|Rick Warren and Tim Tebow - Have we regressed ?|
The mega church pastor Rick Warren has said that the recent antagonism in the public declaration of faith by sports star Tim Tebow was a sign of regression in the Christian religious expression in America. Pastor Rick conjures up a picture of a God fearing early pilgrims and said that they had a better notion of morality - of right and wrong which was still abounding say 50, 100, 150 years ago.
Pastor Rick also mentioned the increasing lack of civility in our differences and not treating people with dignity, love, and friendship.
We often go back into the past and re-read history. For we have become a much kinder and moral society, than say 50, 100 or 150 years ago. The claim of a greater sense of morality in the past may be true but it just didn't show up in how the whites put blacks into slavery and where discrimination against the chinese were very prevalent. Inter racial marriages were also banned. The early settlers also took over the original indian lands by force killing many. We have progressed so much from the days of the early pilgrims.
Whilst we may be tempted to showcase the God fearing pilgrims, most of the signatories of the declaraton of Independence founding the United States were freemasons and Washington DC, the capital had its unusual symbols and layout based on ancient pagan faith beliefs which were non Christians. This wasn't supposed to be a Christian land but semi-Christian where they had "religious" freedom.
The First Pilgrims became the more Liberal side of the Christianity in the United Churches of Christ. They tend to be more inclusive and civil. However, the rise of the Christian Right of which Pastor Rick belongs has meant that such civil public discourse has been replaced as a partisan declaration most aptly summed up by President Bush "if you are not for me, you are against me". Pastor Rick would do well to reflect on the regressive behaviour of his own religious faith associations before blaming the public.
Hence, we have regressed as correctly pointed out by Pastor Rick, but not because of a decreasing sense of morality or lack of civility but because of the hostile aggressive approach by the Christian Right in the last 30 years with their self righteous religious indignation whilst being the greatest hypocrites themselves. Whilst some Christians called for human rights including abortions, the rights of the unborn child seems sacrificed.
The animonsity towards Tim Tebow is the result of the backlash due to the agressive push by the Christian Right to assert their full rights and political power, and indeed special rights against gays. The last 30 years have been a concerted effort to block vote Christian politicians into power resulting in a strongly partisan GOP. This was in response to the rise of Liberal Christianity with its emphasis on individual rights including abortion rights.
The message preached in the airways of the Christian Faith is one of legalism, following religious laws, whilst clearly breaking them ourselves. Love, civility, and inclusiveness was seen as more of a liberal persuasion. Gays are highlighted as the prime example of sinners to be deprived of all basic rights in their cynical attempt to use this as a wedge issue to gain power and support. The rethoric against gays with all sorts of deceptions and half truths was preached like a loud speaker to the public. The radio/internet/tv broadcasts against gays even reached Singapore and Africa.
As a result, gay rights were stopped in its tracks with the unholy alliance of the Evangelicals, Mormons and the Catholic Church. However, justice and mercy always have had a way of breaking the man made religious barriers.
The harm we sow is now coming back to the church. Our anti-gay crusade have meant the Gospel message and the public declaration of faith by the likes of Tim Tebow goes unheard. There is a great deal of cynicism of the Christian faith because we have sown hate, prejudice and outright deception whilst at the same time the greatest hypocrites as shown by the Catholic Church covering up the sexual abuse of kids over 60 years.
It's true that we have regressed - a regression in the Christian Faith where we become the Pharisees of old. It's time that the church opened their palms, realised the blood of gays who have died, for their blood cries out for vengeance and justice. It takes away the churches claim of morality and righteousness which has already been weakened as other Christians pushed for legalised abortions.
We have regressed - too much to the Right where basic humanity and civility is denied in favor of strict religious laws and judgement. Wars and prosperity are glorifed. We have also regressed too much to the left where Jesus Christ death, resurrection and salvation is denied and harmful freedoms such as abortions legalised. In essence, the US have become a nation of extremes.