Limbaugh : I would submit to you that people on the left are religious, too. Their God is just different.
The left has a different God. There’s a religious left in this country.
And, the religious left in this country hates and despises the God of Christianity and Catholicism and
whatever else. They despise it because they fear it, because it’s a threat, because that God has moral absolutes. That
God has right and wrong, that God doesn’t deal in nuance, that God doesn’t deal in gray area, that God says, “This
is right and that is wrong.”
Most of us when we hear the words "Protestant Reformation" think of Martin Luther and his powerful points
challenging an established religion and its priests about their behavior and how they had twisted doctrine to support and
sustain their considerable social authority.
If in his dissent Luther had great fear for his salvation and the Judgment Bar of God he dealt with that concern
very well. Subsequent events are proof that one person's absolutes are not the absolutes of another and certainly not the
absolutes of God.
Had the Catholic absolutes of that time been the absolutes of God - and the Roman authorities certainly attempted
and succeeded in many cases in intimidating those who agreed with Luther - God would not have allowed the rise of Protestantism
into the "formal" status it has today.
In thinking literally and inerrantly - as the Catholic priesthood had for years insisted it was doing on behalf
of all Christians - successful suppression of the Protestant movement leading to its extinction would have been a repudiation
by God of dissent and of the Protestant movement itself with the portent of one terrible day of judgment at the hands of an
Obvious now is the fact that God did not intervene on the side of those who pretended to a possession of absolute
biblical Christian truth. If there was repudiation, it was at the least an indication that the harsh, inflexible and unchanging
God was in fact an illusion.
Today among Protestants we find ourselves widely divided over authority, the literal definition of what it
means to be Christian and a conflict between traditional inerrant letter-of-the-law advocates and so-called "liberal Christians"
who emphasize an approach to organized religion based more on including reason with faith and an open-minded application of
the meaning of scripture.
As Jim Wallis wrote recently A great deal is at stake in this battle for the heart and soul of faith in
America and for the nation's future itself. We will not allow faith to be put into the service of one political agenda.
This is a call for the rest of the churches to wake up. This is a call for people of faith everywhere to
stand up and let their faith be heard.
This is not a call to be just concerned, or just a little worried, or even just alarmed. This is a call
for clear speech and courageous action. This is a call to take back our faith, and in the words of the prophet Micah, "to
do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God."
Inherent in Wallis's and our own rhetoric needs to be an understanding that Christian comportment remain consistent
with those particular ideals upon which Jesus' life and words are based. Wallis also stated that We must not demonize or
vilify those who are our opponents. We must claim that those who disagree with our judgments are still real people of faith.
We must not fight the way they do, but fight we must.
We ought never to forget that in advocating for how we believe Jesus meant for us to lead lives modeled after
Him, that those with whom we disagree are advocating for the same thing and the difference is in doctrine and form.
Which brings us to this new on-going Reformation-in-Progress and the nature of the reforming seems to be a
matter of perspective.
On the one hand, traditional Christian conservatism is experiencing - from a minority element within - a push
for more radical political and social applications of what appears to be a somewhat redefined theology that hearkens more
to the autocratic punitive-God-sense of the Old Testament. This minority, despite it’s insistence that it is the voice
of conservative Christianity, is not that voice and does not represent the majority.
That minority seems opposed to the God-of-compassion that most of us grew up understanding as Jesus’
most powerful social impact on the Israel of His time. In combination with the theology around Atonement and Redemption, Jesus
offered a practical means for letter-of-the-law human beings to transition into a compassionate and forgiving society, liberated
- at least spiritually- from the either/or governance of God as managed by Jewish leadership and either/or civil obedience
as managed by Roman authority.
In that regard, as Wallis wrote, the battle lines are not drawn between two equally powerful points of view.
Rather, the public voices around which the publicity arises seem to be the words and actions of the extremists lobbying for
or against rapid radical transitions.
In the broad center we find both conservative and liberal Christians whose strongest sense of Christian living
has to do with an understanding of a traditional way of looking at the teachings and role of Jesus.
In the center we do not have to reject those who see Jesus as the Savior or as the Word who was with God and
who is God.
In the center we do not have to reject those who see Jesus as a historical figure absent divine status who
- in the most powerful and potent of ways - taught humanity about divinity and our relationship to divinity.
In this regard conservatives, fundamentalists, liberals - evangelicals of both perspectives - have in scripture
the recorded exhortation of Jesus to take his gospel to all nations. From my own perspective, that exhortation had to do with
bearing a message to as many as possible; a message having to do with our relationship to God and how we partake of God's
divinity. The exhortation did not include a mandate to find ways to force an acceptance of Christ, but to bear a message of
the knowledge Jesus revealed to all of humanity.
This on-going Reformation will not result in the resolution of who is right over who is wrong. It could, however,
result in a victory for one side over another based on human plurality of thought and belief. Such would be a false victory
in that both sides would lose,
The success of the historical Protestant Reformation might be best described as a win/win circumstance in
that God did not repudiate one point of view at the expense of the other. Both survived and remain powerfully connected to
God and Christ today.
The weakness of that victory displays itself among Catholics and Protestants who remain steadfast in their
insistence that the other does not have total truth or authority. This typified by Mr. Mohler’s [Southern Baptist Convention]
recent remarks about Pope John Paul as representative of so-called false doctrine according to his [Mr. Mohler's] definition.
Many of us have a frustration that has been building for years with the moral or ethical direction in which
we have as a society been moving.
At issue is not whether the United States was founded with intent that America ultimately becomes a Christian
nation. At issue is that we have more than 225 years of experience living under a Constitution that, in its own way, is one
of the most successful historical documents ever. In our history we have seen the evolution of a multi-faceted society based
not only on religion and philosophy, but on cultural diversity without which our positive American mythology of a melting
pot came to be part of our national psyche. Under our Constitution we have seen the growth of a habitual way of looking at
things - an automatic stance if you will - that allows for diversity of opinion and the freedom to express opinion.
It is hard to make the case that the deterioration of those aspects of society that each of us have deemed
"deteriorating" - according to our own sense of common good and the idea of public decency - is the fault of the Constitution
and can be remedied by taking its proven formula of success and modifying it into something that codifies a specific viewpoint.
This Reformation, if you will, should not be about legislative, executive or judicial imposition of religious
control of the United States. It should be about dialogue over differences and an honest look at the highest good of all concerned.
New theologies whether they be about “Prosperity“, “Dominionism“, “Spiritual
Warfare” or the “End Times” ought not be the basis for seeking government power at the expense of society
as a whole. If we are to reform our moral and ethical practices in this country, we need to define Jesus’ Good Samaritan,
Prodigal Son and Sermon on the Mount in relationship to our power as a diverse society, our prosperity as a
tool of reform, our dominant position on a global scale as an instrument of advocating peace, our spiritual
and cultural values as a means toward compassion toward one another.