like AWOL being taught at the various military colleges on the military family, so you don’t know what you’re talking about. Or if you have read my books you’re making up your own facts as you go along i.e., lying.

        Read A Father’s Wartime Diary, Keeping Faith, Letters Home (the basis of the successful play now touring the US) Patience With God or for that matter Sex Mom and God (that has to be one of the kindest books ever written about a mother with whom a son disagrees). Then tell me that my writing is about ranting.

        Re my blogs and op-eds, are you talking about the ones from the Washington Post Laura Bush read out-loud on Meet the Press a few years ago about what it’s like to have a child at war? Are you talking about my novels like Portofino, that’s been in print for almost 20 ears, is translated into 9 languages and was voted on of the 12 best first novels by the UK Guardian and that most readers (and every reviewer I read of the dozens) say is one of the most human and humane portraits of family life in a religious family they’ve read. Or are you just talking about my political blogs aimed at evangelicals? If so, don’t you understand the medium of blogging, political back and forth and the rest? And anyway why should the rules of theological debate apply to people who have entered the world of hardball politics? Can’t have it both ways.

        When it comes to political blogging where do you think you are, a tea party (no pun!). And really since we’re up against theocratic wannabes who at the Reconstructionist margins have in their midst people who — literally — advocate the killing of gays, heretics etc., I really don’t see how moderation helps when addressing them or the more mainstream people who have been influenced by them. In fact to not denounce such folks harshly is a sin.

        If I was nice to the homophobic idiots et al, would you agree with what I was saying? Or is it easier to attack style than substance and play the old familiar evangelical pietistic game? How is one to be “nice” about denouncing paranoid liars and bigots? To even name them as such is “mean.”

        Your objections sound mighty personal, less aimed at the writing you clearly are ignorant of and more at me. Chip on the shoulder there?

        • JLC

          You are so humble, how do you do it?

          • Justin Case :-)

            Just another one of those Christian virtues he has mastered apparently… This guy is a joke.

        • Corporal Anderson, USMC

          I’ll just leave this here…

          I will start by admitting that this article and a few of your replies to comments, are the only pieces of your writing I have read. They will also more than likely be the last. I would like to take a second to suggest that you are possibly the most backward person I have ever seen. The Republican party is not corrupting Christianity at all. It is quite the opposite. I have been a Republican since my first political science class in high school and a renounced Christian for a little longer. I have struggled many many times with wanting to leave the Republican party because of the hate and fear spread by the extremism of certain Christian groups, people, and ideas. I will very gratefully hold the door for you on your way out the door, but do not pretend for a second that you are doing anything other than a) condemning an entire group of people based on their political affiliation… not sure how that is “Christian” what-so-ever, and b) failing to recognize the real source of the conflict and damaged images over the last 5+ years.

          Pretending that Christian extremism is not causing more damage to the Republican party than the other way around is possibly the most ignorant thinking I have ever heard of. That’s like going to a hotel, throwing the tv out the window, then leaving because the room is “damaging your public image”… But from what I remember from my 12+ years of regular church attendance, it sounds a lot like the Christian way of approaching things.

          I really don’t have anything against Christians, I don’t have anything against Democrats, I don’t hate anyone, but willful ignorance is pretty close to making the list, and the irony of it all, is that it is being caused by the very people who told me to accept and love everyone.

          I hope you can figure out how to turn on the light in your head that has obviously been out of service for quite some time. You are so deeply entrenched in proving something (I’m assuming daddy issues given your language use at the beginning of the article) that you can’t see what is really going on. The fanatics are always the loudest spoken, and after the collapse of the Tea Party (should have been called the Christian Republican party) they came running back to the teet of the GOP, but forgot to check their crazy hate speech at the door. Christians are very good at what my wife calls “selective attention”, in that, they can’t see far enough past their fear of everything that they have been taught to hate, to see that they are the ones who have completely bastardized the bible, public opinion of religion, and the Republican party.

          So in conclusion, please, please, for the sake of the integrity of a political party that is eagerly trying to rebuild, take your ignorance elsewhere, we have a country to try and run.

          • whatwasitb4

            hooo ya Marine! and that’s from an old Army guy!

    • fiona64

      Confused wrote: “Last I checked, I never condemned anyone.”

      Your memory must be awfully short …

      “it’s about being forced to accept someone else’s sin legally and publically. It’s about the fact that two sins don’t make a right in the case of rape and abortion. Why should killing an innocent baby ever be justified? If we Christians start compromising on these very basic issues of life and family we really are doomed.”

    • Wanda

      Dear Confused, you aren’t asked to compromise. You don’t have to marry anyone but the person you choose; you can still attend any church you choose; you can still hold any belief you choose, and no one will ever force you to have an abortion. You can continue to write openly as you have here, but disagreement is not oppression or disrespect. How does cutting back on Medicaid help babies? Do they raise themselves? My sister cares for devastatingly disabled children. Most of them are loved. All of them are on government aid because their parents could not afford to take care of them on their own. However, one mother said that if she had know that every day of her daughter’s life (the little girl is 18 months old) the child would be in absolute agony trying to breathe, she might have chosen an abortion. She goes to church. Do you know how many church members have offered to sit with the little girl to give this woman a break? 0. Of course, she could ask. Her church’s position on abortion? Absolutely against it. Also against “Obamacare.” Also for the death penalty. Look at it this way. The consequences of my actions are between me and God. And you know what? Your side lost the election, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t lots of things you can do if your heart is full of the love of the Christ who was condemned for the very same things you are talking about–loving the sinners and turning away those who would stone them by pointing out their own sins. I disagree with your interpretation of the Bible and your understanding of it, but I think it’s wonderful that you have the freedom to advance your opinion. But in a democracy, you don’t always get your way.

  • confused

    Wow, just do what feels good and damn the consequences of your actions. Did it ever occur to you to be the voice for those who have none? When do babies become people with rights in your world? According to you if someone murders someone else that’s their business not mine. Wrong, it’s everyone’s business if we decide to kill people just out of convience or whatever reason we dream up. As far as LGBT people are concerned I don’t hate them at all or really care what they do. I just don’t believe that legally recognizing anyone’s sinful acts is what Jesus intended for us to do.

    • John

      Hey Confused, the real issue here is not accepting another’s sin, that is not the issue here. The issue here is are those people who may be sinning, worth anything? Sadly those on the right would resounding say “No” The truth though is that Jesus answered that question with a resounding YES when He died for them. If you cannot assign to them immeasurable worth, assign grace to them, and respect the fact that God has given them the power of choice, just as He has given it to you, then sadly, biblically speaking your theology is worthless, see I Cor 13. You are not the Holy Spirit and that is the fact that sadly most who are invested in american christianity fail to understand.

      • Sarah

        YES John!

        Loving someone is pretty hard to do whilst also distancing oneself and judging their sins as being insurmountable even by the limitless grace of Jesus.

    • fiona64

      Dear “Confused”: If you know of someone murdering babies (as you describe), please contact a law enforcement official. Infanticide is a crime! Abortion, on the other hand, is a legal medical procedure. Please learn the difference.

    • benonthenet

      Exactly, where in the Bible is an unborn human given the status of person? I seem to remember where hitting a woman and causing her to miscarry is treated as crime against the property rights of the husband with a penalty of a fine. Nowhere in the Bible can you find anything remotely supportive of anti-abortion doctrine without interpolating that into the text. Do you have even one verse?

      • http://www.twitter.com/joecaruso Joe Caruso

        Sixth Commandment – Thou Shalt Not Kill
        The Lord hates the shedding of innocent blood. Proverbs 6:17

        The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29

        • Michelle Ruppelt

          Joe, then I guess all of war is a sin as there is a whole lot of killing involved there. I wish that all those pro-lifers were as adamantly anti-war as they are anti-abortion.

          • Sarah

            It always strikes me as ironic that the most anti-abortion folks I know are also desperately afraid of any limitation of their right to own and bear guns… I’m always suspicious of those whose respect for the sanctity of life seems only to apply while that life is in the womb.

            I’m pro life, so I support policies that actually lower abortion rates, like education, contraception, and support for parents. It boggles my mind how some people are so willing to say they are pro life, but refuse to recognise that yelling about overturning Roe vs Wade, judging and belittling the women who have made such a painful decision, and trying to make life more difficult for struggling parents by opposing basic rights such as healthcare, food and education DOES NOT LOWER ABORTION RATES.

          • Marilyn

            I get what you are saying Michelle and Sarah. They want as many guns as they can get, usually are pro-war, and ANTI-social programs.

            Seems that these all cancel out the whole “I am pro-life” thing.

          • Erin

            Yes Sarah! YES!

          • Jeffrey Marsh

            Most American who describe themselves as “pro-life” are merely “anti-abortion,” as they are usually pro-war and pro-capital punishment. They often adamantly oppose giving anyone who’s down and out any kind of government assistance once they’re born.

