It’s Time to Start Calling Evangelicals What They Are: The American Taliban

By J.C. Weatherby | 24 February 2017
Medium

(Photo: Ben White / Unsplash)
(Photo: Ben White / Unsplash)

The Council For National Policy” is a Conservative Think Tank, made up of a who’s who of prominent conservatives; Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Reince Priebus, Tim LaHaye, Bobby Jindal, John McCain… the list goes on…

This article, published by the Washington Post, but reported elsewhere, lays out the group’s plan to “restore education in America,” by bringing god into classrooms.

I have said for years and years, the Christian Right is really seeking to establish a theocracy in the United States — at least regionally, throughout the deep south. And this latest effort by the “Council for National Policy” lays further proof to that claim. This is an effort which — in spite of what many Christian leaders say — is NOT supported by the Constitution. The Constitution strictly prohibits the establishment of Religion, as part of the First Amendment, which also guarantees Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. The purpose of this “Separation of Church and State” is intended to do two things:

1. It protects religious freedom for everyone.
2. It prevents the tyranny of any one religion.

But this fact won’t stop many southern christians, who feel it is their duty — as christians — to make the United States “a godly nation” in their eyes. And they will cite the numerous biblical passages in which god exhorts all nations to be faithful to him and condemns those nations who are not, as the basis for this duty — which they feel is their right.

I grew up in this world, so I know what I’m talking about. As a kid, during the 1970’s, I attended churches in Atlanta with my devout grandmother. I heard Jerry Falwell speak numerous times at First Baptist on Peachtree. I was indoctrinated into the evangelical way of thinking by a fiery minister in Smyrna. I studied my “King James” bible. I feverishly read Ernest Angley’s book about the “end times” that depicted christians being boiled alive by the antichrist. I loved “The Omen” movies, wholly believing they portended something real. Trust me. I’ve been there. Fortunately, I had the sense to give it up. By age 15, at the peak of my adolescent sexual curiosity, I realized that any religion that demanded giving up my basic humanity was nuts.

Of course, not all christian evangelicals share this extreme view. Nevertheless, the extremists always give themselves away with their trademark refrain, “I’ll pray for you,” as if you are possessed by demons and in need of an exorcism. They seem completely unaware of how this statement makes them appear; that they alone understand “truth,” that everyone else is “ungodly” and in need of “redemption,” as they see it; by being “born again,” and baptized, and accepting their world view. This self-righteous arrogant presumption is at the root of all religious extremism.

Evangelicals in churches and state houses across the country support laws and political systems that brutalize and imprison MILLIONS of African Americans, that deny equal rights and protections to LGBT people and tacitly support violence toward them, and seek to deny women the right to govern their own bodies, often with threats or outright acts of physical violence. They seem hell-bent on ejecting science from education and replacing it with their own creationist ideas.

In doing these things, evangelicals are advocating a religious extremism that is no different from muslim extremism, which projects religious authority over all people in their domain, which limits the rights of women, controls and limits education, and enforces strict adherence to a moral code, which naturally rejects and punishes all forms of “decadence,” including; “deviant sexuality,” science, reason, and any questioning of authority. Christian fundamentalists, if given the power, will do the same things.

Evangelical christians in the United States condemn muslim extremism as a threat to the country and their way of life, while clearly endorsing their own form of extreme religious authoritarianism. This form of religion establishes a tribally divisive “us” versus “them” mentality, which places “our” rights and prerogatives above the needs of any other group. And it’s used repeatedly as the basis for denying other people’s rights — particularly their freedom to choose and even their right to exist. It’s worth pointing out that in the south religion buttressed this tribal mentality to force a separation between whites and blacks, who were/are seen as inferior. This tribalism is deeply embedded in white suburban christian thinking, and accepted without question. I shouldn’t have to point out that, in the end, this is not Christian at all.

Religious extremism is religious extremism. Using words like “righteousness” or “faith” or “Christ-given mission,” and hiding behind ideas like “tradition” and “heritage” and “family values” won’t cover up this fact. And it is up to every freedom-loving person, who prefers freedom of choice, freedom of worship, who cares about protecting women’s rights and equality for all, and advancing reason and scientific knowledge, to be aware and oppose it.

I do not suggest that evangelicals should give up their faith. But I strongly suggest they should not trample on other people’s religious beliefs, or insist that people should conform themselves with the evangelical worldview.

If evangelicals hate tyranny, they should be very wary of becoming tyrants. But evangelicals will never see themselves as tyrants, because they are commanded by their faith to be “missionaries for Christ.” This mandate engages them in a zero-sum game to convert the country, indeed the whole world, to their faith. And over the decades they have increasingly reached for more and more political power to achieve this goal. This is exactly what ISIS proposes, by trying to establish a global muslim caliphate. The goal of religious extremists, regardless of faith, is always the same: Dominion.

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the foul of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” ~Genesis 1:28

Evangelicals are The American Taliban. To many, that will seem a garish and inconceivable statement. The entire purpose of this article is to point out that religious extremism also exists in America as it does in other parts of the world, and that it is not just radical muslims who are extreme, it’s also radical christians … and that religious extremism can start with something as simple as, “I’ll pray for you.”

Reprinted with permission from the author.

JC Weatherby (Jan Carson Weatherby — his family and friends call him Carson) is a multi media creator, novelist and filmmaker. He is the creator of “Evocronik,” a cyberpunk animated series. Follow him on Facebook at JCWeatherby

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473 COMMENTS

  1. "Evangelicals are The American Taliban." Wrong. Evangelicalism is not a monolithic movement and not all evangelicals are politically conservative. Even fewer of them want a theocracy. Conflating their views might score some points among those who don't know and/or care, but it will not lead to intelligent discussion.
    "and that religious extremism can start with something as simple as, 'I’ll pray for you.'” #facepalm

    • Your argument just doesn't wash, evangelicalism is found in all religions, its more common name is dogma. True, there are a lot of good Christians, just like there are a lot of good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. With that being said, those same Christians or Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. who were raised with a one dominational mindset, are often more dogmatic and more prone to extreme evangelicalism than those raised in a more liberal or progressive form of their faith. Here is a perfect example, my wife was raised in a very strict Orthodox Jewish home, where the views of the Torah, Tanakh, Chumash, Minash, Midrash, and Talmud were sacrosanct. She was raised to only believe that her dogmatic view of Judaism was the only and correct view. What helped her to change her view was to experience other varying views of Judaism, from her youngest cousin's bat mitzvah in a conservative synagogue, to her aunt marrying her life partner a few years ago in a LGBTQ reform synagogue. She saw and understood how painful Orthodox Judaism can be to those who are marginalized by it. So in finishing Jon, the only type that evangelicals are described as such are those who are overly dogmatic, and who's one belief doesn't bely the existence of others.

      • I have to agree with Jon here. To lump everything under the “Evangelical” label is to do a disservice to a lot of actual evangelicals. The religious right has subverted and even perverted that phrase into something that it is not. The word Evangelical has its roots in Methodism, which in spite of its internal struggles is one of the more liberal mainstream denominations today. True Evangelicals believe in spreading the Good News and allowing each person to decide for themselves, not the modern day legalism and self-righteousness so evident in a lot of places today. As a 45 year Christian who identifies as an Evangelical yet repudiates what the conservative religious far right espouses, believes in the examples of love, acceptance, compassion, mercy and forgiveness that were the hallmarks of Christ’s earthly walk and also thinks that people of faith should fight against a theocracy as contrary to the ultimate will of God I am actually offended by the comparison.

        • I agree with you Jim, I think the problem as you pointed out is the misappropriation of the word “Evangelical”. One thing that is also always missing in the discussion of evangelism is the second part of Jesus instruction – Go and evangelize with your life.

          • When Christians claim they're being mischaracterized in the media, I always wonder why I never see or hear Christians speaking out against the bad behavior of Christian extremists. I understand that it's not "your job" to do so, but silence is always interpreted as consent. If you're so concerned about the image of Christians, then stand with the rest of us when we protest the behavior that attempts to control others, revoke freedoms, persecute non-Christians, and trample the needs of the poor. Perhaps if the media saw more reasonable Christians, who actually emulate the teachings of Christ, then we might see more peace and happiness in the world.

        • except that christ is not a jewish name. It is not an Aramaic name, not a Hebrew name, but is a Greek Title meaning “anointed”. god is also not a Greek, Latin or Aramaic name. It is euphemism for Indra, a Hindu deity. the term god is a title, not a name, and will not be found in ANY classical middle eastern language or dialect. It is what one is, not whom one is. jesus is a Greek bastardization of the two words Ie Sous, or “Hail Zeus” in modern parlance. Aramaic had NO VOWELS, it was a consonantal language. The letter J was first distinguished from ‘I’ by the Frenchman Pierre Ramus in the 16th century, but did not become common in Modern English until the 17th century, so that early 17th century works such as the first edition of the King James Version of the Bible (1611) continued to print the name with an I. In early English, the name was Iesv Crist, then later, as shown in books printed by Caxton, such as “Godeffroy of Boloyne”, or “the Siege and Conqueste of Jerusalem” published in 1481, was written as Ihesu Crist. Your “christ” is as much a myth as “god” is. A myth has no Will, has no voice, and rules over NONE.

        • So sad too bad..
          Just because you dont like the comparison, doesnt mean its not true..

          Give an evangelical a choice to turn all of the USA into a Christian country, they would grab it with two hands..

          As an fyi, the actual truth is "God" is a fallacy invented in medieval times to control the ignorant and uneducated. Religion has no place in the 21st century. Science is truth.. religion is brainwashing manipulation of people lacking an understanding of science and nothing more.

          • If philosophy is about questions some of which can't be answered then religion is about answers that cannot be questioned. That is the essence of evangelism – to spread those answers and not allow them to be questioned by science or anything else. Some religions, Tibetan Buddhism in particular, disallow evangelism and say that people should first seek out the truth before being admitted. Whilst the "truths" that Buddhism impart might not be that different from those of other religions, the fact that they don't evangelise is significant, and one reason for it is that one's practice of the religion is hindered by wasting time trying to convince other people to join.

            So the author is right to lump all evangelists in the same basket. Whether they are Daesh fanatics conducting forced conversions or Christian fanatics condemning you to hell for opposing their ideas, the message is essentially the same: join us or you're doomed. Let's hope the American Constitution is strong enough to stop any of them taking away your freedom to choose.

