Shaming God: Embarrassing Evangelicals

Shaming God: Embarrassing Evangelicals December 18, 2012

Sometimes it is downright embarrassing to be an evangelical.

Oh, I’m not the least bit afraid to speak the name of Jesus, or to tell others that I’m a person of faith.

What shames me is that in claiming the name of Jesus I immediately become associated with some of the most judgmental people: Evangelicals in the hands of an angry God.

People like Fred Phelps and his Westboro clan.

Or James Dobson, who said the Newtown, CT., massacre is the result of Americans turning their backs on God.  Pay back for gay marriage as it were.

 I think we have turned our back on the scripture and on God almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on, Dobson said. 


And Dobson isn’t the only Evangelical acting like God’s loudmouth.

Bryan Fischer, host of American Family Association radio show, said God did not protect the Sandy Hook’s victims because prayer was removed from the schools. Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Americans should not be surprised at the tragedy because “we have systematically removed God from our schools.”

And Tennessee Pastor Sam Morris stood before his congregation and told them the following about the murders in Newtown:

We ought to “string Adam Lanza up in public and set his body on fire and leave it out there to let the birds pick his bones.”

– “We get all up in arms about 20 children being shot in a day care but we don’t give one good-glory rip about the 4,000 that were removed violently from the wombs of their mothers [in abortion procedures] the same day,” he explained. “I believe they use children and Christmas and all that to pull on our heart strings about gun control. That’s what it’s all about.”

“What’s behind this shooting that we saw on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Connecticut and the other one’s like it? What’s going on. Well, number one, deception… I got news for you, when you kicked God out of schools, you’re going to be judged for that.”

Poor God. Do you think he is ever ashamed to be associated with the likes of us Evangelicals?

Consider this:

If your faith simply compels you to be afraid, to shut yourself off from the world, to think you are better, more righteous, more right than everybody else, that is not faith. It’s the Religion of Certainosity. A belief system for people who are more concerned with being right than they are redeemed.

If your faith compels you to be so afraid of an impending economic collapse, that you stockpile weapons, that’s not faith.

If your faith compels you to isolate yourself from those you deem less than, that’s not faith.

If your faith compels you to speak ill of anyone who thinks differently than you, that’s not faith.

If your faith compels you to despise others for their wickedness and to gloat in your own goodness, that’s not faith.

If your faith compels you to be abrasive in your speech, caustic in your humor, and hateful in your attitudes toward others, that’s not faith.

If your faith compels you to think you have the right to firearms, that’s not faith.

If your faith compels you to blame God for the failures of humanity, that’s not faith.

If your faith compels you to denigrate others, that’s not faith.

If your faith compels you to consider others as emissaries of evil, that’s not faith.

That’s something else entirely different than the Gospel Narrative Jesus lived.

Given the opportunity to call forth the angels of heaven to fight on his behalf, Jesus refused.

Given the chance to slay those who sought to kill him, Jesus refused.

Given the chance to blame God for his own suffering, Jesus refused.

Given the chance to reject the people who rejected him, Jesus refused.

Given the chance to condemn anyone, Jesus refused.

Jesus did not come in order that we have the right to bear arms — he came to wrap his arms around us. Should we do any less toward one another?

When will Evangelicals ever learn that we are not sinners in the hands of an angry God, but dear ones grasped by the nail-scarred hands of Christ?

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  • Karen, I share your sentiments regarding those with misplaced opinions and agendas. Seems to me that showing the love of Christ is a much more effective salve than wielding a sword of judgement against others, especially in a time like this.

  • Karen, you spend the first half of the blog post saying that people should not be spouting off certainosity-based opinions about the way things should be, then you spend the 2nd half doing the same thing. I’m having a hard time reconciling what you say here (in the 1st half) with the statements you have made over the weekend, blaming the NRA, saying “Huckabee is an idiot”, etc.
    How is saying it’s the NRA’s fault any different from Dobson saying it’s our fault for not following God as a nation? How can you follow “Huckabee is an idiot” with an admonition to not “be abrasive in your speech… and hateful in your attitudes toward others”?

    • Where’s the quote where I say the NRA is at fault? Regarding Huckabee, I call ’em like I see ’em. Jesus did the same.

      • Facebook the day of the shooting: “I was in the newsroom the day Columbine
        happened and 15 were killed. We swore then that things would change and
        they did the NRA became even more vigilant.”

        As for “I call ’em like I see ’em”, that’s fine. You can do that. But so did James Dobson and all the others you are calling out in this blog post. What I am seeing is that you are very inconsistent with yourself. You want people who agree with you about gun control or abortion to call it as they see it, but you don’t want to hear from those on the other side.

        • The NRA became more strident. That’s not opinion — that’s factual.

          It is not factual to say that God’s judgement is upon a nation because of gay marriage, because of evolution, because of prayer being taken out of school (I pray in school all the time btw), fill in your specific blank.

          I don’t care that others disagree, James. You’ve followed this blog long enough to know that’s not a fair statement. I don’t want to tell others what to think. But I would like for them to think and the statements of these evangelicals in light of Newtown are indicative of people who aren’t being very thoughtful.

          • Denise

            But you are still interpreting events, just like Dobson et. al. You are telling others what to think, you listed a laundry list of issues that are and have been debated by Christians for years, and writing them off as “not faith.” Again you are allowed to share your assertions on your blog, but you are being inconsistent by condemning evangelicals who share their interpretations of circumstances in light of scripture: “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Rom. 1:18).

