05 December, 2008

WWJB?

Can we all stop pretending that Rick Warren is some sort of moderate, reasonable Christian leader now?

Pastor Rick Warren has a reputation for being far more stable and grounded than religious right leaders and TV preachers like Pat Robertson, but it's worth remembering that he's not exactly a moderate.

Last night, on Fox News, Sean Hannity insisted that United States needs to "take out" Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Warren said he agreed. Hannity asked, "Am I advocating something dark, evil or something righteous?" Warren responded, "Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped.... In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers. Not good-doers. Evildoers."

Matt Duss explained why Warren's comments are problematic on a variety of levels.

Does Warren really consider it part of his ministry to sanctify the inch-deep theologizing-cum-warmongering of thugs like Sean Hannity? If so, who else does Warren think Jesus would bomb?

I contacted Pastor Warren's office for clarification, specifically to find out where, exactly, the Bible says that "God puts government on earth to punish evildoers" like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They said they'd get back to me. I'll update if and when they do. I suspect Warren was referring to Romans 13, in which the Apostle Paul admonished Christians to submit to governing authorities (Hear that Hannity? Submit!), and also addressed the power of civil government to punish criminals. This has nothing to do, as far as I know, with invading foreign countries and killing their leaders, which is the context in which Warren is speaking.

In any case, if this were a conversation between an Iranian TV host and an ayatollah in which they discussed scriptural justifications for "taking out" high ranking members of the U.S. government, you'd probably see Sean Hannity running the clip on his show -- while slowly shaking his head in pious disapproval -- as evidence of what crazy extremists those Iranians are. As it is, they'll probably be running this on Iranian TV as evidence of what crazy extremists those Americans are.

Any Christians in the audience who may have been wondering why atheists take such a jaundiced view of faith: let this be an answer.

Let's add one more bit to the Breathtaking Hypocrisy file, shall we? Here's what Rick Warren has to say about his PEACE Award:

WARREN: Well, the Peace Award was not about peace in domestic — or foreign policy.

And here's what his press releases say:

According to a press release from the organization, however, the award was given in recognition of an “outstanding contribution toward alleviating the five global giants recognized by the Coalition including pandemic diseases, extreme poverty, illiteracy, self-centered leadership and spiritual emptiness.” The Coalition introduced its “P.E.A.C.E. plan” as a means to reduce the five “global giants.” The first tenet of that plan is to “promote reconciliation,” which cites the problem of international “war” and “conflict” specifically:

peaceplan.jpg
I think we're done here.

2 comments:

idahovic said...

Leave it to a Christian to put forth the idea that the best way to deal with a problem is to kill a fellow human being.

Wayne said...

FORM 1 PLANET
Now that we are beginning a new era in world affairs, as Barak Obama takes over the reins and people everywhere who have not been happy with the way George Bush has been running things look forward to seeing improvements, will we get a good outcome or will we all be disappointed? Analysing what we are looking for in new management, might not be as difficult as the actual implementation of it; so let’s give it ago.

Firstly, as stated in his election campaign, CHANGE is the ability to move from one state to another. We’ve been in a polarized conundrum for far to long; Republicans hating Democrats, Rich Bankers profiteering from Sub- Prime borrowers, Muslims bombing Christians, Blacks resenting Whites, Good guys against Bad guys, men over women. I have faith we are moving to a more multi-dimensional place where, regardless of your particular handle or field of dreams, you can get a better deal.

Secondly, as eluded to by his anti- war (in Iraq) rhetoric, PEACE comes with a cessation of hostilities. We do not need to solve the world’s problems to arrive at this much prayed for destination, just stop killing one another. We don’t seem to have a problem banning drugs in our communities because they kill people and ruin lives but we seem unable or unwilling to put bullets in the same category. Let’s all keep pushing for a relaxation of hardline policies in the hope it eases tensions and saves lives.

Last but not least on my list, is a MORAL CODE, that doesn’t place the emphasis on critisizing people for their sexual preferences or views on medical procedures, nor looks to Gordon Gecko as a Saviour, but begins to value kindness to one another when dealing with people’s rights of opinion or dignity regardless of financial status. Mending fences is an honourable profession as long as it’s done to promote good will between neighbours and not to segregate and sanction. Paternalistic attitudes can be antagonistic when served up by big brother with no humility.

Set your course to travel the road to a better future by adjusting your moral compass to the headings of, compassion, understanding and forgiveness. Have faith that change will come, hope that peace will prevail and that charity will once again become fashionable.