        • I find it very difficult to believe that any Evangelical would, if given the chance to "spread the Good News", would just simply leave it to the person getting the ear full, leave it to them to decide to go with the diatribe and dogma or instead, seek their own set of religious morals. This is why they are called "Evangelical"; they don't give up, they won't let the 'forsaken" choose and will keep at it until one simply gives in just to not have to listen to all of the continual verbiage being thrown at them. It's nice to say they act out of love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness however, I would wager very few of them have experienced anything close to hard times, prejudice, or starvation.

        • Evangelicalism is an imposition of one belief upon another who does not share it. If you're trying to impose your religion on me, then you're a tyrant–or at least a tyrant wannabe. If you need Christ to love, accept, have compassion and mercy, or to forgive then you are not what you pretend to be. You're a little child pretending to be good because somebody promised you a piece of candy. The reason to do right is its own reason–because it's right. The reason to refrain from doing wrong is also its own reason, because it's WRONG.

      • I hear what you are saying about what each faith believes but what is referred to as Evangelicals is also a specific Christian and usually Southern Baptist group. Any faith can Evangelical-ize by introducing others to faith in Christ but the difference between saying 'there was this dude called Christ' and 'if you don't believe the way I believe you will go to hell' is different. The second is what Evangelicals do. They ignore the part of the Bible that says God knows who will be a believer and who will not. Our duty is to tell if God's greatness and bring Christ's worded of acceptance or into the world. You don't find this craziness of beating people with the Bible in noon-denominational or among Methodist's or United Church of Christ and many other Christan faiths… It's the Southern Baptist at one time the Catholics who believed in stoning women and LGBT folk at least to the point of saying but it allowed without shame. There are more liberal in each of these groups as well as conservatives. I agree with the American Taliban reference

      • You do realize your opening argument puts the rest of what you say to sleep. Just so that you know… definition of evangelical – of or according to the teaching of the gospel or the Christian religion.

        • What watered down dictionary or reference guide did you find that definition? The definition in the case discussed has to do with the US political arena. I suggest you keep up if you are truly trying to understand the discussion. To clarify my point you can find multiple instances of words that have different meanings based on their usage and context: black can mean absence of light or an ethnic group of people (who by the way are brown), it can also denote evil and breaking even financially.
          It is common practice when articulating a discussion or proposing a theory to limit the meaning of the title subjects as to help avoid confusion. The author here has done only that.

    • “Evangelicalism is not a monolithic movement and not all evangelicals are politically conservative. Even fewer of them want a theocracy”

      Jon if that’s the case why don’t we hear any denunciation of the radical evangelicals from the supposed liberal evangelicals? If the remain silent they appear to be giving their blessing to the radical Evangelical agenda. After all thats what they say about good muslims.

      • The more progressive or Evangelicals who believe all of life and creation exists under the lordship of Christ try very hard to model Christ's love and grace. This includes articulating a different view of the Gospel which does not pass judgment on others, though uses persuasion and modeling another way of seeing and serving others. They believe only God in his ultimate sovereignty has the authority to exercise "judgment" which includes mercy, forgiveness, grace and justice. They are rarely given the attention or "coverage" of the more controversial Christian right who seek to create a Christian America, that many describe as a theocracy. The less visible "evangelicals" are well known by their books, magazines, leaders, and believers in all walks of life who freely choose to work in the here and now to demonstrate the grace, love, commitment to serving others, and work through their role in families, churches, schools (be they public or private). businesses, the military, the arts, medicine, non-profits, associations, etc.as christians trying to sow seeds that may take root in a commitment to bringing our communal (not individual) lives closer to peace, justice, obedience, faith, love of neighbor regardless of their race, gender, nationality, class, age, or "religious"choices (in the sense that everyone follows some worldview, whether it is Buddhist, Islam, Agnosticism, Catholicism, Hindi, Methodism, Judaism, Congregationalism, Anglicanism, etc.

      • Dawn: That’s because even though we so-called liberal Christians DO denounce them, and we do, it doesn’t make for great media coverage and doesn’t push the media agenda they want. The main-stream media is about money, not information. Don’t forget that.

      • Dawn, Jim Wallis and Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo, to name but a few, write books denouncing the intolerance of the religious right and critiquing the skewed values of the extreme right, generally. Jimmy Carter is evangelical Sunday school teacher who certainly cannot be described as Taliban-like.

    • Just as not all Muslims are terrorists. However the article id’s correct I that the conservative Christian movement is acting like the Taliban… trying to establish their beliefs as law.

    • Actually, he's not wrong. I'm a runaway from Evangelicalism, and he is 100% correct.

      But hey, I'm sure that you'll pray for me and ask your god to "soften my heart"–Evangelicalspeak for "I hold you in such contempt that I'm going to ask my demiurge to force itself onto you and beat you down so that you'll come crawling back to my belief system as a cowed victim again."

    • The word is being used idiomatically. The definition of Evangelical in this case is clear, Terror. That’s what I feel when i hear the word Christian, Terror. You can defend your definitions all you want and turn this article into an intellectual exercise but don’t miss the point. Unless you have been personally terrorized by these people, you don’t have any idea how threatening they can make the world.

    • I agree. Not all Evangelical churches belong to this "category." We need to call this movement from the Southern states something else.

    • Jon, I understand that not all are this way. BUT they are they ones calling the shots, you need to reclaim and get to work getting rid of these “American Taliban”. I always wandered how Hitler rose to power and took things over, he did it with the blessing of the misinformed people. those who do not want to question anything, but want EVERYTHING the narrow way only. We are a country of diverse backgrounds, and religious beliefs, and that is why we are suppose to have separation of church and state. And anything less than complete separation is wrong, and it will bring down the nation.
      I have always been told that the one who hollows the loudest is usually got the most to hide. Or the most in the closet and does not want to come out. Take back that which the “American Taliban” have taken.

    • What do you think "I'll pray for you" means? It means that the person thinks they have the moral high ground and whatever it is you're doing they disagree with. I've had people say…I'll pray for you, just because I disagreed with their politician or because I have a different view point than them. No matter what I said there was no way for them to admit that my viewpoint was just as valid as theirs even if it is different so they end the argument with…I'll pray for you. I believe in god. I believe in prayer. But not…I'll pray for you as a blanket way of saying you're wrong because you don't agree with me and I'm praying for god to change your mind.

    • Check your own bias at the door, please. Let's engage in a real dialogue.

      To John, I say "here here."

      The message that many Christians are using their faith to discriminate is one that can be validated for some Christians, not all. Just as if I were to say the LGBT community is X, Democrats are all Y, and those practicing Islam are Z, that would also be incorrect. Or, to put it more bluntly, this article is f-ing stupid. It does exactly what the opposite of what it claims to promote. It categorizes and and excludes while trying to promote inclusion. Hypocrisy and absurdity. This kind of messaging is part of the problem.

      That said, I agree here's a real need to discuss how some segments evangelicals participate in exclusionary behavior.

      I am a white, evangelical, Christian male who believes kindness, gay rights, religious inclusion, individual liberty, and fiscal responsibility. Christianity is far more dynamic than what this intolerant blogger is spewing. More and more Christians, especially young Christians, are identifying in such a way where they are not in agreement with the religious leaders and politicians mentioned in this so-called article.

      • Hello Sean,

        You — and other progressive Christians — are used by the regressive Christians in this country; you go through the process of creating theology that is congruent with prominent societal values and tropes, you are constantly performing the PR necessary to save the religion’s face, but they reap the rewards.

        Of Christians and Christian systems that hold power in the US, the vast majority are far right, regressive, fundamentalists. The only reason they haven’t been chased out of the country for their horrible offenses is because good people like you do the dirty work of culling public anger.

        Again, progressive, kind, tolerant, socially conscious Christians — like yourself — do the PR and then the empowered, regressive Christians get to hold the pocketbook, inform the legislation, act as Whips for the majority population of Christian voters (the majority of US Christians are far from progressive, voting demographics from November illustrate this point), and enact policy that is inline with their socially unconscionable values.

        You might be a great person, but you are a member of a group (liberal/progressive Christians) that basically amounts to the disinformation agents that covered Big Tobacco’s ass in the ’50s and ’60s; you’re a good person but your individual views and privileges are intrinsically attached to the serpent that is regressive Christianity.

        I was a progressive Christian for 24 years. Then, I realized everything awesome about Christianity (community, belonging, hope, joy, love, service) exists outside of Christianity; you can experience all of those things without any of the strings attached. When I saw others living that, and when I toyed with a life without Jesus and actually felt better, I realized Christianity (in all of its forms) is just another cult that breeds addicts. Some Christians are addicted to hope, some to love, some to power, some to piety, some to service, some to self-sacrifice, some to repression, some to peace of mind…but you are all addicted.

        I realize this is all very blunt, and that I’m likely to be accused of being intolerant. And that is accurate, I am intolerant of Christianity; I am intolerant of any and all cults that either have or desire the power to enforce their damaging beliefs on US citizens. Your individual Christian beliefs may not be harmful, but you can’t escape the fact that — due to your beliefs — you are married to an incredibly harmful, dangerous, and unconscionable agenda. Context, history, and systems are important; your progressive Christianity context, history, and shared systems are monstrous.

    • Jon, you pointed out that you don’t believe Evangelicals are The American Taliban by using the point that Evangelicals are not a monolithic movement, not all are politically conservative and even fewer want a Theocracy. I do not recall anywhere in the article where the author expressed Christian Evangelicals as being monolithic. Like the Taliban and other religious zealots, they do not think as one or act as one but that does not mean that they do not want a Theocracy. I disagree with the assertion that a real life evangelical Christian do not want Christianity permeated through every part of civilization. Any Christian will tell you that is exactly what they want. Christianity for all is the end game. I think the author is spot on. (I would take exceptions to degree of violence that is attributed to American Christian in comparison to the Taliban or ISIS but would agree with most everything else.)

    • All Muslims are not radicals either, but many are. That is the point of the article. Not all Christians are radicals, but some are.