          • Denise, those are the scriptures and they are true, interpreting them aside. I think the problem is in assuming that events like the mass shooting Karen is writing about (and Dobson/others are referencing) should be automaticaseen as God’s judgement. I think it’s presumptous to say so, and reckless. I read the following comment on Facebook yesterday responding to a post on the topic and thought the person brought up a great point… “It is a sad day when the loud voices of certain Christians are at least careless. It appears from Romans 1, that dishonoring use of the body (sexually speaking) for unnatural relations IS the proof of God’s judgment. How does a shooting in an elementary school by a deranged or mentally ill or demon possessed individual relate to Romans 1? The national argument for putting God out of our culture and government establishments is flaky and rooted in a navel gazing, nationalistic hermeneutic of Scripture that precedes this nation by a few thousand years. What pastor (in his right mind) in Newtown CT. would minister to his towns-people and families directly effected by the shooting would say, “This tragedy is God’s judgment on America for us turning our back on God.” I mean really; how does that help or console a hurting people and communicate hope in a good God. That makes God sound like a Jr. High boyfriend after a break-up who can’t live with out us while standing outside the gates of America playing a song from the Chicago 16 album. It is true that God judges but it is careless for a sinner to determine HOW God judges in creation. Even unbelief is a form of God’s judgment after God’s general revelation. A better question might be, “What has the Church done with God’s revelation?” in light of Romans 1. According to 1:7 – the letter is written to the followers of Christ.”

          • Denise

            I’m not defending any or all of the statements made that Karen quoted from Christian leaders, especially when not put in context. I was countering her point that their interpretations are baseless while only hers and her kind are in reality. I wasn’t saying that God killed those kids because of homosexuality in the nation, but countering her point that God doesn’t judge based on homosexuality, etc.

            The fact is, none of these quotes weren’t stated in a funeral context but in national ongoing conversation. I believe Christian leaders should be discerning in when and what they share, but also, the media will always rush to villify and take out of context statements like these. In defense of Huckabee at least, apologist Jerry Walls explains: “His point, I take it, is that there is something profoundly inconsistent in wondering where God is in times like this, yet utterly ignoring him, if not outright denying him otherwise. If there is serious intent to the question, God cannot be rationally ignored and trivialized the rest of the time.” This is not a heretical or extremist view. I believe it was Schaeffer that said philosophers rule the world, because what follows from academic thought, overflows in government and society and cultures therein.

          • Denise

            None of these quotes *were* stated in a funeral context…Sry.

          • Actually I could name numerous Christians in leadership who have made such statements: Huckabee for one. Dobson for another. Robertson says crap like that all the time.

          • Denise

            What’s your point?

          • Steve Page

            It seems you would rather that people feel good rather than be good. Jesus did not just comfort people he told them to go and sin no more. Your view of the Lord is not balanced with what Scripture says about Him. God is love, but he is just and He is Holy, Holy, Holy.

            If you are a Christian you are in a covenant with the Lord, if you break that covenant he will divorce you as he did Israel. He was patient for 400 years or so, but he did “break-up.”

            Our nation has embraced narcism, hedonism, and materialism for decades and now we are seeing the results. The Lord did not need to have a hand in this tragedy or tragedies like this, they are the necessary outcome of our sick culture.

          • cken

            One has to wonder if Paul had known his letters were going to be a part of what we call “scripture”, would he have written them the same? I think Paul would have railed against the idea of his words being part of scripture as following a man rather than the teachings of Jesus in as much as he warned other churches not to follow the teachings of man. In Deuteronomy it says we should stone to death those who believe in other gods. Does that mean we as Christians have a duty to kill all those who don’t believe in our God? In Leviticus it says a women should not be allowed in the house when she is having her period because she is unclean. In Genesis it says the gods had sex with the humans.
            My question is, how exactly do we know which verses to base our judgmentalism on and which ones we should ignore? Is Paul to be given more theological credibility than the first scripture – The Torah?

          • You twist a few truths, and present non untruths, as well. the rules in Deut and Lev. only applied to a group of people at a certain time. Not you or me. Also, Paul did know his writings were Scripture. In fact, Peter knew Paul’s letter were Scripture. But most important, God is the one who wrote this stuff through Paul. So no, it wouldn’t have changed.

          • cken

            I have always admired and at the same time been amazed at people who could hold such simplistic beliefs. It seems these people, like yourself, are literalists, but yet pick and choose what portions of the Bible they take literally. Usually their response to a question is to pick and choose the portion of the question they want to respond to using some form of Apologetic logic which is almost always specious.

          • Denise

            You asked a question, which James answered, and instead of assessing the validity of his answer you automatically assume he is cherry-picking. Are you really interested in the answer or are you just trying to attack?

          • Gee, thanks for the clarification. All this time, i thought I had been reading it clearly when it said God gave those laws only to the Israelites as they were coming out of 400 years of slavery, with nobody who had any experience at making or enforcing any laws. I clearly have been mistaken. Thanks for straightening me out.

          • Denise
    • JR Tomlin

      Don’t much like hearing the truth, do you? It stings.

  • Hurrah for someone who seems to remember what true Christianity is. Keep telling it like you see it, Karen!

  • Ramona

    Wow, how articulate and powerful, Karen! Thank you for saying what I often think.

  • Gloria

    “dear ones grasped by the nail-scarred hands of Christ” – these words are very powerful and touched my heart today. Thank you!

