We Flat Earth Evangelical Bombers

If I wrote an essay in which I referred to all persons practicing Islam as “terrorists” because of the few international fascist murderers who use that religion as their rationale for their evil deeds, articulate and responsible mainstream journalists such as Jonathan Rauch would properly criticize me for painting with such a broad brush. Yet, it seems that every time such a writer mentions evangelical Christians, the primary reference gets around to those who use Christianity as their excuse to bomb abortion clinics.

The reality, of course, is that the vast majority of not only evangelicals, but of abortion clinic protestors have always vehemently condemned such reprehensible tactics; for example, David Lackey, leader of a group that regularly protested outside the Birmingham Alabama clinic where the first US bombing fatality occurred, called the 1998 bombing a “heinous act.” And the pro-life movement is actually dominated by persons such as Carolyn Gargaro (http://www.gargaro.com/bomb.html) who combine fervent pro-life feminism with fervent opposition to all types of violence. Yet, bombing suspect Eric Rudolph is the favored representative of Christians when the topic is opposition to abortion, just as, say, the “reverend” Fred Phelps is the official spokesperson selected, as opposed to Joe Dallas, when the subject is gay rights.

Mr. Rauch, reflecting his seriousness of thought and reflection, has noted that he used the reference in haste (http://www.hughhewitt.com)/, and we laud him for his openness in admitting such. But core the issue remains, and while Jonathan is the kind of person who won’t repeat that thoughtlessness, we see Nicholas Kristof and the rest of the MSM expanding daily on the theme. This is the same reflex that has Jerry Falwell repeatedly sought out as the official spokesperson for all evangelicals whenever there is a need to address those quaintly strange people in our midst who somehow survive and prosper as a plurality in the US despite holding such archaic views as we do; “Hugh is such a nice guy, how can he really believe that stuff?”

You can miss a lot if you only eat dinner with people who didn’t vote for Nixon in 1972, or who have never talked with USC philosophy Professor Dallas Willard, or Ravi Zacharias, or Dr. Greg Boyd, or Rev. Floyd Flake, or Dr. William Lane Craig….. the list goes on, and I haven’t started on the scientists. I tend to believe that the lack of reflection over such matters before tossing out casual insults and condemnations is that they are afraid to do the kind of introspection where we look at ourselves and recognize our flaws; classic “intellectuals” tend to see themselves at the center of the universe, and not appreciate the idea that their minds can’t figure it all out, or to have any kinds of moral constraints on their own living (I specifically except Jonathan Rauch from the latter characterization- he has always been one of the most approachable and honest of the center-left writers, which is why this off-hand reference was so disheartening).

Rauch belatedly recognizes the problem as he draws a very good parallel approaching stereotype from the opposite side:

What seemed obvious to me–so obvious that I was careless about it–was that religious conservatives are not bombers. The article, after all, is about how most Americans, right and left and “red” and “blue,” are not as extreme as the stereotypes make out. I assumed that most people, reading in context, would understand me as saying not that most activists are hard-core extremists, but that we’d have more hard-core extremists if politics didn’t make room for activism.



That is not a reflection on religious conservatives or any other political grouping. It is a reflection on the political system. I could have written, for example, “Better left-wing environmentalists should write anti-biotech planks into the Democratic Party platform than bomb genetics labs.” That would have made the same point, and I could very well have written it, and it would have been just as clumsy, and I’d be making the same explanation now to environmentalists that I’m making to you.



There is some validity to his “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” position, since I heard conservatives make similar statements to sympathetic brethren regarding the war protesting bombers back in the Vietnam days. But there is clearly both a conscious decision on the parts of so many MSM people to caricature those who actually believe that Jesus was and is the Son of God as ignorant fools, and a reflexive unawareness and ignorance of what they criticize. I would challenge these folks to actually do a little research some time- read the writings of the intellectual evangelicals, be the writer Dr. Roberts or from the list above. Go visit one of those urban churches like Sanctuary Covenant in Minneapolis who are doing the hard work in the inner city because of nothing other than the love of Christ and spend some time with them.

Then tell me about the abortion clinic-bombing naïve fools. And God bless you, by the way- seriously. The basis of Christianity is grace- we get mercy, not the justice we deserve.

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3 Responses to “We Flat Earth Evangelical Bombers”

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