Tag Archives: political correctness

Politics, Religion, and Other Dirty Words You Shouldn’t Use in Public

danger
Image: Clipart Panda

Disclaimer: I want to state for the record that this blog post is about as politically incorrect as you can get, so if you’re easily offended, don’t read it. Remember, you have been warned.

Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne recently published an op-ed piece in the New York Times titled, “The Evangelicalism of Old White Men Is Dead.” They write that evangelicalism (or at least its reputation) is a “casualty” of the recent presidential election. They believe it is time to bury evangelicalism and replace it with a more authentic expression of Christian faith.

-Shayne Looper
“Red Letter Christianity” And The Bible
The Huffington Post

If the recent presidential election proves anything, it’s that we — as individuals, organizations and a country — need to evolve the tech industry’s approach to diversity and inclusion.

-Nichole Burton and Aubrey Blanche
Why white men are diversity’s missing stakeholders
TechCrunch.com

In the days that followed Donald Trump’s election victory, liberal assessments about what went wrong and prescriptions for how the Left can move forward were in short supply. There were, however, exceptions. Notable among those was Mark Lilla’s piece in the New York Times ten days after Hillary Clinton’s loss describing the need to bring about an end to the “age of identity liberalism.”

-Noah Rothman
The Left’s Toxic Identity Obsession
Commentary Magazine

As Donald Trump’s inauguration day rapidly approaches, the news media continues to scramble for some understanding of what went wrong, as in “How could Hillary Clinton have possibly lost to Donald Trump?” kind of wrong.

Their answer, and I’m grossly simplifying it here to make a point, is “White Men Bad!”

More specifically, the Huff Post article states in part:

Campolo and Claiborne regard the fact that 80 percent of white evangelical Christians voted for Mr. Trump as evidence that evangelicalism has been poisoned by self-interest. Its reputation “has been clouded over.”

clinton voters
Image: Business Insider — AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Actually, I find the statement hilarious. Does Shayne Looper imagine for one split second that everyone who voted for Clinton wasn’t voting out of self-interest? Everyone voted for the candidate they thought would best represent their interests, or at least they voted for the candidate they found less objectionable (and some people  were so revolted by the both of them, they voted for neither).

But to that point, Looper goes on:

How, they wonder, could people who take Jesus seriously ever vote for a man whose campaign was marked by “racism, sexism, xenophobia,” and “hypocrisy”?

From Shayne’s point of view, the problem isn’t just white men, but white, male Evangelical Christians. I’m not a huge fan of Evangelical Christianity, in part because it really can be rigid about doctrine and the whole “God, guns, and guts” routine, but they’re Americans too, and they have the right to vote for the candidate of their choice.

I do agree with Shayne that we have to take the Bible as a holistic, unified document rather than emphasize some areas (such as putting everything Jesus said in red letters) and de-emphasizing or completely disregarding others (and it should be said that Jesus was almost universally teaching Jews, not Gentile Christians…if Christians want to understand their own theology better, they need to read Paul).

The “solution,” from Looper’s point of view, is to replace Evangelical Christianity with a more universal form that presents as more compassionate, charitable, and inclusive (my words, not his).

This is somewhat different from the solution proposed by Nichole Burton and Aubrey Blanche at TechCrunch, who believe that instead of ejecting white men in favor of something different, they should be recruited as “allies”.

The Silicon Valley tech community is about as liberal and progressive as you can get, but they’re still struggling with their own “diversity crisis,” probably because like a number of other professions, it’s been historically dominated by white males.

According to Burton and Blanche:

In the election, the majority of white people voted for Trump, whose campaign was characterized by division rather than inclusion. And white men voted for the president-elect by at least a 10 percent margin over other groups.

blm protest
Image: ABC News

I also found this statement hilariously funny, not because it isn’t true, but because it describes the Obama Presidency to a “T”. Racial and ethnic relations have reached (or so it seems to me) an all-time low in the eight years since Barack and Michelle first walked into the White House.

But they go on:

White men (and other allies) must learn how to be inclusive and use their own privilege constructively. All of us are capable of prejudice and biased behavior, but changing it is more difficult the further a person is from being the subject of discrimination.

I have to be thankful that Burton and Blanche at least acknowledge that it’s possible for people besides white males to be “capable of prejudice and biased behavior,” but of course, it’s worse when whites do it.

