just click on this picture
and watch it on Youtube.
I have never really cared for Fox News. It is even difficult for me to type their name without either cringing or laughing. I much prefer the more descriptive Faux News because, let's face it, that pretty much nails what they do - by their own admission.
Recently, a convicted criminal has identified one of Faux News' show hosts, Glenn Beck (for whom I admittedly have a distaste), as the inspiration and motivation for his attempt at murder. With the ramped up hate-speech and fear-mongering that can be heard almost hourly on Faux News, some of which borders on apocalyptic language, it is almost surprising that something like this hasn't already happened.
What is both surprising and totally expected, at the same time, is The Christian Right's resounding silence on the topic. For example, when violence and death are connected to Heavy Metal even in a cursory way, you can count on them to show up at concerts with hate filled signs (even at Christian Heavy Metal shows), voice their disdain news and talk shows to sound their objections and write articles in every medium that will publish them to pronounce the Devil inspired evils of Heavy Metal.
When the same connections are made in their sibling arm of the Republican party, all you hear from them is deafening silence or maybe the random cricket "chirp." To The Religious Right I say, unless you care to reinforce the growing public opinion that your movement is full of hypocrites, it is time for you to step up and demand that the hate filled, apocalyptic talk of Faux News be brought to an end in the name of the Prince of Peace.
I do have to say, much like I felt when they were attacking Heavy Metal (of which I'm not particularly a fan), I think it is short-sighted and unfair to heap all the blame on Faux News. There are multiple influences (or lack their of) which move a person to that kind of violence, but for the sake of consistency of message (I know, I know, "big fat chance of that"), I am calling out the Christian Right to voice its disdain of institutions that lead people to such deplorably violent actions, in this case Faux News.
From a Christian perspective, inciting violence is antithetical to living the life Jesus taught us to live. Faux News and Glenn Beck make a mockery of Christianity as they continue to imply that they are a Christian network and inspire violence at the same time. For that matter, The Christian Right make a mockery of their own doctrine when they hold their friends to different moral standards than their enemies.
This is just one of hundreds of examples of why we all should stop taking either group very seriously (many of us already have). Their own actions smack of hypocrisy and biases. It is time to call them out on the ever-shifting and loose moral standards they practice. It is time for them to stop playing dress-up by putting on airs of Christianity. It is time for them to stop pretending. We don't live in Never Never Land.
The Christian Left is much more than a Facebook (FB) page, it is a growing movement. It is the future hope of The Church and the only non-hypocritical way The Church stands any long term chance of being an effective Christian voice in politics. (Wow. I hope I didn't overstate that. Let's see, “ the future hope of The Church and the only non-hypocritical way The Church stands any long term chance of being a effective Christian voice in politics.” Nope, that's about right).
Let me say that while The Christian Left is much more than its FB page, if you want to participate in this very important dialogue, the FB page is a fantastic place to start. It engages head and heart, politics and religion, theology and contemporary topics...it's worth the read and the engagement it takes to be a part of the dialogue will do us all some good. I might just add, if you do decide to join the dialogue (and I hope you will), it'd be helpful if you were to check out our Code of Conduct. Thanks.
But let's get on with the whole “We Need The Christian Left, Now More Than Ever” title. Bit of a bold statement, isn't it? Well, not really.
Christianity, over the course of a few thousand years, has drifted away from the teachings of it's founder. That man was a walking Heath Care System. He wisely, gently and unapologeticly confronted hate at every turn. He always believed people could be better than they are and when he met someone, he asked them to change – toward the better person he knew they could be. He loved people and abhorred abuse of power (in both religions and politics). He walked quietly on this earth and yet made a loud impact. He was willing to lay down his life for the love of others.
In a world where big business seems to control everything, even the government; in a time when the Supreme Court is sometimes promoting businesses' rights over individual's rights; we need a guiding principle that reminds us that our Creator wants us to put people first. In an environment when news channels are formed around encouraging people to be afraid and fear people who are not like them or don't believe the things they believe, we need a point of light that beacons us toward acceptance and love. In a nation where businesses' bottom lines continue to be promoted over the health and welfare of the 'least of these,' we need the image of a healing hand that reached out, even to lepers, to heal without asking for or expecting anything in return...other than faith. In a world being devastated by our consumerist attitudes and privileged lifestyles, we need Jesus' life to remind us that we must walk gently on God's Creation. We need the man who hung on a cross for love, to teach us to live our lives for love.
You see, the reason we need the Christian Left now more than ever, is because it is not really 'the left.' If anything, what Christian 'leftist' stand for is just good theology. If anything, we should be the “Christians centrist” or the “Christian originalist.” Ultimately, we are 'left' only by comparison, relative to what the dominate voice of Christianity in the U.S. claims Christians stand for. The same voice that has left younger generations beleiving that Christians have become, well, unChristian.
We need the Christian Left now more than ever, because we need to follow the teaching of Jesus more than ever.
Jon Stewart, born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, is holding a rally in Washington on October 30, 2010. The Rally To Restore Sanity, without just coming right out and saying it, it is a response to Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally - a rally held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of King's "I have a dream" speech. Beck's rally attempted to co-opt not only the civil rights movement, but Christianity as well.
The problem is, just under the surface of much of what was said, were some pretty ridiculous implications that fit in neither the realm of civil rights or Christianity. As seems to be the case at any Tea Party related rally, there was the ever present (yet unspoken) assumption of white privilege - definitely not part of the civil rights movement. Also unspoken (for the most part) and related to the former was a great deal of anger, hate and fear. All three of which, I would argue, the Bible encourages Christians to avoid.
Along with the things that were silently (for the most part) present, I'd also like to mention a very specific, and admittedly subjective, thing that was noticeably absent - rationality or any real attempt at wisdom. You know, that silly little thing that Proverbs tells us is the thing in which God delights daily.
Enter Jon, a Jew by birth (and by his own admission, just barely by practice). With a rally sign ready, reading "I do not agree with you but I do not think you are Hitler," Jon announced his Rally To Restore Sanity – a million moderate march – a rally to promote reasonableness, a rally to restore sanity...and he's doing it in WASHINGTON, DC! (Seriously Jon, admit it, trying to restore sanity in Washington... well, it's a little insane).
Jon proposes to, in concert with Stephen Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive , comically show the absurdity of what has become the tenor of the nation – divisiveness, anger, fear, judgment and doing it all in the name of God. As stations like FOX News (where Glenn Beck's show is hosted) seem hell bent on always kicking the bipartisan rhetoric up a notch, Jon purposes to “Take It Down A Notch For America.”
Ultimately, the wisdom, forgiveness, acceptance and rationality to which Jon calls our nation, are (or at least should be) at the core of Christianity. Not that they aren't at the core of many other religions not to mention good old fashioned morality, because they are, but it is particularly interesting (and in my opinion fitting) that it took a Jew to stand up for what is biblically right (even though it isn't likely that the Bible is the impetus behind his call) in the face of a ramped-up and horribly deformed Christianity.
You can watch both announcements here: