How the Evangelicals Doomed the Republican Party, God and (Maybe) America

 

By Frank Schaeffer

 

Not all Evangelicals are Right-leaning Republicans. But according to polls 73 percent are. That’s the folks I’m talking about here.

No one sane disputes the fact that the base of the base of the Republican Party — post Roe V Wade and with a big “assist” from my late Religious Right leader father Francis Schaeffer and me (before I changed my mind) — is evangelical voters. No one sane disputes the fact that the Republican Party is funded these days mainly by a handful of billionaires with a vested interest in seeing that government does their economic will. No one sane disputes the fact that this attempt to work the billionaires’ economic will has little-to-nothing to do with the core “family values” and “pro-life” issues that motivate the vast swath of Right wing-leaning evangelical voters. And no one sane disputes the fact that in the old days voters disagreed over policy but mostly agreed on basic facts from which policy would be derived.

Not any more.

These days the Right disputes the facts from how life evolved to unemployment numbers to where the President was born. For instance the Right disputes the reality of climate change and our human contributions to that change.  Evangelicals have mostly  signed up for this often oil and coal companies-funded  alternative view of “reality” because their theology teaches them to reject the “world” and look for some other explanation of the cosmos and everything in it than that offered by science.

In other words for those who reject the science of evolution — or reject the science on how people become heterosexual or homosexual, or the economic facts as to why women have abortions (48 percent fall below the poverty line), or what an embryo is,  or if the biblical account is literally true and so on  –  it is easy to embrace other alternative “explanations.” This is especially true for those who see themselves as an embattled persecuted minority of victims of “liberalism.”

The alternative “explanations” about how the world works are offered to evangelicals eager to have their faith confirmed by their own “experts.” Enter those with their own agendas eager to dupe the dupeable. Enter the neoconservatives, the crazies saying that President Obama isn’t a real American. Enter the Ayn Rand-worshiping gun-fondling libertarian Tea Party or those saying that gays “choose” their “lifestyle”  an explanation offered by hacks, quacks and bigots. These “facts” all have something in common: they are sold to the gullible by self-interested liars. And nothing conditions you to be gullible more than biblical literalism.

These liars specializing in lying to the gullible these days include oil and coal company paid “scientists” denying climate change and paid hack “therapists” offering to change gay men and women into heterosexuals.

The liars are mostly Republican operatives (of the Ralph Reed bottom dwelling ilk) shilling for the likes of the Koch brothers, the oil and coal companies and the far Right of the Republican Party with its neoconservative warmongers. These self-interested parties have discovered that  the biblical literalist Evangelicals  are very, very easy prey. You see speaking as one raised in the Evangelical subculture I know that people like me were raised believing in imaginary truths. So we are perfect folks to sell yet more “alternative” realities to.

These new “truths” range  from climate change denial to the idea that Israel is a great little country that can do no wrong and that no matter how many wars we get into in the Middle East defending a bunch of crazed Zionists illegally occupying the West Bank that it’s okay because those wars are somehow a “fulfillment of prophecy.”

But the problem Republicans and evangelicals share is that while American elections can be bought by secret money reality itself intrudes from time-to-time. Enter New York City and New Jersey underwater.

As Timothy Egan writes in the New York Times:

 

“Climate change is to the Republican base what leprosy once was to healthy humans — untouchable and unmentionable. Their party is financed by people whose fortunes are dependent upon denying that humans have caused the earth’s weather patterns to change for the worse.

“At the same time, Republicans have spent the last year trying to win an argument about the role of government as a helping hand. By now, most people know that Mitt Romney, in his base-pandering mode during the primaries, made the federal disaster agency FEMA sound like a costly nuisance, better off orphaned to the states or the private sector.

“His party can get away with fact-denial — in global warming’s case — and win cable-television arguments about FEMA, so long as something like a major news event, e.g., reality, does not shatter the picture. That’s where the storm upset a somewhat predictable race.”

 

“There has been a series of extreme weather incidents,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, stating the obvious. “This is not a political statement. This is a factual statement. Anyone who says there is not a dramatic change in weather patterns I think is denying reality.”

The other cherished idea of Republican/evangelical matrix (with a few handy Mormons and conservative Roman Catholics thrown in) scattered by Sandy’s winds is the idea that people don’t need government. Let  the local church volunteers handle it! the cry goes up.

But when the bill for New Jersey’s recovery comes due, no  state or church group will pay. And when each year our “once in a generation” disasters hit again and again and again, don’t turn to your local climate-change denier for help.

As Egan put it:

“Ayn Rand is having her ‘Mad Men’ revivalist moment in the Republican Party, led by social Darwinists like Paul Ryan. These people genuinely do believe that life is a battle between achievers and moochers, and that luck, good or bad, has little to do with it. Compassion is for wussies, and tax dollars from those at the top should not be used to help those who are struggling.

“Of late, we’ve seen the ‘hate of all nature,’ as one old-timer called the Dust Bowl, visit nearly every part of the United States. Texas was on fire for much of a year while its governor, Rick Perry, denied climate change and signed an official proclamation calling for a day of prayer for rain.”

 

Here’s what the Evangelicals on the Right have embraced:

  • An alternative version of reality from creationism to denial of global warming
  • The “fact” that Jesus will soon return so that none of this matters anyway
  • The “fact” that America must always defend Israel because the “Bible says so” — even as Israel slides into becoming an apartheid state that will be submerged by its own structural Zionist injustice to Arabs and may take its “greatest ally” (the USA) down with it
  • The refusal to embrace gay rights
  • The whites-in-charge mentality even as demographics change and America becomes a brown country
  • The circle-the-wagons head-in-the-sand home “school” movement pitting individuals against their communities
  • The odd alliance with the NRA and “gun rights” by Christians who say they follow the Jesus who said “turn the other cheek”
  • The retributive version of war as a way of life to punish the world for “not liking” us
  • The acceptance of the lies and outright racism of the shrill anti-Obama Fox News-type reaction to a black man in the White House…

Touch it where you may the evangelical/Republican Party/billionaire alliance is doomed, it’s doomed because the non-retributive Jesus is the true Lord, not a hate filled ideology of imperial overreach that is embraced by crazed and militarized right wing neoconservatives.

It’s doomed by immigration pattern demographics, it’s doomed by nature as we lose our coastal cities one at a time and people remember who it was — folks like the Koch brothers and their evangelical foot soldiers — who made this possible by denying global warming, it’s doomed by the fact that other countries not waiting for the return of Jesus, building high speed rail and embracing science and simple facts will leave us in the dust, and its doomed because lies of the magnitude accepted by the evangelicals and the Right about reality will eventually run into the truth. Or the truth will run into them, and — literally in the case of global warming — wash them away.

To the extent that the alternative evangelical theological reality has turned evangelical voters into suckers for the “gospel” of the oil companies and coal companies and neoconservatives, the kindly nice personally average evangelical voter is the most dangerous person in America.

These nice folks next door – soup kitchens and good works notwithstanding —  will destroy the reality we all are stuck with while trying to force feed “facts” to the country that are lies on behalf of people who will be living in gated communities in the Rockies while average Americans  watch our prairies burn and our cities wash away.  And when we finally bankrupt ourselves fighting Middle East wars on behalf of crazed Zionists occupying the West Bank, drill our last oil well in a national park, and discover that we’re in a self-created Apocalypse it will be too late to note that Jesus didn’t return to yank idiots to heaven out of the mess they made and the only sound you’ll hear is the great grandchildren of some very stupid and deluded people cursing their memory.