They do want to extend a carrot instead of a stick by creating “safe spaces” for “unconverted” whites to hear minority points of view, and to use whites who are already allies to invite non-ally whites into the fold.

So the Huff Post writer wants to trash can Evangelical Christianity for a version that would be more likely to vote for Clinton, while the TechCrunch writers want to solve the same problem by recruiting conservative white males into progressivism as allies, people who also would be more likely to vote for Clinton.

However, according to Noah Rothman at Commentary, the left has a problem:

Notable among those was Mark Lilla’s piece in the New York Times ten days after Hillary Clinton’s loss describing the need to bring about an end to the “age of identity liberalism.” Lilla’s case in favor of a “pre-identity liberalism” is a convincing one, but he doesn’t propose a method to bring about a return to this providential status quo ante. There’s a reason for that: there isn’t one—at least, not an easy one. Political movements are not party committees. They don’t radically redefine their mission at the drop of a white paper. The modern activist left was reared on toxic identity politics, and it seems disinclined to abandon this addictive poison without a struggle.

women's march
Photo: Women’s March on Washington/Facebook

The idea here is that modern liberalism is hardly united. It’s been fractured into multiple units, some running in parallel to others while some are actually standing in opposition to particular liberal factions.

They have no central rallying point, and thus, no specific focus other than #NotMyPresident.

Rothman goes on:

Take, for example, the so-called “Women’s March” that will descend on Washington D.C. to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 21. The masses gathered in opposition to Trump will create the appearance of unity, but a closer examination of the coalition united by their antipathy for the incoming administration paints a portrait of a movement at war with itself.

The Women’s March will be short at least one formerly eager participant who told the New York Times she canceled her trip to Washington D.C. after reading a volunteer organizer’s Facebook post who “advised ‘white allies’ to listen more and talk less.” The Times noted that racial tensions within the organization extend to the organizational level. A Louisiana coordinator resigned her volunteer role due to a lack of diversity in leadership positions. The decision to change the name of a satellite march based in Nashville yielded to a caustic debate over whether the event had become hostile to white participants.

I read about this in another online venue, and basically what was being said was “white women aren’t victim enough”. I consider this yet another of President Obama’s legacies. Leftist progressives are inhibited from uniting by identity politics. How are they going to accomplish anything if they can’t unify, even over how much they hate Donald Trump?

Google “Democratic party crisis” and the search results will produce quite a number of articles, usually published sometime last November, including this one from Fox News.

They’ve probably recovered from the shock of Clinton losing the election by now, but they’ve got an uphill battle in dealing with a Trump Presidency and a Republican majority in the House and the Senate.

So what does that mean for the rest of us?

white males
Image: imgur

If Hillary Clinton had won, then white males who were not self-avowed “allies” would have continued to be relentlessly attacked by the majority liberal left, basically with us being called racist simply because we were born white and male (and we received further demerits if we happened to be Christians or religious Jews). The majority social and political power in the United States would have kept on flattening us with their juggernaut steamroller just as they have for the past eight years.

As the character Howard Beale (Peter Finch) ranted in the film Network (1976) “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

And that’s the real reason Donald Trump won the Presidency. The marginalized rose up against the monolithic system and gave it a taste of its own medicine.

They sure don’t like that taste, not at all.

The result is that in a week, Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States.

I wish that actually meant good things, but every time I hear the man speak, I’m astonished that he managed to build an empire worth billions. At least Clinton could (most of the time) fake being a sane and reasonable human being.

What it really means for us is that instead of a steamroller continuing to mash us flat, the left will either play the victim card hoping we’ll feel guilty enough to succumb to being their allies, or that they’ll put on sheep’s clothing and pretend they don’t think that all white males are “deplorables,” as Clinton declared us, hoping we can be convinced to turn over our free will and self-determination to the collective.

I know all this sounds cynical, and it probably is. Trump isn’t going to help, and in fact, every time he opens his mouth or puts out a tweet, he just pours more gasoline over the inferno.

Because Donald Trump won and Hillary Clinton lost, and because Donald Trump is such as big, white, rich, narcissistic, loudmouth, all white males, and especially conservative and religious white males (along with conservative, religious white woman) will be painted with the same broad brush, and one strategy or another will be employed to either turn us to the “light side of the Force” (in their eyes, not mine) or they will attempt to maintain a “Rebel alliance” which will limp along for the next four years due to factionalized identity politics.

trump
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier/Newsday.com

Bottom line is no one is going to have a good time. We’ll all suffer, not only because Trump is a total loose cannon, but the only solution the left has to fix its problem and the problem of white men, is to reframe capitulation  as cooperation. They will continue to try to remake us into their drones, and failing that,  “demonize” us as the enemy to resist.

