Monday, July 31, 2006

Evangelical Push-Back

Quote of the Day:

America wasn't founded as a theocracy. America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn't bloody and barbaric. That's why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.

--Rev. Gregory A. Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church, Maplewood, Minn.

You'll find the above, and much else of considerable interest, in a NYTimes profile of Pastor Boyd and "the emerging church," an evangelical counter-offensive against the highjacking of American Christianity by right-wing extremists. (Thanks to Stumpy for the link)

Pastor Boyd was galvanized during the 2004 campaign year when he was increasingly pushed to make his suburban St. Paul "megachurch" an outpost for Republican conservative causes. He preached a series of six sermons that year that lost him 1,000 parishioners, a fifth of his congregation, who walked out on him. But he stuck to his doctrinal guns. He preached that "the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a 'Christian nation' and stop glorifying American military campaigns."

Well, hallelujah!

Rev. Boyd has published a book based on those sermons: "The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church."

Mr. Boyd lambasted the "hypocrisy and pettiness" of Christians who focus on "sexual issues" like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson's breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public.

"Those are the two buttons to push if you want to get Christians to act," he said. "And those are the two buttons Jesus never pushed."

When's the last time you heard a preacher make points like that?

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