  • AFRoger

    Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther said that whatever it is we flee to and cling to in times of stress, this is our God. For some us us, that is clearly our weapons, since gun sales spike after every such event we have just experienced.
    My wife is an education assistant in an elementary school with kids from some of the most impoverished and broken homes in the city. She and the teachers there haven’t had, as the tirade preacher has said in the video, three milliseconds of time in the past ten years to try to teach “humanism”. For the most part, they are living white knuckled day to day trying to get the basics of language and numbers and reading and self control, basic civility, into these kids, many of whom spend their only hours in a non-violent, non-stressful environment with some actually recognizable rules and standards for behavior–when they are in school.
    Ain’t a teacher in the bunch that wants to usurp the authority of the home and the parents, to brainwash their little charges into atheism and humanism, yada, yada. They are too often the only adults in many kids’ lives that cannot substitute TV and video games for genuine human interaction, the only ones who practice problem solving rather than yelling and screaming. The only ones actually held accountable for their failures.
    My question: how much time have the talking heads actually spent mentoring kids, helping out in schools, and visiting their own neighbors in need? How often have they taken the need for prayer into the difficult lives of their neighbors and their kids? Jesus call was to make disciples. You do that by discipling, not by offloading the job and blaming others.

    • Powerful words, Roger, and ensconced in so much truth. Who has time to teach an agenda when the basics barely get covered in a school day?

    • sad people cling to their guns, really sad. Luther is reported to have said, Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God. That said, I don’t own a gun or cling to one, and neither do I plan to own a gun anytime in the future. I would like to say in defense of “some” (noticed you used that word and appreciate that) who do own guns, they don’t “all” cling to them. Years ago as a pastor I had another pastor friend a few years my senior who did have a gun, and like me, had two wonderful daughters. A man had broke into their home while he and his wife were out, but these two teenage daughters of theirs were at home. The man who broke in was not only robbing the home when they had returned but he had shot and killed one of their daughters and was about to rape their other daughter as they were arriving at the home, to their horror (as any father/parent can imagine, or wishes not to). Anyways, my friend had a gun at the home and was compelled to defend his daughter by shooting the intruder, something I’ll add, any sane and loving dad would do if his daughter was being assaulted in this way. It was really sad and the funeral was brutal. The family suffered for years to come, let me tell you. I guess the reason I tell the story is to say that not all folks who have guns cling to them, some defend their families who are being viciously attacked by those carrying guns who wish to do harm with them.

      It’d be nice to think that all of the knives, all of the chemical weapons, all of the chainsaws, all of the gas chambers, all of the abortion mills, all of the weapons, all of the things and places and PEOPLE period that injure other people and take the lives of those we love… were abolished. Gone forever. But that’s a fairy tale in this world. That’s not going to happen as long as man roams the earth. We can discuss and debate who needs a machete, or a military style machine gun for that matter. But demonizing in any way responsible gun owners isn’t the solution to this epidemic. The sickness this all stems from started in the beginning with Cain and Abel and won’t end until Christ returns and wipes away every tear, and murder, gun violence, you name it… will be no more.

      • JR Tomlin

        A heart rending story until you start considering how unlikely it would be that the intruder would have left the gun for your “friend” to shoot him with instead of taking it or that your “friend” could get to a gun with an intruder in the house. But it’s a pretty good story.

  • I totally think Dobson and the pastors who say as much or even insinuate these things need a muzzle. Shameful.

    But I do wonder having read this what Jesus would say about our murdering 1,200,000 babies each year in this country, I wonder what he’d say about our claim that we have the “right” to de-value these children’s lives to the point of disposing of them in the dumpster (lives he’s given us I’d add), cause that’s what it amounts to, how did we get here? I argue that it’s heartless and a shame upon us evangelicals if we can’t defend these innocents better. That might be another question to ask Karen. Just sayin.

    • Ken: How can we focus on the babies we can’t see when we don’t even do a good enough job of caring for the ones standing right in front of us?

      • probably reason enough to abort them all. There’s no argument for the careless flippant attitude we evangelicals have about taking a single life, let alone standing by silent while 1.2 million Barack Obama’s, John Stoll’s (my brother) and Tim Tebow’s a year who are burned or stabbed or chopped to death in their mother’s wombs – and aren’t allowed to see the light of day (unless of course they are killed after they are born). I really don’t know who you’re talking about (me, you, who?) not doing a good enough job Karen, says who? I know a whole lot of parents who do a good enough job. And many have adopted babies who would have otherwise been disposed of had they not stepped in, or had the attitude “how can we focus on the babies we can’t see?” But they didn’t. Thank God there are those who don’t take a “we aren’t taking care of the children we do have so let’s abort the ones we don’t have.” That’s nonsense. So, we oughta focus on the lives we can save, yes 20 young children we taken and how sad, but that’s no reason we should be aborting more.

        • You know what infuriates me? When men — and it is almost always men who do it — talk about babies being burned, stabbed, chopped to death in their mother wombs. These very same men will go into war zone and burn, chop, rape, beat, torture, blow up, maim, “enemies” and not feel one good-gory-rip guilt for it. It makes little or no sense to me. I have had an abortion Ken so if you are expecting me to jump on the bandwagon and spout this sort of inflamatory gospel then you’ve come to the wrong blog. I am doing the best I can. Perhaps you can do better. But on my blog we don’t talk this way about women who have had abortions. We speak to them with grace because I know first-hand the trauma of such a decision.

          • Denise

            What infuriates me is women who don’t allow men into the discussion of a serious moral question as even you admit, since an abortion can only be traumatic if one is killing an innocent human being and who spout out red herrings about war. We aren’t talking about vigilantes killing senselessly, but enlisted forces sent out by the government you and I voted in.

          • Who hasn’t allowed men into the discussion?I actually wrote about the discussion I had with the father of my aborted child. You can read all about it in AFTER THE FLAG HAS BEEN FOLDED. And I’ve certainly been more than willing to allow anyone so inclined spout off here. Seems to me, given the comments, you all have done quite a bit of spouting.