    • Perception is reality, as a child growing up and realize I was gay, the word to describe the people that were spreading the lies about gays, was evangelical. Perhaps they have stolen the name, but I would suggest people let them take the name. When they were protesting gay man who died of AIDS at their funerals, all of the good evangelicals didn’t speak up, not until they started protesting soldiers funerals. Today, the evangelicals I cross paths with, live up to my expectations.
      Maybe if those nice evangelicals spoke up when they hear other anti-secular liars calling themselves evangelicals, getting appointed to the Department of Education, we might think the claim that there are “nice ones” more sincere. Until then, when it comes to evangelicals, they are either a cancer or a pre-cancer. The fact that you’re talking terminology, and ignoring the damage they are doing to this nation, speaks a lot.

    • Secular morality is not only the enlightened way forward, it is the only way. The sooner we grow up and realise this, and we are in growing numbers, the more rapid our development will be.

      It simply astounds me that humanity continues to be fooled by fairy tales.

    • The author obviously had some unfortunate experiences in his youth making him strike out. And he doesn't understand or choses not to on the issues of the founders VI's a VI's religion. The Federalist papers make it clear they believed that religion, not a particular one but in general, should influence government, and that the opposite NEVER occur. As did Tomas Jefferson's famously misquoted letter the Court used to justify seperation of church and state. That IS NOT in the US constitution. We should pray for the author of the article.

    • Am a Christian, a Gay Christian. The Bible tells us that there will come a time when Christians are persecuted. I can see Fundamentalist Conservative Christians bringing the persecution upon themselves and the rest of us who call ourselves Christians. Our Heavenly Father does not need us to protect him, or his word. We were created by him, not visa versa. Those who claim Christ and the Holy Spirit, but live in fear, anger, anxiety and frustration lack the true connection with God. God did not intend any of us to fight one another, kill one another, bully one another, put others down and try to shame them. Not one convert is sustained by fear. Christ provides arms and a heart of love, forgiveness, acceptance and true love. He died of All human kind. Even before they had come to know him. He provided a love through his personal sacrifice for ALL human beings. He has given us a love that never dies. No human parent can match his love. That love is for every culture, every color, every race, straight and Gay, every gender and age. We do not exemplify Christ by judging others and pushing them away. Christ's story never tells of him not going to a certain people or a certain house or a certain land. If anything he avoided the churches, the wealthy, the pastors and preachers and rabbis. He is more than you or I and our immature fear of change.

    • "I'll pray for you " is the most insulting attack any egoist would ever be capable of making, with no purpose other than a backfiring show of dim-witted imagined self-superiority. "Every superiority complex is but a cover for an inferiority complex" Alfred Adler. This may sound harsh–it is not intended to. All I am saying is that you and I are equals., along with everyone else. Taliban, ISIS, Hitler: all examples of what unbridled ego looks like–all fighting their Creator's creating them equal with all of us. Let us not assume such arrogance to really believe we, or anyone can actually change our state of creation. Such stuff only dreams are made of, and there is great need for awakening from our chosen nightmare.

    • It is hard to take the comment "I'll pray for you" as anything other than condescending. It inherently means, if the person saying it is a devout Muslim or Christian, that they believe in their holy book. Or is it just parts of it? Which is it? If all of it, your loving god would judge and sentence your child and mine, and that person you pray for because you care for them to eternal torture and damnation in a lake of fire. How must that feel, emotionally, to attend to your life's work knowing we all are damned to that type of eternal torture by a loving god you believe in? Or do you do that thing where you say at the funeral of loved ones "I'm glad Dad accepted Jesus in the last seconds of his life" after I harangued a dying man in the hospital who just wanted me to shut the fkc up and give him his water straw and talk about something real, like his children, his grandchildren, his love of his family, their love of him. Instead, some spend their last moments putting words into a lifetime, conscientious thinking person who decided during his many healthy years of life that he could not believe in a god who judged and condemned all who didn't belong to his particular sect of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or Other to Hell. I have been to a few of those funerals. I was thinking, "THAT's how you can interact with me knowing I'm going to hell all of my life–you just PRETEND I converted during the last seconds of my life in the ICU!!!" That's sad, man. It is really insulting to the people you are praying for. Pray for your own understanding. You don't have a right to pray for anything else. It feels good to wish good things for others; I do it every day. But I know as many people are praying for Manson as the innocent newborn child down my street and yours who is dying in the hospital. Both will die, as we all will. But why does the innocent child die today, as Charlie lives on until his next parole hearing? If anyone is making that decision, obviously prayer has no influence over it, or Charles Manson would burst into a ball of flame and cease to be, while the NICU emptied out as all the healthy babies went home with mommy and daddy. These are among the reasons that I find it rude and condescending when you tell me, "I'll pray for you". Good day to you sir. You do not need my prayers so I will not send you any. You're a big boy able to think, you can handle it without me, can't you? No more facepalms on my account, you'll black your own eye and tell people I ran into a door, at work.

    • To my limited knowledge, our group of Filipino-American pundits and humorists in Los Angeles, CA, was probably one of the first, if not the first, to call many of the Evangelical-Christian supporters of Mr. Trump as the "Talibangelicals.: FYI.

    • An intelligent conversation begins with the acceptance of scientific facts and moves forward from there….a 6000 year old earth…wrong….noah's ark ….ridiculous, I want grown-up's shaping policy, not crooks and or mental midgets who use religion (any) to justify thing's like slavery, lgbtq rights or plain ole chauvinistic behavior to hold on to power.

    • Jon – well said. I no longer identify with being Evangelical, but I sure know the difference between them and Fundamentalists (which is who this article is really addressing). I agree this article just muddies the waters. I feel badly for Evangekicals right now…but Dr. Horton's article in Christianity Today really clarifies for Evangelicals. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/august-

    • Liar liar pants ablaze… you cannot deny the mantra of the "Bible belt" Chrisitian.. "we-ah got Jee-suz.. ya'll sum beeches ain't" followed by "and Jee-szu gave us guns so we can kill satan-worshipping liberals" As Rev Falwell stated: "Christians are special people and should be allowed to carry their guns with them at all times… even public school" citing Luke 22 as the Christian's call to arms. The Evangelical movement has successfully taken over the Republican party and stands as the only "celestially correct" party. The Republican Party can be seen as "subversive" as it seeks to over turn the Separation of church n state.. it only now supports one Amendment.. the second. Thus, all legislation passed by Republican Party is based on their theology.. in direct violation of the 14th Amendment. America has thus become a "theocracy" via control of a rigged ballot box to "rig" elections for the 'faithful preparing for their Jesus' return" and when he re-appears, he'll be brandishing an Ar 15 thanks to NRA financing religious bodies like Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church.. lobbying it's goal for an armed "Christan" citizen militia… at the ready to kill "liberals" … the enemy of gun owners which are "good Christians" .. ah! the beckoning call to the "faithful" the "gospel according to the NRA. But for me, Pogo said it best: "we have met the enemy and he is us." When I was grosing up it was "Kill a commie for Christ" Now it's kill a "satan-worshipping liberal" Bang bang y'all.

    • I think the term should probably be "fundamentalist," and not "evangelical." Extreme fundamentalism in any religion, social movement, or political movement can be very dangerous to anyone outside of what these "true believers" believe and practice.

  2. An incredibly well written article. To the point with an understanding that dogma is what is wrong within religious beliefs. However what is disheartening are the apologists who will be posting their skewed views on what makes a good Christian. Anything good that they have to say underlies the fact that religion is inherently bad, and has been for several centuries. Unless you can let go of a belief system where the whole ideal is control and subservient behavior, then you will always be stuck. Take the good, and the bad and own them both, be held accountable for what and how you believe, and accept that maybe the views that you hold dear, maybe something more sinister and harmful to humanity on a whole.

    • Your problem is you don't know the difference between so-called "Religion" and Salvation. One can religiously worship the Progressive movement but that won't get you nowhere when you close your eyes for the last time. Now go ahead and tell me how uneducated I am. That is what folks like you do isn't it? My Dad always told me not to pay attention to fools and children on matters such as this. I'll let you tell the folks which one you are. Say whatever you want I don't have enough respect for folks like you to even read it.

      • Blind faith is not uneducated it is a choice to remain blind to other ideas. Save yourself but don’t bring me with you is all people ask. Believe what you want that is your right just as what I have come to believe is a true faith to me. I do not need to be saved.

      • “My Dad always told me not to pay attention to fools and children on matters such as this.”. And yet, here you are commenting, anyway. What happened to ignoring people? Good advice is only good if you actually follow it.

      • Hallelujah Kirby! You hit it right on the nose when you said sone people don’t know the difference between religion and Salvation! Jesus came to this earth to live amongst the people, to work miracles, to die a horrendous death on the cross for ALL the sins of the world…past, present, and future! And those who believe in HIM as the son of God and ask forgiveness of their sins and accept Jesus into their hearts have eternal Salvation. Praise the Lord!..

      • Worse than being "uneducated" — a type of cultist. And, when you close your eyes for the last time, you DON'T "get nowhere."

    • Imo, religion is not inherently bad. It is the theocracy behind the belief system that is misleading. In Christian theocracy it is seen the belief was based upon the thoughts of a group of me (women were not thought to be able to think at that time) and it should be remembered that ‘theocracy’ is simply a theory of something.

      • Questionstoo – It’s inherently bad. Whenever you allow yourself to believe what some man says based on faith, you leave yourself wide open to be deceived. The people that are deceiving you usually don’t have good things on their mind. Religious people talk as if they’ve talked directly to a deity, that’s a lie, they’ve ever only talk to a man/women. There’s a reason why no religion ever pops up a second time spontaneously by itself. If there’s not somebody to repeat what they heard from somebody else the religion will never be repeated. Of course that would be illogical if there was a real deity who could speak to somebody else and start it all over again.
        The problem is, everything you believe in and all religious people have ever believed in, would be exactly what the a conman would write as a religion. Why do you think every religion that has ever existed has a God that showed himself in the past but never in the present? It should be obvious.

    • I don't listen to guys like you anymore. You want to just bash all religion? OK, fine. But do it on your own time. I am sticking with those who are trying to work it out. Anybody can just trash religion. You don't have to be particularly bright to do that.

    • KMC: "dogma is what is wrong within religious beliefs>"

      I'm sure there are few, if any, individuals who would even consider trying to dispute the notion that acts of horrendous depravity have been committed over the centuries in the name of religion, but who or what committed the acts of depravity? Was it the church's or religions dogma or the human beings who decided they could use a particular religion to justify what their own depraved, self-serving minds wanted to do?

      Is it Islam or the words of the Koran that's created terrorism and committing all the terrorist acts, or is it men and women — very unhappy men and women — deciding they want to perform violent, destructive acts who are misinterpreting and twisting the Koran's text to justify what they'd already decided to do?

