Friday, July 29, 2005

Jonesin' For Jim: Parachurch Group Followers Drinking Different Flavors Of Kool-Aid

In the last several years, a lot of people I know, love, and respect have more publicly - even defiantly - stood in opposition to the notion that the Republican Party is the only one in which a follower of Christ can truly be represented.

As terms like emergent and postmodern have turned up, so too has the volume by those suggesting the G-O-P is not G-O-D and that the way of Christ goes not through Baghdad but rather through the refugee camps in Sudan and the inner cities of the United States.

I wonder if another term might also be appropriate for these people: Democrats.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld says. The Democratic Party certainly needs redeeming, as does the GOP. I just don't understand the subterfuge. (I do, however, really enjoy that word. Good word.)

You won't hear Jim Wallis (Sojourners) openly declaring Democratic Party loyalty, just as James Dobson (Focus on the Family) won't say in so many words that God is a Republican. But neither disguises his preference very well.

In the previous Presidential election, Wallis' Sojourners proffered this print ad:








The sentiment is true enough, of course. But it's hardly coincidence that Republican precedes Democrat or that Democrat is in patently tinier type, as if the blue bumper stickers had gone to print and the bottom line added as an afterthought.

It would take such concerted efforts, however, for a group like Sojourners to begin pecking away at the substantial lead the Dobsonites have built on behalf of the Right throughout American Christendom.

What if both guys came out with the following joint announcement:

"We're against the legalization of marijuana." (Sorry, I couldn't resist. Let's try again.)

"Okay, folks. The charade is over. We've been shills for our respective parties, in case you hadn't already caught on. Also, Milli Vanilli was lip-synching. Anyway, We're coming out of the closet to openly declare ourselves a Democrat (J-Dub) and a Republican (J-Dob), not because it's God's favorite but because the issues they're trying to advance are the ones which most closely and respectively resonate with us as we attempt to follow Christ. We're sorry we've divided more than we've united. By formally declaring our allegiances, we hope to work within our parties to encourage our fellow members to 'act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly' with our God. And we pray our mutual efforts will result in both sides behaving more nobly."

I think there's a better chance of seeing Milli Vanilli on Broadway.

---

[On a side note, I'm a little disappointed in the rather benign response from Republicans to my call for Karl Rove's head in the previous post. A limp accusation of ACLU membership here, an innocent-'til-proven-guilty upbraid there. Really, the most havoc-wreaking rejoinder was Brandon Thomas' speedo bombshell.

I extracted considerably more vitriol from my friends on the left after I skewered President Clinton for not stepping down following the Lewinsky affair, his feral and finger-wagging denial in front of God and man, and the subsequent Moni-culpa.

It makes me nervous when one side screams louder than the other at my offerings. Makes me feel uncomfortably close to the side that's less riled up. Although after spending much of my life trying to get people to like me (to nearly no avail), I must say it's more fun when people disagree with my point of view. Like when they protest to their husbands about too much golf content.]

9 comments:

David G said...

Sorry I wasn't up to a good come-back on your previous post. Keep up the political themes and I'll try to do better.

Bart Phillips said...

Grant,

Well written, but not exactly accurate. As Dr. Dobson's assistant, I am able to shed a little light on his heart. I wish everyone had the opportunity to regularly sit down with this great man and hear his heart.

He is not a republican, and has never endorsed a candidate in nearly 3 decades of ministry. His ideals and morals, however do tend to line up w/ the GOP.

Doc did not seek out politics. Politics sought out the family and began imposing laws affecting the family. He had no choice, as one of the most respected evangelical leaders to defend the family.

Abortion affects the family. Killing humans because they become tiresome towards the end of life affects the family. Stem cell research on unborn humans affects the family. Homosexuality affects the family. These subjects affect our world and Dr. Dobson's heart is for others...so was Christ's.

Unfortunatly, the dems typically support every viewpoint above. And typically, the GOP fights against them. He says often that if the dems would support the family, he would support their viewpoints, but they simply do not.

I for one respect greatly this man...not just because he signs my paychecks. I respect him because he has never changed. For 3 decades he has allowed his concious only to be led by the Bible and his Savior. I say keep on fighting the fight...our children will thank him and others.