          • Denise

            Karen: “You know what infuriates me? When men — and it is almost always men who
            do it — talk about babies being burned, stabbed, chopped to death in
            their mother wombs.” You said that right after Ken brought it up, a valid point on his part. You played the woman card to shut him down. I don’t have any problems with anyone spouting, but I will point out their logical fallacies when I see them.

          • And that government? Roe v. Wade was enacted under a Republican administration, and has remained in effect under numerous administrations of both the Right and the Left, Republicans and Democrats, and a Congress of both, as well.

          • Denise

            What’s your point? Just because it is legal does not make it moral. Everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.

          • Hitler. Always Hitler whenever there isn’t a good point to be made. I’m just saying that all this blaming of Roe v. Wade as a liberal agenda that is causing God’s wrath upon a nation is not factual. Every president who has been in office since Roe v. Wade passed has claimed to be a Christian. Some of them have claimed to be evangelical Christians. Some have been conservatives. Some have been liberals. Yet, Roe v. Wade still stands on the books. So if the all the ills of society are the result of Roe v. Wade and the millions of aborted babies, then why hasn’t Roe v. Wade been overturned?

          • Denise

            My point about Hitler is a valid point so please don’t use your exasperation as a way to deflect. Liberals and conservatives alike voted him into power and in the same way legalized abortion has risen into a mammoth that is hard to oppose. Whether its overturned in my lifetime or not, I’m not sure, but I know God will hold me accountable in the end, assessing whether I fought back or sat back and relaxed saying “‘Peace, peace,’ where there is no peace.”

          • DC v. Heller was enacted under a Democrat administration, as was McDonald v. Chicago. What exactly is your point?

          • Hominid

            You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

          • Guest

            Do you care to expand upon your assertion or do you plan to leave it at that?

          • Hominid

            Why did you remove your name from this question, Karen, after I answered it?

          • Nobody has removed anything from any of the post, Ho.

          • Hominid

            Then why is it now from ‘Guest’ when you originally sent it under your name?

          • I have no idea why.

          • I’m good with that.

          • Hominid

            See Denise & Ken Stoll – they cover it pretty well. Your blanket indictment of men in general & warriors in particular are totally false and unwarranted Lib-Leftist crap. Why shouldn’t the father of a developing human being care about his baby? Why shouldn’t he have something to say about his child’s fate? I have no respect for any woman who would kill her own innocent, defenseless baby for her own convenience – it’s the most perverted, disgusting crime I can imagine. There is no justification for it and no amount of excuses or apologies can make it right.

          • The way the Right has been behaving, I feel grateful to be called out among the Left, who at least show a compassion for others and when they speak they do so reasonably.

          • It’s funny how the lens one looks through colors one’s vision. Instead of seeing compassion, I see a rush to politicize a tragedy for political gain when mourning and reflection should have been the order of the day. Instead of seeing reasonable speech, I have seen little more than ad hominem and malice.

          • Reflection manifests itself in many different art forms and writing styles.

          • Denise

            You’re being inconsistent. It seems that you’re the only one that’s allowed to “call ’em like I see ’em” and have “different writing styles,” but when you dislike our arguments, we are accused as “unloving.”

          • Deflection manifests itself in many different art forms and writing styles. fify

          • Hominid

            Really?? That worn-out cliche again that those on the right are not ‘compassionate,’ that they’re ‘haters’ because they oppose your views? How are your baseless accusations in any way ‘reasonable,’ Karen?

          • Denise

            I agree with Chip and Hominid. I fail to see you actually reason with our arguments. Rather you deflect and accuse.

          • Steve Page

            I agree with you in part. (Why shouldn’t the father of a developing human being care about his baby? Why shouldn’t he have something to say about his child’s fate? )

            But when you said, “I have no respect for any woman who would kill her own innocent, defenseless baby for her own convenience – it’s the most perverted, disgusting crime I can imagine. There is no justification for it…..” You just validated much of what Karen has said.

            The choice to abort is often complex and made impulsively. Having your attitude will never help the issue, it’s divisive and it is un-Christlike. No doubt Jesus would have been against the abortion and he would have pointed out the sinfulness of it. But rejecting the person as you seem to do is something he would not have done. It’s something Christians should never do. We each have our own issues and reasons God should reject us, he doesn’t instead he embraces us when we ask to be forgiven and give our lives to him. You are, and I am, as sinful as any woman who has had an abortion.

          • Perhaps.

          • I have several women in my life who have had abortions, including a dear friend and then my own mother who speaks openly about it, so I so know about the devastation. We have been very active in crisis pregnancy causes for years and have seen much redmeption for those who have been victims of abortion and we’ve seen much rescue, women who have been spared the heartache and memory of something so harmful to all involved. You struck me as flippant Karen quite honestly about such a travesty in our nation, my being graphic isn’t nearly as graphic or disgusting as the doctors who daily take the lkives of innocent children as if it were a root canal. Grace isn’t wishing another woman would be put through such horror, so while you accuse of having graceless, we’ll leave that to God, whether his grace is active in my life is for him to decide and no one else.

          • That’s a terrific last line there, Ken. Why don’t you apply that approach to others as well? Let God be the judge.

          • Irenaeus

            Now I understand why you can write with such hypocrisy and apparently be totally blind to it. You are your own god and you have in your mind re-invented God into your own image.

          • Sigh.

          • Karen your attitude in this comment is so self-centered–w/ this issue it is clearly all about YOU. As a woman, I can safely say it is NOT “almost always men” who talk about the realities of abortion. Ken was not asking you to jump on any bandwagon. I sense your defensiveness reveals a heart that just might need to be cleansed of guilt. No-one was talking in a negative way about women “on your blog” anyway. I am totally with Ken here. Thanks Ken for being brave enough to call out Karen on this post.