Meanwhile President Obama is going to win reelection. The Republican Party will  dwindle and the evangelicals  role  in politics will become a hissing and a byword. And I’m betting that the evangelicals will learn nothing from this, just circle the wagons for their last stand against not just their fellow Americans but against reality herself. Good luck with that.

And to the extent that an “act of God” — tropical storm Sandy — may have helped President Obama win reelection, how very hilarious.  I mean weren’t Mormons and Evangelicals united in praying against our first black president?

I feel sorry for God. With his “friends” helping the Republicans to screw up our planet for profit  he’s in as much trouble as the Republican Party is. God needs better friends and evangelicals need a better theology.

I say again: Touch it where you may the evangelical/Republican Party/billionaire alliance is doomed, it’s doomed because the non-retributive Jesus is the true Lord, not a hate filled ideology of imperial overreach that is embraced by crazed and militarized right wing neoconservatives and the haters of not just our first black president but of God and his good earth.

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

 

PS. Now please WATCH THIS 

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.

  • Jeff

    Makes me yearn for the days of Nixon and Watergate, when conservatives were more or less divorced from the religious right. My new job at a hardware store has more than wing-nuts to sell. For example, many of the older aged workers have such a racist attitude they no longer care to hide their disgust toward a “nigger” president with “nappy” hair. Of course this is fueled by listening to Limbaugh on the radio and FOX News on TV. Worst of all, these are highly religious people who have others who reinforce their POV in a sort of echo-chamber of ignorance where the Second Amendment is part of the Ten Commandments.

    • suzanne dubinin

      Very well stated Jeff. My experience as well. It’s downright embarrassing to think that Great Britin and Europe have to deal wirh us as this big stupid “superpower” bully.

  • http://reverbnation.com/rustyhorn Rusty Horn

    I absolutely LOVE the way you put exactly what I’m thinking into words that people can not only understand, but also find it impossible to disagree with. Your writing continues to be heroic and truly important. Thank you!

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Hi Rusty, and thanks! And well said Jeff: “Worst of all, these are highly religious people who have others who reinforce their POV in a sort of echo-chamber of ignorance where the Second Amendment is part of the Ten Commandments.” Thanks! Best, F

  • michael hardin

    Beautiful Frank

  • Theresa Mason

    About 35 years ago a large group of conservative evangelicals converted en mass to Eastern Orthodoxy. Its a trend that continues to this day. They brought with them some good things…. passion being one of them. They also brought with them a weird kind of closed mindedness that produced such things as priests pronouncing in their homilies that we HAD to be conservatives amongnst other things that rub against my egalitarian grain. For my part this ultra-conservative influence had produced a real love/bate conundrum in my relationship with American Orthodoxy. Sad.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Theresa, me too! I have been going to a local Greek Orthodox ch for the last 25 years, and fortunately for my family and me it has no former evangelical converts of the right in it but me! And I have not screwed it up… so far! but I hear from lots of “true church” types who are trying to remake Orthodoxy into just another evangelical-style right wing organisation. Too bad.

      • Theresa Mason

        Glad to know its not just me! Whew! And thanks be to God for all things!!!!

  • Mary Withers

    I am also an escapee from the Evangelical Church of the 1980s, which sold its true birthright for a metaphorical “mess of pottage”; the short-term gain of political power.

    Thank you Francis Schaeffer, Jr. You often speak *exactly* what I’ve held in my heart all those years, since that horrible Sunday when we heard our first terrible non-factual desperately and obviously manipulative sermon by a traveling Dominionist.

    I was aghast. I expected my church, which made much of the Gifts of the Spirit, even telling me I had the gift of Discernment of Spirits, to detect the Wrong Spirit of Pride and the lust for power and the total disregard for truth in this man’s words, and cast him out.

    Nope. Everyone else seemed bewitched! And I started plotting my escape, certain that this “strain” in Evangelicalism would lead to the very OPPOSITE of everything Christ ever actually preached.

    These people are not Followers of Jesus; since about 1981, they have been Followers of the GOP and Lovers of Mammon.

    Second-worst tragedy of my life. I’ve never quite gotten over it. And now I’m thoroughly allergic to all churches. Sorry. Still read my Gospels, though. And the more I read them, the more obvious it becomes that the “Church” has strayed far, far, FAR off the reservation.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Thanks Mary, You and I share — along with lots of others — the experience of watching a religious group become nothing more than another part of a political party, and a reactionary and stupid one at that. too bad for the name of Jesus. Thanks for the kind words. Best, Frank

    • Dale Hjelm

      I am surprised that more “Christians” don’t see how dangerous this is to the future of the church. I spent many of my teen and pre-teen years in a fundamentalist church after being exposed to many different religions earlier. I have seen so much hypocricy in the “Christians” from all these groups that I now I have gone from something similar to Mary’s position, to being a somewhat reluctant athiest. It was mostly the leaders of these churches that repulsed me. They seemed more interested in power and manipulation than in Christ’s teachings. They used the Old Testament for justifying their bigotry and prejudices while ignoring the forgiveness of Jesus when it apllied to groups they disliked such as Gays, minorities and liberals.

  • Jack hutchinson

    In 1968 my dad, then Massachusetts GOP vice chair, was at a meeting where Nixon laid out his Southern Strategy. How he would turn racist bible thumping hillbillies into Republicans. My father stormed out of the gathering swearing that Nixon was dangerous. He came home and told me that this would kill the GOP in forty years. Dad died soon after and he was off by a few years. I became a life long Democrat and snickered every election since and told his ghost he was a frigging genius.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Jack, thanks for this gem of a story! Lift a glass with me on election night to your wise dad! Best, Frank

    • Kathleene

      Dude- can I share this info on FB?!

      • Kathleene

        That was meant for Jack. I’ve already shared the article, Frank. It’s fantastic!

    • plutosdad

      I just read The Cross in the Closet, and I was shocked at how insular and backward the author’s education and upbringing were. He lived just outside of Nashville, and not only did he have a horrible education (it is very poorly written) despite having gone to Liberty for a couple years, but the crazy things he was taught growing up amazed me. And living in a rural area with no exposure to anything else, he had no idea how much of what he was taught was flat out wrong, to the point where, somewhere along the line someone must have known these were lies and peddled them to students – lies about gay people, non-Christians, liberals, the environment, science, evolution, etc.

      And it made me wonder just how bad is education in the bible belt, and is everyone else that went to private schools there this poorly educated and lied to all their lives?

      My wife grew up outside Fort Worth, and I thought her education was bad, but she went to public schools until TCU so it was just generically bad. And TCU is an actual real university that tries to educate people, unlike Liberty.

      The fear of science is scary. I am waiting for these people to jump on board the anti vaccine wagon. Well, actually I’m not. It’s bad enough measles and whooping cough have returned and are now killing children and the elderly again; if any more gullible / credulous / desperate people stop vaccinating their children than do now I can’t imagine the horror that will be unleashed. But unfortunately it goes right along with all the fear of science and technology that is happening, and there are very rich people in the supplement industry peddling fear and reaping a profit.