      Whether mistreated, denied important freedoms, suffering from lack of food and water or mentally depraved, it's segments of mankind that are what's wrong, and they're what's wrong with everything. Bernie Madoff's fraudulent acts weren't religious dogma at work; it was simple, human greed. It was the man who stole from people, nonreligious dogma.

      The choices people make are what are "sinister and harmful to humanity [as] a whole." I mean, what in the world is harmful about biblical wisdom that advises man that a house divided cannot stand, that one should treat others as he would have them treat him, that it's good to find wisdom, gain understanding and preserve sound judgment and discernment and that things like pride, deceit and stirring up dissension are bad?

      Though some atheists and non-believers may have been raised in a religious family and home, a child's experience can be very different from an adult's. What's so astounding about discussions like this one is that nearly everyone who condemns Christianity, or any religion for that matter, has no experience with what their condemning, yet they all fail to realize that, if you've never been a practicing Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, or born-again Christian or a theologian, a biblical scholar, a Rabbi or other expert in Judaism, what you say has zero credibility. It's just a lot of simple-minded, sweeping generalizations unsupported by an real evidence or personal experience.

      Unless you live a spiritual life for a few years and learn all you can about a particular religion or study it for four years in college, you have no credibility. Until everyone understands this, most of their comments are pointless

  3. This article smacks of an author striking back out of bitterness- It is very dangerous to lump groups of people into binary sets of "good" and "bad".
    There are very bad people under the banner of any religious affiliation, but there are also a greater number who are working out their faith, to the best of their ability.

    • Ahh there it is, "bitterness" How often have those of us who have been terrorized by the Evangelical movement and stood up to it, heard that? There are some groups, Nazis for example, who can and should, be lumped together as bad. Being in a group whose purpose is or has become, bad negates your efforts to do good. It really is that simple.

        • If you argue against Islam in anyway on a moral level, then you are a hypocrite. You cannot be evangelical without being anti-Islam, so therefore you are the opposing side in the war… pointing out the obvious isn’t fun, I don’t take pleasure in it. Neither does anyone standing up to it, they recognize fellow human beings in both religions, it’s you who doesn’t. My way or the highway, right?

    • His transparency is prevalent. Poor wounded child. That's like people saying all democrats are pot smoking peaceniks with their heads in the clouds believing the good old USA has money to pay for everything and everyone, a bottomless source of wealth…. Both wrong! Had he poised his argument as a theoretical question, he might gain a bit more respect. All he wanted to do was create shock and awe…..a cheap trick used by barbarians, whores and indignant children.

    • If these religious crackpots worked out their faith in private it would be just fine but they don't, they shout their beliefs across the nation, demanding that others may not go about their lives in a humane and peaceful way. Crackpots and lawmakers demand that women must be oppressed, that they may not practice contraception, that men decide how women's bodies may be used for sex and procreation. Here a doctor refuses a desperate woman the right to control her own fertility and expresses regret when she turns to somebody more compassionate but less skilled – what else was she to do – abort herself with a coathanger? That woman did not get pregnant by herself, why doesn't the doctor and the religious crackpots demand that the father be hanged for inflicting pregnancy on a woman for whom pregnancy was a death sentence?

  4. This article is “hate speech”. It is difficult to read it as anything else than incitement to religious hatred.

    Yes, half way down comes a disclaimer “Of course, not all christian evangelicals share this extreme view” but it is in all lower case, and not in the capitalised large type of the headline.

    A nice plea for religious intolerance, but do we really need religious intolerance? Do we really need Evangelicophobia and Islamophobia and antisemitism and all the other anti-s and -phobias that people so assiduously promote?

    • I want you deranged zealots & your psychotic God out of my secular govt.
      Keep your twisted doctrines dogmas writs rites & creeds within those stainglassed windows before I pick up those stones y'all throw and break me some

      • As a devout atheist, I agree with Steve. The title of this article calls Evangelical Christians "The American Taliban" and then tries to apologize by starting a paragraph with "Of course, not all christian evangelicals share this extreme view." I'm sorry, but you can't write a misleading, clickbaity, incendiary title and then apologize halfway through. As someone who agrees with a lot of the sentiments made in this article, these practices ruin your credibility and end up empowering the opposite side of the argument by creating mistrust and anger at our side, even those of us who make careful, thoughtful arguments. If anything, Larry, you should be as pissed about this article as I am.

    • The bigger and more salient question is, "Do we need religion?" It is, after all, the bane, and attractor, of all human weaknesses, afflictions, suffering, confusion, wars, and pain; encouraging all these things in their reflective catechisms; and making their gods in the image of man to justify their bigotry, pestilence, evil, and destruction of the world.

    • Labeling it hate speech, considering the move to ban speech that is not favored in protection of minority groups, may not be a gun in my face, but in a historically proven way, it happens to be a lot more dangerous. The greatest evils are the ones we can't see. By the way. If your God IS real, and the end days DO come. I'm not "repenting". I will die in the name of freedom against a Genocidal Maniac with Unlimited Power. I will die against such an opponent, rather than live under his oppression.

  5. What a sad, incredibly sloppy and intellectually lazy “argument”. It would almost be amusing except that liberals don’t seem to actually go after Muslims or the real Taliban. This is simply bigotry dressed up as an argument.

    • "liberals don't seem to actually go after Muslims or the real Taliban."

      you're totally right. your comment is simply bigotry dressed up as an argument.

    • Very visible in the words you have chosen
      Exposes the fanaticism you hold.
      Extremism of any religion, always carries
      With it tyranny.
      As far as labeling all Evangelicals as
      extremist taliban is very unfair, I agree.
      However, there is a far right wing-nut
      Fringe that call themselves conservative
      Evangelicals. In truth,they are Christo-fascist
      They rap their selves in a mantel of religion
      ,but their agenda and belief system is much
      the same as fascism.
      The Evangelical church as a whole have tended
      to show themselves to be pretty liberal/open
      Minded in their thinking.
      Bottom line, all religions can have some extremist
      ,that should not be held as a reflection
      of the whole of church in any religion.☮️

    • We don’t “go after” the real Taliban because they don’t exist in our country, evangelical extremism does, as evidenced most recently by their overwhelming support of pedophilia in Alabama.

    • A political liberal can also be an evangelical Christian. Religion and faith, conservatism and liberalism are not bad. Narrow mindedness and labels and stereotypes are bad.

    • Cato Younger just trotted out the “what if” argument based on false equivalency and proved he/she is too dumb to be posting.

  6. I barely got past paragraph three here without putting my coat back on and walking away, so I’m going to stay right around there in the article, I think. (Yes, I read the rest, and disagreed with it so wholeheartedly that taking the time to address each point I depart from would take me well past my bed time. The twins are already promising to do so…as is a two year old with a cold, so I need no further excuse to head to my cozy bed rather than spending another hour in this tiny wooden chair.)

    Out of the gate, the author’s presenting himself as a knowledge-base regarding evangelical Christianity. For one, and I mean no disrespect, but the approach is intellectually disingenuous. Growing up surrounded by something certainly doesn’t mean you understand it, and the rest of the article contains little to nothing to cause my eyebrows to rise up in surprise at how clearly he presents what Christianity of the Bible is. I want to be clear…I understand that he’s purporting to have an issue with a specific type of Christian…the Evangelical…who in his last paragraph he also refers to as “radical.” Separated from its American cultural definition though, an Evangelical is just someone who believes in their faith with enough fervor (funny, always thought that was spelled “furvor”…who knew?) to tell others about it. Not so terrible, I don’t think. I’m going to refrain though from treating the article as if it’s aiming over my head at Westboroesque fringe examples, because it simply isn’t. He’s pointing his finger straight at those who believe in “truth”…who talk about being “born again” or who believe there’s a need for “redemption.” That’s me *waves*…I wear that t-shirt. But heavens to Betsy, his couching of those terms with such vitriol leaves me feeling grossly misunderstood by the author.

    Let me get back to it here…because I think he helps to explain why he might have misunderstood biblical Christianity, doesn’t he? And it isn’t such a rare case. He admits that by age 15 he’d concluded that Christianity (or at least…”southern” Christianity…) was “nuts” because it infringed on what he believed (and what a lot of 15 year-olds believe, in retrospect) defined him as a human…his “sexuality.” I’m not sure there was anything that I had given up truly trying to understand by age 15 about which I could now authoritatively say, “I grew up in this world, so I know what I’m talking about.” By the third paragraph, he’s labeled Christianity “nuts.” He hasn’t said, “I disagree with folks that think being created in the image of God is what defines our humanity rather than sexuality” – he said it’s “nuts.” I won’t stew on this…it’s the tone of conversation these days, and not unexpected. We can’t just have an opinion that’s different…and we can’t just be thought of as “incorrect”…we’re instead “bigots” and “nuts.” I digress…the lack of willingness to have reasonable discourse, though, is disconcerting.

    It’s entirely possible that, by age 15, the author investigated scripture on his own. It’s possible he searched out an understanding of who Christ was Biblically and historically? It’s possible he tried to come to grips with the claims Christ made and the evidence of His life lived. It’s also possible that he compared those carefully and honestly to claims of other religions and tried to determine which best answered the questions of existence and purpose. It’s possible. But at age 15, I was more interested in figuring out how to stop an outbreak of whiteheads before the next school dance. I was doing no such thing as seriously and honestly assessing faith claims to determine whether they were true or right at that age. So, though it may be a leap, I’ll take it. I’ll assume he didn’t do those things and move on from there.

    The author, instead, strikes me to be like the culture at large right now. They’ve stopped short of doing the things I ask about above. They’ve instead had some formative experiences (though there are exceptions, I understand), formed their assumptions, and turned their back on the Bible, Christ and Christianity. The problem they have run into is use – human beings who are trying to follow scripture and failing. Human beings who claim to be followers of Christ. But let’s clear something up…those that follow the Christ of the scriptures consider themselves no different from others (or, at least, scripturally, they should not – pride certainly intervenes at times). Christians are not righteous. If that’s what someone thinks Christians are saying, then I think there’s a base misunderstanding of what scripture says. And if you speak to a Christian who believes they are righteous, then you might do well to hand them a copy of the scriptures, because that’s not what it says…and it’s not what Christ said. The Christians that have left the culture disillusioned and disgusted those who have lied (me), cheated (me…math test 5th grade – sorry Mrs. Mateyak :(), lusted (me), stolen (I was younger then, but there it is, black as pitch, stuck to my soul. Wait, didn’t I print out a Mapquest to my daughters’ dance practice on company paper from a company printer without asking just a week ago? Same thing.). The problem comes when they hear from the same mouths that no one should do those things. At this, the word “hypocrite” is pulled out of the bag and tossed like a great, sweeping blanket over the heads of all professing Christians. What they’re missing though is that Christianity is not about people who say they’re perfect and want everyone else to be the same. We’re not saying that. We shouldn’t be saying that? I’m not saying that. Christianity is precisely the opposite.

