Thursday, December 06, 2007

Southern Evangelical Christians

I just read this in an AP article on

"I don't think his Mormonism is a deal breaker for most Americans, but only Mitt Romney can close the deal," Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told ABC's "Good Morning America." Asked directly if he thought Mormons were Christians, Land said, "No, I do not."

What!? Why do evangelical "Christians" not understand the meaning of the word Christian? If someone accepts Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of all mankind, then that person is a Christian. It's as simple as that.

Seriously, how can a people so exclusive and intolerant consider themselves Christian? I mean, let's take a look at some facts here...

Southern Evangelical Christians

Of course, not all Southern Evangelical Christians are the same, and I'm sure there are many good people in that group who critically analyze their internal belief system. In fact, some of my best friends are Southern Evangelical ... yadda yadda. Let's have a look at some of the social policies broadly supported by that group:
  1. They oppose abortion, but they support capital punishment. How can a person justify killing another person and still call themselves a Christian?
  2. They support WAR. How can a Christian support a WAR, particularly one that is preemptive? Jesus Christ taught forgiveness and tolerance. He was essentially a pacifist. He taught his followers to turn the other cheek. How can a person who calls himself or herself a Christian advocate or participate in a war?
  3. They refuse to accept the mountain of scientific evidence supporting the fact that human beings are primarily responsible for global climate change, which is destroying many of the Earth's habitats. How can a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, or anyone who believes God created Earth, believe that it's OK to continue trashing His creation? Aren't we morally obligated to do everything in our power to preserve the beauty and diversity of this planet? I mean let's go ahead and look past the point that it's actually a matter of survival.
The contradictions underlying the Southern Evangelical Christian movement are glaring. I don't understand how a person could call himself or herself a Christian and then turn around and advocate a policy that involves murder.

If I were trapped in a world where murder, greed, and destruction ruled the day (not saying those things rule this world, I'm more optimistic than that, but for hypothetical purposes...), and I had the ability to go back in time and actually pick the foundational spiritual leader for a large segment of that world's population, I would want to pick one who advocates peace and forgiveness. Well, lookie here! Christianity is the most popular religion in the world, and Jesus Christ preached tolerance, peace, and forgiveness! So how is it that many many people who call themselves Christians, and go to church every Sunday, are only helping to perpetuate murder, greed, and destruction in the social policies they support?

The only answers I can find to these obvious and frightening contradictions are explained in a book called The Authoritarians, by Bob Altemeyer. It's freely available online. In it, he explains, scientifically, why members of the "religious right" advocate leaders who have selfish, destructive tendencies. It's an extremely worthwhile read. Very enlightening.

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