      • Virginia

        “Just how bad is education in the Bible belt?”
        For the most part, aside from assuming everyone in the school is Christian and still just refusing to talk about gay rights, the public school systems I’ve attended in southwest Virginia have been fairly good. I will say the least overwhelmingly conservative and best-looking overall on an academic record one was the one farthest east and out of the Appalachians. Two of the three private colleges I’ve experienced to some extent, Ozark Christian and Liberty University, kind of terrify me with the form of Christianity they preach and require their students to at least pretend to live by. The third, Shenandoah, is like a breath of fresh air to me that really goes completely against its Bible belt surroundings. Chapel there is not required, global music is a norm, and every service for the past semester has been about welcoming everyone to the table. I think Ferrum is also closer to Shenandoah’s theology, but chapel is still required and that bothers me. I know this isn’t the most complete information about the Bible belt, but I wanted to say I can provide at least one example that it’s not entirely like that (at least on the outskirts where I am in Virginia)

    • plutosdad

      oops my other reply went here. But I read a similar story about George Romney that Andrew Sullivan just posted.
      http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/11/rethinking-george-romney.html

      The difference between father and son is pretty amazing. I read an editorial once that said the big thing Mitt learned about politics growing up is that his dad lost because his dad was honest.

      I did not ever even learn of the Southern Strategy until I read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Armstrong, which is a real blow-your-mind book for us white people ignorant of history

      • Laura Lemley

        I moved to Mobile, AL a couple of years ago and found that in some circles the word “democrat” is used as a euphemism for “nigger.” That’s how thoroughly the “Southern Strategy” has worked around here. Being a white Christian who has voted for Obama and plans to again puts me in a very small minority!

        • Laura Lemley

          I apologize for my wording…I should have said that “democrat” was a code word for “black” and not used the “n” word. Racism is insidious!

      • http://www.reverbnation.com/rustyhorn Rusty Horn

        Thanks for sharing that link, those maps are fantastic!

    • Patricia Layden

      Yep, seems to me this whole type of political “stategy” started with Nixon…

    • Richard Larson

      It was in 1968 when I started to formulate my reasons for leaving an evangelical church that epitomized the image of gullible, reality denying, evangelical prostration before the God of Republicanism and Zionist Neo-Conservatism. I began a slow shift toward progressive liberalism that was accelerated during a 5 year tour in Germany where I became intimately familiar with the Social-Democrat political and economic philosophy. I grieve over those I love, who are psychologically trapped in this situation in that they are true believers because they know nothing else. They have their lives invested and they actually fear making any change because of their conviction that Jesus will return. My efforts to convince them that if there is such a thing as salvation, it certainly doesn’t mandate belonging to a religious organization, but everything depends upon their personal commitment to their Creator.

      • Dean E. Sizemore

        I like your response. I also spent 5 years of my military career in Germany. I find it odd that so many people say the word “socialism” like it’s a dirty word. The socialistic type of government that Germany and other European countries have in place seems to work pretty well for them. It’s not perfect. But neither is our so-called “democracy.” I also find it odd that so many evangelicals support candidates who DO NOT espouse the values that Christ taught.

        • Sophie

          The only reason socialist is a dirty word is because republicans and their ilk brainwash people into thinking that it is. If only people could have the resources to look things up on their own…..um wait a minute! People DO have resources. We don’t live in the Dark Ages anymore, except that some republican politicians would like to think that way. This is the 21st century, not the 1st. It’s time to move forward and into the intellectual light!

  • http://singingwithcrows.blogspot.com Marian L. Shatto

    Excellent article! Thank you for your articulate presentation of facts and your passion in stating them. I have one request: Could you please correct “untied” to “united” in the third-to-last paragraph so that I can share this with others and not have a couple of right-wing friends deride the whole thing because of one glaring typo. Thanks!

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Hi Marion, thanks and done! F

  • Julie O.

    I don’t agree with everything said here, but quite a lot of it I do. Thanks for your courage to speak up.

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Thanks Julie! F

  • Jack

    God’s sense of humor is full of irony these days. For example, Sandy showing up to highlight the global warming debate. And then after Frank’s negative critique of Zionism and the nation of Israel (plus his known antipathy towards parts of OT), there is an ad at the bottom of his blog page selling Hebrew lessons from teachers in Israel. The divine is truly mysterious (and kind of cheeky). Seriously, though, I and many other Canadians are praying that you elect the right man next week.

  • Andrew G

    I too grew up evangelical, reading at least one of your father’s books along the way. It deeply saddens me what has happened to evangelicals, and I have moved to the Anglican and Episcopalian flocks, though they are not without their own problems. Thank you for speaking out. It is shocking how easily evangelicals are manipulated, though your analysis helps explain it. Thank you. I weep for the church.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Thanks for the kind note Andrew, and I can say agree or not with my father lets remember that in 1969 — way before anyone else in his circle even knew of the global issue — Dad wrote “Pollution and The Death of Man.” That’s not what got him into Jerry Falwell’s pulpit though! In the book he said: “…the hippies of the 1960s did understand something. They were right in fighting the plastic culture, and the church should have been fighting it too… More than this, they were right in the fact that the plastic culture – modern man, the mechanistic worldview in university textbooks and in practice, the total threat of the machine, the establishment technology, the bourgeois upper middle class – is poor in its sensitivity to nature… As a Utopian group, the counterculture understands something very real, both as to the culture as a culture, but also as to the poverty of modern man’s concept of nature and the way the machine is eating up nature on every side.” -Chapter 2

      Just imagine what Dad would have thought of Romney and co, Franklin Graham or the Koch brothers!

    • Steve Bailey

      This Canadian is in full agreement. I hope the US is spared the Romney Republican nightmare. My hope is that a majority of Americans have enough intelligence to see the writing on the wall.

      Thanks again, Frank Schaeffer.

  • Brian Macker

    ” And no one sane disputes the fact that in the old days voters disagreed over policy but mostly agreed on basic facts from which policy would be derived.”

    Last I checked this atheist was sane. Your article reeks of unsupportable rhetoric. In fact to the point that you don’t sound entirely sane.

    • Michelle Heitman

      Brian, what part is unsupportable rhetoric? Please forgive me if I’m reading too much into your comment, but are you saying that we would all have to agree on matters of faith, in order to agree on scientific facts? It *is* possible to believe in evolution, climate change, and an entire host of other scientific facts and proven theories, AND believe in God. One does not need to be an atheist to comprehend the laws of the natural world.

  • Brian Macker

    “These people genuinely do believe that life is a battle between achievers and moochers, and that luck, good or bad, has little to do with it. ”

    Egan is a moron.

  • Patty H

    I think a lot of people are attracted to fundamentalist religions because they are searching for a family. The theology and politics become prices they are willing to pay to stay in the family’s good graces. I know two political liberals who became Mormons. One was a single, middle-aged woman and former union activist with no family and the other was an under-employed man in his early 30s who hoped the Mormons would help him get married. I’ve long noticed that fundamentalist religions proselytize shamelessly while liberal religions don’t even hold open houses. It may be a fear of being politically incorrect by implying that your religion is better than others; I don’t know. In summary, the fundamentalist churches have had rather smooth sailing because they face little or no competition for the souls of Americans desperately seeking community.