          • Karen: Takes a bow, says glad I could provide a platform for all these loving Christians to assemble.

          • Denise

            Why is disagreeing with you unloving? Group think is so dangerous…

          • You assume that men who talk about babies being burned, etc. will go to a war zone. You assume that while there, they will burn, chop, rape, beat, torture, blow up, maim enemies (nice use of quotes on that word, btw) because, I suppose, simply shooting these “friends” would not be enough. You assume that Ken has no experience with abortion, and that it doesn’t affect him in any way. You assume too much.

          • Perhaps.

      • Irenaeus

        No, Karen. People like you artificially care about “kids you can see” mostly because of the guilt you feel over the millions of unborn innocents who are slaughtered on the altar of convenience with your consent. Legalized abortion represents one of the most perverse forms of idolatry in our modern age.

        • And you know all this about me how?

          • Irenaeus

            The same way you “know” all about James Dobson, Pat Robertson, etal…linking these men with Westboro Church – really??? Again, your hypocrisy is almost suffocating.

          • I didn’t link these Evangelicals. They did when they made their statements.

          • Irenaeus

            You have far more in common with Westboro than do those men. Like Westboro cultists, you are wildly irrational and very narrow-minded in your thinking.

  • Well said, Karen! Too often the contrast between Christ and “Christians” is shockingly clear. I hate it when people misrepresent him.

    • Thanks Glenn. Not all agree, as you can see, but that’s okay. They are at least challenged enough to think about their positions.

    • Denise

      Misrepresent him? Jesus said nearly the same thing:

      Luke 13 (NIV)
      Now there were some present at that time who told
      Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their
      sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were
      worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this
      way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4
      Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you
      think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I
      tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

  • Jo Hilder

    Why are we legislating our children pray for our protection from evil, when we, their parents and communities, refuse to lay aside the exact means by which that evil is perpetuated?

  • Beautiful! thank you.

  • Tim

    Karen, thanks for reminding me to pray my daily pharisaical prayer, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men.” It’s a whole lot easier than focusing my own sins.

  • The truth … well said! Thank You.

    • Thank you for saying so.

      • JR Tomlin

        Articulate and worthwhile. It is horrifying that so much of Christianity has been reduced to nothing by an exercise in hate and attempts to oppress others.

        • Denise

          Hate- that word is thrown around so much now. In the wise words of Inigo
          Montoya: “I do not think that word means what you think it means.” Which is

          “‘Peace, peace,’
          they say, when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14)


          “Out in the open
          wisdom calls aloud, They dress the wound
          of my people as though it were not serious. she raises her voice in the public
          square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:
          “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers
          delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:20-ff)

  • Rev. Frank S.

    Thanks for your thoughtful blog post. As a liberal UCC pastor I find I am often painted the same way by folks who have left or never found God’s love in a church. I must be an angry hate filled person who will only preach on what is wrong with people. It is frustrating and sad. The the Christian church which brought light and hope is now viewed as cynical and hate-filled because of a few rich, loud, and powerful evangelicals who seek to conform everyone to their world view. Sadly I think if Jesus were born today he would find a world not much different than the one 2012 years ago. A world where the few have tainted life for many.

    • Yes, Rev. Frank, I think you are probably right about that. We aren’t very different than those portrayed throughout Scriptures. We only have more tools at our disposal to make our messages of hate and intolerance go farther… but then again, those same tools can be used to minister and help as well. May God bless you as you seek to swim upstream.

      • Denise

        More trendy buzz words- hate and intolerance. Strong words that have been reduced to meaninglessness. It seems that anyone who says anything politically incorrect is hateful and intolerant. Jesus and the prophets weren’t politically correct. Why not engage with the content of the message instead of writing us all off?

        • The only person who has brought up the buzz words of politically incorrect is you.

          • Denise

            So then hate and intolerance are not buzz words? And neither are they politically incorrect?

  • JB13

    It’s not my faith that leads me to believe I have the right to firearms. I find that certainty in the text of the U.S. Constitution, in which it explicitly states (and, sad for pro-gun confiscation people like yourself, the SCOTUS has concurred) that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. My *faith*, however, informs me that “in this world we will have trouble.” And my faith informs me that it is my duty, in so far as it depends on me, to live at peace with those around me. My faith informs me that we are all God’s creatures; that we are all sinners; that there is a code of conduct expected of all of us; that we have all violated that code; that there is a punishment due for all of us; that God loves us so much that he gave his very own son to take the punishment that should be meted out on us; and my faith informs me such hope comes only by acceptance and belief in the seeming impossibility that death is not the end, and in the saving grace offered to us by a God whose love is bigger than anything. And my faith also informs me that a society that denigrates the importance of human life should not be surprised when human life is not respected by those who would do evil against it.

    • You have a right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment. You do not have the right to military-style weapons under the 2nd Amendment. That is something Bush W’s administration granted you. There is a difference.

      • “You do not have the right to military-style weapons under the 2nd Amendment.” Opinion. The second amendment neither promotes nor prohibits military-style weapons. What exactly is your definition of “military-style weapons”?

        • Not opinion. Fact. As you stated yourself. There was no such thing as an automatic or semi-automatic weapon of the nature Lanza used when the 2nd Amendment was made law.

          • Steve Page

            That’s a non-issue. Your logic fail because the constitutions writers were saying the citizenry had the right to have the same weapons as the military. They wanted their citizens armed with the same muskets the army had. They did not limit the amount of powder or the size of the musket ball, all things were equal.

