Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tenets for the faithful

A recent post on a progressive Christian Web site highlighted an oft-quoted article by former PBS host and broadcast journalist Bill Moyers.

In his article, Moyers rails against Christians who are “intoxicated with the delusional doctrine of two 19th century preachers” who not only believed the end of world was near but “believe[d] they had an obligation” to bring it about through political means.

For many devoted Christians, the hijacking of their faith by Taliban Christians is troubling. The “racist, pro-war, gay-persecuting, woman-silencing and child-beating proponents" favor verses from Deuteronomy, Proverbs, Chronicles, Colossians and Revelations to justify their intolerance and apocalyptic vision.

Revelations, the last book in the Bible, charts the end-times as a span of droughts, floods, war, pestilence and other natural and man-made disasters. But the Good News for them is that Jesus comes to judge the living and the dead; and for those who are saved, such as themselves, eternity with God and Jesus await them; naturally, they'd like to help the process along.

Below are a few favorite comestibles from the right-wing fascists who justify subjugating others, yet live in constant fear of a wrathful God. You know, it's a "rapture" thing, popularized in the best selling book series, Left Behind.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. (NIV, Col 3:22)

Remember this and never forget how you provoked the LORD your God to anger in the desert. From the day you left Egypt until you arrived here, you have been rebellious against the LORD. (NIV, Deut. 9:7)

Forgotten or ignored in their biblical repertoire are the words from their professed Master.

From the book of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus asks for his followers to love one another, same they love themselves; and he also commands disciples to forgive their fellow man for his transgressions. Always.

Here are a couple passages to mirror the full essence of Christianity.

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (NIV, Luke 6:27-28)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22)

Paramount in the New Testament is taking care of the least of us. And the passage cited above sure seems to preclude capital punishment.

In my recent canvassing for Tim Kaine's campaign for governor in Virginia, miguided Christians seemed astonished to learn a Democratic candidate could actually have a spirit of service as evidenced by missionary work as a young adult in Honduras.

There is nothing more rewarding than to challenge them to vote for the person who most closely exemplifies the tenets they assert are so important to them with actual deeds and not just empty words.

By the bye, just for fun, here's a link to a historical rapture index.

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