The possibility (or probability as some polls suggest) that Sen. Barack Obama will be the next U.S. president has some fundamentalist Christian leaders predicting gloom, doom and some very strange other stuff.
According to an Associated Press report, Focus on the Family’s policy leaders are warning followers that an Obama-appointed Supreme Court majority could lead to the Boy Scouts being forced to disband or “hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys.”
In a rambling Oct. 23 editorial in The Christian Index, newspaper of the Georgia Baptist Convention, editor Gerald Harris warns of direct threats to the church and individual Christians if Obama, a professing Christian, is elected (or, as Harris puts it, “if the present Rasmussen and Zogby polls are any indication of who will be our next president…”)
“I can see the day on the near horizon when sermons will be censored, when church services will be randomly monitored, when churches and religious organizations will lose their tax-exempt status, and Christians severely ridiculed for their faith, if not outright persecuted,” he writes.
Harris also suggests that the election could result in the pronouncements of atheist comic Bill Maher being given the same validity as ultraconservative Baptist preachers.
“Our society of religious pluralism insists that Maher’s views of God and Christianity should be given the same measure of validity as the views of Charles Stanley or Jerry Vines,” Harris lamented.
Harris’ expressed fear, though seemingly disconnected from his editorial focus on the upcoming election, is of the growing and unstoppable religious pluralism in America. He completely confuses the freedom to express one’s views with the validity of one’s views.
Surely Christianity (even the warped expressions of fear-mongers) should seek its validity in the free expressions that are constitutionally guaranteed — not from coercion or as the preferred religion of a secular government. Anything other than full religious liberty for all persons is as un-American and un-Baptist as one can get.
In the aforementioned AP article, Georgetown University political scientist Clyde Wilcox observed: “Everyone uses fear in the last part of a campaign, but evangelicals are especially theologically prone to those sorts of arguments.”
How interesting. Evangelicals, during election cycles, are known by their projections of fear.
What we are hearing from these writers are not concerns over political philosophies about economics, defense strategies or social spending. These are last-gasp efforts to scare gullible adherents who share a fear that the cultural dominance for conservative Christians could be lost.
Whether such tactics work is for another to decide. But the sad reality is that such ridiculous claims reveal that the writers of such nonsense do so for one of two reasons.
Either they are being intentionally dishonest in order to persuade voters to their political side or they actually possess such irrational fears.