        • fiona64

          Sorry, Joe Caruso — it’s “Thou shalt not murder.” (If you need to read the text in the original language, try unbound.biola.edu.) The Old Testament, which you cite when you reference the 10 Commandments, is chock-full of God ordering all kinds of killing, including ripping open women’s wombs (try Hosea 13:16 for a start). And then there’s Numbers 5: 19-22, in which a woman is forced to consume an abortifacient. That water mixed with dust from the temple floor, you know? Well, that dust contains rotting grain from sacrifices — and rotting grain contains ergotamine, which causes abortions.

          Really, it was a nice try … but you’re incorrect.

        • benonthenet

          Joe, you didn’t answer the question. Where in the Bible is the unborn given the status of personhood? It certainly doesn’t seem like the writers of the Old Testament had the unborn in mind when they recording commands not to murder. If they considered killing the unborn murder, wouldn’t there have been a penalty stronger than a property rights penalty of paying a fine to the woman’s husband for causing her to miscarry? What about the supposed God ordered killings which including dashing infants against the rocks and ripping fetuses out of women’s bellies?

          If you want to quote the 10 commandment, do you obey the 4th? Do you keep the Sabbath which is from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday? Perhaps you are a Sabbatarian Christian. Or do you embrace a theology that says that Jesus “nailed the law to the cross”? It’s interesting that so many who call themselves Christians cherry pick verses from the Old Testament when it suits their own viewpoints even though the verses don’t necessarily support the view they are promoting.

          Again, where in the Bible is the unborn given the status of personhood or the innocent that should not be killed. Where does God or Jesus say that anywhere from Genesis to Revelation?

  • veganwmn

    Lots of Christians are radically judgmental and full of hatred. I’ve seen and heard them sling insults, outright lies at Obama. You seem to forget that the Bible says God puts people in leadership who He wants there. It says to pray for your leaders, instead, they mock, lie about and hate him. I’m sick of it. I left the church because of their hypocrisy and don’t think I will ever return, not to that environment. A lot of fundies are crazy. I was told by some people from my church days that I was a “sorcerer” because I took medication! Yet, one of those accusing me of sorcery took medication and smokes pot because he got hiv/aids from prostitutes on a mission trip. Talk about your hypocrisy!

    • JLC

      God also gives people what they beg for. 1 Samuel Chapter 8…stand by the “best” is yet to come.

      God help us and God Bless America

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        No, what needs to be done is this – Bless God America! If that actually happened, true change would come!

      • Marcia S

        “1 Samuel Chapter 8…”

        That’s an interesting chapter, which people don’t always read very carefully.

        It starts out by naming two of Samuel’s sons, who were judges. They were among the Hebrew judges who took bribes and had generally become corrupt. Verse 7 states that God told Samuel he wasn’t pleased by the demand for a king; but Samuel was only human and the first six verses make it clear that he was far from an objective observer.

        The verses following, where Samuel warns his people that a king will involve them in wars, tax them, take their daughters as kitchen servants, etc. are often interpreted as Samuel reciting a God-given message. But what he was describing was simply common practice for potentates in that part of the world at that time. Samuel wasn’t telling his hearers anything they didn’t already know; he was just reminding them of the consequences of his choice. In that context, it’s difficult to glean anything out of that chapter relevant to Obama; although the references to war do bring GWB to mind.

        • Marcia S

          consequences of “their” choice, I meant to say.

  • Bear Peterson

    Thank you for a much needed reminder, I often find myself wondering if those spreading hate in the name of Christianity have even read the teachings of the one whose name they are invoking. I find myself doubting it, if they had their message would be much more akin to that of the Dalai Lama than any TV evangelist I have ever seen.

  • Sarah

    I think the question we all need to ask is:

    Did Jesus reach people by telling them how wrong they were, and berating them for their lack of knowledge and morals?

    Did Jesus say “The greatest commandment is this, thou shalt not have an abortion, and neither shall thou ever see a homosexual relationship and not revile it with all thy might?”

    Answers: Well, he was pretty keen on berating the Pharisees, who were convinced of their own righteousness… hmmm. And I’m also pretty certain he said “Love God, love your neighbour”.

    I struggle to see how it is loving to withhold rights from someone based on your own beliefs. I’m also pretty sure we get angry when they do that to women or Christians in Muslim countries. So I don’t see how it’s OK for us to do it at home just because the values we want to impose on others are Christian values.

    Maybe if we took “Love God, love your neighbour” seriously, and actually tackled things like abortion from the point of view of “what is most loving, and what actually saves the most lives”, we might actually see some change in the world.

    Sitting in our cozy churches pointing fingers and feeling smug, on the other hand… not very revolutionary.

    *sigh*

    In other news: is there any way to subscribe to blogs on patheos??

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      In Matthew 9:11-13, Jesus’ disciples were asked, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” He didn’t tell the tax collectors and sinners that they were fine the way they were. He didn’t join them in their sin in an attempt to relate. He wasn’t down with how they were living. He boldly declared that they needed His healing and His salvation. Does that sound like a meek and mild Saviour? Yes, He’s loving, gentle and forgiving, but He’s also a warrior who has zero tolerance for sin!

      God is love as the Bible declares, but He is also holy. His holiness is the side many don’t like. He is the divine Judge. He points at sin and calls it evil. And at the end of time, He will finally shut the door, and no one else will be allowed to enter the kingdom. Those who rejected His holiness in life will not have their rebellion winked at and brushed aside. They will go into hell for eternity. You can’t understand God without seeing both these attributes – love and holiness – constantly working together. It was holiness that expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden, but love that even in that moment promised a redeemer. It was holiness that caused God to turn away from His own Son while Jesus hung on the cross bearing the sins of the world; but it was love that had sent Him there, love that held Him there, and love that raised Him from the grave.

  • confused

    I’m confused with this article, not life. And I accept the fact that other people sin as well as myself, but I’m also not showing pride in my sin by parading it in the streets and demanding tolerance for it.

    • Sarah

      Why should other people, who may not believe any of what is in the bible, be held to your moral standards? The US is not supposed to be a theocracy, hence the separation of church and state. So why is it OK to demand that everyone follow biblical principles? No one is asking you to enter into a homosexual marriage. If I am lucky enough to get married, I won’t feel my marriage is “threatened” because homosexuals have been extended the same legal rights and privileges within the context of a committed relationship.

      Why is it more “ok” to discriminate against people because of their sexuality than because of their colour or their gender?

      There is a big difference between holding to principles, and forcing those principles on others regardless of their own beliefs.

    • John

      No you do not but you are here standing in judgement wanting us to accept that. The sad truth is that real Christianity is not about finding faults in everyone else so you can point them out to feel self righteous and good about yourself. If that is where you find your self worth, you are practicing a form of idolotry. If Jesus can be here and live a life that the sinners were not repelled from Him but rather drawn to Him, it sounds that for many of us, that we have it all wrong.

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        You are kidding me, right? Jesus was hated, reviled, rejected, beaten, publicly humiliated, and killed. His own people despised Him, and demanded his death!

        Peace is not possible in this world, according to Jesus. His own words proclaim in Matthew 10:34-36, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’” I John 5:20 declares, “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

        “Realize that the aim of the Prince of Peace is not peace with unbelief and disobedience. Those are the enemies that must be destroyed, lest they destroy. When the amnesty of Jesus is despised, division is inevitable. What we meet in the biting language of Christ is a form of love that corresponds with the real world of corruption, the dullness of our hearts and the magnitude of what is at stake in our choices. If there were no great evils, no deaf hearts and no eternal consequences, perhaps the only fitting forms of love would be a… soft touch and tender words. But such a world does not kill the Son of God and hate his disciples.” ~John Piper

    • fiona64

      You’re not “flaunting your sin”? Really? Then why are you making such a spectacle of your piety in the public sphere, in direct opposition to Jesus’ teachings? (Check out the Gospel of Matthew, specifically verse 6:6.) As you are obviously referring to gay pride parades, here’s a radical idea: if they offend you, don’t attend. If it weren’t for Pharisaical people like yourself, GLBT people would not feel the need to hide in the closet. If your argument is that all GLBT people are like parade float dancers on Pride Day, do you also believe that all straight people are like the Rose Court on New Year’s Day? Come on. At least be honest with *yourself,* even if you can’t say it out loud.

    • Mary Withers

      Basically, dear Confused, you are MEAN. And you are judgmental. And you DO “confuse” that with “living a Christian life.”

      Confused, I see you being VERY proud of your sin of Judgment, your sin of making yourself the arbiter of other peoples’ behavior and relationship with God.

      You would make an excellent Pharisee.

      May you be Unconfused soon.

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        We are not told not to judge, simply to be careful when doing so. Christians are instructed to judge their brothers in the Lord, while God will judge the world. It would be unwise, dangerous and stupid not to judge; in fact, it is impossible not to judge. We necessarily make judgments each day of our lives. There is no confusion in that. It’s crystal clear.

    • Val

      Hey confused, maybe people are tired of people like you demanding tolerance for your self-righteous attitudes and trying to force your religious rules and ideals on everyone else. You should just worry about yourself and how you will answer to God and let others worry about themselves.

