The Religious Right Warns Against the Idolatry of the Religious Left

Apr 27 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Mark Tooley

“The faith that unites these groups seems to be in perpetually expanding big government.” – Mark Tooley, IRD President

Oh how the fecal matter flies. The Institute on Religion and Democracy warns us against the “big government” religious left, a threat to our freedoms if there ever was one. The IRD warns that the religious left worships the “false idol” of big government. Since the religious right has shown they worship the false idol of big corporations, I’m not surprised the religious right has identified a new form of idolatry. They’re always on the look-out, after all.

In other words, if you’re supporting “big government” you’re not a Christian at all. You’ve been demoted to, well…me, a Heathen worshiping false idols. Ouch, so much for Sunday school, huh? Welcome to historic Christianity: denunciations fly back and forth so fast you won’t be able to keep track.

Who is the IRD you ask, to be such experts on the nature of idolatry and heresy? This is what they say of themselves:

We are Christians working to reaffirm the church’s biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.

Ohhhh…okay. They don’t seem very interested in protecting religious freedom outside of their own narrow point of view, nor do they seem particularly interested in democracy except as a cover to push their own conservative Christian agenda. And historical teachings…you mean, David Barton?

Their vision statement is equally amusing:

To lead the fight rallying Christians to champion biblical, historic Christianity and its role in democratic society, and to defeat revisionist challenges.

Because historic Christianity is pro-big business and anti-big government? Since when? Did the rest of us miss those passages in the Bible? And what, precisely, is Christianity’s role in democratic society? Supporting state-sponsored religion? Even the 18th century’s evangelicals saw that this was a bad idea. If there is a revisionist challenge it’s got “religious right” written all over it. I think the only thing these guys got down pat is the denunciation gig.

According to Christian Newswire, “Fretting that the 2012 budget will restrain the growth of favorite federal programs, Religious Left officials are joining forces to call for a ‘Circle of Protection’ to fight budget cuts.”

Sounds like another round of spiritual warfare is in the offing. Politics today aren’t politics if they’re not accompanied by imprecatory prayers, after all. Let’s denounce these leftists and pray them out of existence along with high gas prices and abortion! You can almost hear the strains of “Onward Christian Soldiers”…

Mark Tooley, president of IRD speaks out against the dangers:

“Religious Left groups joined forces in the past to oppose reforms in federal spending, most notably the successful 1996 welfare reform law, which they incorrectly prophesied would doom America’s poor.

“Infuriated by modest cuts to the 2011 budget, Religious Left officials are digging in against any restraint on their favored federal programs.

Modest cuts? Seriously? Have you looked at the GOP’s budget, Mr. Tooley?

“The faith that unites these groups seems to be in perpetually expanding Big Government. That this false idol will deliver endless debt and reduced economic opportunity without helping the poor does not seem to distress these self-proclaimed ‘prophetic’ voices.

“Claiming that children are perilously endangered by even modest restrictions on federal growth, Religious Left officials seem unconcerned about the mountains of debt and potential crushing taxation passed along to these very same children.

Ignoring, of course, the fact that this debt and crushing taxation is to be paid by you and me, and not the corporate elites supported by groups like the IRD and that it is the Republican Party and not the Democratic Party that has been guilty of out-of-control spending for the past half-century.

“Were the professed constituencies of these groups polled on budget matters? Once again, this political campaign appears to be a top-down effort engineered by denominational elites who did not bother to check with their own people in the pews.”

Denominational elites! How can we keep track of all these damned elites? We can put them over here alongside the “liberal media elites” and the “academic elites” and “scientific elites” who are all guilty of knowing what they’re talking about. We can’t have that! The Christian Newswire identifies the idolaters:

The coalition of religious groups includes Evangelical Left figures like Sojourners’ chief Jim Wallis alongside liberal Mainline Protestant groups such as the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the National Council of Churches and some Evangelical groups such as the Evangelical Covenant Church and the Church of the Nazarene.

What’s both hypocritical and amusing is any charge coming from a conservative group about not listening to “the people in the pews.” If there is a sin that more than any other characterizes conservatives arrogance in America today, it’s ignoring the will of the people in order to push an agenda that helps a group of elites.

It’s a simple matter really: look at the poll numbers and compare them to the actions of local Republican officials, or even extend the comparison to the U.S. House of Representatives. The problem isn’t groups of various liberal elites but a corporate and religious elite that have now joined forces to attack the United States Constitution and democracy in America.

I suppose the message IRD wants to push is that “God so loved us that he gave us corporatocracy” but that’s not a message you’ll find anywhere in the Bible (or in the Constitution), just as you will never find the anti-big government statements the IRD seems to believe exist. And in fact the religious right is pushing a big government agenda of its own, putting “big brother” social controls on American bedrooms in contravention of the Constitution. They’re all about big government as long as its pushing their agenda.

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