17 August 2009

What we can believe

In my email this morning a note that said "a democrat" had introduced an amendment to the Constitution that would repeal the two term limit on the presidency so that Mr. Obama could become "president for life." Last week I was berated by a friend who is convinced that the Obama health care initiative is a plot to kill of "old white people." In this theory the "death panels" will deny life saving treatment to whites over 50 so that they die off to leave a blacker and browner America.

10 minutes, if you can stand that much, listening to the hysteria on talk radio will convince you that people not only believe this stuff, they believe even more extreme lunacy. The question is why?

It is way too easy to suggest the answer is race. After all, Mr. Obama is not a lilly white guy, so the obvious idea is that those who believe this idiot stuff are reacting to that fact. Some of them probably are racists -- they are everywhere after all -- so that is the is the simple solution. The problem is I can recall those who were claiming Mr. Bush would cancel the election to stay in office. Mr. Bush is many things, black is not one of them. These were the same people who would in the same paragraph say Mr. Bush is stupid and then credit him with elaborate schemes to keep power.

Let me suggest that some of us at least, are prepared to believe anything --negative-- about someone with whom the.y disagree. Mr. Bush cannot be wrong: he has to be stupid. Mr. Obama cannot be wrong: he has to be a Marxist.

Blessed Martin Luther in his Small Catechism wrote:
The Eighth Commandment
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray
him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and
explain everything in the kindest possible way.

(Emphasis added)

In the schism, we see people who have left the church who (years later in some cases) are still focused on it, and are always ready to take a cheap shot at their neighbor. The anger towards TEC from REC members, ( REC has been separated for over 100 years!) is amazing.

What do we say about Blessed Martin's call for us to defend and affirm our neighbor?

I am reminded by Ghandi's obeservation that he really likes our Christ but not our Christians. Is this what we mean when we sing that they will know us by our love? Do we really think the commandment is "that you love those who agree with you?"


jeannette said...

i rather consistantly talk about the two rules given by jesus... the ones he said to remember above all others. 'love others as you love yourself, love god above all others'.
i have been flat out told by conservative christians that the rules only apply to christians, so until i convert they aren't bound to feel love, or even respect, for me.
those types are the ones who give christianity a bad image, and thus ghandi's remark.

JimB said...


Point taken. Please believe me: there are other Christians. Not necessarily that you should convert, but we are out there.


RonF said...

Which is why I don't listen to talk radio at all or their video equivalents (Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck et. al.). Remember - their job is not to inform. Their job is to keep ratings high so that the media outlet can charge the maximum amount for it's advertising.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Romans 1:22 KJV "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,"

Need I say more?

JimB said...


The problem is that a lot of people, foolishly as Christal points out, do listen. I don't often, but when I start getting comments here or in person that suggest more anger and fear abroad, I do skim it a bit. They are as reflective as innovative - they push what they hear.

I am frankly more interested in the phenomena of belief. I am not a Bush fan, but I don't think he is stupid and I don't think he ever entertained the idea of being president for life. I could write the same about Mr. Obama.

Why are we so willing to think these people are inherently evil or ill-motivated? I think it is a question worth thinking about.


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