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        Concerning self-righteousness, ponder this if you will. Holiness is righteousness, which is “right standing with God.” When someone is accused of being “self-righteous” that is a bad thing. It means one is being righteous according to one’s self. The book of Judges is a collection of horror stories ending with “each man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Its message is clear that man’s thoughts and ways are awful. For trying to obey Scripture, folks are labeled self-righteous. How, I ask you, is obeying Scripture self-righteous??? I am not obeying my own sense of right. I am obeying God’s standard which is clearly laid out for us all in His Holy Word. Doesn’t that make me righteous, instead of self-righteous??? The Bible commands us to “be ye holy as He is holy.” Striving to be holy is not that hard to do when we’ve surrendered our allegiance to Him. God has raised the bar so high for us, for He knows of what we are capable when allowing His way to guide our lives. I choose to be holy. So, when I’m accused of being “holier than thou” it means the one accusing me has chosen not to be holy. Why should I be blamed for others choosing not to live holy lives unto Jesus??? Since I am no one special, if I am striving to live holy, it means anyone can live that way!

    • Sarah

      I came back especially to apologies to you, confused. Not for what I said – I stand by it, and I do not think that self-righteous and judgemental attitudes are good or Christian, and I also don’t think it’s our place to enforce our views on others. However, I spoke in anger, and for that I do apologise.

  • donnadara

    I’m waiting anxiously for the day when right-wing Christians will put their energy into universal availability of birth control, comprehensive sex education, a living wage and universal affordable child care to really cut down the abortion rate. Otherwise, I fear they are just dedicated to shaming and controlling women, not saving fetuses. And I am baffled at how much effort is spent on harassing gay people given that only six passages in the Bible, arguably discuss homosexuality. I’m wondering why these churches don’t preach about love, caring for the least of these, adultery, fornication, gossip, covetousness, you know, issues that might affect the people in the pews. Isn’t that why we go to church, to become more Christlike? To remove the beam in our own eye, before we worry about the mote in our brother’s eye?

    • Sarah

      I don’t get it either. I read a book about “evangelical Christians”, and in the wider, non-right-wing-American sense, I would consider myself one… and the author said that the biggest concerns of evangelical Christians were homosexual marriage and abortion. It struck me then, and strikes me now, as an incredibly lopsided view of what is most important.

      (The same book said we believe in “a strong military, a free-market economy”… I suggested, when I reviewed it, that it should be subtitled “Understanding American, Republican Evangelicals, Well, Some Of Them Anyway”)

    • Sarah

      PS this is the book… mine is the lone 1 star review!

      It made me want to throw my Kindle at the wall, so I stopped reading.

    • Sarah
  • Tami M

    For such a long time, I’ve thought I’d woken up in an episode of The Twilight Zone. I so appreciate your take on the Religious Right, Frank. Jesus also didn’t have a soft, polite word for the Religious Right of His day, so I don’t worry so much about it now. Thank you for your willingness to say “Get behind me, Satan” when that needs sayin’!

    For the record, since no one else wants to say it, I believe a baby becomes a person will all attendant legal rights when he or she is born. Flame on.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Tami, thanks for the good word, and as I said to Bill above who doesn’t like my “style” his real problem is with what I’m saying but since to argue against that takes work, it’s easier to fall back on the old evangelical BS of being “grieved” by my tone. That’s real “Church Lady” stuff and is just an excuse to take a shot at someone. So yes, I’ll stick to my guns.

    • Jack

      Tami – “A baby becomes a person etc”
      I’m curious about your broader views on human life. For example, at 21 weeks, 5 days of gestation, are we talking about a viable “baby” or an abortable “fetus” (search online for world’s youngest premature baby)? A week before a scheduled c-section (before the “baby” is born) is it OK for the parents to change their minds and abort the non-”person with all attendant legal rights”? If you could answer these questions you would help me understand your position.

      Frank – I’m not offended by your tone. However, your style does strike me as similar to other political pundits, even Ann Coulter (albeit from a different angle). Now that the election is over, maybe everyone will cool down and get on with the lovin’.

      • fiona64

        Absent medical necessity, Jack, there is no state in this country that allows for abortion s/p 20 weeks. (BTW, being born at 21 weeks, 5 days’ gestation is no guarantee of survival … in fact, in documented medical history there are exactly three).

        If it isn’t your pregnancy (and I’m guessing, since your name is Jack, that it never will be), it’s not up to you; other people’s medical decisions are not your business. You don’t know the rationale for them; you just want to sit in judgment about what *you* think is right. Do you get this het up about some guy deciding to get a vasectomy? No? Why not?

      • Tami M

        Jack – I am coming to be more firm in my belief (I was raised in a very fundamental, evangelical household that votes straight ticket Repub – I am the blackest of sheep at this moment) that an unborn child is a potential life.

        I have children myself who were born premature, one 8 weeks early and one 4 weeks early. I am so very grateful to God that we just celebrated the 24th birthday of the former and will shortly celebrate 19 for the latter. I feel that the argument about one fetus being aborted and his neighbor being born kind of moot, as fiona64 pointed out. We don’t abort babies for convenience at that stage.

        But we’re really NOT talking about personhood for post-20-week fetus’, are we? We’re talking about personhood for an embryo, a single cell who should (so the proponents of personhood say) have all the attendant legal rights of a 65 year old white man. Which, in my mind, demonstrates complete lack of respect of rights for the woman carrying said cell.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen
  • Tim

    I’m 49 and until 11 years ago, I was a fanatical republican. When 9-11 happened I was scared for everything and everybody. Not being raised in church I had no knowledge of the bible, christianity or Jesus but somehow found myself seeking to talk to a minister trying to figure things out or find an answer or some secret meaning to it all. I met a wonderful minister, tutor, sounding board, hiking/camping companion and all around great person. We spent every Thursday afternoon for 5 months reading, studying and questioning the bible, front to back, skipping nothing. I have to ask if right wing, conservative, christian, republicans have ever even read the bible. After reading the bible I became a christian and a democrat. Ive never felt better in my life. I have hope, faith, love and compassion in my life now, its not all about me and “things”. Thank God!!!! Get up each day, pray, work hard, be humble and honest but most importantly keep your eyes on the Son!!!

    • Sarah

      It is both a beautiful and a strangely ironic thing to me that someone who had never before been introduced to Jesus or told to interpret the bible a particular way came to it fresh and as well as becoming a believer, became a Democrat.

      I think that would be most people’s reaction if they are not spent their lives being trained to be self righteous and judgemental. There are parts of the Democrat mandate that do not jive with Jesus’ teachings, but the Republican party, besides their pro life ranting, tend to espouse things that are not at all reminiscent of Jesus’ life and teaching.

  • peter

    Those who are wrong in their interpretation of Christ’s teachings will ultimately have to answer for that. It is certainly not our place to judge people one way or another. As an example, I am both pro-life and pro-choice. If my daughter, God forbid, should ever reach a point where she is confronted with that sort of decision, I would hope that she will have a firm grasp of right and wrong and know what she has to do. By the same token, it should, ultimately, be her decision to make and live with, not some government’s legislative fiat. I have a difficult time living MY life as Christ would have me do, let alone being able to worry about how others live their lives. Politicallly, I will continue to follow what Christ has always espoused…care and concern for the least of us.

    • Sarah

      Great comment, Peter!

      Especially:

      “I have a difficult time living MY life as Christ would have me do, let alone being able to worry about how others live their lives.”

      Amen to that! It frequently makes me wonder how some of the very self righteous Christians out there have all their ducks in a row so that they feel empowered to pass judgement on others. It must be nice to be perfect ;)

      “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

      John 3:17

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      and the least are precious, vulnerable, defenseless unborn babies! They have no voice, and we are called to speak on their behalf!

  • http://facebook Tee

    Frank You say this about Christians then lie about them. Complaining about presidents happen every day. You Obama supporters just cry more about it. And they are not lying they have issues with certain statements and policies. Nice of you to resort to thier level the level you are protesting. Get off you anit Christian high horse support your president and shut up with your negativity. reading this I think you are worse than them and that takes some effort!

    • John

      Tee where has the man lied. Some of the most vile vitriolic rhetoric came from the so called church people. You have Franklin Graham who in an effort to decive (I am going to call it what it is) many by pulling Mormanism off the listing of cults on his father’s page. Now you are saying that this is a lie, I suggest you go investigate for yourself my friend. You have people consigning people to hell simply because of how they voted, how shallow, how ridiculous, how not like the one they claim to serve.

  • confused

    I would never, ever say anyone was worthless. On another note, there are people who believe in their right to commit some of the most vile and disgusting things that I’d rather not mention here. Should we give in to their demands for equal rights too? Where is the line drawn and how far do we keep pushing that line back? There must be some kind of moral standard otherwise we’d all be in chaos.

    So partial birth abortion is cool with you Tami? A fully developed human is still not worthy of life huh?