Other than that, I agree with everything you said. Let's talk soon.

Bart Phillips

Grant said...

(Readers, beware of my immense love and respect for Bart, which will force me to give him the benefit of any doubt in discussions like these.)

For dramatic effect, I may have overstated Dr. Dobson's allegiance to the GOP. Also, I'm a journalist and this is the internet, which means I'm not bound in any way to be truthful. Ha!

In all seriousness, I appreciate what Dobson has done. He's taken the issues that are important to him and become a champion of those causes. I wouldn't care if he did formally align himself with the GOP. That's kind of what I was getting at in my post. But surely Dobson wouldn't suggest that those things you mentioned are the only issues that affect the family.

There are millions of families - hard-working, honest, God-fearing - which can hardly survive in any economic system. But virtually every study or survey you see shows it's dramatically more difficult for those families to make it in a world in which the Republicans control the purse strings. I'm not saying Dr. Dobson doesn't care about those people, nor am I suggesting Jim Wallis thinks the more unborn babies we kill the better.

Different issues resonate with different people. That's a good thing. The bad thing is when a person suggests the only important issue is the one he/she is fighting for. And that's what has happened.

There are Republican Christians who believe one can't be a faithful disciple of Christ AND a Democrat because that party advocates marrying queers and killing babies. And there are plenty of Democrat Christians who can't understand how a Christ-follower could stand in the company of a party that unfairly tilts the scales of economic, social, and criminal justice toward the privileged few.

I'm trying to call on all Christ-followers to love the world and each other. I'm hoping that results in two things:

1) I keep fighting for the things God has stirred up in my heart to fight for, whether it be school prayer or school lunches

and

2) I support and encourage you to fight for the things God's put in your heart.

Bart Phillips said...

well said, as usual. i appreciate the healthy dialogue.

bart

Matt Elliott said...

You might like this story, Grant. Jody (our preacher) and I went to the Emergent Convention in Nashville in May. Jody, as you may know, leans right of center politically while I lean to the left. (And we're pretty much best friends, I might add.) After the first day of sessions, I asked Jody how he was enjoying things. Here's how the conversation went down:

Jody: "I like it, but I'm really having to work around some of liberal politics that I'm hearing."

Matt: "So let me get this straight, Jody -- you're constantly having to work to get around the political biases of the speakers in order to hear God's message for you?"

Jody: "Yes, that's what I'm saying."

Matt: "Welcome to my life, Jody."

[peals of laughter follow...]

Grant said...

Great story, Matt. It's not surprising - seeing as how the people of God have argued over everything else - that we would spar over politics. The most insidious behavior, IMHO, is the general assumption that any person of faith would OBVIOUSLY have to vote this way or that (read: my way). Both sides are equally guilty and obstinate...it's just that the Right has a worse (but well-earned) rap for being politically intolerant and incredulous.

Brandon Scott said...

Great post Grant--you are RIGHT on. And I still say I look good in a speedo.

Anonymous said...

Are you a Democrat, Republican or Southern Republican?

Here is a little test that will help you decide.

Question: How do you tell the difference between
Democrats, Republicans And Southern Republicans?

The answer can be found by posing the following
question:

You're walking down a deserted street with your wife
and two small children. Suddenly, an Islamic Terrorist
with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes
with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises
the knife, and charges at you. You are
carrying a Glock cal .40, and you are an expert shot.
You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your
family.

What do you do?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Democrat's Answer:

Well, that's not enough information to answer the
question!

Does the man look poor! Or oppressed?

Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire
him to attack?

Could we run away?

What does my wife think?

What about the kids?

Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock
the knife out of his hand?

What does the law say about this situation?

Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it?

Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind
of message does this send to society and to my
children?

Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me?

Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be
content just to wound me?

If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my
family get away while he was stabbing me?

Should I call 9-1-1?

Why is this street so deserted?

We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day
and make this happier, healthier street that would
discourage such behavior.

This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with
some friends for few days and try to come to a
consensus.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Republican's Answer:

BANG!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Southern Republican's Answer:

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
BANG! click.....(sounds of reloading).

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
BANG! click

Daughter: "Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the
Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?"

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