May the Messiah come soon and in our day or, continuing my Star Wars references, “Help us Yeshua HaMoshiach, you’re our only hope.”

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Conquering Wrong with Right

broken-crossSo Christians, tell me. What is the church really like?

Because I go to a church event for the first time in weeks and within twenty minutes, I hear people make off-the-cuff racist, sexist and homophobic comments and nobody bats an eye.

I lay on the couch, curled up in a ball with the phone to my ear and listen to a dear friend tell me how he feels like an outsider to the people he’s attended church with for years because he has chosen to plant his flag with the disenfranchised and the vulnerable in his community, as messy as that gets. And it got messy.

Another friend I grew up with sends me a middle of the night link to an article about the guy in Arizona who stood on his college campus holding a sign reading “You Deserve Rape.” We’ve been having conversations lately about some of his qualms with Christianity, and he sums it nicely by saying, “I don’t want to have to spend the rest of my life explaining this to people. I have better things to do.” And I sympathize. Because I don’t want to have to spend the rest of my life explaining that to people, either.

And that’s just in the last couple of weeks.

-Emily Joy Allison
“Church Prove Me Wrong”
emilyjoyallison.com

The church is its own worse enemy.

I came across Ms. Allison’s blog (I get the impression she wouldn’t consider us on a first name basis so I’ll maintain some formality) as a link someone put on Facebook. That was well over a week ago, but this was the first chance I had to write about it. She says a lot of good things and a few things I disagree with, but she presents me with a struggle. Actually, she presents me with my own struggle, though I don’t conceptualize it in the same manner that Ms. Allison does. The struggle is with being a Christian and going to church vs. some of the really dippy and even hurtful things some Christians and some Christian churches do in the world.

For instance, she posted a screen capture of John Piper tweeting a message on twitter quoting Job 1:19 “in the wake of the terrible tragedies in Oklahoma,”

“Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they are dead.”

Even if Piper hadn’t intended this message to be taken the way it sounds, his timing (and probably his tastefulness) was ghastly. The tweet was subsequently deleted, but it’s another example of Christians (and people I refer to as “famous Christians” … more on that in a minute) standing on the platform of faith in Jesus Christ and throwing rocks at the injured and dying people of the world.

I sometimes have a problem with some “famous Christians.” These are usually televangelists or other Pastors or leaders who are in the public eye, people whose names are familiar even with atheists. Christians who typically are the worst examples of Christianity and who give the rest of the world the impression that we’re all like they are.

I recently heard an unsubstantiated story (that is, I can’t find it by Googling it) of scandal-plagued Jimmy Swaggart actually selling individual pages from his family Bible while leading a tour group in Israel. This would have been fairly recently, but I can’t find an online reference to the event. We’ve also heard names such as Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen, and I cringe to think that this is what the world sees when they think they’re looking at men who are disciples of and witnesses for Christ.

praying-aloneMany years ago, I knew some Americans who, when they toured Europe, would tell people they were from Canada (this obviously didn’t work at airports when they had to present their passports) because they were too embarrassed by America’s reputation overseas. There are days when I feel that way about being a Christian. I believe as a Christian, that I should be held accountable for my own behavior, my flaws, my mistakes, my errors, but it’s adding insult to injury if I have to be ashamed for every lousy thing someone else does in the name of Christ.

In terms of social consciousness and popular causes, it looks like Ms. Allison and I are different enough to where she would probably be embarrassed to be counted a Christian along with me, so from her perspective, I’m likely one of those folks she’s appealing to when she says:

YOU are supposed to be the living, breathing, embodiment of the gospel, and sometimes I can’t see anything good about it.

Church, prove me wrong. I’m begging you.

Church, prove me wrong. I’ve tried to be patient—and I will continue to try. I will be eating with you, talking with you, praying with you; from time to time I’ll probably be sitting in a church service with you. I will not abandon you, as long as Jesus has anything to do with it. But I need you to show me that he still does.

I recently read a blog post that quoted Jones, E. Stanley, (1925). The Christ of the Indian Road. Abingdon Press, 72-73. You’ve probably read this before:

“Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?”