    • John

      Confused you are asking the wrong questions

      • John

        Its no wonder you are confused

    • John

      You may not say directly that they are worthless, but some of the things that you say allude to the stance that they are worthless

    • fiona64

      Confused, there is no such procedure as “partial birth abortion” (I know, you anti-choicers love the rhetoric, because it makes it sound like a 40-weeks’ gestation infant is being killed in the middle of labor). It’s called “intact dilation and extraction,” and it is only done in cases of dire necessity. The reasons it happens are defects that cannot be detected early in pregnancy … and, despite protestations to the contrary, there are good reasons for the procedure as it tends to be chosen to preserve the woman’s future fertility. And please, spare me the “the ‘baby’ feels it.” Anesthesia is systemic. If a woman is anesthetized, so is the fetus. Perhaps if you had the vaguest understanding of biology and obstetrical medicine, you would not be so “confused.”

  • Lewis W. Campbell

    I’m not sure it’s any more appropriate to praise a man who boasted on national television that he “killed Bin Laden” than to condemn his opponents for their own self centered behavior. Both canidates endorsed the use of drone aircraft and neither seemed to see anything sinsister with Homeland Security, so all we can do is chalk it up as a victory for the lesser of two evils…..

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Yes, what DO you folks think about Obama snuffing out the life of bin Laden? Do you think Hitler or Stalin, or Mao, or Che or Idi Amin should have been killed to stop their madness?

  • John

    Why is it that people expect the president to be religious? Sorry folks but most of you need to acquaint yourselves with Romans Chapter 13, it describes the mission of the state

    • fiona64

      They also need to acquaint themselves with Article 6 of the US Constitution.

  • confused

    Still not confused about life. I’ll say it again, no one is worthless and I would never “allude” to that either. In fact every life is precious including unborn life. I just don’t advocate giving everyone the “right” to do whatever they feel like doing. If you do, that’s your right to feel that way.

    • benonthenet

      ” I just don’t advocate giving everyone the “right” to do whatever they feel like doing.”

      Please cite your Biblical basis for this. A bonus if it’s a quote from the lips of Jesus. I think you’ll find a hard time fitting that into New Testament theology. Jesus specifically said that he did not come to institute his kingdom on earth. Nowhere did he give a hint of a plan to set up a theocracy. So why are some people who call themselves Christians trying to do just that that for Jesus? Furthermore, these same people talk about how abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. are prophetic signs of the end times that Jesus is soon to return. Why then get in the way of divine prophecy and thwart what they believe God has predicted by trying to push back these so-called evils? Where is your Biblical support for your position?

      • Sarah

        It has to be said, a lot of the reason why people had such a problem with Jesus was because they were expecting some kind of powerful theocracy that would overthrow the Roman government. It’s ironic that some of today’s Christians are trying to do what Jesus specifically refused to do!

        • Jeffrey Marsh

          Not only that, Sarah, but when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, the devil promised the Lord all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus worshiped him. Jesus turned down that deal, but conservative Christians in the U. S. have been taking that same deal ever since the late 1970′s.

          • Sarah

            True, very true.

    • Sarah

      You may not have intended to imply that some people are “less”, confused, but nevertheless, several of your posts do imply exactly that. Not all intolerance is intentional or conscious.

  • Trish

    Wow, Frank — thank you! Thank you for saying what I believe in my Jesus-loving heart of hearts: He wants us to love Him and love each other. That should be, must be the foundation of our presence in this world. I have been heart sick at all the hatred, anger and vitriol aimed at pretty much anyone in America who is not an ultra right-wing political and religious conservative. I have tried so so very hard to not return that hate with hate, contempt, or name calling (though I have received all of the above). I spent too much time last night trying to get some of these misguided individuals to understand that it IS possible to love Jesus, to follow Him, and to have Progressive views. I sadly failed. I suggested that because we share the most important thing in this life, faith in Jesus, that we could see that as a coming together place and try to move forward together to make this a better country. Apparently the fact that President Obama “hates Israel, wants to abort new born babies, and believes that people should be allowed to marry their pets” means this is just not possible. OK, I admit that last one was mine :o) That said, how incredibly sad is the picture of Christianity being painted by far too many of His “followers”. I truly believe that Jesus is heart sick over this too.
    THANK YOU for your honesty, humility, and this blog!

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Trish, I’m so grateful for your reading this, and your kindness. Very Best, Frank

  • Holly

    Thank you for this article. I am a liberal Christian (well, I’m Catholic and there are pastors that have been giving sermons about how Catholics are not real Christians for the past few years). I’ve been fed up with being told that I am not a true Catholic or true Christian because I voted for Obama or I support gay marriage and birth control (especially since people who tell me I’m not a true Catholic support politicians who pollute for profit and companies that use child labor in other countries). I would like to see an end to abortion, not because it becomes illegal but because women are no longer put in situations where they are trapped. Why don’t the people who vote republican because they want abortion made illegal demand that the politicians fight as hard for children as they do for corporations. Why don’t they ask them why corporations were granted personhood before unborn babies, instead of inviting those politicians to speak at Right to Life dinners? Why do the anti-abortion politicians try to stop abortion without demeaning women?

    Religious freedom? We have it in this country. I went to a public University and participated in the Catholic Campus Ministry and the Campus Crusade for Christ. No one tried to shut us down. The Extreme right (not the moderate conservatives) have been confusing being allowed to pray with trying to Mandate prayer. If people wan mandated prayer in their children’s schools, they need to fork out their money for the religious school tuition, What’s that? They can’t afford it? They should take that up with those schools and Churches. Churches should spend less money on anti gay, anti birth control campaigns and more soup kitchens and schools. How many homeless people could have been fed or how many children from struggling families could have gottedn tuition help with the money that was spent on Prop 8 four years ago or any other anti gay marriage campaign?

    Don’t get me started on priests and bishops threatening people with eternal damnation if they vote for Obama (fortunately not all priests an bishops think that way. I know several priests who voted for Obama. Heck local nuns were phone banking for him). Religious institutions need to spend less time trying to gain and keep political power and more time taking care of people. Looks how many people were burned throughout history for things like believing that people should be able to read the bible on their own. How many people did Henry VIII or his daughter Mary burn (or his in laws). I believe that was nothing more than the church trying to keeps its political power. In trying to keep political power, Churches lose site of the teachings of Christ. Even in his time, religious leaders thought he was supposed to take down the Roman empire and start a war. He just wanted to teach people about doing God’s will: showing compassion toward others.

    Politics do not belong in Churches. My own Grand father wanted his church to just start paying taxes so they could put a sign in their yard against casinos whenever there was an issue on the ballot to bring a casino in Ohio. For the record, I agreed with him and voted against the Casino myself, but what if there were people at the church who were against the Casino? would they be ostracized? Would huge areguments erupt causing bitterness and division? Probably. If people want to take political action, they should do so away from Church. A conservative Christian woman whom I care very deeply about, said she was against the Casino because she didn’t like the elements it attracted. A liberal Christian woman I know was against the Casino because she felt it took advantage of poor people….Okay, I’ve rambled enough.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Holly thank you for reading my article and for gracing this page with your wisdom. Best, Frank

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      To say that religion is what happens inside a house of worship is like saying atheism is what happens inside your head. Outside your head, atheism can be completely proscripted. That is, you can be completely prohibited from acting as though atheism is true. Religion, like atheism, is fundamentally a world-view. That world-view necessarily compels one to act in certain ways (i.e., follow one’s conscience) outside the house of worship as well as inside of it. That’s why the 1st Amendment says “free exercise of religion”, not “freedom of worship.”

  • Katie

    Thank you for the thoughtful article and comments. I’ve been struggling with the crisis in Christianity for so many years now, and am saddened that my faith has been co-opted by individuals and organizations that I find unrecognizable relative to my understanding of the New Testament and Christ’s life. I’m reminded of the song I learned at church camp “..and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes we’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Umm….yeah….not so much. As my husband often notes, the best “Christian” behavior and examples he sees on a daily basis are Buddhists or atheists. If the evangelicals can’t exit politics gracefully (and they should), I fear the message of Christ’s life will be lost in a world that could greatly needs it.

  • confused

    Fiona, how is it a sin to express my beliefs in the public sphere? Christians who actually believe all life is precious should just shut up I take it. I also believe that life begins at conception so abortion constitutes murder to me. You obviously don’t feel that way. This isn’t a spectacle this is a discussion. Wow, you liberals sure are touchy!

    • cmt6408

      confused-unless you are crawling over glass to get birth control and sex education out to women, you need to shut your hypocritic mouth. Because if you REALLy cared about “the unborn” you’d be killing yourself to ensure that unplanned pregnancy doesn’t happen by getting birth control out to women. You wouldn’t care if it was their first time or if they had sex 100 times a day. You would be blind to that. You would only care about preventing unplanned pregnancy that (read my lips now, sweetheart) LEADS TO ABORTION. But you don’t. You like to sit up there in your self-righteous nonsensical world and judge women. That’s your real agenda. You are scared of progression so you have a pathological need to force the public sphere to behave the way YOU want. So get off your judgmental a$$ and get out there and prevent unplanned pregnancy, or STFU.

    • fiona64

      Where did I, or anyone else, say it was a “sin to express your beliefs in the public sphere”? Exactly nowhere. You seem to confuse your right to express those beliefs with a guarantee against opposing opinion — and that just isn’t how reality works.