          • Am I missing something here? Are automatic and semi-automatic weapons not considered arms? Besides which, you did not mention either; you stated, “military-style weapons.” To my way of thinking, muskets are military-style weapons, as are kabar knives, crossbows, etc. So, what you said was your opinion, and it appears to be made in the face of constitutional fact. By the way, you never did state what your definition of “military-style weapons” is…

      • Steve Page

        That’s just nonsense. The second amendment is about miltia and military. It’s not about hunting or self protection.

        “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

      • Andrew Karl

        Learn something about history before you write. Fully automatic weapons were legal until the 1930s and most semi- automatic weapons have never been illegal under federal law. Clinton outlawed a handful of semi-automatic weapons (mostly imports from China and Israle) for 10 years and that law expired. The AR 15 used at Sandy Hook, was never illegal under US or CT law.

    • JR Tomlin

      If you are going to quote the Constitution, quote it correctly and in full. What it says is: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free
      state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be

      What does you feeling all macho because you have a gun that can blow away a crowd of people have to do with a well regulated militia? Oh… right.

      Nothing. In fact, since it is anything BUT well-regulated for anyone and everyone to be able to blow away dozens of people with no reason, I’d say it is exactly COUNTER to the Constitution.

      • Please stop being dishonest. It is not productive to the conversation.

  • Irenaeus

    Karen, that is one of the most obvious displays of hypocrisy I have ever read. How can you take yourself seriously? I don’t even see the need to explain…

  • MPHollins

    I don’t like the line, “that is not faith” It does not feel right to present these ideas because it sounds very limiting. Is faith, believing that God raised Jesus from the dead or is faith something we reshape to fit our culture? In Romans, Paul labelled some behaviors and people as reprobate. He also made sharp and abrasive contrasts between godly and ungodly actions and the people that practiced them. Jesus also made distinction betweens disciples and non disciples. Biblical language is sometimes hard to swallow but without agitation and chemicals in a washing machine the clothes will not get clean.

  • John Hutchinson


    I think that you are being unfair to Mr. Dobson on the basis of the article that you have cited. He was speaking in generalities and not citing a particular piece of legislation or event etc to relate to this massacre. He cited multiple issues as markers to show the decline of practicable faith. And it is fair comment to relate that if one departs from ways that are meant to bring good and avoid evil, natural consequences will occur.

    • John: And I quote: During his radio program Monday morning, Dobson told his listeners,

      I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences too.

      And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on.

      How am I being unfair? Don’t you think it is beyond comprehension that Dobson, who had a professional career as a psychologist specializing in children, would take to the airwaves three days after the shooting and this, this is the wisest thing he has to say?

      • Steve Page

        Mr Dobson has Biblical ground to stand on, where you have very little.

        Jeremiah 3:8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.

        2nd Commandment “…I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

        John 15 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

        9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” ~Jesus

        Notice that in both the new an old testament the Lord said that to stay in His covenant we must obey Him. Jesus said elsewhere that if we love Him we’ll obey him. Oh yes he forgave and patience with Israel for hundreds of years and he’ll be forgiving and patient toward us and our country, but there comes a time when remove ourselves from covenant with God through our refusal to repent and turn to Him for reconciliation.

        Love is not Jesus only command though it’s the most important command. All scripture comes from His Spirit. Scripture holds us guilty for our narcism, hedonism, abortion, and materialism.

        America can’t claim to love God. Many Christians can’t even make that claim.

        • Okay. I missed the memo about grace, where God cancelled Christ’s death & resurrection. The way you use obey here is to put the burden of salvation back upon us. Who is to say who is “obeying”? We try. We falter. We try. We falter. Does that mean we are not obeying?

          • Denise

            Jesus says we are to judge a tree by its fruit, and speaking for America as a whole, we are lobbying for madness.

      • Denise

        As Steve Page noted, Jesus said nearly the same thing:

        Luke 13 (NIV)
        Now there were some present at that time who told
        Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their
        sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were
        worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this
        way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4
        Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you
        think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I
        tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

        • Ah.. so the children at Sandy Hook perished because of the sins of the nation?

          • Denise

            Are you asking for the big picture here or the immediate causes? They died and yet God is sovereign and glorifies Himself in both judgment and grace. Do you agree with Jesus that tragedies like these should cause us to take stock of ourselves and repent?

    • Denise

      I agree, John. I think he is pointing out that through postmodernism, America has lost its collective “summom bonum” of shared religious values which, Tocqueville noted, made us great. We have lost our “habits of restraint” or at least our moral context for them, which has led to the fracturing of society and individuals.

  • cken

    I understand the authors premise that our faith is more shallow and less open or tolerant than it should be. I do however believe God gave us certain unalienable rights and when man tries to take away or limit those rights we have a moral duty to defend those God given rights. To believe otherwise is to say it’s God’s desire we be enslaved to the most powerful among us, be that a government or individual.

  • Jack_Cayman

    I guess this simple-minded faith gains a lot of traction in our liberal world. The author should read the Old Testament and figure out how it relates to the New Testament. I guess this author could care less that God is being systematically removed from all facets of life by evil men. I guess this author could care less that John the Baptist told Herod to repent. I guess this author could care less that Jesus told the young rich ruler to get rid of his idols. I guess this author probably thinks that David (OT), a warrior who killed many men, was a very, very bad boy. I guess this author has no idea that God offers mercy and forgiveness for an extended season to every man but eventually a rejection of that offer results in judgment.
    A simple prayer for God’s presence and God’s protection at that school and in those classrooms could have very well stopped evil in its tracks. But that is way too offensive to liberals so lets not do that. Lets listen to and obey liberals who say prayer and God should be limited to church… within in four walls and a roof. Yes… we should all submit to liberalism and tell God to take a hike… out of schools, out of government… out of marriage… out of science… out of everywhere.