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Hi Patty, thanks for the good comment. I think that most religious fanatics don’t actually believe what they say they believe. They live life rationally then open a door to another part of their brains in church. On the job, in the office, in the street they live as if cause and effect works, science is right (they go to doctors) etc. But when they vote they are using the non-rational brain ready to take on faith that someone like Romney can save them from folks who just might prove them wrong about what they claim to believe, for instance climate scientists. Its the feeling of being threatened that binds these folks views about religion and politics together. I think the strain is showing in the religious world and not just here in America. The Taliban and American evangelicals are all suffering from the inability to reconcile modernity with their traditions. Fact is old time religion of all kinds is simply untrue and now we know that more than ever. There is less and less room for fundamentalists of all religions to hide their doubts so they are angry. The Romney/Ryan ticket is just another form of pandering to frightened people who are lashing out instead of admitting that they don’t really believe what they claim to believe.

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    So if the Bible is not literally true about something like Creationism, how do you know what is right or wrong? Simply let Congress and the Supreme Court decide for you? And if science is the arbiter of truth, and determines that evolution is the literal truth about who we are and how we got here, then what evidence is there that God exists at all? Couldn’t everything you said about Evangelicalism be applied to religion in general? Just read some of the bloggers in the atheist channel above.

    • Michelle Heitman

      Skipping down to your last question, to wit: “Couldn’t everything you said about Evangelicalism be applied to religion in general?” No, in fact, it could not. There are many, a *great* many, organized, main-stream religious sects that believe that science is a matter of proof, and God is a matter of faith. They are simply NOT mutually exclusive. I know that this is an uncomfortable thought for evangelicals, who want their world to be nice, simply, easily explained. It is an equally uncomfortable thought for atheists and anti-theists, who would like their view of those of us who *do* believe in God to be simply and easily labeled. It does not, however, happen to be true.

      • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

        But if “science is a matter of proof” and “God is a matter of faith,” aren’t we really saying that there is no proof for the existence of God and that our “faith” is just make believe?

        • Karen Blalock

          Michelle has a point. Anti-theists are the fundamentalist evangelicals of science. Huge numbers of Christians do not believe the Bible literal, historical fact. They can be Evangelical (spreading the story of Jesus) without being Fundamentalist (utterly lacking in imagination, unable to comprehend metaphor, irony, or distinguish truth from fact and yes, there is a difference). While there may be no proof for the existence of God, there is none against the possibility, either. The better we understand science, the more the faith of a thinking believer is affirmed that God is ineffable. Sadly, Fundies of all sorts (believers and atheists) reduce the creator and sustainer of all that is to a supersized, superpowered version of themselves. Put simply, the more we comprehend of the universe, the more amazing God is revealed to be. Faith that requires proof is not faith at all. Science in denial of facts is not science. We cannot prove the existence of love, and yet there is plenty of testimony that people have experienced it.

        • Laura Lemley

          Bob, as a Christian minister I must say that faith that can be “proved” is not faith. Faith is real, and life-transforming but cannot be scientifically proved or disproved. One can believe in and worship God as Creator and Sustainer and not be put off by evidence of evolution because it may have something to say about how the earth came to be as we know it now, but has nothing to say about why or who put everything in motion before any “Big Bang.” The Bible is not and was not meant to be a science book but a book about God and our relationship to God.

          • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

            The problem here is that you’re defining “faith” the same way an atheist does — belief in something for which there is no evidence.

  • Keith

    Wow, just wow! Thanks!

  • David Naas

    Finally able to catch up on the week’s writing on Patheos this morning…
    So, I was not the only one to notice that God has a sense of humor? It may not agree with everyone’s theology, but the Almighty DOES have a way of getting our attention.
    However, to a True Believer, not even Sandy will change their minds.
    I see that the GOP (God’s Own Party) is already gearing up to claim vote fraud in all the “swing” states. Don’t forget, the Big Lie worked well for the Nazis. (Yes, I DO dare to compare the GOP with the Nazis — this week, a co-worker told me I was a fool if I didn’t believe Obama was a Muslim who has signed agreements with the Islamic High Council to turn the US over to the United Nations gun collection agency — insane.)
    And, my sympathies — I was “saved” at a revival when I was five years old. What the hell I had done to go to Hell at five, I couldn’t ever figure out, other than having been born. But at five years old, I knew that evangelist was a frothing lunatic who had best be agreed with until one could escape, like living with a mean drunk.)

  • http://freelyfrankie.com/ frankie wallace

    i’ve been at my wit’s end with some of my conservative evangelical friends….finally one of them put it so succinctly i had a revelation right then and there…..

    http://freelyfrankie.com/2012/10/29/i-dont-care-the-conservative-mantra-and-the-demise-of-u-s/

    thanks for your thoughts. one thing i wonder about, how can we engage these fellow americans in a way that overcomes their apathy? lovingly and respectfully, of course.

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Bob your “need to know” doesn’t mean you can know. Is your life long enough to try all the alternatives? No one ever blew up a mosque or clinic or school after shouting “But I could be wrong!” It’s the people who are so certain of what no one can know who are the most dangerous because they are the most deluded.

  • Anthony Rose

    why are you so angry? live and let live!

  • http://thecommunalhope.blogspot.com/ Ronald DeGrove

    Nice work Mr. Schaeffer

    What I don’t understand about the evangeicals is how they can suddenly embrace a man whose faith they have been calling a cult and non-christian for over 150 years. It seems to me to be a total rejection of the things they have believed for a very long time, and I believe it is simply because a black man now occupies the white house.

    • GJ Dewey

      I tried to respectfully have this conversation with my fundamentalist mom (which, of course, is the way I was raised, so I know quite a bit about fundamental theology). I genuinely could not understand how she would embrace someone who is a member of what had been considered a dangerous cult by the evangelical community for many years. (Please don’t take this as a personal affront towards Mormonism). My mom and I typically have a very good relationship, although we generally avoid discussing politics because of our differing points of view. I should have left well-enough alone. My 79 yr old mother, who is always preparing meals for others in need or driving elderly friends to dr’s appointments, spewed forth an amazingly vitriolic litany of Fox News talking points, catching me completely off-guard! I was shocked at the pent-up anger present. This was a potent example of how effectively the insidious co-opting of the evangelical community has been accomplished! I’m saddened and angry at the way many who think they are truly following Christ have been duped….although, I realize that each individual is given the ability and responsibility to “rightly divide the truth.” …..btw, our relationship has recovered and is fine….and I, of course, have been an ex-evangelical for quite a few years now!

    • Melissa

      I’ve asked this several times too – and been accused of being anti-Mormon. (I’m not – I don’t care what they believe!) I was absolutely taught that Mormonism was a cult when I was growing up. Less than 6 months ago the evangelical churches in my area (NC) didn’t think the liberal churches were “Christian enough” because they opposed the marriage amendment in our May elections. But now Mormons are a-okay and basically the same as evangelicals? I can’t wrap my mind around that – that a Baptist church can consider another Baptist church to be (basically) heretical because of differences over gay rights, but eh, Moroni/golden plates/becoming gods is no big deal.

      If people were saying “his faith isn’t my faith, but we hold similar views and he best represents me” – I can buy that. But this whole “he’s a Christian just like me!” – really? Because you’re still questioning if Obama is really, really a for REAL Christian.