      The spectacle in question is your overt piety. You claim to be a believer in Biblical teachings — but only the ones you like. That’s kind of squirrely to me. And, frankly, the only one I see who’s being touchy is you; you’re going to strain a muscle stretching the point the way you are.

      BTW, do you get mad every time a woman gets her period? Because many products of conception are lost due to lack of implantation, without the woman ever knowing she was pregnant. If you don’t know the difference between conception and implantation, go back to Biology 101 — because there is exactly no way to tell when conception occurs. It’s a best guess based on last menstrual period.

      What you really care about, so far as I can tell, has nothing to do with the fetus and everything to do with condemning women whom you don’t even know for acts that they may or may not have committed. Have you considered getting psychiatric help? I mean this in all sincerity.

  • Chris

    This is just my personal observation. It’s the tone of this article, and much of progressive Christianity in general, that I find extremely unappealing. There is very little love and grace in what you say, and especially in how you say it. Peace.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Chris, this is not about love and peace, its about politics. The religious right isn’t about church but elections. That hardball. Quit whining. I’m not going after Sunday school teachers but tough political operatives who’d eat their mother’s for breakfast if it would by votes or make a buck.

    • fiona64

      “It’s the tone of this article, and much conservative Christianity in general, that I find extremely unappealing. There is very little love and grace in what you say, and especially in how you say it. Peace.”

      I fixed that for you.

      Conservative Christianity is what drove me away from church for 20 years, and drives people away from the faith in droves today. It was progressive Christianity, with its emphasis on actually doing what Jesus called us to do, that brought me back.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      What’s missing is truth and holiness, that’s what. So called progressive Christianity attempts to bring the love of Jesus to the dark world without at the same time illuminating His love with His truth! There is no such Saviour, no such Gospel, for half a Saviour is no Saviour at all! Frank, there is no such thing as a Christian atheist! That is absurd!

  • Philip Powell

    Dear Frank,

    I am not sure if it really “you” responding or somebody doing the responding for you.

    Either way, I just want to take this opportunity and say a BIG thank you for what you write and publish. I am Christian, a citizen of India living in the UK, and recovering from a decade of working for a fundamentalist American Christian organization.

    Many years ago I read your forward and the book “The Gandhi Nobody Knows” and I was deeply offended by the way a great man like Gandhi was characterized and castigated. At that time I was still myself a fundamentalist Christian. I wanted to be another Vishal Mangalwadi, a pupil of your father.

    But low and behold in the end I did get hurt and was left devastated by a kind of “American Christianity hijacked by the most putrid collection of reactionary delusional bigots”. It really was a religion of hate and fear that I experienced.

    Just want you know Sir, that over the past three years since I left this organization, I have found what you have written and also your youtube video to be a real blessings.

    Thank you for your courage. Thank you for speaking the truth. Thank you for being a different kind of an American Christian.

    - Philip

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Philip, it’s just me here. I have no secretary, no staff, no one here but me and Genie and my grandchildren. So anything I write — for good or ill — is my fault! I learn from people’s comments and as with yours am so encouraged by them. Thanks for your great kindness. Very Best, Frank

      • Philip Powell

        WOW!!! That’s wonderful. I do hope someday I can hear meet you and shake your hand and say thank you in person. Philip

  • seniorcit

    To those who believe that the powers that be are ordained of God and that everything that happens, happens because God is in control and willed it: God has spoken. Obama has been reelected. Deal with it!

    • Sarah

      The disconnect between “I believe God has a plan and things happen because he wills it” and “Obama should never have been President and this is all against God’s will” startles me every time, no matter how often I see it!

  • Adrien

    Let me break it down for those who still don’t get it: you can be a Christian and not be affiliated with a political or its ideologies. Further, these Christians can understand those that worship God in the same way they do, have compassion for the woman who is not ready to bring a child into the world instead of calling her a murderer or denying her access to birth control. You can be the person that separates your own values from the values of others, and still have respect for that person an individual and child of God. My faith in God and political beliefs are mine – you as a Christian can respect and honor that at the end of the day. You can not judge me based on the color of my skin, my gender, my past or my choices. This is the Christian that is being talked about in the article above.

    • Sarah

      That’s very well put, Adrien. I am passionately committed to what I believe, and I respect others who are also – but that does NOT give me the right to treat others as lesser, or with less respect, or enforce my beliefs on them.

      A friend of mine put this beautifully, and I can’t better it:

      “I love God, love people, and really feel a burden for others. I believe bigotry against others regardless of their race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation is discrimination to its full extent and that the Bible should never be used to justify inequality.”

      (MarySue Strong)

    • http://www.twitter.com/joecaruso Joe Caruso

      Adrien- You mention compassion for women. The definition of compassion is this: the sypathetic pity and concerns for the suffering and misfortunes of others. Who is truly suffering in this equation? The woman who finds it inconvenient to have the baby? Or is it the innocent child who is murdered? Having compassion for women while advocating for the murder of an innocent human being is beyond hypocritical.

      To sum it up: You and the people who have bought into the lie of ‘personal choice’ are saying the ‘Right to Life’ is NOT more important than personal comfort. I hear you and other advocates of abortion speak a lot about ‘personal’ choice. Where is God in all of this? Who’s standards are you using to make this ‘choice’?

      • cmt6408

        Joe, hunny, YOU are the hypocrite. You don’t give a rat’s behind about “the unborn”. You just hide your need to control women behind fetuses. If you really were “pro life” you would be killing yourself getting birth control out to women. And how dare you say that a living, breathing woman should have LESS rights than a fetus. And as a rape survivor – how DARE you say that I should carry the spawn of that monster that was forced into my body. HOW DARE YOU???? iT’S NONE OF YOUR DAMNED BUSINESS WHY A WOMAN HAS AN ABORTION. But you just HATE that birth control has given women equal sexual freedom with men. You really think you represent Christ? You don’t. You represent his opposite. Tell me – who would Jesus force into state mandated reproductive slavery? Women are NOT brood mares?

      • fiona64

        What is this constant argument of “inconvenience”? Is it merely inconvenient that a pregnant woman discovers that she has cancer and cannot take chemotherapy and be pregnant at the same time? Is it merely “inconvenient” if she is being beaten by an abuser and cannot escape that person if she is childed because he will never surrender parental authority so that any resulting infant could be surrendered for adoption — thus tying her to her abuser for a minimum of 18 years? (BTW, I wonder if it is merely “inconvenient” to you that the most common cause of death amongst pregnant women is murder by their spouse or partner …). Is it merely “inconvenient” if a medication a woman must be on to save her life would cause such severe birth defects that they would result in a fetus that could not survive outside the womb?

        Here’s what I want to know: why do you advocate enslaving a woman to the contents of her uterus? Why are you okay with that, Joe? Why should the non-sentient, non-sapient fetus’s theoretical rights trump the rights of the actual born woman? Or is she just a subhuman *thing,* no better than a vessel to contain some man’s offspring? That’s downright medieval of you, Joe. Literally.

      • benonthenet

        Joe, you have yet to show evidence from the Bible that God, Jesus, how about even a prophet or Biblical church leader thought of abortion as murder and to be prohibited. Do you believe in the death penalty? Is there any support for it in the teaching of Jesus or the apostles? Since it seems like you believe this is supposed to be a “Christian nation”, please tell us if you support the government taking care of the poor. Jesus clearly commanded us to do such and to give away our riches to do so. The early church was socialist. Remember how they pooled all there resources to take care of the less fortunate. You won’t find capitalism supported by the Bible in the slightest, but I’m betting you believe in capitalism and not socialism.

        Are you sure you are following the teachings of the Jesus the Bible describes? Are have you been deceived false doctrines masquerading as Christian? These are serious questions worth consideration.

        Still waiting for your Biblical justifications…

        • http://www.twitter.com/joecaruso Joe Caruso

          Abortion is an act of murder and is the ultimate in selfish behavior.
          God has made it abundantly clear you shall not murder.
          There is nothing more innocent than a baby in the womb.
          Are the unborn human? Of course they are.

          Many argue there would be more unwanted children in the world if it wasn’t abortion. But aren’t the homeless unwanted? Should we start rude ring them? There are elderly people who are unwanted. Should we start murdering them?

          It is a babe in the womb, not a fetus. Luke 1:41
          And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: (Luke 1:41 KJV)

          Proverbs 6:16-17 says that God HATES those who shed innocent blood!
          In extreme cases where the mother’s life is threatened, the higher good must be taken.

          You’re argument is Jesus didn’t actually say abortion is wrong, so therefore, abortion is morally allowed.
          Wasn’t slavery morally wrong? Is pedophillia morally wrong? Did Jesus have to actually mention them in order for us to know they are wrong?

          • fiona64

            Yep, just as I thought. You didn’t answer my question directly, but your comment here did splendidly to prove that you think a woman should be enslaved to a fetus. And yes, it is a fetus. We have different developmental stage names for a reason.

            Or do you think that a woman standing in the garage is a Buick?