    The Christ of scripture calls men and women who see their IMperfection, acknowledge it, and accept, by faith, a historical Christ who died – perfect in life – willingly taking a punishment that was undeserved by Him, so that the punishment for imperfection would no longer hold any fear or sway for those who trust in Him. Christianity is about knowing so keenly that we’re imperfect that we gaze up to Heave, beat our chest, and acknowledge our need for a God who will be merciful and forgive us as we continue to fall and fail and disappoint our children and ourselves and our wives and our parents. Christianity is about grace. When I die, I’m going to do it covered in muck. I’ve got a life of imperfection, deceit and anger that covers me from head to toe. My good deeds will never cover it. They’ll never balance the weight of my sin. If by breaking one law, I’ve broken THE law in its entirety, then I have no power to undo what I’ve already done with my first act of sinfulness. The only thing that will save me when I have to answer to God for how I did with the life He gave me is the sacrifice of Christ that took my punishment before it could be given to me. That sacrifice allows God to see me, despite myself, with the righteousness of Christ covering over my sin like fresh slate over a chalkboard filled with indelible scribbles.

    Does anyone reading this really believe, with the author, that the followers of the Christianity of the Bible are looking to replace the government with priestly rule? That’s what a Theocracy is…and I haven’t heard anyone in the “Christian Right” calling for that. As Christians, our primary focus should not be on politics in the first place…we’re to pray for our leaders, obey, render unto them what is theirs, live in such a way that we are a credit to the message of Christ. Political action has so little time committed to it in scripture that the silence should speak to us – there are simply more important things. It’s those things though that the author seems most offended by or most afraid of, however. Yes we are commanded to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. This is because we believe that it’s more loving to tell others the truth than to not tell them. If someone handed any one of us a map of a street filled with sink-holes, and you held that truth in your hands, the loving thing to do for those walking beside you and behind you would be to share the map. If they glance at it and shrug, might you not pull them to the side just a bit, so you don’t lost them down the hole, hoping that when they see there really is one, that they might look more carefully at the map? Why in the world would we not tell others about what we believe to be true? When has that ever been an unacceptable thing to do? Everyone can choose to reject it. Why would we say, “Yes, we believe this is the truth, and that the consequences for not accepting it are unimaginable, but I would hate to offend someone by saying, ‘Please read this and see what you think.'”? It wouldn’t make sense.

    I need to wrap up…the political action that aligns with this moral code (admittedly the focus of the article) is the product of the Christian’s desire to see our children, our families, our friends living in a culture that reflects what we believe to be best. There is nothing in scripture that leads me to believe that having a culture that reflects these things will result in others following Christ. To the contrary, historically, the faith has flourished where it’s most persecuted – not where it sidles up to the state and gets friendly. By hoping for a nation of people who emulates the same moral code, I’m under no illusion that it will draw those people to God or the truth of Christ. This Christian desire isn’t just a Christian desire though, is it? Others believe differently than Christians believe, and they seek too to see their loved ones raised in a culture that reflects their beliefs. That’s what this is all about. Everyone else wants to do it, but it’s not okay when Christians do it, because their beliefs make a claim to exclusivity. Exclusivity is hard. It’s disagreeable. Right now, the culture says that nothing is exclusively true. Unfortunately…that’s an exclusive truth claim. Something must be true. So, if everyone should have a voice, then let’s stop focusing on letting everyone speak into culture but the Christians. Let’s just all vote. Let’s just all talk about it constructively. Let’s just live in a Democracy. But, goodness gracious, let’s not point the finger at those who are sincerely following Christ’s commands and imply that there’s anything in His words about His followers seizing their block, their town, their nation, or the world by force. It’s simply not there.

      • Camille, no, that's not what scripture teaches and is not what I said. Scripture presents a Christ that loved and forgave even those who hated enough to nail Him to a cross… While He hung there, He asked that His father forgive them for killing Him. We're asked as followers of Christ to do as He did…to love…even those who hate us. Unfortunately, people believe that our disagreement with their lifestyle equates to hatred of them. This is hard for me to understand, and I don't see it being applied to others. For instance, I assume that you disagree with me…and with the Christian point of view and way of life…and I assume that others here do as well. But I would never jump to assuming that simply because you disagree with me you must therefore hate me. This was the point of the map metaphor in my response. If we believe that scripture is true, then it IS love to try to explain to you what we believe, and try to explain that there are ramification. I disagree with my wife, my children, my boss, my neighbor, on many things, and hate none of them. Just because we have areas of disagreement does not make me a bigot or make me hateful. It simply means I have an opinion that differs from yours.

    • Why'd you take your coat off to read the article? Did you put it back on to write your long winded response?

      And why is your wooden chair so tiny?

      • I was referring to the old aphorism, "Take off your coat and stay awhile" without doing so explicitly. Saw the title was intrigued and decided to settle in to read the whole thing, but by the third paragraph was having misgivings…er go – considering not leaving my coat off and staying to read the whole thing… I actually had one metaphorical sleeve back on to write the reply…very undecided.

        And my wooden chair is tiny, because I was magically reduced to the size of a thimble many years ago, and all of my chairs are tiny.

        Actually…we have 6 kids…and one of them seems to have swapped one of their little chairs for our computer chairs.

        Yes…I realize your questions were probably rhetorical.

        • I'm a religious liberal who found the tone of the article too strong and too angry. I also found your reply to be reasonable and heartfelt. Thank you. A person who leaves his/her childhood religion behind often never moves beyond a 15-year-old's understanding of the religion he or she left.

          That said, I think some of the criticisms are not entirely unfair. It seems to me that the fundamentalist wing of evangelical Christianity, in particular, often fails to see that their self-righteous condemnation of "non-believers" — people who do "believe" but simply believe something different than fundamentalism — is largely so they can believe themselves to be better than everyone who isn't "saved," people who don't share their view that the Bible, despite its complexity and many internal disagreements, is without error and should be taken absolutely literally, and interpreted the way they interpret it. They are going to be with God in Heaven, and everyone who disagrees with their narrow theology is going to be tortured in Hell forever. What could be better (more self-satisfied) than that?

          To me the answer lies somewhere between what the writer of the article said, and your reply. We humans are complicated people. We see the same things but do not agree about their meanings. One of the great things about the United States is that we have a tradition of religious liberty and a Constitution that guarantees such liberty.

    • Nicely written, and somewhat spot on (especially about a 15-year old summing up his identity as his sexual identity,) until your MapQuest analogy. If you take one aside with a map showing sinkholes to warn him, then take him to the road and point out the ACTUAL sinkholes would be responsible. But to take him to the road and state that although he cannot see the sinkholes he should beware because they're really, really there is quite another thing. Especially if protecting him from these invisible sinkholes that he must simply have faith in, involves government to control him, his body, behavior etc, as you deem necessary according to your beliefs and not his, and that if he should fall into the sinkhole the sinkhole should grow larger and swallow up us all.

      • Thanks (I think :)…you are taking the analogy a bit further than something as imperfect as a metaphor should be taken though, I think.

        Your problem with my metaphor seems to have underlying assumptions that are not necessarily valid. You seem to assume that what Christians have to say has no basis in fact. It denies the order and complexity of the creation and the questions that arise from it. It denies a historical Christ and the need to deal with His claims. It denies the weighty evidence of a common conscience (albeit one that can be seared through repeated violation of the conscience) and the question of where moral absolutes come from. I'm not sure, if shown the road, you'd find the sinkholes to be as invisible as you think?

        To be clear though, absolutely, Christianity requires faith. Let's not pretend though that all other walks of life don't require faith in some semblance too. That requirement doesn't negate objective truth claims coming from that point of view. Atheism (an extreme step in the other direction, I realize, but for sake of argument), for instance, takes a faith stance that no God or gods exist even though it's impossible to prove non-existence. Their claim takes it on faith that even though they haven't been everywhere (let alone everywhere all at once), they haven't seen everything, and they don't know everything there is to know, that they BELIEVE no god or Gods exist. That's faith…for sure. We're all choosing to believe something based on our examination of the evidence.

        As for involving the government…we do so not to convince you of the existence of our sinkholes or to protect you from them. The government shouldn't be and is not a means by which to convince someone of the merit of our personal faith…that happens through relationship, respect and dialogue. But we believe in the merit of our moral code and its benefits to a society to foster love, compassion, respect, kindness, etc., just as furtively as others believe their world view will do the same. However, we're being told outright that our participation in the government in a way that reflects our values is inappropriate or unconstitutional. Isn't that just what everyone else is doing, though? Participating in the Democracy in hopes of the nation reflecting their world view as best it can?

        The end of your comment confuses me a bit, admittedly. I'm not sure what the sinkholes are in this case…sin? Deviations from the moral law? If so, then, sure, the more a society participates in those acts, the more likely a society is to collapse…look at Roman civilization…look at Greek civilization. Their demise was largely precipitated by internal corruption. Their are discernible patterns to the fall of a great society entirely outside the biblical warnings, I think?

        • You home school all your kids, right? Or send them to "Christian" schools. "all other walks of life don't require faith in some semblance too" – no – they do not.

          • Jake – I concede – I do my best not to make blanket statements and using "all" managed to do that. If pressed, I'm sure you could come up with a walk of life that doesn't require faith. My point is that most do…and many that say they don't actually do…and further, that the Atheistic point of view and the Secularist point of view (truly Humanist) both hold faith in something, and right now, they're the growing forces in public education.

            We will homeschool our kids during the elementary years, yes, simply because we think we're fortunate to have the opportunity to pour our lives into theirs during their most formative years. I'm guessing you have a mental picture, but don't worry, we don't sit around in sweatpants all day wondering what social activity is, and dreamily discussing what it would be like if we could go to the mall.