      • GJ Dewey

        Melissa, thanks for sharing your experiences. I generally don’t confront my family or friends over our theological differences. I’d much rather spend edifying times together. However, I have really struggled with understanding this glaring contradiction…..or cognitive dissonance, the new buzzword! I did hear one prominent fundamental theologian (who I usually like for his fair, well-stated arguments) note that we must vote for the candidate who we feel will best represent our overall values….. when he was asked this question by a sincere 20-something. Your last paragraph, however, appears to be true for many evangelicals, unfortunately. I, too, can’t wrap my head around it! As an aside, my mom also lives in NC and I was visiting for a few days when we had this little ‘blip’ in our overall great visit!

  • Frank Gr

    Good stuff Frank. It is all.. bout Money, Power & Greed. Very little to do with a messiah Jesus Christ. Its like “Pro-Life”,but Pro War?? Pro Imperialism, Pro WMD… it’s very Hy Pro crite.

  • Sue Westby

    Thanks, Frank – Keep writing!

  • Eric Bonet

    Great article Frank! The leaders of the evangelical right are simply fueled by greed and are mostly concerned about making money off their sheep. This all started with a 19th Century british preacher named John Nelson Darby. He is the one that put the latest “end of days” prophecy nonsense on the table with the rapture, ant-christ, tribulation, etc. It has been a financial boom making 100′s of millions of dollars for preachers, christian movie and book publishers, mega-churches, etc. The other thing Darby put on the theological table is a pseudo-biblical interpretation of the earth’s age called Dispensationalism. This thoroughly discredited wacko theology attempts to breakdown the Bible in dispensations according to a chronological mapped out timeline. It is also responsible for making millions of dollars for the anti-science, anti-evolution, young earth evangelical crowd.

    It doesn’t matter how much this false doctrine nonsense is discredited or refuted by proper interpretation of scripture, these people are not going to give up a multimillion dollar fear driven industry. All very sad.

  • tim allred

    Beautiful article, Mr. Schaeffer. Somehow I have seen this coming since the late 70′s. In the early 80′s I got out of law school and came to work in my home town. Within a year I was surrounded by a group of Dominionists. One of them gave me a copy of one of your father’s books, and missed no opportunity to engage me in 2-hour long evangelical diatribes, despite the fact that I majored on philosophy and religion at Emory University (Thomas Altizer, and many of my professors were direct students of Tillich, Barth, Niebuhr). They then proceeded to file censorship complaints against the local library, and wound up creating a “Christian” school. Having read many of your articles, I appreciate your ability to powerfully sum up exactly what I have been seeing and feeling for about 40 years. Thank you.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Tim, thanks so much for reading my work and for the very kind note. Best, Frank

  • Elizabeth Krecker

    Brilliantly written. thank you

  • Ralph Byrd

    And to the extant that an “act of God” Should that be extent rather than extent? And thankyou!

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Ralph, good catch, corrected thanks! Best, Frank

  • Cecile L.

    What breaks my heart when I contemplate the large numbers of people subscribing to the beliefs you describe, Frank, is how willingly they are shrinking God to fit into a shadowed, dusty niche of human limitations.

    God! The Creator of the universe! So immense, so powerful, so beyond our ability to perceive other than through a glass, darkly- the God of infinite love and infinite awareness- this God, so merciful and so vast, so loving as to join us here in our limited physical envelopes and embody the Divine in Jesus’ form- THIS GOD…

    This God, this Jesus, Who created a universe intricate beyond our capacity to encompass, so beautiful and dynamic that we are only beginning to be able to fathom it with the great tools of science that God endowed us with the ability to discover– This God is anti-science?

    This Jesus, this God who so loves the divine sparks that reside within all God created, who again and again spoke to us of the greatness of love, the very nature of God– This God is pitching fits because of human love that offends a narrow set of interpretations of what is or is not sanctioned expressions of love?

    This God, this Jesus, who endowed our species and each one of us with ever-expanding abilities to discover and perceive and examine the fabulous universe created by God as an expression of that Divine love– This God wants us to not explore, not examine, not discover, not read, not know anything new or scary to the cramped, crabbed minds of literalist patriarchal shamans trying to protect their own power base?

    This is not Jesus as he speaks to me.

    This is not God as I understand God.

    The God I know, the Jesus in my heart– The love and gratitude that flows from those unfailing fountains, how can they turn their backs on this? How can they be content with tiny, adulterated droplets of stale, flat water when a living ocean of love and understanding is there, free for all?

    I confess, the demands that come with embracing that Divine love, and letting that Jesus live and shape my heart, and shape my life– these are not small. There is nothing “easy” about the obligation to think, read, study, contemplate, and listen closely to the Divine song, and make my choices and actions based thereon, and abide the consequences that shape my soul therefrom.

    I confess, it would be easier to have a short, unchanging set of invariable and inviolate Divine “rules” that apply in every circumstance to tell me exactly what God wants, and a set of wise, infallible elders whose interpretations of those rules are always correct and whose directions are always right for me. To just have to ask, and then do, unthinkingly, and know that in so doing I am “right with God.” That has its appeal.

    But that is the path to an ever-shrinking God.

    And the God of my understanding, the Jesus in my heart– these are too great to be so confined.

    I pray for those who keep cutting parts off God in the unceasing and futile attempt to keep Him in their little box.

    • http://www.kathleenberger.com Kathy

      My goodness, Cecile, I’m an agnostic and that was just beautiful to read – like poetry, seriously. And Frank, thank you for this piece, it made for a terrific, enlightening read. And yes, it should be “extent” rather than “extant,” but it’s a teeny weeny quibble and feel free to tell me to kiss your grits.

    • GJ Dewey

      Cecile, I heartily endorse Kathy’s comments. What an exceedingly-beautiful exposition of God’s relationship with his beloved creation. Would like to copy and save with your permission!

      • Cecile L.

        GJ Dewey, and Kathy- I’m honored by your appreciation, and grateful for your kind feedback. The words are free to anyone who wants to use them- share by all means!

        • GJ Dewey

          Thank you ;)

    • Karen Blalock

      Thank you, Cecile, for focusing on the divine nature and our response to the immensity of what we say we believe. It always amazes me that those who proclaim their faith with ever-increasing volume and vehemence are Fundamentalists. (Because that’s what they are, even though the have evolved semantically to label themselves Evangelicals, in much the same way ‘anti-abortion’ became ‘pro-life’). Most Christians are evangelical (spreading the good news of Jesus to a world which needs healing), but many choose to practice their evangelism by living the faith in practice and community without sermonizing as they do.

      What are fundamentals, that they should be so revered?
      The basics–the bare bones–the least amount necessary to define the subject.
      The bread and water of faith. Not the rich banquet to which all believers are invited…so why is fundamentalism (now entwined with evangelicalism) such a quality to be desired in lives of faith? A simple answer : it’s not. But it IS simple. Simple is easy. Sometimes simple is true, but truth and simplicity are not the same thing.

      Fundamentalists like simple. Most of the thinking has already been done for them, saving them the soul-searching, the self-examination and evaluation, not in contrast to others, but in contrast to the incomparable, Christ. Not for them the hard question ‘who is my neighbor?’

      If I had a disease that was threatening my life, and I consulted a physician, I wouldn’t want one who told me, “I’m a fundamentalist doctor. I know all the basics– can tell an ear from an elbow. There’s no need for labwork or diagnostics. We’ll make an incision, take something out, sew you back up. All the fundamentals will be covered. And I will tell anyone who will listen that a good bit of cutting and looking around, with some stitching up after will cure most things. If someone doesn’t make it, they probably weren’t meant to live anyway. Beyond our need to know.” How fast would I run from that so-called physician to someone not so obviously inadequate?

