The Religious Right: Pulpit Pimps Just Like Everybody Else
Posted by Job on October 12, 2008
This morning while getting ready for church, I listened to a sermon from a religious right pastor of some esteem; I will not give his name although I will say that he has passed away. The pastor’s subject was one of the favored bogeymen of the religious right: public schools. His sermon included such typical things as blaming public schools for the downfall of some Christian culture or Christian values or Christian nation that every one of these fellows claims existed at one point or another while sweeping inconvenient historical details under the rug. Yes, I said “historical”, which does not even mention doctrinal or theological problems.
Meaning that even if a person subscribed to some form of Pelagian hyper – Arminianism that would grant salvation to virtually everyone that minimally adhered to some form of superficial Christian affiliation, any honest reading of the Bible would still preclude the “Christian nation” claims. Bottom line: the whole idea of “Christian nation” only works if one believes that salvation is almost entirely based on baptism – which can happen as an infant or on a deathbed – and membership in some nationally recognized church (which again a person can be initiated into as an infant or on their deathbed).
Otherwise, what is the use for declaring a place to be “a Christian nation” unless very nearly everyone in the nation is born again and going to heaven? As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ’s preaching actually made the idea of “Christian households” very problematic, where even the idea that everyone in the same FAMILY would be saved.
Matthew 10:34-36 reads “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
So we are supposed to believe in the existence of Christian nations when God in the flesh told us that Christian homes would be rare? Now I am certain that this pastor, again who has passed on, was aware of this verse and its implications. So why didn’t he preach it? One can only wonder if such a question will be asked of him on judgment day. We know what the Bible requires of pastors.
Then this particular pastor in a sermon delivered before his passing solemnly and ominously intoned this bit of information: “they don’t want you to know what they teach in public schools.” Which, of course, is ridiculous. Any parent that wants to know what his child is learning in public schools can A) contact the school board, B) contact the principal or any other administrator, C) go to PTA meetings, D) talk to their child’s teachers, E) go through their child’s textbook and assigments or F) TALK TO THEIR CHILD. Translation: if you don’t know what is going on in your child’s school, it is your own fault, a consequence of your own neglect. But religious right pastors and leaders don’t apply their “personal responsibility” ideology to their own people. No, all the bad parents are either black single mothers on welfare living in the inner cities, or yuppies raising their kids to be liberals.
Well, the truth is that most of the “real Americans with traditional heartland values that made this country strong” have no idea what goes on in their public schools because they are too busy pursuing their own pleasures through careers, consumerism, and leisure. And even if they do make the choice that most religious right types would applaud, which is to take their kids out of public schools and put them into private ones, well they are no more personally involved than they were when their kids were in public schools. They simply switch from letting the government schools be primarily responsible for educating, enculturating, and disciplining their kids to letting the private or religious schools do so.
A bunch of wiccans could infiltrate religious schools and most parents would be none the wiser, especially since it is so easy to mask wiccan, pagan, new age, etc. beliefs into the “Christian values and culture” nonsense that evangelicalism promotes these days in order to keep from having to talk about the cross or the cost of discipleship, which is to reject the world and be rejected by it. If wiccans haven’t done so already, it is only because they don’t want to.
Also, this talk of “they don’t want you to know what is going on in public schools” is based on the fiction that your typical public school board member, administrator, or teacher is a Marxist subversive gay rights activist. (Of course, these people exist, but again they could work in your local Christian academy and most of you wouldn’t notice.) We found out how off base this type of thinking is a few years ago when a homeschooling advocate at the Southern Baptist Convention a few years ago tried to pass a resolution that would have called for – but not required – members of the convention to pull their kids out of public schools. Initially, it had a great deal of support. But when it became known that public education is the largest employer of members of the Southern Baptist Convention, even a significantly watered down version of the original nonbinding resolution failed.
The truth is that most public school teachers are working class people with 4 year degrees from your local college who drive used cars and do most of their shopping at discount stores, and most administrators are people who started out there and worked their way up. In some areas of the country, many of them have two hour commutes (assuming that traffic is accommodating) because they can’t even afford housing in the communities that they have to teach. So the idea that these folks are ACORN, ACLU, People for the American Way, etc. radicals so bent on trying to pervert your children that they wouldn’t freely share with you what is going on in their classrooms if you were to simply take the time to go ask them … well again let us just say that I have a real problem with this now deceased preacher’s claiming that the problem is the failure of the public school system that is part of the world that has rejected Jesus Christ’s failure to teach children the gospel, or allowing the people in his church and whoever else heard his sermon to believe that there ever was a time when government schools taught children the gospel, and that if we keep praying, voting, sending these people money, etc. we can somehow go back to a time when a fallen institution that is part of a lost and dying world will teach Christian kids to respect the very same Jesus Christ that the state wrongly condemned as a criminal and hung to die on the cross despite knowing that He was innocent, and not only that but when He rose from the dead created a conspiracy to cover it up!
It was never the job of public schools to teach children the gospel. As a matter of fact, we Christians shouldn’t want them to try, because any gospel preached by any institution that is of this world will be false. Instead, it was the job of people like this pastor to teach children to love Jesus Christ and to expect the world, including public schools, to hate, reject, and persecute them for Jesus Christ’s sake. Not only was this religious right pulpit pimp not doing this, but the truth is that he was doing precisely the opposite. Instead of spreading truth from the pulpit that challenged the people, he was teaching lies that tickled their ears and made them feel comfortable and self – righteous. Honestly, he may have even been fattening them up nice and plump for any anti – Christ that comes along and promises that his false prophet will set up a public school system that will honor and respect “Christian values” and “our culture and traditions.” We know this already because Adolph Hitler promised precisely the same thing. And yes, despite the fact that conservatives, including not a few members of the religious right, love their “Hitler was a socialist liberal!” slogans, the truth was that Hitler initially was enthusiastically embraced by German Christians because he offered them a Christ of culture, patriotism, values, and prosperity, and not of the cross. In other words, a false Christ.
