By Marylou Barry
On August 28, a CBN News article linked to a letter signed by 70 “Christian pastors,” including liberal “emergent church” speakers Brian McLaren and Jim Wallis, and TBN televangelist T.D. Jakes. Since then the list of online signatories has escalated into the hundreds.
The function of the simple, four-paragraph mini-manifesto is to criticize those who dare voice uncertainty about Barack Obama’s religious beliefs. Its goal is to urge government-sanctioned media – and anyone else who might be listening – to deny skeptics equal opportunity to express their views in public.
The Eleison Group
The origin of the letter seems to be the Eleison Group, a liberal consulting firm representing the views of leftist change agents, various Democratic Party affiliates, and “progressive” clergypersons characterizing themselves as evangelicals. (The group also serves as distributor of a brand of pork snacks, although it’s unclear whether there’s any connection.)
In short, as far as the letter is concerned, Eleison apparently would like to see everyone’s free speech rights censored except their own.
The Eleison Group letter is an ugly little statement, and the more closely you read it, the uglier it gets. Some of its high – or, rather, low – points are quoted below, along with what could be inferred from them if people would just stop and think about what they are reading. What’s wrong with this letter that the average, thinking, Bible-believing Christian might find disconcerting? Just about everything.
“…these are contentious times…”
No, they’re not, at least not contentious enough. If they were, Christians would be doing as they were instructed two thousand years ago: contending for the Gospel, holding members of their faith accountable for their words and deeds, and looking for the fruits of true regeneration in their character. They would not feel intimidated about confronting a member who walks like a duck and quacks like a duck yet professes to be something completely different.
“…we are deeply troubled by the recent questioning of President Obama’s faith.”
They shouldn’t be. Leaders who expect to be obeyed without question are called dictators; American presidents are servants of the electorate and need to remember the difference. For two thousand years tyrants have enjoyed hiding behind a respectable veneer of ‘Christianity’ because they didn’t want the populace questioning their faith either. Those who did question, like the faithful Bonhoeffers, ended up in prison or at the end of a rope.
“…the personal faith of our leaders should not be up for public debate.”
Why not? When any other private citizen – moral or immoral – runs for office, he becomes a public citizen with every aspect of his life laid bare. Ask Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush – and all their relatives. While they’re working for us it’s all our business and we all get to ask questions. Who is Barack Obama to be preserved as the sole exception here?
“President Obama has been unwavering in confessing Christ as Lord and has spoken often about the importance of his Christian faith.”
Oh, really? Unless you count his speaking about his Muslim faith and having to be corrected by the interviewer. Unless you count his embrace of Unitarian Universalist beliefs, a far cry from the Christian gospel. Unless you count his support for the murder of unwanted children, before, during, and after birth, a practice vehemently condemned in the Bible.
“We believe that questioning, and especially misrepresenting, the faith of a confessing believer goes too far.”
There’s that “questioning” question again, as if the only president who has refused to prove his eligibility for office is somehow above being accountable to the people he was elected to serve. We’ve been told we’re not allowed to wonder about his birth certificate, his citizenship, his educational background, or his social security card from a state he never lived in. Now we’re not supposed to wonder about his faith either. How far is “too far” in questioning obvious deception? I don’t think the people of this country have gone nearly far enough. As for misrepresentation, that can’t be determined without evidence, and I don’t see any forthcoming.
“This is not a political issue.”
Yes it is. Once a candidate sets himself up as a representative of the people and asks those people to trust him, everything he says, does or thinks becomes a political issue. If he prefers not to be probed or examined in every aspect of his character, no one forces him to run for office.
“…we believe that fellow Christians need to be an encouragement to those who call Christ their savior, not question the veracity of their faith.”
Not me. I think veracity is issue number one, more important than background or experience. If a candidate lies to us about who he is and what he believes, how can he be trusted to tell us the truth in anything else? I think Christians should always question what they are told, like the Bereans who questioned everything the Apostle Paul had to say until they verified it against the Scriptures. The great apostle not only was not offended by their intractable skepticism but was very impressed by it. One has to wonder why Barack Obama and his apologists do not feel the same way.
“Therefore, we urge public officials, faith leaders, and the media to offer no further support or airtime to those who misrepresent and call into question the President’s Christian faith.”
Aha! There it is – the payoff to which all this has been leading. The rape of the First Amendment, the gagging of the indie media, the squelching of free speech for those who don’t buy into their party line. Proof positive that what the elite really want is to shackle us unwashed masses, take away our talk radio airtime, and censor our Internet.
Are you listening, Cass Sunstein, or is this not really news to you at all?