      Don’t give me that stock Fundie response of, “You’re speaking of Worldly things. The things of God are not judged by the standards of the World.” Because there is a world God created needing a Great Physician and what they see most respresented as God’s own people sends them looking for another opinion and another option as fast as they can. Who can blame them?

      But we who do believe must carry some of the blame if we do not show by our actions, attitudes, words and works that the kingdom of God holds more than the blustering bullies with their certain superiority and condescending compassion. If indeed, we are all part of the family of God, it may be necessary to explain and apologize to someone who does not yet know who is who that every family has a few who embarrass or infuriate, but sadly, share the same name.

      • Cecile L.

        Thank you, Karen-

        You identify and clearly describe one of the most troubling aspects of “Fundamentalism” as a faith construct. Human beings are not simple creatures- we are LIFE, and all life is a vastly complex, multi-layered phenomenon.

        Complexity is scary, but it the only way to evolve. Refusal to evolve, as a soul or as a species, is turning one’s back on the Creator who put the divine spark of soul into us. It is saying “NO!” to God.

        When I determined to take Jesus into my heart, and allow my soul to be remade in the image of the Christ, it was not time to dust my palms, smile smugly and say, “Well, good, now I’m ‘saved,’ mission accomplished. As long as I follow some preacher’s rule book, all’s copacetic.”

        To do that would be the equivalent of opening a door, and then standing just inside it, telling everyone how lovely it is “out here.”

        To say “yes” is only the first step on an arduous but joyful journey, learning by studying, contemplating, acting, thinking, observing, and feeling. Help is all around us, but in the final analysis the equation involves only my soul, and my Creator.

        Fundamentalism as preached by the current crop of worldly shamans is incredibly toxic. It’s positioned as “Jesus for Dummies,” but it is in very real fact “anti-Jesus.” (I do not use “anti-Christ” because of the semantic associations with the corrosive Millenialist heresy.)

        This is not to say that any given disciple of the Lord is required to study Greek and Aramaic, examine every text, every interpretation, every dialectical criticism or exigetic argument. (Indeed, to do so might easily detract from the study of the great and living Gospel written in God’s Creation all around us.)

        But it does require us to think. To learn and examine. At the beginning, perhaps we can think one or two or three ripples outward from any worrisome action or grave decision. That’s confusing enough. And we will make wrong choices. But we learn more from one wrong choice than from many right choices. THAT is what the Christ came to tell us about salvation, and the meaning of “Be perfect, even as I am.” Not “perfect” as a static unchanging state at the pinnacle of a frozen moral hierarchy, but “perfect” each day, having learned from the mistakes of yesterday and boldly unafraid of tomorrow’s choices.

        To reject this encompassing commitment to unceasing effort and discernment is understandable. We all have fears to cope with, we are all flawed and human and worried that we will not be “good enough.” I can’t judge anyone else whose fear and anxiety leads them to embrace the simplistic heresy of “Fundamentalism” as we are discussing it here.

        But I can reject those who set up a false image of God, an image created in the likeness of their own petty, fearful, greedy, power-hungry selves.

    • NakedAnthropologist

      That was beautiful, Cecile. I’m an atheist (if a sometimes hesitant one) and even I loved your explanation of god and your beliefs. Poetic and beautifully wrought.

  • Lennis Johnson Powell

    Really good read, Mr. Shaeffer. And I would add only that the (“suddenly embrace”) adjustment mentioned by Ronald DeGrove above provides very strong evidence that the so-called faithful damned well can “reconcile their traditional beliefs with modernity!” They certainly abandoned all their traditional objections to the erstwhile “cult of Mormonism” very quickly in the face of the very modern development of the actual election the country’s first black president! The Black Man the White House phenomenon just flat out exposed fundamentalist Christians in all their age-old hypocrisy! I, too, was born to and baptized in an evangelical faith. The circumstances of my birth themselves forever negate any serious consideration of the “theory” of Intelligent Design!

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Lennis, thanks for reading my article and for the great comment. You line here is great: “the so-called faithful damned well can “reconcile their traditional beliefs with modernity!” They certainly abandoned all their traditional objections to the erstwhile “cult of Mormonism” very quickly in the face of the very modern development of the actual election the country’s first black president! The Black Man the White House phenomenon just flat out exposed fundamentalist Christians in all their age-old hypocrisy!”

      Thank you! Best, Frank

  • Richard Burgess

    I grew up in a conservative Evangelical family to whom everything was a sin or a temptation to sin. My grandparents refused to allow a television or radio in their home because they believed them to be “tools of the devil.” In my early teens I began to question the Genesis myths based on my having read the older Sumerian texts from which they were obviously copied. At the age of 16 years I was considered “a man” and was no longer forced to attend church.

    I entered college as a confirmed atheist. There I took a wine appreciation class given by the campus parish priest. In addition to an appreciation for a fine Merlot he taught me that the Beatitudes trump the Ten Commandments and I converted to Catholicism.

    When John Paul II began to reverse the teachings of Vatican II and started returning the Catholic Church to its old, hateful irrelevant view of the world I once more stopped going to church and do not attend church now. However, the experience revealed to me one ultimate truth.

    The image of Christ on the cross represents the possible salvation of our species. Christ on the cross became the pathway by which all the sin, meanness and hatred was released from the world – like a pressure valve. When we imitate Christ and allow the evil actions of others to pass through us the world becomes a better place. When we fight back against evil, as in “an eye for an eye,” we not only trap the evil committed against us we compound the evil by our response.

    Love is simple and uncomplicated. Love understands, accepts, and overlooks. Love was the standard Christ called us to. By that standard it easy to tell the sheep from the wolves.

    • GJ Dewey

      Amen!

  • Jim Manning

    In spite of the seemingly insurmountable man-made barriers that are causing so much havoc in our country today, there is a groundswell of individuals and organizations creatively exposing those barriers and finding ways to build bridges of understanding.

    Frank, you and the Christian Left are vividly and effectively exposing the drastic attempts of the GOP Evangelicals to spread a deadly disease that could rip apart the very foundations of American Freedom and Democracy.

    Not only must we expose this deadly disease, find an effect cure and tear down the barriers that separate us, we must look beyond. In spite of so many tragic reversals, the long history of humanity seems to indicate a slow but determined attempt to create a better world where the highest aspirations of all humanity can become a reality.

    I am personally convinced that Romney and his followers are deliberately attempting to spread a deadly disease that could literally destroy the American Dream for 99% of the people, and I am even more convinced that Obama has the ability and the desire to reopen the American Dream for the 99%.

    Feel free to use my comments.

    “Catch The Vision”-Let us all “Build Bridges of Understanding”
    and help make the World A Better Place!
    Let’s create a world -where people of every religion, every race,
    every culture, every political persuasion, every nationality and
    every background, can join hands and hearts to help create a
    much better world where we can all live together in peace and
    prosperity, freedom and justice, goodwill and dignity.

    MAY THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH AND GOODWILL TO ALL…
    BECAUSE GOD, JEHOVAH, ALLAH… BLESSES ALL HUMANITY!