    • Michael,
      Thank you for your response! I do hope that everyone scrolling through the comments takes the time to read it. It was everything I was thinking, but written much better (& funnier) than anything I could have put together, especially after reading through the article above. :)

    • "This Christian desire isn't just a Christian desire though, is it? Others believe differently than Christians believe, and they seek too to see their loved ones raised in a culture that reflects their beliefs" No. This is a false equivalence. Those who oppose Christian dominion are not trying to make others live by their beliefs through the power of the state as many Christians are. When Christians try to pass laws making it okay to discriminate against certain people, or to indoctrinate other people's children by teaching their religious beliefs in public schools or ban books they don't like from libraries, etc., then they are trying to force other people to live by their doctrine. Those who oppose that are not trying to tell other people how to live. They simply want a culture that lets everyone choose how to live or what to believe as long as they do not harm others. The difference lies in that Christians believe the mere existence of people who don't believe as they do is a threat and harms them. Why else would they care if two men or two women who love each other get married and live their their lives together? If Christians would simply go about their lives, believing whatever they wish, worshiping with their fellow Christians and enjoying their community without insisting everyone else live by their rules, there'd be no problem.

      "Let's just all vote." Yeah, that's not how rights work. You don't get to vote on my right to live my life how I wish. Our forefathers were smart enough to realize that people must be protected from the tyranny of the majority. Just because a bunch of Christians vote to force their beliefs on others through the power of the state doesn't make it right or Constitutional.

      • Kaci…thanks for your reply. I appreciate your willingness to dialogue about this. First, I want to acknowledge that my family and I make every effort in our interactions with others to treat them with kindness and love. Our life is by no means lived in a bubble of separation, and we have friends and family that run the gamut as far as race, creed and sexual orientation. We believe that we all have equal value, because we were all made in the image of God; it’s in me just as much as you or any other person, and that image is what deserves our love and kindness. I understand that there's a world out there where people or groups label themselves Christ followers, but then live in a way that is an affront to everything Christ taught and died for. Unfortunately, by their nature, those folks are much more visible than those who try to live out their faith in quiet service and love towards others, so the world at large forms their opinion of Christianity by those who wear the t-shirt and speak the loudest, even though their lives are diametrically opposed in many cases to the teachings of scripture. I take the time to say all that, because I don't want my words to be misconstrued as coming from a hateful or bigoted heart. I hold no ill will towards you or anyone else and am glad for an opportunity to dialogue. The difficult fact is that our worldviews are in opposition to one another, so there are areas we're going to disagree (and possibly have to agree to disagree on some things). I think so many are so busy pursuing change, that no one’s really listening to what the other side has to say. You’ll have to pardon my long-windedness here…I don’t want to sound self-important…just feels like there is plenty to say in response to your reply. Maybe read it over a couple of days rather than in one painful sitting :) I want to include some of your response below, just so I’m not misconstruing anything you stated…

        "Those who oppose Christian dominion are not trying to make others live by their beliefs through the power of the state…"
        There are countless legal groups today who are changing the face of the country through judicial and congressional action. Whether it's the topic of gambling funds, recreational marijuana use, marriage redefinition, abortion, euthanasia – for every Christian attempt to uphold existing laws or introduce protections in relation to their beliefs, there are pre-emptory and reciprocal attempts to normalize an entirely different set of beliefs coming from those who disagree with Christianity. Christians don't hold a moratorium on using the legal system to uphold or protect their beliefs. To quote the inimitable Doug E. Fresh, “Everybody’s doing it.”
        (continued in next comment…guess I really was long-winded :(

      • (continued)
        “Christians try to pass laws making it okay to discriminate against certain people…”
        I understand that forms of discrimination are abhorrent. Race discrimination immediately comes to mind. Thankfully there were Christians who took a strong stance (William Wilberforce) against this as they stood against slavery. Martin Luther King carried that fight on over his lifetime, and that struggle’s still going on. These were men who were professing Christians. This is not a matter of our not understanding that forms of discrimination should be fought against. In the same turn, I don’t believe we will ever live in a world where we don’t discriminate at all. There are laws that discriminate against felons owning guns, for instance. Felons are people who are to be loved, but we believe that it would be poor judgment to tempt them by putting a gun in their hands and that doing so would be unloving to them. We also discriminate on a daily basis as a matter of good conscience…we might not hire a sex offender as a nanny or babysitter, for instance. Sex offenders are to be loved too, but we believe that the lives and health of our children are more important than providing a sex offender with a job opportunity. I think we’d probably agree that it is possible to be kind and compassionate to the felon and the sex offender while still making decisions in our interactions with them that are discriminatory in nature. I’m pretty sure you’re not saying there’s anything wrong with these forms of discrimination. I think what you’re specifically taking issue with is laws that prevent same sex marriages, for instance, or laws that allow Christians to practice their religion by not using their business, money, or talents to participate in an event celebrating something that scripture indicates is sinful. Humor this example, please… A practicing Muslim who also happens to be a singer lives in my area and happens to take her kiddos to the same day care as ours. She lets us borrow a recording of hers, and her voice is so lovely that my fiance and I decide we would like to have her sing a song at the wedding we’re having at our church. She says, “No, I’m sorry, my belief system will not allow you to pay me to use my voice at your wedding,” and so we take her to court, because our religious beliefs as Christians are protected from discrimination under the Bill of Rights. She can’t refuse to provide service to our wedding simply because it’s a Christian wedding even though her religion demands that she do so. The court’s decision forces her to either sing or pay a fine that will cripple her career financially. Do you believe there should be a law in place that allows us to force her to sing at our wedding? I don’t want to assume your answer here, but the consensus I hear on this is “absolutely not” – that wouldn’t be right, because her religion doesn’t allow her to be friends with non-muslims or participate in their religious services. On the contrary, the consensus is that she should be allowed to say, “I’m sorry, my belief system will not allow you to pay me to use my voice at your wedding” without fear of having to end her singing career, and by her response, we would certainly not assume that because she is doing this, that she hates my wife and I. We would respect her choice, and we would find someone else to sing at our wedding with no rancor for the choice she made. There are laws now in place, however, that are putting Christians in this position…they are under threat of fine, closure, etc., for not being willing to have their business participate in a wedding that their religion prevents them from sanctioning, even celebrating through participation. If these laws are going to be applied across the board, the Muslim woman will receive the same treatment. Is this truly what you want?

        (continued in next comment…how embarrassing)

      • (continued)
        "…or to indoctrinate other people's children by teaching their religious beliefs in public schools or ban books they don't like from libraries, etc., then they are trying to force other people to live by their doctrine."
        You may disagree, but I’d contend that whether we believe it or intend it, worldviews are inevitably taught in schools. Either they creep in unintentionally, or they are thrust in with great purpose. I don’t want to seem ignorant, but I wonder which parts of Christian religious beliefs we want to make sure we're keeping out of education? There are passages that focus on character traits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control? Cautionary passage that tell us not to lie, steal, murder, or be envious of other's possessions. Passages that tell us to serve and protect widows and orphans. Passages that tell us to love our neighbor as ourself. Passages that present sex as something that occurs within a marriage between a man and a woman and that caution against homosexuality as a sin. Passages that tell us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. Society is picking what they’ve made a common practice and saying – “Teaching that is offensive” while being comfortable with the moralizing that remains (don’t lie, steal, murder…protect orphans and widows). What’s the rule that defines what parts of the Christian moral code go and stay? Even when the teacher attempts to remain ambivalent morally, the students will have questions, will infer opinions, and will expect that someone will lead their thinking contextually to a conclusion about what occurred (Was the Holocaust real? Was it evil?). Educators are forced into a position where they either let young minds come to their own conclusions (yikes) or they help guide them based on their own research, expertise, maturity, and understanding. The consensus world view of the nation is changing, I understand, but if not the Christian worldview, then certainly something else will replace it. Secularism has become the educator's soup du jour (I was a teacher…grew up in a family of teachers…this is not just hearsay…it’s objectively true trend by the admission of the educators). Can you understand the Christian's discomfort with their children being indoctrinated with a secular worldview that is in direct and absolute opposition to everything we teach our children at home? I'd like to pretend that public education presents nothing that falls under a "belief system", but that's not the case. In the absence of one system of beliefs it adopts another. What makes the the Christian belief system any less valid than whatever system will takes its place? It’s a matter of opinion, I think, but I think we can agree that Christians aren’t the only ones moralizing in the schools.

      • (continued)
        "Those who oppose that are not trying to tell other people how to live. They simply want a culture that lets everyone choose how to live or what to believe as long as they do not harm others."
        Okay, same sex and abortion issues are the most visible areas of contention at the moment, so they are probably worth talking through. Those that believe what you describe above used the state to change the definition of "protected class" in the Bill of Rights to include sexual orientation in 2013. Throughout the history of the US, marriage has been recognized as between a man and woman…but in the 90s, those who you describe above used the judiciary to redefine it. Unsuccessfully at that time, but the knee-jerk reaction to the court case(s) eventually resulted in DOMA being put in place. As cultural changes continued, the judiciary was again used in 2013 to claim DOMA unconstitutional, this time the effort to make change was successful, and it furthered the cause of those who were living a homosexual lifestyle and seeking the right for legal recognition of their marriage. This put the decision for marriage definition back into the hands of the states, and through practice, they’ve been steadily redefining marriage by allowing it. So, our nation’s laws have changed regarding this issue in particular as the system has been used to bring about the change, so that those affected or offended can live and believe as they want.