          • benonthenet

            Joe,

            You don’t seem to understand the difference between what something says and how you interpret it. You have provided nothing that actually says abortion is wrong in the Bible. You simply point to something about murder and say abortion is murder. Where does it say that in the Bible? If abortion is murder, why did God mandate abortions in war and cases of a pregnant wife being suspected of adultery? You can’t have it both ways! The Bible clearly justifies killing the unborn in cases our modern morality would not.

            “You’re argument is Jesus didn’t actually say abortion is wrong, so therefore, abortion is morally allowed.”

            Ah, so you recognize that Jesus didn’t say abortion is wrong. Ok, not let’s go to God or the apostles. Where did they say killing the unborn is wrong. I’ll bet you any amount of money that you won’t find one verse.

            “Wasn’t slavery morally wrong? Is pedophillia morally wrong? Did Jesus have to actually mention them in order for us to know they are wrong?”

            This not my problem. I am no longer a Christian. That is a problem for Christians especially of the Biblical literalist sort. Your Bible condone slavery and many things that today we know are immoral. So, the red herring you raised with your questions is a problem for YOU.

            The only way you can think the Bible condemns abortion is to put your own interpretation on it. It doesn’t say it ANYWHERE. It commands abortions in some circumstances and puts the unborn in the category of the husband’s property.

            “It is a babe in the womb, not a fetus. Luke 1:41″

            The Bible also describes the earth as a flat disc sitting on top of pillars under a dome and that bats are birds. Because the ancient writers of the Bible say something makes it so? Of course, not!

            One thing is certain, the Jesus of the Bible was against civil laws to enforce God’s laws (theocracy) and specific told his disciples to keep the realm of civics and faith separate. You, sir, are in direct opposition to the teaching of Jesus. Jesus also spoke against public prayer, but I’m betting that you are for it. Are you? Do you believe prayer should be in public schools and that it’s okay to have prayer in city halls and other government places? If so, you cannot square that with Jesus’ COMMAND to refrain from public prayer and to pray in private.

            You have two problems: 1) you have accepted a false teaching about Jesus, 2) you want to impose it on society. You can accept any teaching about Jesus you like. That is what religious freedom is for. We will NOT let you impose it on society. If you want to live in a society based on religious law, go live in Iran or somewhere where that is the case. The thinking your espousing has more in common with the Taliban than with the teachings of Jesus.

        • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

          Jesus died because, due to His religion, he did not adhere to the mandates set forth by the Roman government. Is that separation of church and state, benonthenet?

      • Marcia S

        Referring to a woman who has an abortion as doing so out of “convenience” is hardly loving. It certainly doesn’t describe the majority of women in that situation accurately.

  • Miss Patty

    Donald Buck raised a very important point. American Christianity is not Christianity.

  • Dee

    Having just read this chain of responses, I feel I must speak up. Impossible as it seems to me, it appears that none (?) of those writing are aware that there are Churches/denominations that are deeply devoted to Christ and his teachings and are progressive in the application of those teachings. I belong to one of them, the United Church of Christ. We are not perfect, but we work very hard at discerning God’s Word for our lives today and for our society and world, and then attempt to live it out in our ministries and personal witness.
    For us (and I cannot speak for all because we are a Church that encourages each person to work hard with scripture to come to our own relationship with Christ and his teaching in the context of the Church community), faith, science and medicine are not at odds, but are all manifestations of God’s creative genius at work. We entrust moral and ethical decisions to each believer, informed by their study of scripture, their prayer and their participation in the faith community. We believe that a woman is a competent moral decision-maker, and that she is responsible for decisions about her medical care along with her doctor. We believe the mandate to care for the poor belongs not only to us individually and as the Church but also to our shared life in government. We believe that among contemporary sins must be named that of racism and a tolerance of the twin evils of poverty and war. Further, the great majority of us have come to learn that our LGBT brothers and sisters are as equally faithful and equally gifts to the church as any of the rest of us,and sometimes more. Our national Synod in 2005 voted to support same gender marriage by a huge majority. We believe that God is still speaking in this world of ours and is not through with us or with ongoing revelation.
    I am grateful for your witness, Frank. This is my first time on your blog and I simply felt the need to share a differing perspective from some who have written…and to let others know that there are alternatives out here that are not authoritarian or fundamentalist, but joyous, open, justice-committed, Christ-devoted communities of Christian faith!

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Dee, thanks for reading my post and the responses. I am SO GLAD you make the point re churches that are open, loving and Christlike. Of course this is very true and I spend lots of time directing those who write to me to such places. Best, Frank

  • Brian T. Manning

    Too many people profess to be Christians as camouflage for their anti-Christian behaviour.
    Practicing Christian ethics must never be confused with belonging to a congregation

    • eddieVroom

      Presuming the Devil were real, wouldn’t infiltration and corruption from within the church be amongst his tactics?

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        Precisely, eddieVroom!

  • Isaac Jacobs

    Hi Frank. Thank you for continually being a voice of reason and one crying in the wilderness, trying to point people to the real Jesus. I have been intrigued and inspired by your journey and perspective ever since I heard your interview on NPR’s Fresh Air a few years ago. I greatly appreciate you among other progressive Christian voices that are out there.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Isaac, thanks for the kind word and for making my morning — terrible head cold and all — much nicer!

  • Shirley

    Just a reminder that there are many, many American Christians who believe the message of Jesus is the social progressive message, that he spoke for the disenfranchised, that he preached inclusion and acceptance. By using the term Christian to apply only to those on the right who proclaim their views are the only moral views, we are doing a disservice to Christianity itself.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Shirley, thanks for reading my post and your accurate timely word here. Amen to that! Best, F

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      As Dorothy Sayers said, “I believe it to be a grave mistake to present Christianity as something charming and popular with no offense in it. Seeing that Christ went about the world giving the most violent offense to all kinds of people, it would seem absurd to expect that the doctrine of his person can be so presented as to offend nobody. We cannot blink at the fact that gentle Jesus, meek and mild, was so stiff in His opinions and so inflammatory in His language that He was thrown out of church, stoned, hunted from place to place, and finally gibbeted as a firebrand and a public danger. Whatever His peace was, it was not the peace of an amiable indifference.” Jesus said He came not to bring peace, but division. “Realize that the aim of the Prince of Peace is not peace with unbelief and disobedience. Those are the enemies that must be destroyed, lest they destroy. When the amnesty of Jesus is despised, division is inevitable. What we meet in the biting language of Christ is a form of love that corresponds with the real world of corruption, the dullness of our hearts and the magnitude of what is at stake in our choices. If there were no great evils, no deaf hearts and no eternal consequences, perhaps the only fitting forms of love would be a… soft touch and tender words. But such a world does not kill the Son of God and hate his disciples.” ~John Piper

  • Morri

    >>”The circle-the-wagons mentality of paranoia tinged with racism that has typified the – NOW FAILED — anti-President Obama crusade has so infected large swathes of American religion that it’s an open question whether the hate-your-brother-mongers have permanently discredited religion.”<<

    No, it's not an "open question" – Christianity is totally discredited for many, many Americans now. When it mattered, the moderates (with a very exceptions) did nothing while the crazy hate-mongers ratcheted up their vitriol, and many Christians became an American Taliban.

    But make no mistake – this didn't happen with just this election; we've been watching it for 20 years. Stick a fork in it, it's done; the Abrahamics fatal flaw – "Only we have the one truth" – has finally been shown for what it is; dominance, hatred of and the desire to suppress anyone 'not them.' Just.like.in.the.Middle.East.

    I await religiosity's demise, with great hope.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Morri, thanks for reading my post and your perceptive note here. You and I only differ over the result we hope for. I’m hoping that a better religion emerges from the wreckage of American “Christianity.”

  • PlanetNiles

    I’m not a Christian. I don’t want to associate myself with the evangelists. Those people are Evil.
    I’ve met the demonically possessed. They called themselves evangelists. I know they were demonically possessed as some external power seemed to fill them and drive them to do great Evil.
    I’ve encountered Satanists. They called themselves evangelists. I know that they were Satanists as they took the 10 comamendments and did the opposite; they took the words of Christ and did the opposite. When told to love they hated. When told to share they hoarded. When told to “render unto Ceaser” they demanded exemption, exclusion and redress. When told to eject the banks and corporations from their places of worship they welcomed them with open arms.
    I have seen the damned in Hell. They called themselves evangelists. The Hell was on Earth and it was a Hell of the damned’s own making. While they writhed in agony amid the fires of their own hatred and bigotry they blamed those that were not damned and did not suffer for their suffering.

    I’m not a Christian but I have met some. I could count their number on the fingers of one hand. I knew them by their selfless deeds and by their simple lives. They came with news they said was good and while I was not comfortable with their news we sat awhile and talked. When they moved on to spread their news further I realized that I missed their company and their peaceful ways. They did not call themselves evangelists.Not all called themselves Christian. One thing I was sure as they departed my company was that I could not live as they do.

    I am not a Christian.

  • Theresa Mason

    Frank…I think its OK to ‘ change your mind’. I believe Christians call it
    ‘ repentance’. ( That makes it OK for Romney as well I suppose).

