Monday, October 22, 2012

The Wrong Kind

Some four years after he was elected, after two books and numerous speeches and affirmations of his faith, major news organizations are still asking why major news organizations are baffled as to how anyone in America, including Barack Obama, can be both a social liberal and a Christian.

Obama is a progressive Christian who blends the emotional fire of the African-American church, the ecumenical outlook of contemporary Protestantism, and the activism of the Social Gospel, a late 19th-century movement whose leaders faulted American churches for focusing too much on personal salvation while ignoring the conditions that led to pervasive poverty. 
No other president has shared the hybrid faith that Obama displays, says Diana Butler Bass, a historian and author of “Christianity after Religion.” 
“The kind of faith that Obama articulates is not the sort of Christianity that’s understood by the media or by a large swath of Christians in the U.S.,” says Bass, a progressive Christian. “He’s a different kind of Christian, and the media and the public awareness needs to reawaken to that fact.”

Even though millions of liberal Christians exist, from Joe Biden to the Nuns on the Bus or my own family where I grew up, CNN is acting like this is a revelation, that the millions of Catholic, Protestant, Baptist and other flavors of liberal, progressive "I am my brother's keeper" Christians, who view the teachings of Jesus as lessons of social tolerance for all, respect for other's beliefs, compassion for those less fortunate and love of others to help them improve themselves, are some sort of insane cult.  They can't possibly be "real" Christians.  Real Christians are much more interested in telling you what you can't do, not what you can do.  It's the reason I don't subscribe to any organized religion anymore, because "be excellent to each other" and "don't be a douchebag" is way too simple a personal code to live by, apparently.

How hard is that to understand?

Some Christians, however, still see Obama as the “other.” He doesn’t act or talk like other Christians, says the Rev. Gary Cass, a conservative Christian president of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

“I just don’t see or hear in his accounts the kind of things that I’ve heard as a minister for over 25 years coming from the mouths of people who have genuinely converted to Christianity,” says Cass, pastor of Christ Church in San Diego.

Cass says he’s never heard Obama say he’s “born-again.” There’s no emotional conversion story to hang onto.

Obama talks about his faith and attends church, but Cass says that doesn’t mean he’s a Christian.

Joining a church doesn’t mean you’re a Christian. “You can put me in the garage, but that doesn’t turn me into a car.”

Translation:  we don't want someone like him polluting our "Christianity".  That's why millions of asshole "Christians" believe the President is a Muslim, or atheist, or worships the Lords of Kobol or anything but a Christian, because that would be admitting that liberal Christianity exists.  It's a bit more than just racism, but otherism as well, and it's long been a big fat schism in American Christianity.

To admit that this brand of Christianity exists blows a huge hole in the whole religion as a cudgel thing.  To admit that President Barack Obama is a Christian is, to millions of Christians, admission that there are some uncomfortable political overtones to where Christianity has gone over the last 30 years in America.

We can't have that.  Better to call him a secret Muslim and be done with it.

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