      • …continued…
        For our part, scripture, which we believe to be the Word of God (a higher law – higher than any laws we make – that applies to all mankind) still includes homosexuality as a sin in the same list as theft, adultery, and a number of others. God hasn’t changed, and neither has that law. We'd likely agree that theft (at least) is problematic, but because homosexuality is more widely practiced now (even though it’s listed in scripture), folks are becoming less comfortable calling it sin, and largely because it offends the lifestyle they're practicing. Christians can absolutely struggle with homosexual thoughts, or kleptomania, or lustful/adulterous thoughts. but we won't (well…we shouldn’t…some have changed, which makes it even more confusing for both you and me!) change our mind about what these things are (sin) simply because lots of people are now doing it or because we’ve given into the struggle. That is, it doesn’t make sense for us to build laws protecting thieves simply because they’ve decided to embrace their temptation to thievery. We should certainly show love to those that practice these sins, but love doesn't equate to celebration of what they've done, or to our denying our belief system and assenting that it was never wrong in the first place. And so, though our first responsibility remains to talk to others about Christ…to explain that He died, so that we can be forgiven for our lifestyles and choices that have broken His law, and so that we can know that He has more power than the temptation we feel to live those lifestyles. Those we talk to about our beliefs can certainly choose to ignore Christ's life and the gospel.. As participants in a Democracy, however, we also have the ability to influence culture in a way that we believe benefits it most. We believe there are negative consequences for a society that normalizes sinful behavior, and we therefore believe that what is most loving is to participate in our society in a way that helps prevent a society built on protecting those types of lifestyles from becoming the norm. The Neil Gorsuch hearings were today and he put it pretty insightfully when he said that this is a tightrope walk of sorts…there has to be freedom of religion, but there also has to be protection from the establishment of religion. That’s the struggle going on, I think. We’re not asking the government to make people say, “I’m a Christian. I believe in Christ, have repented of my sins, accepted His forgiveness, and out of thankfulness for what He did for me, I will try to walk a life worthy of Him.” That’s what the Crusades and the Inquisition were all about…what’s going on in the United States is not that. We simply believe there’s a way to live that’s beneficial to society that results in a compassionate, considerate culture. That way has nothing specifically to do with what god you serve. It has everything to do, however, with what moral code you ascribe to.

      • …continued…
        "Christians believe the mere existence of people who don't believe as they do is a threat and harms them."
        It is not your existence that poses threat or harm at all. You’re here, because God put you here. We have plenty to learn from one another, and God has a plan for your life. What does pose a threat and harm is the normalization, followed by steps to enforce – not just tolerance (which is simply agreeing to disagree) – but celebration of what God’s word describes a sinful lifestyle. By celebration, I mean that there is a cultural requirement now to endorse same sex marriage by using our resources, time, and abilities to make a congratulatory cake, or take pictures of, or provide flower arrangements for the wedding. Specifically, there is threat and harm when the request for endorsement and participation walks hand in hand with the judicial system as it increasingly does (a number of Christian owned bakeries, flower shops, pharmacies, photographers have closed up shop due to precisely this kind of judicial action against them). The threat and harm comes when the ACLU files suit against Catholic hospitals (already happening) who, in good conscience, refuse to take the life of an unborn child. Forget that winning the case will seize money from an organization that benefits thousands. If they do not provide abortion as a service, they can be taken to court and forced to or fined, diverting the money that could have been used to provide care to the mother and child to the organization fighting for the rights of those who believe everyone should agree that killing an unborn child is okay and that if you disagree, you shouldn’t be in the business of providing health care. There is threat and harm. There are always consequences.

      • …continued…
        “If Christians would simply go about their lives, believing whatever they wish, worshiping with their fellow Christians and enjoying their community without insisting everyone else live by their rules, there'd be no problem.”
        I’m not sure how to address this…it’s a little horrifying. This is the spark of the “ghetto” conversation. You’re not taking it this far, but it’s essentially what cultures over the centuries have demanded of the Jews. Enjoy your community (it implies that theirs is different from everyone else’s community, I guess?), practice your religion, and please stay out of the areas of societal discussion that we believe are not yours to speak into. This is a very slippery slope.

      • “You don't get to vote on my right to live my life how I wish. Our forefathers were smart enough to realize that people must be protected from the tyranny of the majority. Just because a bunch of Christians vote to force their beliefs on others through the power of the state doesn't make it right or Constitutional.”
        I’m sorry, but living your life how you wish has never been a recognized right in and of itself… Laws tell people how they can or can’t live their lives. If Joe Schmo wants to live his life by stealing blueberry pies off of grandma’s window sills, he’s going to find that there are laws in place based on an agreed on moral code that allows grandma to press charges. The law will either and stop him from living his life that way or make the consequences of living that way costly enough that he tries harder not to. Voting is precisely the right each one of us has in a Democracy. When a “progressive” America begins to legislate and live in a way that departs from the norm of the centuries preceding, that new majority will need to be very careful to take the same advice it’s giving Christians right now. As the winds of change roll in, Christians trying to be conscientious objectors are being told they can’t live their lives the way they want. They’re being told that they need to endorse what their religious beliefs tell them they cannot, and then they’re being told that if they refuse to endorse, there will be consequences. The shoe’s on the other foot now. We’re all using the power of the state to our own ends, but now you’re the one (sorry – maybe not you – but those that are using the state as I’ve described in my reply here) saying that your beliefs are right and the beliefs of Christians are wrong, and that we should be punished as a result of that truth.

        Thanks for reading, Kari. I wish you well, and again, appreciate the dialogue. Hope this was good food for thought.

        • Michael,
          You can veered far from Kaci's short response and yet paraphased and put words in her mouth. She is allowing you, me, and all Christians to live as we see fit, as long as we do no harm to others. She is not saying that you should stop spouting all the Christianity you care to say and others care to listen to. When matters of personal freedom are decided by religion including atheism, that's where we get to authoritarian rule and that's where the slippery slope comes into play. There is no slippery slope in Kaci's comment since she's not changing how you should create community or your rights within the community.

          I understand the cases you mention about the Catholic church organizations re: funding abortions, though I remember the debate being over whether their healthcare needed to provide birth control. The courts decided that they should not be forced to provide services that are against their religion; an exception was rightly granted.

          We should all put aside abortion as a topic, because there is certainly a moral argument. Same would go for alcohol, as it would marijuana or any other mind-altering substance. However, gay marriage is fair game; we use the term marriage, but shouldn't the government only be concerned with legal rights under the law and not whether a church performs the ceremony? We could change all marriages to civil unions and redefine the relationship the government has with those unions. I was surprised that it wasn't legislated that way.

          Many of our forefathers professed to be Deists, believing in some sort of God or gods, but they were not in fact Christians. They fought for freedom.

      • Yes. "The difference lies in that Christians believe the mere existence of people who don't believe as they do is a threat and harms them."

        • Jake, I'm sorry, but you're painting with too broad a brush here. It is not your existence that poses threat or harm at all. You’re here, because God put you here. We have plenty to learn from one another, and God has a plan for your life. What does pose a threat and harm is the normalization, followed by steps to enforce – not just tolerance (which is simply agreeing to disagree) – but celebration of what God’s word describes a sinful lifestyle. By celebration, I mean that there is a cultural requirement now to endorse same sex marriage by using our resources, time, and abilities to make a congratulatory cake, or take pictures of, or provide flower arrangements for the wedding. Specifically, there is threat and harm when the request for endorsement and participation walks hand in hand with the judicial system as it increasingly does (a number of Christian owned bakeries, flower shops, pharmacies, photographers have closed up shop due to precisely this kind of judicial action against them). The threat and harm comes when the ACLU files suit against Catholic hospitals (already happening) who, in good conscience, refuse to take the life of an unborn child. Forget that winning the case will seize money from an organization that benefits thousands. If they do not provide abortion as a service, they can be taken to court and forced to or fined, diverting the money that could have been used to provide care to the mother and child to the organization fighting for the rights of those who believe everyone should agree that killing an unborn child is okay and that if you disagree, you shouldn’t be in the business of providing health care. There is threat and harm. There are always consequences.

          • Yeah, no self respecting white supremacist baker should be forced to bake a cake for an interracial marriage, right? How could anyone not see how sinful interracial marriage is? If a State wants to outlaw it, that should be their right, right? You sure use a lot of words Michael. Me thinks thou doth protest too much. It seems like you need to work pretty hard to try to portray yourself as "not a bigot". It would be easier to just not be one.

    • I didn't get more than a few sentences into yours until I realized you prove his point. Not that I'm for either one of you, but the fundamental point is all of you think that YOUR religion is RIGHT and every other is WRONG, and that you should, one way or the other, bring the entire world around to your thinking. American Fundamentalists are a much greater threat to my freedom, though I'm not interested in going to Syria. Just keep to yourself, Bub!

    • Sorry Michael, you can't have it both ways. You say that just because the author grew up in a Christian environment, it doesn't give him the authority to understand it because there was no scholarly investigation involved, he was still just a 15 year old kid. But of yourself, you say, "But at age 15, I was more interested in figuring out how to stop an outbreak of whiteheads before the next school dance." Michael, have you investigated teenagers? Have you searched out an understanding of who teens have been historically? Have you tried to come to grips with the claims the writer has made and the evidence of his life lived? Have you compared those carefully and honestly to claims of other teens and tried to determine which best answered the questions of existence and purpose? Though it may be a leap, I'll take it. I'll assume you didn't do those things and move on from there.
      You can't say one person's observations don't count, then say your experiences at 15 are indicative of what teens are like. As a teacher of over 20 years, my own observation is that most 15 year olds are far less shallow than you admit to being. The writer had a front row seat to the life that he was part of, compared it to the real world, and found it lacking. A much more informed decision than reading textbooks.

    • The problem is not one claims to be an Evangelical Christian, it is the action of those that claim to be. I am by no means a religious scholar, but have taken a few religion classes in college and feel that I have a basic understanding of the teachings of Christ. What I find distasteful about most organized religions is that they do not follow the teachings of Christ. While Jesus was upon this earth he taught love and to love your enemy even when it is hard to do. I feel that most evangelicals have taken the words of Christ and weaponized them to their own benefit. I believe in a loving God, and that we need to help our fellow man. This is not a complicated message, yet many use it to push their own corrupt agenda.

    • I was going to thoroughly read the article and respond. It appears you’ve already got it covered. No need to reinvent the wheel. Thanks.

  7. The use of the Sinclair Lewis attributed quote on a bumper sticker is misleading, as investigation has found that he did not say it. He did say some similar things: From "It Can’t Happen Here" (1935): “But he saw too that in America the struggle was befogged by the fact that the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word ‘Fascism’ and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty.” & From "Gideon Planish" (1943): “I just wish people wouldn’t quote Lincoln or the Bible, or hang out the flag or the cross, to cover up something that belongs more to the bank-book and the three golden balls.” Others attribute the quote to Hewey Long, but again, a misrepresentation. Halford E. Luccock of the Divinity School at Yale, dis say something similar in a sermon at Riverside Church in NYC: "The high-sounding phrase "the American way" will be used by interested groups, intent on profit, to cover a mul;titude of sins against the American and Christian traditions, such sins as lawless violence, tear gas and shotguns, denial of civil liberties. There is an obligation resting on us all to dedicate our minds to the hard task of thinking in terms of Christian objectives and values, so that we may save our nation from moral confusion." (http://technoccult.net/archives/2010/03/03/who-really-said-when-fascism-comes-to-america-it-will-come-wrapped-in-the-flag-and-waving-a-cross/)
    However, this doesn't mean I disagree with the article's take on religious intolerance from some so-called "Christians."
    My favorite quote about what we are observing is one by Anne Lamott "You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out he hates all the same people you do.."