  • Pb

    In the end, it isn’t about religion or religious beliefs. It’s about our government. America is a Democracy, not a Theocracy.

    Morri makes great points that I’ll echo. The self-righteous, holier than though attitudes of this breed of evangelical so-called christians, the false argument that they are the only ones who are forced to compromise their beliefs, the judgments they make of their ‘rightness’ over our ‘wrongness’, their attitude that they have a corner on prayer and God, their exoltation of “Only we have the one truth’ (as Morrie so aptly put it), is exactly what makes them religious fanatics, like the inquisitors of yore and others, rather than true Christian believers.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Frank.

  • eddieVroom

    It also seems to me that many people think God isn’t getting things done the their satisfaction, so they presume to act as His hand on earth. And that’s *really* slippery territory.

    • Sarah

      Ain’t that the truth!

  • Christi

    I found myself truly hurt by some of the reactions to President Obama’s re-election. All of them were online…none of my Republican co-workers said anything horrible to me at all, and I believe that’s because they know me – they know I’m not a whacko. However, some of the comments from my facebook “friends” were really hurtful in that they questioned my Christianity, and called me “evil” and a “taker”. Ouch. I wish these people could understand that so much of what they have heard all their lives did not come from Jesus’ teachings. I hope they find something better to do for the next 4 years!

  • http://www.videoetry.blogspot.com Melissa Hager

    Awesome article! If each of us would take responsibilty for our own sin and quit worrying about everyone else’s, God’s job would be a lot easier. Our society would get along better as well. Jesus said it best…and I paraphrase – Caesar’s is Caesar’s and God’s is God’s. There is a reason our founding fathers separated church and state. Christians should be the shining (not hellfire destructive) light for Christ as He asked us to be. We in the South like to say you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. You catch more folks for Christ, too, when you’re not judging everyone in an acrimonious way.

  • Dan

    Not every Evangelist is fanatical. There are many who claim to be Evangelical and believe in God, but interpret the Bible in an entirely different way then what it is truly saying and go overboard. You want Christianity to change it’s approach, and it must work both ways, by not labeling every Evangelist or Christian as a fanatic and quickly dismiss the substance of what they are saying, simply because of what your personal beliefs are. They have every right to speak just as much as you or I do, wherever and whenever they want. You have the free will to believe it or not, that’s your choice.

  • Johnson, J.

    Very good article. Unfortunately some in the Orthodox Church have jumped on board this “salvation by Republicanism” mentality. I know one Matushka in particular who’s always blogging right-wing junk and it’s hurtful. Being gay in the Orthodox Church often feels like being a leper at a beauty pageant. I quit attending liturgy and have essentially cut my ties to the Church, although I still love her worship deeply. I’m sick of church just being about gays and abortion and capitalism. So much of what we’re seeing in this culture isn’t Christianity, it’s neo-Christianity at best.

  • Darren

    I am a liberal Atheist, thanks for reminding me not all Christians are mean spirited and closed minded.

  • MIKE

    Excellent post. I agree with everything you have said as a somewhat skeptical Christian and sometime disenfranchised Catholic you have articulated my problems with my state, Oklahoma, and the general hypocrisy of American Christianity today. I believe in liberal social policy, inclusion, tolerance and trying to live like a christian should. Forcing our religious beliefs and morality on others does not work. It angers them, pushes them farther away and ensures they will do everything in their power to attack. If Christians were more concerned about God and less concerned about themselves imagine what they could accomplish.

  • Donald Ball

    Frank, the phrase “hate-your-brother-mongers” in your article brought tears to my eyes, thinking of how my Southern Baptist Conservative preacher brother professes love while fomenting discord by damning everyone who voted for ANY Democrat as abominable in the sight of God. Like he knows. Where is Church Lady when we really need her? Thank you for writing this.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Donald, thanks so much for the good word. The word “Christian” and right wing have now become so intertwined that I expect if Jesus came back he’d be killed again, this time by Southern Baptists and Roman Catholic bishops.

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  • Vain Saints

    Is Frank Schaeffer a Christian? If so, then he really professes a strange version of Christianity that seems based on Pea-Coat BA-Degree Liberalism. If not, then he seems not to understand the outrageous audacity of a non-Christian telling Christians what Christianity is without any basis in the religion itself.

    For the Record, I hate the Republican and Democratic Parties almost equally, with the Republicans drawing a slightly larger share of my ire. I admit that a lot of Christians are hideously duped by the vile propaganda put out on Fox News, and that a lot of Christians are motivated by less than pure motives, just like everyone else. And I agree with Schaeffer that Christians have to seriously reconsider the manner in which their faith has become politicized.

    But none of this has anything to do with the Pea-Coat Liberal pornography that Schaeffer has just posted here. Pea-Coat Liberals simply do not understand that being liberal and being educated, enlightened and rational are not synonymous. That disapproval of homosexual marriage, hostility to Affirmative Action, moderation on Feminism do not amount to irrational prejudice or hate. This is simply a liberal talking to other liberals about how Un-Liberal the Christians are. Well yes, we are un-liberal. We have entirely different foundations of ethical and political thinking. Deal with it.

    If you want to discuss how people of different belief systems can coexist politically, I’m right there with you. But first Pea Coat Liberals have to make certain concessions. They have to admit the legitimacy of disagreement. I say Pea-Coat Liberals for a reason. These are simply the representatives of a specific class, despised by the rest of humanity, that is inordinately proud of their BA degrees, and that confuse the trite slogans they absorbed in college and high school about diversity, feminism, and Global Warming to be the Great Truths All Enlightened People (i.e. all People with BA Degrees and Pea Coats) know. They have no real moral, ethical, or philosophical foundation behind their dogmas. They just think their dogmas are truth because they are spouted by the hideously soporific quislings on NPR and not the equally hideous confrontational, bullying style of Bill O’Reilly. It is the Liberalsim of pure cultural snobbery. Of the Glamor Crowd and those who want to identify with the Glamor Crowd.

    If you really want to talk constructively with Christians, hats off to you. But assuming that we are all a bunch of ignorant yokels is not really a good start.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Vain Saints, it would be easier to respect your views if you had the courage to write under your own name. You know who i am, who are you?

    • Marcia S

      “Pea-Coat” appears to be a colloquialism reflecting the familiar anti-intellectualism and hostility to education that’s always been part of the underbelly of American culture. Especially when combined with phrases like “Glamour Crowd”.

  • Gen Jones

    Too late. The last four years have PROVEN beyond doubt that Xtianity is PURE EVIL, and none of your “but I’m a *good* Christian…” whining is ever going to change that. You need to get your mythical god out of my vagina, out of my bedroom, and out of my life. You freakish nutbags want to inflict your ludicrous, man-made beliefs on me, you’re going to have to kill me. Are you prepared to do that in the name of Jesus Christ?

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Gen, there is only One good. Only One.

  • http://www.stgermainart.com Jeannette StG

    I am a great admirer of your father Francis Schaeffer, and hubby and I have (i think) all of his books. But wow, you generalize a little bit about the Republicans, my friend. A little differentiation about the ones who are saved by the same God:) (And I’m not even a Republican, but your article sounds a little bit angry.)

    • Frank Schaeffer

      There were nice German Christians too who sat out the 1930s feeling civilized and who never got angry. To not be angry with the thugs who cooperate with the likes of Karl Rove, Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers as they try to turn us into a Ayn Rand-style nation of poor people serving the super wealthy is immoral. To not be angry with the religious rights is proof of moral myopia and/or willful ignorance. There are times when anger is the only decent response. The point isn’t “tone” but truth.

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        You need to educate yourself of the truth of what went down in Nazi Germany, Mr. Schaeffer. I would like to suggest Bonhoeffer by exemplary Eric Metaxas.

  • Theresa Mason

    Frank…..your answer about anger is helpful.”Be angry and sin not”. Good am pondering.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Theresa, a writer these days faces an interesting question re tone. There are people out there who are so bad that to even truthfully mention what you think they are doing is rude. For instance to call someone a child molester is “angry” unless its true. But even then it isn’t nice. My point is that the religious right/Tea Party/Ayn Rand coalition is so far off the rails that to even say what is true about them is deemed angry. But maybe that says more about the extremism of the right than it does about writers who try to call them to account. I mean what’s the “nice” way to describe what someone like Franklin Graham or Ralph Reed has been up to as they drive both American Christianity and politics over a cliff of hate and willful stupidity while getting paid well to lie?

  • David

    Peace of Christ to you, Frank. Ironically, I just read Albert Mohler’s reaction to the election on his blog before reading your post. In his mind, the election was catastrophe of morality because it means that he and others will not have the power to regulate abortion, contraception, and homosexuality. He ignores greed, materialism, war, and violence while carping on sex, science, and literal interpretation of scripture. Considering that he leads the flagship seminary in the Southern Baptist tradition, it is unnerving.

    While generalizations are always dangerous because there will be many exceptions, I cannot begin to tell you how many emails I received from fellow Christians that were filled with lies and hatred during this election season that all but called Obama the anti-Christ. No matter times I politely asked not to be sent political messages, the deluge continued. I fear for the future of Christianity in America if the culture warriors continue to be the visible representatives of our faith.