    Jim Manning
    Dallas TX
    jimbettymanning@tx.rr.com

  • John

    Hi Frank,
    Thanks for this post. I was a right wing blind follower. Now, I think for myself and as someone said earlier I have the discerning ability from God, which is grounded in His love, to go His way.. Keep writing!

    • Frank Schaeffer

      John, thanks so much for the kind note. Best, Frank

  • http://lancobarnart.com Dan Dennis

    I am a little torn about how I feel concerning the vehemence towards the right in this article. In most ways I believe it is justified, especially because it is directed towards the ideologies that lead us into two recent wars that lead to the horrific deaths of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of innocents. I guess I feel that the wool is over the eyes of so many -my friends, family and neighbors and they simply cannot see through. However, thanks, Frank for writing the article -I don’t think it will change the minds of many but will strengthen the base. The religious evangelical zealots will see this election as a referendum on abortion and gay rights (despite Jesus not saying a peep about either), and not realize they are being manipulated.

  • Susan Troxell

    I am so glad I found this piece of writing, because I have been living “as a refugee” from Evangelicalism since the mid-1980s, when I moved away from my parent’s home to attend music school. Prior to that, I was a committed “born again” girl, who believed in the Gospels, but could not ignore the alarms bells going off in my heart and head whenever I sat in Sunday School or Church. Much of if had to do with the establishment of rigid authority, the professed literalism of the Bible and the repeated emphasis on how the “modern world” was victimizing Christians and belittling their faith. It became worse when the preacher openly spoke from the pulpit about “feminists” who were unnatural, as though a woman who had leadership skills was deeply threatening to the authority of men and a travesty of her own making. (The latter made me very concerned, as I was a concert pianist who frequently played for their worship events; so I felt like a trained monkey, paraded out for a show of virtuosity in the glory of God, but then made to feel humbled by my gender.) The worst memories are those of ponderous displays of pro-Americanism. I recall rallies held under the auspices of my church during which flags were paraded down the aisle, patriotic songs sung, and a type of Nuremburg-style fervency towards viewing America as a New Israel were celebrated. As though God and America were intertwined.

    When I went off to college, I was able to step back a little, and take a longer perspective, and now decades later I’ve come to my own conclusions. Much of the power of the evangelical movement is to convince people that they are sinners or have committed a grievous past act, and you are asked to keep questioning yourself, to accept unquestionably that you are a Bad Person. If you succeed in convincing a congregation of people that they are worthless, then why not ask them to believe in other fictions too. They are so uncertain of themselves, so distrustful of their own judgment, that they are easily led into believing cockeyed conspiracy theories, and an alternate reality.

    In retrospect, I find this pitiful, because I see my evangelical mother, brother and sister all striving to overcome their own guilt, and feelings of inadequacy that have been preached to them for decades. I see the harmful spite that they have when they face a different opinion or viewpoint, because to admit being “wrong” about an article of absolutism, is threatening them to the core. I am deeply sad about this, and struggle with my sadness at every family reunion.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Susan, thanks so much for reading my article. Thanks too for the sensitive and moving comment here, really something that cuts to the heart of so many of our struggles. The sadness you speak of is real and deep in those of us who open our eyes a little to the fact we’ve wasted a great deal of time and energy on things that don’t actually matter. Once out there is a wall of fear between us and those still in the grip of powerful religious delusion that’s hard to climb over. Best, Frank

  • B. Walker

    It amazes me that these conservatives embrace Mitt Romney. I grew in the Baptist institution and was told that the Mormon religion was basically a “Cult” and far from God. Now these same people embrace him and his Mormon ways as the savior of America. Since God is an changing God did he decide and tell them “Oppps” I was wrong and now it’s ok to let a Mormon tell you what to do. Their emphatic unchanging stance of world has sure changed from when I was growing up. What was bad in God’s eyes then has changed for them. Yes billionaires and large overfunded religious institutions are trying to control everything. My God is a God of love and compassion for all people and expects those that have more help those that do not and not continue to “rape and pillage ” them with cooperate GREED!!!! If the church had done whatGod said to do “Take care of the needy ” then the government would not have had to come in and do it. The neoconservatives want all government social programs stopped but do not provide option for those that truly need them and were created by money whores saying its mine and you cannot have it, get off your rears and earn it, all the while continuing to increase prices while lining their billionaire cooperate pockets. When these cooperations pretend to be compassionate and donate funds to those in need, ie (Sandy victims) why do they have these funds sitting around if not for the fact they continue to overcharge for their goods. Greed has ruined this country and until that is brought under control we are DOOMED !!!!

  • Richard Burgess

    Frank,

    Your article induced such a powerful moment of self-realization that I forgot to say, thank you, for having published it. I hope it reaches many and awakens in them the same awareness of reason. Christ be with you.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Richard, thanks so much for this note. I’m grateful. Best Frank

  • Tom Barger

    Frank, I was fascinated to learn few years ago, your witness of the Reagan team exploiting, and creating, the abortion issue. And it was all a red flag to divert the attention from the scandal of the first divorced American president. You were there, and your father considered some of those powerful evangelicals to be insane. What happened that well meaning religious type people were abused by Cheney, bush, and rove, can the Christers not see the skid marks all and down their backside? One thing that you offer, frank, is the powerful and first hand testimony of the anti abortion campaign,  and the films. Please discuss that the inflammatory social issues exist merely for the profit of the rightwing oil billionaires. Anyway, I got out of the south recently. It is hopeless to see neighbors, relatives and congregants swallow fox news lies.

  • Tom Barger

    Very impressive, frank, that you engage in chat room dialogue. Best wishes.

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Hi Tom, thanks for the notes. I’d like to write more on engaging the anti-abortion movement and what was really behind the Republican Party embrace of the movement. You make a great point. I have already done some of this in my book Sex, Mom and God and devoted two chapters there to the “life issues” and how they’ve been used and abused politically. Best, Frank

  • Pingback: TELL ROMNEY CLIMATE CHANGE ISN’T A JOKE

    • http://ProjectionsFromSoul-Facebook Al Farthing

      Excellent article, and the responses are deeply honest , searching and courageous.
      Although I am a Canadian carry North Carolina genes, and I nearly weep to see the ongoing tragedy of such massive enslavement to theological forms which are as repugnant and outworn as those to which the author speaks so eloquently and courageously.
      The possibility that this mindset might be entrenched within the Presidency is truly horrific , not only for the American People but for the whole human family and the planet which is our home.

  • GD

    Hi Frank,

    I think you are correct on all counts. Your last point about Jesus and love is where most Evangelicals (I would submit almost 100% of the 73% you point out) miss the mark. For some reason, they will believe and talk about all the incredible aspects of the Bible, yet won’t talk about or implement Jesus love (unless it is of course, how Jesus saved them personally).

    I have dealt with many of whom you speak and some remind me of General Ripper from Dr. Strangelove who will talk to you about any crazy conspiracy as if it is true. Ripper claimed the communists were taking over our “precious bodily fluids” and many evangelicals believe in birtherism, that Obamacare is socialist (it’s not), etc.

