The Temple

Ode to Jerry Falwell

Optional Title to this post: “I am voting for an Atheist for President”

Has it been long enough?

What is the required waiting period before we can talk about the legacy of Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority? Well, here goes. I think this blog post will get me in trouble.

The Moral Majority was the worst thing to happen to the church in my lifetime. Evangelical Christianity got into bed with the Republican Party and thus began the linkage that has defined our “position” and “opinion” about many issues. By aligning ourselves politically, we have emasculated our message. People are not transformed by the right party in office, society is not transformed by the right set of laws. People and then society are transformed by Christ, the message is the gospel. It is high time that we disassociate ourselves from any political party. It would be in the best interest of the nation if an atheist were to be elected president. I am looking for a qualified atheist candidate. He will have my vote. Some comments and observations.

The Moral Majority bunch was telling us back before Bill Clinton that our nation was doomed if he was victorious. It didn’t happen. The predictions of national disaster did not materialize, and the USA is still here. We survived Bill. We are surviving George. Now we are hearing the same about Hilary. I wouldn’t vote for her, but we will survive Hilary as well, if she is elected. For crying out loud, we survived Jimmy Carter. All the doomsday Christian mouthpieces on “christian” radio and media need to stop manipulating the church with threatening rhetoric. People like Paul McGuire need to stop undermining Christian pastors who do not see eye to eye with him politically, and who refuse to turn the pulpit into a political tool. It is not Christianity to enforce the law as a means to turn people to good. America will not be a better place if we enforce an opposition to gay marriage. America will be a better place if the church will preach the gospel, feed the poor and minister to the orphan and widow – no matter who is President, no matter if gays win the right to shared health care (and what difference does it make if we grant people health care benefits? How do we in good conscience deny people that opportunity?). What message did the Baptists send to the nation in boycotting Disneyland a few years back? It isn’t hard to interpret: “we hate gay people, they are ruining our nation.” The trite cliche we use – hate the sin, love the sinner – is more for us than them. Gays rightly hate that phrase because it rings so hollow. The church has not loved homosexuals, shame on us.

The Moral Majority duped the church into thinking that our power is political. What a major mistake. What bad theology. I would be happy if Christians never cast another vote, if only they were practicing Biblical Christianity. We have used politics and political clout as an excuse to not practice our faith. We should be ashamed of ourselves. The fight against abortion has become politicized. The church has no standing or voice in the popular discussion because we have aligned ourselves politically. Our view is seen not as an argument for truth, or morality with a compassionate tone, rather it is seen as Republican and Religious. As a result, we never talk about the act and our pleas are not seen as genuine, rather they are seen as partisan and dismissed. They will now forever be seen that way. A genuine dialog with the power of a moral voice has been exchanged for a political game with the power of a majority. We win, you lose or vice versa. We have reduced ourselves to the level of a PAC, with a limited life span. Now our voices are strident, appealing to another secular methodology – screaming on the radio in shock jock fashion. Bravo.

You want a legitimate cry against abortion? Fill Christian homes with children that women delivered and gave up to a loving family. Line up those children along the beltway or the mall in DC, then you will have a voice with power. Do something driven by the love of Christ for both the woman considering abortion and her child, and then we will have power to be heard. We should learn the lesson that Mother Teresa exemplified – genuine Christianity will not be overlooked because there is no law against the fruit of the Spirit. Christians have gotten away from that genuine expression, exchanging it for the sheer force of numbers.

Many believe that we have accomplished our task by having elected a Christian president. When have we not had a “christian” as President?????? It is high time we elected an Atheist. Maybe then we will see that even though the Constitution does not specifically mention the separation of Church and State, the church of all groups should not be opposing the separation of Church and State. I am a proponent of the separation, as should every believer. To morph the two is disaster. We should do all we can to avoid that marriage. The church’s recent efforts scream that we desire a marriage of church and state. Hence our visceral and violent reaction to gay marriage and the accompanying rhetoric that our nation will suffer irreparable damage if we allow gay marriage (all the fall of the Roman Empire examples inserted here).

Why don’t we just make signs we can post outside of our churches: No Gays allowed; If you have had an abortion, try Buddhism. The church is not a political organization. Neither Jesus nor Paul or any other New Testament figure ever model this strategy for us. If anything their strategy was just the opposite: the politics of the day had no bearing on their mission or their method. It should have no bearing on ours either.

I was going to add the caveat that I am speaking about the church not about individual Christians who can and should express themselves politically, but as I mentioned earlier, I will gladly exchange a genuine Christian for a voting “christian” any day of the week. I was also going to add the caveat that I am not arguing for either abortion or the validity of the gay experience, but the political “christian” doesn’t care – I will simply be vilified and called names. So be it.

Can I blame Jerry Falwell for this mess? Well, I think he rode the wave and many of us followed along for the ride. It is time for a new direction for the American Church.

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June 5, 2007 - Posted by | Christian Living, Christianity, Culture - Values, Politics and Religion

8 Comments »

  1. I hope you’ve got your seatbelt on tight for the ride you thinker you….

    Comment by Ellen | June 6, 2007 | Reply

  2. […] Steve Bogdanov on the legacy of Jerry Falwell. An honest perspective. […]

    Pingback by The Boar’s Head Tavern » Baptist Language | June 6, 2007 | Reply

  3. Excellent! I agree with Ellen – Yee Haw we got ourselves a rodayo ride with this one! Just give me JESUS!

    Comment by Lana G! | June 6, 2007 | Reply

  4. […]      The Temple […]

    Pingback by Interesting Posts in Blog Land Today! « Above the Clouds | June 6, 2007 | Reply

  5. I think you scared everyone away. I’ll vote for Sven if he decides to run 🙂

    Comment by Curt | June 7, 2007 | Reply

  6. […] me commend to you an honest rant on the subject by Steve Bagdanov.  I don’t intend to say a whole lot more than what he has already said, so I will keep this […]

    Pingback by Adding My Two Cents on Jerry Falwell « Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion | June 7, 2007 | Reply

  7. Nice ride on the pendulum?
    – Ode to the Uncritical Critical Ones

    Comment by John | June 8, 2007 | Reply

  8. Amen! This one went out to all my friends. Thanks Steve!

    Comment by Svet | June 9, 2007 | Reply


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