    • Is it God being removed that concerns you, or that there is no state-mandated God for all? Because I see God everyday in the university where I teach, in the faces of the students, in their questioning minds, in the wonder with which they approach the world, and in the hope for creating a better world that they cling to. And I see God everyday in my own marriage, in the marriages of my friends and neighbors, in the marriages of my father-in-law and mother-in-law, in brother and his wife, and my sister and her husband, in my sister-in-law and her husband, and now in the marriages of my own children. Yes. I see God there. And I see God in the face of Portia, a dog who embodies the word loyal and obedient. I see God in the birds that come to the feeder outside the window where the stained glass hangs. I see God in the forced smiles of doctors looking to give the least bit of encouragement to my dying mother. The only people who took God out of all of this are the ones who see evil at every turn instead of the God of Creation. People, who rather than look into the eyes of another, look down upon others, in judgement and criticism and scorn. If choosing love over judgement, choosing compassion over scorn, choosing to embrace rather than reject makes me a liberal, well, slap my momma and stick the label on my chest, where I’ll wear it proudly because I believe in the God of Creation… all Creation. It’s man that disappoints me. Not God.

      • Steve Page

        I’m not sure what god you are seeing, but it sounds nothing like the Holy God od of scripture. And I’m sure what you think love is, but what you are describing sounds more like enabling or something. Have you ever read the Bible from cover to cover? It doesn’t sound like it because very little of what you write is sound or Biblical at all.

        BTW you are the worst of those who cast judgement and condemn. You just think you are better because you have a popular target, but you are no better at all.

      • Denise

        No, we are not asking for a state-mandated God, we are fighting against a state-abolished God. Yes of course, common grace allows us to enjoy God’s gifts everyday, but something is amiss in society when it confuses ‘no state establishment of religion’ (such as the Anglican church) with obliterating whatever vestige of religion remains in the public square.

      • Jack_Cayman

        Ok fine. You sound more like a content Buddhist than a Christian. But yes… God shows up in all of those areas and all over creation. And you are correct… it is all something to behold.

        But what about the God of the Bible where he has also revealed Himself? You are defensive and I have attacked you but what if my critique is legit? WHAT ABOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT? Do you know Him in that context? What about the points on judgment I brought up?

        Do you have liberalism as an idol?

        Are you grieved that 50 million plus Americans have been aborted in the womb?
        Are you at all upset that God’s design of marriage is under sever attack?
        I do not like Westboro either. But we must discern good from evil and speak up!

        That Christians want a theocracy is a common liberal lie. I am not fooled by such nonsense.

        The God of creation is a God of awe. The same God has revealed himself in the WHOLE Bible and He is loving but just, compassionate but He hates evil, he is longsuffering but eventually His wrath is applied to unrepentant sin.

        Is that the God you know? Have you read the book of Isaiah where God rebuked false prophets? And who is Jesus? Let me know. You sidestepped my previous legit questions… hope you don’t do that again.
        Merry Christmas!

  • Mark Carlton

    Karen, I agree with most of what you have to say, but if even Nietzsche’s mad man could for foresee the dire consequences of the “death of God,” what is wrong with observing that what he predicted is coming to pass? I agree that many of the individuals you quoted need to put a cork in it, but others have a point but it needs to make it more artfully. I especially like the last half of your article.

    • I don’t happen to think this society is any less godless than the societies of the Scriptures. And when it comes to social justice issues, I think we may be more galvanized as a community of believers than ever. So I am not willing to step onto the platform that says we are so much worse than at any other time. I grew up during the Vietnam era. I remember the 60s and 70s. Pretty godless stuff then too, if that’s where one wants to focus. It’s not a matter of a nation turning against God. It’s a matter of religious leaders capitalizing on the fear of the people to manipulate them.

      • Denise

        To recognize human nature across history is different from reading the signs of the times with our own heritage’s breakdown. It’s not manipulation to sound the fire alarm when there is a fire.

  • Steve Page

    I don’t know if the Lord is pouring his vengeance out on America or not, I do know that he would be justified if he did. We have turned from him and gone farther astray than Israel ever did in her Old Testament history.

    I think you missed the point of what some of those that you mentioned have said. When we turn from the Lord and the principles that Jesus taught this is what we can expect.

    We have a toxic culture here. America is a “Saved by the Bell” culture where the relevant kids are those who are athletic, attractive and stylish and everyone else is less important, bullied and made fun of. Whole generations grow up thinking that behavior was normal and right. In our culture we change spouses like we change clothes and what we look like is more important than integrity or character.

    We are a culture that becomes addicted to competition from birth, in America even driving to work is a competition. Road rage? Our culture sucks. Forgive me for the crudeness but there is no other way to say it. Our culture needs to change.

    • Maybe I missed the point because of the way it was stated, or maybe it’s because Christians have earned a reputation of condemning a culture whenever anything tragic happens, instead of taking responsibility for not being more missional-minded.

      • Denise

        Christians have always acted as a beacon of moral restraint. That is part of what it means to be missional “…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:20). They did this simultaneously with taking care of “undesirables” of other cultures in ancient Rome as well as today, creating hospitals, adopting and the plethora of other jobs we work in to seek the peace and prosperity of the cities we’re called to (Jeremiah 29:7).

        • Listen, Denise, I can’t worry about whether others are obeying God or not. I’m too busy trying to figure out if I am or not. I don’t happen to think the shooting at Sandy Hook was the result of sin as much as it was the result of madness.

          • Denise

            So then your definition of missional is different from Jesus’ call to be missional.