    • http://frankschaeffer.com Frank Schaeffer

      HI GD, I love the General Ripper mention, just so and thanks for reading my post. Please pass it on. Best, Frank

  • jinkaz

    just as Cynthia responded I didnt know that a single mom able to profit $4478 in four weeks on the computer. have you seen this page ace60.com

  • Tom Barger

    We are in the final sprint of tes election. This article says the anti abortion crowd will sway the votes in Ohio. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-abortion-20121104,0,2991763.story

  • Tom Barger

    Think about the consequences of the next president nominating the supreme court. John Roberts is chomping at the bit to start smashing around the china shop. It is possible right now, that kennedy will provide the swing vote to overturn roe vs. wade. Roberts has some worries about the perception of the court, and the seven catholics with deep down DNA resistance to contraception. I, for one, would like to see the next nomination to be of the Jewish faith, with it’s reverance for the old perceived wisdom. How did science and women’s reproduction choices come to take over politics? The seminal event was the production of the film series, How do we thus live. Great powerful use of media. How did Reagan benefit from the evangelical movement?

  • Theresa Mason

    Dear Frank….you have given me hope! Thankyou!

  • Venus Van Horn

    It seems I have a kinship with many of those who are committing on your thoughtful article. I also grew up in the evangelistic circles, being a music minister and women’s study teach for a large assemble of God church in Mo. My father was the head of security for Jimmy Swaggart and my church was very politically active with regular visits by politicians such as John Aschroft. I worked for Family Christian Bookstores for 15 years and read and sold both your father’s and mother’s works. I didn’t know of you until today. (I can’t wait to read your books now!) As I’m sure you know, when you escape from this fear-mongering religious lifestyle it can be a very lonely path. I actually credit God for getting me out of it. I’ve been free now, for 13 years and when I look back over my life, it’s only the things I did in the name of “religion” that I regret. Picketing abortion clinics, leading homosexuals to “christian” counselors to cure the gay or being a puppet so easily manipulated by whoever was standing behind the pulpit. I was so moved by your article and by the comments of others who have apparently walked the same path. It’s good to know there are others who share my story and have emerged without losing their passion for what is right, but have learned to think rationally and make decisions based of facts rather than fear.
    Thank you!

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Venus, Wow, you’ve had an interesting journey! Please do read my books and let me know what you think. Contact me here or at Frankschaeffer.com
      Best, Frank

  • http://www.nature.com Agnikan

    Romney wants to see Sandy’s birth-certificate.

  • arthur1526

    The appointed hour is determined and does not change.
    From Risalei Nur collection by Said Nursi.

    http://www.nur.gen.tr/en.html#leftmenu=Risale&maincontent=Risale&islem=read&KitapId=494&BolumId=8752&KitapAd=The+Flashes+(Revised+2009+edition)&Page=271

    So know firstly and believe firmly that the appointed hour is determined and does not change. Those weeping beside the grievously sick and those in perfect health have died, while the grievously sick have been cured and lived.
    The appointed hour is not known: in order to deliver man from absolute despair and absolute heedlessness, and to hold him between hope and fear and so preserve both this world and the hereafter, in His wisdom Almighty God has concealed the appointed hour; it may come at any time. If it captures man in heedlessness, it may cause grievous harm to eternal life.
    Illness, however, dispels the heedlessness; it makes a person think of the hereafter; it recalls death, so he may prepare himself. Some illnesses are so profitable as to gain for a person in twenty days a rank they could not otherwise have risen to in twenty years.

  • Steve D

    The Republican party has become the cynical leading the gullible.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Well said Steve, and thanks so much for reading my post. Best, Frank

  • Becky Brooks

    I hope you are right that Obama will win. I would not put it past the crazed Republicans that you describe here, rigging voting machines to give the outcome that they want. I urge voters to request and use a paper ballot.

  • Bill S

    Fundamentalism is wrong because all religion is wrong. This country needs the most secular leaders that we can find.

    Romney was secular when he was governor of Massachusetts, but now he has to play up to the religious right and will be beholden to them if elected. Obama is 100% secular and is standing up to the Catholic Church on the HHS mandate and women’s rights.

    • Thib

      Romney was NOT a secularists when he was Governor of MA. He was a Mormon! He even held official ranks in the Church of Latter Day Saints. He was a bishop!

    • Thib

      One more thing: Obama is not a secularist either. He’s a Christian.

  • rvs

    Impressive rant! I am reminded of Ginsberg’s Howl.

  • Deb

    OMG, where have you been all my Christian life??? Thank you for writing this blog and telling the truth. I’m a Democratic Christian voting Obama!

  • DK

    I think many are looking at it backwards. The political right has created and co-opted the religious right by using religious means. Right wing political and right-wing media conservatism now FUNCTION as the predominant religions (along with Materialism) in the US.

    Right wing news media is all about preaching fear and anger- righteous hatred of the EVIL it never ceases to find on the other side. Like Fundamentalism, it distrusts and mocks science and reason and “secular” education. It reduces current issues to a few simplified talking points (usually straw men), and repeats them constantly, until they are ingrained and not doubted or questioned, no matter how mistakenly understood.

    (My own mother used to be strongly to devoutly religious. I live abroad, but was able to spend more time with my parents for a few weeks last year and this. Her religious faith seems to be supplanted. She has become addicted- I use that word deliberately- to right-wing news media. She’ll become visually agitated if she is taken away from listening to Limbaugh in the afternoons, or Huckabee or other Fox News in the evenings. She becomes angry and defensive if any of these values are ever questioned, if asked for a response that goes beyond the extent of the catechism the right-wing media has given her.)

  • Gibbo

    I live in England. My desire would be for more input of Christian values into our UK politics but we are too small a voice and are generally ignored. But when I read of the far right in America maybe we are blessed to have a secular government in the UK?

  • Bill S

    Thib,

    By secular, I don’t mean atheist, I mean not governing based on one’s religious beliefs.

  • Robert Blackmon

    I applaud Frank’s clear explanation of the way evangelicals have evolved from political pawns into dangerous know-nothingniks. I would love to read his thorough examination of the essential catalyst in this process – lobbyists. Whether writing legislation or corralling votes in Congress, lobbyists create laws and the language used to sell them to the ideologically pure reflexive right.

  • Ted Seeber

    The problem is, I see the left, while being exactly the opposite on libertine sexual values, as being exactly the same on libertine fiscal values.

    Is there any place for a socially conservative fiscal distributist left in America? Probably not. It’s just an economy run on death.

  • David

    Having grown up in an evangelical conservative household, I can only say “amen.” I had to learn to love the Lord in spite of the deliberate attempt to conflate God with political ideology. It is funny how people are being seduced into believing that they can serve God and Mammon.

  • Frank Schaeffer
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  • Harry Vest

    Franklin,
    Really enjoy your articles. Just a thought and a suggestion. What if what has been happening with the so called “Religious Right” since the advent of Falwell, Robertson and the beginning of the Reagan years and what is has morphed into now is all part of prophecy? I came across this website many years ago and have been fascinated by the theories ever since. I’m not saying that everything spoken is the truth but I do believe they see an angle which most seem blind to or just choose not to see. Check them out and I’d love to know what you think. Like you I was involved in a fundamentalist church in the 1980′s. Strange thing is though, that even during those years I always suspected the “Religious Right” to be “AntiChrist”. Anyways, here’s the website. If you have some extra time read through some of the articles and let me know what you think. Thanks and take care. http://www.antipasministries.com

  • Jason Bruce

    I am a agnostic atheist, and nothing has driven me further of Christianity then these greed worshiping zealots masking themselves as Christians. These type of people are the anti-Christians, they say they are for Christs teachings but go against everything he says. Ghandi said it best “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

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