  8. Ehhhhhhhhhh this is an unwise allegation. You have just hypergeneralized a lot of good, God loving and servant-hearted people into a very unfair category. Try again.

  9. I was reading in your article till you got to the First Amendment and supposed statement of separation of church and state. That’s from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to in an answer to the establishment of a State religion. That’s where I stopped, if you cannot explain a concept properly then how can I read more of a thesis of a concept

    • Before appearing a fool, it is wise to check the source materiel one is either quoting or decrying. in this case the first amendment does establish the separation of church and state by declaring that congress shall make no law pertaining to the establishment of religion. it is called the "Establishment clause" and it reads like this —Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”, it also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion. But if you wish to counter the argument I am willing "to bury this amendment as well so that we can then justifiably demonize your religion as hate speech and forcibly have it removed from our shores" Extreme you say, but why not… you wish to use your "religious" moral authority to deny homosexual persons equal protection under the law. the same law that says you cannot be treated differently and denied services available to the general public are the same laws your type cries about being used to force them to act against their religion. Non-sense, If a baker wishes to only cater to the religious public he need only to post that he/she will only produce said products for persons getting married in a specific religious venue IE particular local churches. they then align themselves with those particular religious views. Absurd, you suggest, because the Bakers wish to appeal to the general public thus ensuring sufficient business opportunity to survive as a bakery. Then in order to serve the "general public" you must operate under the same laws that protect you from being forced to worship in someone else's church as opposed to your preferred church. To deny a same sex couple a consumable product just because your moral code says you should discriminate against them is the same as denying someone who worships in a Synagogue, or Muslim temple, by your religious code they do not worship your G-D, they do not accept Christ as their lord and savior and in fact because you use the cross as a symbol of your religion, it actually falls under terms that describe idolatry (the worship of idols in place of G-D) so why would you want those persons whose religion allows for multiple wives and/or concubines outside of your traditional definition of marriage unless you are simply hiding behind your "Religious" beliefs to practice hatred instead of loving all and allowing G-D to judge as your religious writings teach. Ah, but if you can get your preferred religious beliefs enshrined and protected by the state and federal government then you can discriminate freely as much as you want, but be careful, it may not be "your" preferred version of Christianity that gets that protected state status and then you may find you could be another individual being persecuted by the gov't for not reading the bible in an approved manner.

      • The phrase “separation of Church and State” cannot be found in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. In fact, it is not found in any of our nation’s founding documents!
        What Does the Constitution Actually Say?
        Today, people believe that “separation of Church and State” is in the First Amendment of the Constitution. But in the First Amendment to the Constitution it says:
        First Amendment:
        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
        The famous separation phrase appears nowhere in that Amendment, or in the Constitution. In fact, it is not found in any of our nation’s founding documents!
        That part (no law respecting an establishment of religion) simply means that there will be no Official Religion of the country- in England at the time of the Revolution – you had to belong to the Official Church, and if you were caught practicing any other religion, you would be arrested, imprisoned and all of your goods/properties would be confiscated by the Government!
        Therefore – NO OFFICIAL Religion of the United States; just like there is NO OFFICIAL LANGUAGE of the United States!
        You are FREE TO PRACTICE ANY RELIGION THAT YOU CHOOSE, OR NO RELIGION AT ALL; YOUR CHOICE YOUR FREEDOM!

  10. I agree with some of the things you have and I disagree with others. There are many of us who are Christians would you not persecute others. And consider, I’ll pray for you, a wonderful blessing especially when there is nothing else that one can accomplish on behalf of someone who is asking. It is sad that you up in a radical Christian Community. It appears that it has larger judgment about so many others. Radical Christians vs radical Taliban Muslims. To some who might read this, they might interpret that all Muslims are radical and all Christians are radical simply because they pray. Which I am sure you did not intend but remember your words travel far and wide for interpretation and misinterpretation, for judging and misjudging.

  11. Although I follow your line of thought, I disagree with the comparison. Having been a part of the strong religious community here in the US, evangelical Christians are not US Taliban. Otherwise, I would not be permitted to comment or voice any objections to your article!

    The Taliban are known for their harsh enforcement of their interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, resulting in the brutal treatment of many, especially women. They committed massacres against civilians, denied UN food supplies to starving civilians and conducted a policy of scorched earth, burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes (Wikipedia & BBC). Their beliefs and actions far overshadow the teachings of modern evangelicals, which in its extreme form insists on a faith-based strict code of conduct.

  12. These people who are so-called Christians are just that. They are not Christians. They do not follow the teachings of Jesus. They are following the teachings of man. They do not believe in love, charity and faith. They believe in salvation through prosperity. They believe that charity means only those who will accept their beliefs without question. They don't love their neighbour unless their neighbour is the same colour, religion and background. Anyone else is to feared, hated, and persecuted. This is why Trump and his hordes were able to get a foothold in this country. The other side was lazy, not interested and figured they had it in the bag so they let Satan's minions win. Now is the time for the real Christians to step up and be heard and seen to support Jesus and his teachings.

    • That's a 'No True Scotsman' fallacy. The ones you call 'so-called' Christians most likely think you are not a true Christian if you do not think like them. So, who is the real Christian? The one who claims to be following Christ's teachings, or the one who claims to be following Christ's teachings?

      I completely agree with you on everything though. It is time for people who believe in Christ to start decrying the indecency, fraud and inhumanity of many prominent 'Christians'. Flip over some f–king tables and chase those who think an (R) next to their name protects them around with a whip.

    • agree/ I am referring to zealots/extremists/they are the most mean spirited, dishonest, selfish of all. it is always do as I say not as i do/ and many have shady pasts and use the zealotry as a cover up!

    • Being a 'Christian' means following the path Jesus took. He seldom had the food he himself needed; indeed taking a couple of fish and bread loaves, from the supply of the Apostles, and feeding the multitude who stood near him, ready to listen to his words. His power- filled messages struck the hearts of those who finally condemned him, 'For seeing, they might not see, and hearing, they might not hear'… Matthew 13:14.. Even Jesus our precious savior, knew He could not 'reach' those people..
      There are differences in true Christians and those who 'profess' to be one..IF you follow the 10 commandments and adhere to a life of selflessness, help your neighbor (not harm him), and honor those who gave you life, never take anything not yours, and all the rest of those commandments, you will spend a lifetime and likely fail – somewhere inside that..
      Jesus remonstrated for us to remember : We are NOT to be 'of' this world', but only in it, and lead by example. I see so few Christians, ( and I, myself, am never going to be perfect), who lead by example.
      Many things, acts, and excuses are going on today, that people well know Jesus would NEVER do, or approve of.. As was said, ' Their guilt will find them out'..

      'And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 ESV

  13. Wow, all this Christian, Clinical Scientist from California can say is “I will pray for you”! Labels are just what you make them and this self proclaimed “punk” just posted many labels for the journalist media to jump on the emotional band wagon. Instead I hope others would see the daily good we are doing in the world you so desperatly want to make by sensationalism. But for this scientist I dont have time for journalism that is not backed by truth.

  14. This is far left speaking against, and trying to silence anyone who believes in Christ or other ways outside of atheism- pushing an agenda. Essentially anyone with a written set of principles that are unchanging. Moral code. Christianity is about peace and yes, Christians, just like the articles mentioned DO push for their own values, but it is not required NOR forced. Stated openly- yes. Forced- No. Christians are those who will publicly state they are flawed, Not better than others and ‘the way’ is by following the examples of Christ as the son of God.

    It is apparent to me that the writer, JC Weatherby, has not considered what the Christians want, nor has read and Understood the first amendment that states:
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
    —-or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;—–
    or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, in 1833 stated:
    The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy of one denomination— the exclusive patronage of the national government.

    I understand that I am not going to change anyones mind but a bit of study of those individuals and freedoms spoken against, and study of History is in order. Maybe if a person puts effort into these studies they will find that we truly are a privileged nation like no other.

    • If you don't want to be villified as a Christian, I suggest you stop villifying the far left. It's unchristian. They're like any other group… got some good folks and some not-so-good folks and everything in between. Just like christians.

    • How about we give a more complete version of Story’s commentary concerning the First Amendment, which outlines, in his view, a complex state of affairs that your excerpt does not sufficiently address:

      “Article VI, paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution declares, that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.’ This clause is not introduced merely for the purpose of satisfying the scruples of many persons, who feel an invincible repugnance to any religious test, or affirmation. It had a higher objective: to cut off for ever every pretence of any alliance between church and state in the national government.[29]

      “The real object of the First Amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government. It thus cut off the means of religious persecution, (the vice and pest of former ages,) and of the subversion of the rights of conscience in matters of religion, which had been trampled upon almost from the days of the Apostles to the present age. The history of the parent country had afforded the most solemn warnings and melancholy instructions on this head; and even New England, the land of the persecuted puritans, as well as other colonies, where the Church of England had maintained its superiority, would furnish out a chapter, as full of the darkest bigotry and intolerance, as any, which should be found to disgrace the pages of foreign annals. Apostacy, heresy, and nonconformity had been standard crimes for public appeals, to kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious triumphs over innocence and virtue.[30]

      “Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state government, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions; and the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship.”

      The first paragraphs addresses a question left open by his understanding of the First Amendment, outlined in the second paragraph, citing what is in one of the original articles of the Constitution. His conclusion is unequivocal; there is, and must ever be, separation of church and state and, yes, by church he means Christian. He goes further in his third paragraph, establishing that none may be refused representation in the federal government no matter their faith. The long and short is, no religion, not even Christianity, may preside over or be given special dispensation in the conduct of national affairs.

      What he says about religion and the states, however, is interesting. Is that to be taken as read?

    • This is far left speaking against, and trying to silence anyone who believes in Christ or other ways outside of atheism." There is no way outside of atheism that does not result in suffering in the name of it.

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