    Posts like yours give me hope that eventually we will open our eyes and reform the body of Christ. Please keep up the good work.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      David, thanks for reading my stuff here and the kind note. You say, “I fear for the future of Christianity in America if the culture warriors continue to be the visible representatives of our faith.” Me too.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Hello, Obama is an anti-Christ! Anyone who has rejected Jesus is an anti-Christ.

    • Marcia S

      “In his mind, the election was catastrophe of morality because it means that he and others will not have the power to regulate abortion, contraception, and homosexuality. He ignores greed, materialism, war, and violence while carping on sex, science, and literal interpretation of scripture.”

      Every Christmas/holiday season I’ve noticed that concern for materialism, both within religious communities and outside them, is strictly a seasonal indulgence. It gets put on the closet shelf along with the leftover wrapping paper promptly on December 26th or so.

  • Gloria Wood

    Well, things have not changed very much since the days when Jesus walked this earth. I can picture him trying to reason with the legalistic pharisees, the flagrant sinners, and the ignorant common man. I am reminded or his parable of the sower and the seed. And so many of the people missed his message…as so many do even today. And the parable tells us that some folk just will not get it. But what is even worse is the sad fact that some people will hear the message and begin to twist it and turn it into something else to suit their own purposes. I do not think that many pharisees were persuaded by Jesus message because of their need for strict rules and hair-splitting. What did Jesus do? It looks like he walked away and let them follow their stony path.

  • Mark McGuinness
  • Daphne M

    Dear Frank,

    I just wanted to tell you how incredibly helpful this thread has been to me. In early 2010 I lost my husband tragically and have been struggling with my faith for some time now. Those that know me… know that one of the determining factors in my loss in faith was because of the circumstances surrounding his death and the not so favorable afterlife that both he and I would now be a part of, because of this tragedy. I have always had somewhat liberal idealisms and voted for Obama twice now… since my belief was once Christian based many of my “friends” find it nearly intolerable that I’ve somehow lost God. I still struggle with it, daily in fact. I don’t really fit anywhere religiously, because from day to day I feel differently, at points I cry for God, and others I scorn him. Ahem… I ramble, since the re-election of President Obama I have been nearly ostracized completely by many of my friends. I don’t want to whine about it… I can handle it. I just wanted to say that many of your words helped… I’m not sure why yet, but they did.

    Thank you. Sincerely.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Daphne, thanks for reading my post and the many comments here. I’m pleased the post helped. I’m very much in the same place you are: where do we belong? Maybe we belong in what in my book Patience With God I call “the church of hopeful uncertainty.” You might like that book. I trust you are well and feel free to contact me anytime at frankschaeffer.com if you need to share your troubles. Best, Frank

      • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

        Doubt will lead to one of two inevitable consequences. Faithful doubt leads to a deeper embrace of the truth, with doubt serving to point us into a deeper knowledge, trust, and understanding of the truth. Pernicious doubt leads to unfaithfulness, unbelief, skepticism, cynicism, and despair. Christians who are struggling with doubt, need to seek help from the faithful, not the faithless. ~Dr. Albert Mohler

        The British nineteenth-century poet Lord Tennyson made this point rather nicely in his poem The Ancient Sage:
        For nothing worthy proving can be proven,
        Nor yet disproven; wherefore thou be wise,
        Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt.

  • Vain Saints

    The phenomenon of the internet handle is something fairly common, and I see little reason why my statements cannot be considered, to say nothing of ‘respected’, on their own terms, regardless of who the speaker is.

    Nonetheless Mr. Schaeffer, my name is Brian Cabana. I’ve looked you up a bit as well.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Brain, good to talk even if we don’t agree or like each other. I’ll bet if we sat down and had a drink together we’d get along fine. Thanks for reaching out here and responding. Very Best, Frank

  • http://Sallyfranz.com Sally Franz

    Dear Frank,

    I once when i lived in Manhattan I went to a Bible study led by your sister and husband Udo Middleman. It was way right wing for me. I left unable to identify what was wrong, but I had lots more seeking and stumbling ahead of me. The gift my sins and mistakes to me is that I see I am forgiven and don’t deserve the forgiveness (grace). How easy it is then to forgive others and not judge. Who am I to announce this one is a Christian, and that one is not. REALLY? How would a person know that? If a person is deemed a Christian by their works then heaven will be crowded with Agnostics, Muslims, Jews and yes Atheists.
    Sobering thought yes?

    My father was an atheist and had a fatal heart attack…his monitor flat-lined. I was there and stood over the monitor and begged God to bring him back. His side of the story is he was falling and a light called out to him “John, come to me” And my father said yes, lord.
    When the heart monitor started flickering again my father was a new man. Jesus saved my father deep in the Shadowlands. Who, who are we to judge what God can do?

    But back on point. I wish people in this country would claim their citizenship in heaven and respect the division of church and state in this Republic whose origins began with Franklin and Jefferson. (A Quaker and womanizer and a Deist with a slave mistress–both without apology). Yish and George Washington dying of syphilis. I sure do not want to go back to that…so when was this a Christian Nation? Maybe right after McCarthy slapped “In God we Trust” on everything? Just saying, go to the library and read.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Sally, what a great story and great comment re “When was this a Christian nation.” I’ve just been studying Jefferson again, and am struck again with what a terrible man he was and yet how wonderful too. His ideas were never matched by his life. Isn’t that the truth of all of us? That’s why the perfectionism of the religious right is not just bad for the country but simply not true to life. We are all in this together — warts and all — or no one is. Again, how great to have you for a reader. Best, Frank

  • Rob

    Frank,
    I want to personally thank you for being a voice of reason and common sense standing in opposition to the narrow, ridged, perception of those who claim to be “real Christians” and of course “real Americans.”
    I have read your books and watched you evolve into a voice that can speak with authority and power to a larger audience who cannot understand the language of this sub culture of Christian literalists.
    For the sake of many I hope you can continue to write, speak and appear on radio and TV enlightening America to how these people think.
    I love it when “one of their own” escapes from the dogma that once imprisoned and confused them.
    Keep up the good work. America needs a voice that was within this subculture because unless you were there understanding the complexity of all this would not make much sense to the average person.

    Thanks again,
    Rob

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Rob, Thanks for reading my work and for taking the time to comment here. I’m grateful for your encouragement! Many, many thanks. Best, Frank

  • Lynne

    The Christian Right judges on every level. I thought God was the only one who could judge!

  • jnew

    “It’s time to put following Jesus ahead of denying other people their basic human rights, their basic humanity and trying to win elections even when it costs your soul.”

    If only this message were coming from pulpits across the south (where I live), rather than “that Muslim in the white house is trying to destroy this great nation”.

  • jnew1021

    “It’s time to put following Jesus ahead of denying other people their basic human rights, their basic humanity and trying to win elections even when it costs your soul.”

    If only this message were coming from pulpits across the south (where I live), rather than “that Muslim in the white house is trying to destroy this great nation”

  • Daphne M

    Dear Frank,
    Thanks so much for your kind words. I may do that from time to time, and I’ll certainly read your book.

  • Daphne M

    Frank,
    Just purchased Patience with God and have to say just a few pages in and I was crying like a baby from the relief that you felt/feel many of the same things I do. I was wondering if you could help with a few questions I have?

    I have been trying to find information that the “Republicans” have been leaking onto the internet since the election, about Obama supposedly being impeached because of the Libya attack and his supposed disregard to the Americans that were killed there… I know that CNN says that information about the event has currently been given to Congress to peruse and that Hilary Clinton is not going to testify about this issue because of a prior engagement (which many Republicans say is highly convenient.). The bashing of MY president is becoming greatly confusing and disheartening… (I’ve voted for him twice) and would just like to know if there is any validity to these statements. Any help or information that you have would be greatly appreciated in fighting this reprehensible “war” on the internet. There is also some ridiculous posts going around that Louisiana is seeking to remove itself from The United States of America through some clause in the constitution. Please Help. Thanks.

  • Yippee K

    Gee, Franky. I don’t think I’d call it “hating” and “lying” but now that you ask, no. I really don’t have anything “better” to do, although I sure do have more than enough “urgent” and “necessary” things to do thanks to oh bummer’s “economic recovery” plan. Hey and since we’re on the topic, don’t you have anything better to do than lie hatefully about your family?

  • Mazie Furguson

    You would know, Franky. Your lies about your family have set a precedent for kids from Godly parents. Tell us, is this the year you will get over yourself and be a true light in the darkness or can we expect more self-indulgent diatribes from a man lost in his own victimology and sputtering hatred to the Christian world like a drunk bum on the street?

  • kfreed

    Thank you, Frank. Never mind Mazie down below, you’re the light in the darkness… make no mistake about it.

  • motorfingaz

    I’d call them FAKE christians.

    Anyone can wear a label.

  • Timothy Weston

    Every day, there are conservative media outlets that spew slander and conspiracy theories unapologetically. Why is Mr. Bashir being held to a higher standard than they are?


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