Gandhi replied, “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Ghandi’s rejection of Christianity grew out of an incident that happened when he was a young man. During his years studying law in Britain, he had become attracted to the Christian faith, had studied the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, and was seriously exploring becoming a Christian. One Sunday, in South Africa where he had gone to practice law after getting his degree, he decided to attend a church service.

As he came up the steps of the large church where he intended to go, a white South African elder of the church barred his way at the door. “Where do you think you’re going, kaffir?” the man asked Gandhi in a belligerent tone of voice.

Gandhi replied, “I’d like to attend worship here.”

The church elder snarled at Him, “There’s no room for Kaffirs in this church. Get out of here or I’ll have my assistants throw you down the steps.”

Gandhi is certainly an outstanding example, but how many Christians have thrown people out of the church or driven folks away who otherwise are men and women who act and think and breathe with the heart of Christ?

On the other hand, and there’s always an other hand, I can’t use all of this as an excuse to go “church bashing” or “Christian bashing.” From her writing, I get the impression that Ms. Allison is representative of a specifically narrow corridor of the believing world that exists in fusion with many of the popular values western society espouses today.

If the problem Ms. Allison or anyone else has with “the church” is that “the church” has a specific values system that conflicts with the non-religious social priorities we see continually in the popular news media, then maybe it’s a case of the church following its own priorities rather than believing it must “go along to get along” in American culture.

broken_godAlso, if your issue is that your particular religious group or you, as an individual, have difference of opinion with how other religious people or other religious groups conceptualize and operationalize a life of faith, that may not be a matter of the church needing to prove anything to you. That might just be a difference in how you see a life of faith vs. their perspective.

Some churches aren’t going to support what has come to be known as “marriage equality,” not as a matter of bigotry (note, I think the Westboro Baptist Church is reprehensible and does not represent Christ on any level), but a matter of conscience.

If your problem with “church” is that “church” doesn’t mesh with the values we see paraded in public by CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and such so that “church” refuses to blend in like a chameleon into the progressive social background, then that’s not the church failing to follow Christ, it’s the church failing to worship society and culture.

I can’t prove to Ms. Allison that she’s wrong. If the church has failed to live up to her expectations, then I’m sorry. The church isn’t perfect because it’s full of imperfect human beings. Sometimes we do stupid things. Sometimes we do mean things. Sometimes some people in the church need to be told that Jesus would never act the way they’re acting.

Ms. Allison will never find a church that is perfect. No matter where she goes to worship and fellowship, she’ll always find “bad apples.” There are whole churches that are “bad apples.”  I don’t doubt though that there are a number of Christian churches that demonstrate values sufficiently similar to her’s that she’d be comfortable worshiping within their walls. I’m not sure what to make of such churches, but if Ms. Allison wants a place to belong, I’m sure it’s out there.

But we’ll never be perfect. Frankly, if a church is following in the footsteps of the Messiah, they probably shouldn’t look and act exactly like the world around us. Jesus said that we are in the world but not of the world.

I’ve been afraid of church for my own personal reasons, but they’re my personal reasons. My problems with going to church belong to me, not church. And yet, I came to a point in my life where I felt I had no other option but to go to church. If you call yourself a believer and a disciple, you can’t go off half-cocked following your own priorities when you know you need to be in fellowship with other believers and you need to follow the Master.

If you want to think that “the church” is irredeemably bad, you’ll find plenty examples of bad churches and bad Christians. If you don’t want to accept church-bashing lying down, and you believe that Christ still exists within the body of believers, you can do something about it. Instead of pointing a finger at what’s wrong, you can be what’s right in the church.

Gandhi is famous for saying, Be the change you wish to see in the world. If you don’t like what you see happening in the church, then be the sort of Christian you believe Jesus wants to see in the church. Walking away doesn’t make you more noble, it just makes you alone. Jesus didn’t walk away from an imperfect world. He died for it.

Mahatma-GandhiAnd then he lived. Someday he’ll come back to redeem our imperfect world. In the meantime, if we call ourselves disciples, if we call ourselves Christians, then we have a responsibility to do here and now what he is going to do when he comes back. We need to introduce a little kindness, compassion, and self-sacrifice into an otherwise broken and bleeding world. Jesus didn’t complain about what was wrong. He was moved by compassion. He caused the blind to see, caused the deaf to hear, caused the lame to walk. Like Christ, don’t complain about what’s wrong. Just do what’s right.

To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:20-21

If I should ever leave the community of faith, it won’t be because church is broken. It will be because I am.

118 days.