          • Don’t you think madness can be a result of sin? Rejecting Jesus is mental WILLness, which inevitably leads to mental deficiency. Without being afforded Jesus’ guiding wisdom and right thinking, one cannot be expected to think or act righteously. Before such a person can be reasoned with, that person must be willing to be transformed by the renewing of his/her mind in Christ.

  • Steve Page

    I think there is a good example of what Jesus would say today about those shootings. It’s found in Luke 13.

    Luke 13 (NIV)
    Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

    6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

    8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

    Telling a nation or a person to repent is what Jesus would do. Him having an unwise emotional response is unlikely.

  • John S.

    Ahh, faith, the I believe in faith thingy. I have faith! I have faith in gravity and thus use the elevator instead of the window when going to my car at the end of the day. Nice to see you don’t let most of the bible influence but can cherry pick with the best of those whom you condemn.

    • Faith compelled by fear isn’t faith by its very nature. That’s not condemnation. That’s just definition.

      • Denise

        Who is being compelled by fear?

        • Look around you.

          • Denise

            That’s not an answer. What reasoning have we put forth that shows we are being compelled by fear rather than reason?

  • Fred

    I have a question for the Christians that refer to Scriptures that promote prospertity and aquiring “worldly goods”. They are overlooking what Christ said to the wealthy young man that wanted salvation,give your wealth to the poor. Worldly goods cannot be taken into eternity. These people are so averse to “socialism” that I wonder if their Scriptures tell them that We will not all be equal in (whichever) Eternity We gain entry into. I believe We will All be”equally” happy or tormented and be with some of the same people we “dislike” for a long, long time.

    • Wrote an entire book about Christians and their magic potion religion that ensures them prosperity — Joel Osteen’s church isn’t the largest in America for nothing — Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide? Zondervan.

  • Andrew Karl

    Our right to arm ourselves comes from our Constitution not faith. American’s can have faith, or not. Mark Twain described as “believing something you know ain’t true”. We all have the Constitution- which protects us from government as well as those who would impose their religious dogma on others.

    • You have the right to arm yourself. You do not, under the 2nd Amendment, have the right to semi-automatics and automatic weapons. That was given to you by GWBush’s administration and we intend to reinstate the ban. You can still arm yourself.

      • Andrew Karl

        Don’t you have to have some knowledge to write an article? I was working for Congress durring this time. Bush had nothing to do with any of this. The dems ran away from gun control after 94 elections when they banned a handful of guns for 10 years and it expired in 2004. Semi-auto have been around for 100 years and have 95% never been illegal under US law. The AR 15 used it CT was never banned and it is also legal under state law. BTW- we will crush the liberals on this issue- again. That’s why Obama is running away from it. You call for a committee when you don’t want anything to change. He’s not stupid.

      • Andrew Karl

        I do agree with you on Dobson and company 100%.. like most writers out there you just don’t know anything about guns.

        • What I do know is the assault and semi-automatic allows you to shoot off more rounds quicker. That quickness allows people like Adam Lanza to kill more children than the guy with a bolt-action or a single-shot gun. It is time to take the assault and semi-automatic out of the hands of the general public, who has proven time and time again that they can’t be trusted with them.

  • EC

    Why would Christians attribute this tragedy to God? Christ came to fulfill the law. We no longer live under the law, but under Christ. If God truly was a God who pays us back for our sins, the world would no longer exist, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

    Psalm 103:10 – He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

    Trials and heartaches are nondiscriminatory. Matthew 5:45.

    But everyone likes to feel better by coming up with an answer to the question of “WHY”

    Job 1-2. Sometimes there is grief without blame. In this story, it is Satan, not God, sending natural disasters, wars, and health problems.

    “Christ is the end of the law” (Rom 10:4) and I am so thankful for that. There is nothing I can do to earn my way into God’s favor. Christ has done that for me. I rest secure in Him. And I trust that when trials and tribulations come about on this earth, because this world is fallen (John 16:33 – there will be suffering in this world), God will see me through them. He promises to be there with us in our pain and sorrow, giving us His peace (finish reading John 16:33).

    • Denise

      I agree that God has taken away his wrath from his followers. The Christian leaders quoted in the blog post aren’t blaming God, rather, it is many on the left that are doing that and asking these leaders why. From what I have picked up, some said unwise things, some said things to the best of their ability, and some pointed out the inconsistencies of these questions. No man can fully and exhaustively answer the mysteries of suffering so they shouldn’t be crucified by the offended.

  • Good points made on both sides. There are plenty of “faith farmers” out there (People who capitalize on a message and cultivate a following to “reap a harvest” or “fleece the flock” if you will). Talk show radio on both sides sells fear, intolerance and cynicism. Apparently, there is quite a market for that stuff. Still, regardless, there is truth, there is sin. Love is what covers it all. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. Love does not abort the unborn. Love is not condescending toward the sinner either. Love does not protest military funerals, where men fighting for their country are remembered and honored. Nor does love rejoice in the death of an Al-Qaeda militant. Love does not gloss over sin or redefine it to suit society, but instead it compassionately points to forgiveness and repentance.

    If the “will of God” is our sanctification (I Thess 4), then the process is clear – LOVE. No man ever sinned while loving his fellow man… Love is the middle ground that seems to be missing in this very contorted thread of comments.

  • ymoore

    I hear your frustration, Karen. I remember when the hot term was “born-again Christian,” which seemed really redundant. It was like saying, “I’m Christian Christian as opposed to Christian.” Then there was the WWJD Christian. It goes on. I know all of the names are supposed to express that you are really taking your Christian faith seriously, but still, isn’t that was Christian meant anyway? At the end of the day, we can call ourselves anything we want, but it’s only Christ’s Spirit in us loving as he loved that’s evidence of who and Whose we are.