Public schools have NEVER been godly institutions. This nation has NEVER been a godly nation. The only thing on this earth that is godly is THE CHURCH. Not any individual denomination or congregation mind you, but the universal church consisting of all believers. And why is it alone godly? Because the only entity that is godly is GOD HIMSELF, and the church is part of God! The church is the Body of Christ, the church is IN CHRIST. Any notion that any other is godly, holy, righteous, etc. or even is useful or edifying or imparting truth or goodness in any way other than that which God gives to all mankind through general revelation and common grace IS A LIE. Put it this way: any idea that our institutions in the Christian west are any more Christlike than the institutions in Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, or communist nations IS A LIE, and the people who preach them are LIARS. They cannot possibly be deceived, for the Bible plainly declares it. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” That is really just one of many that speaks of how the world is ruled by Satan and how it rejects Jesus Christ.
The only way that a person could believe otherwise is if they are an amillennialist who believes that Jesus Christ rules the world through the church. But even amillennialists believe that first Christians must take control over a worldly institution before it ceases being part of fallen Satanic order and starts to reflect the holiness and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Well, that causes real trouble for the religious right person. They are claiming that at one point Christians were running this nation, public schools and all, but that Satan took them over. Excuse me, but how is that possible? How can Satan defeat Jesus Christ? This is not like a worldly military battle, where enemy armies and nations will take and lose, lose and recover cities and territories over and over again. No, something that Jesus Christ conquers (whether Himself or through the church) stays conquered. Claiming that a Christian nation or institution can lapse (or truthfully relapse) into the state that our nation and our schools are in right now is akin to claiming that an individual Christian can lose his salvation! If souls owned by Jesus Christ can persevere, how can nations and institutions ruled by Jesus Christ from heaven with a rod of iron fall away, especially if Satan is bound?
Of course, it is true that things that were wicked can become even more wicked. And things that are more wicked can become less wicked. We know this from the Bible. Take Egypt. It became less wicked under the leadership of the pharoah that appointed Joseph. It became less wicked under the leadership of the pharoah that threw all the baby boys in the river. That is why we are to pray for our leaders: so they will be more like the former pharoah and less like the latter. But we Christians are to never forget that we are being ruled by pharoahs and not Jesus Christ, and that we are living in Egypt (or in booths in the wilderness), not New Jerusalem. Christians are to be ever aware of this and be prepared and equipped to operate in environment. The soul that preaches otherwise lies and unless it repents will receive the liar’s reward clearly spelled out in the book of Revelation.
I suppose that the most irksome (to me) thing about this pastor’s presentation – and that of the religious right in general – is the pretense that these liberal changes happened secretly or against our will against the popular will of the American people. A good example of the lie that this is: the TV sitcom Three’s Company. Make no mistake, it was a show absolutely dedicated to sexual perversion. All of the single characters were serial fornicators with never the slightest hint of shame or suggestion that there should be. The lead character was willing to pretend to be homosexual simply to get an affordable apartment in a good side of town
And yes, the “Jack Tripper” character was part of the longtime media attempt to soften views towards homosexuals that made the world safe for people like Ellen, Rosie, and Clay … and incidentally for professed evangelicals like Miley Cyrus able to make light of it to no ill effect whatsoever. And what was probably the most subversive part of the whole show was the idea that three fornicators could cohabitate all those years while fornicating with everyone but each other? Possible? Yes. Natural? No.
And guess what … the show was a huge hit. For seven years. No one was outraged at the militant flagrant promotion of not only fornication but decadent promiscuity. No one was outraged at the subversive gay agenda Trojan horse. No, this “Christian nation” watched Three’s Company and every other movie and TV show that promoted violence, sexual immorality, profanities that include blasphemy, etc. usually without a peep of protest apart from some values coalition watchdog group starting a rarely successful boycott or letter writing campaign. Why? Because it was what this country wanted to see. There was no protest, no resistance, only acceptance. And you know what? That was the case with things ranging from evolution in our public schools to the Roe v. Wade decision.
Sure, some opposed it, and a few took their opposition to extreme, even criminal lengths. But our cities didn’t exactly start burning, did they? A civil war didn’t break out, did it? The states asserted their right to secede in order to continue owning human beings as property and preserve their economic system based on free labor. But if there was ever a serious movement that attempted to amend the Constitution to allow a state to secede because of the 50 million people that have been sacrificed to Molech through abortion, it is not only long dead, but moreover I missed any historical reference to it.
And that more than anything else is why the agenda of the religious right regarding public schools and everythin else is so deceptive: the idea that anything is happening other than the people getting what they want. It is based on the lie that we are a nation of good decent moral people who will ultimately earn their salvation through good works and values. If the truth were told and preached, that we are a nation of people who DESPITE their good works and values are still sinners if they do not repent they are headed for an eternity in the lake of fire. And if you are a sinner, guess what, you are going to like and want sin. You might object to SOME SINS because of your self – righteousness or self – interest, but there will be plenty of other sinful behaviors and cultural trends that you will support or not oppose.
Again, were the truth be told, the religious right would collapse and blow away overnight. (The religious left, which operates on a totally different set of assumptions and lest we forget long predated the religious right in this nation, especially if you include the Unitarians and Quakers, and as such is a different matter.) And that is why we Christians who are after the truth must continue to speak this truth. People will still continue to believe a lie because the truth is not in them. While that is regrettable, the truth we still must promote and pursue.