Thursday, December 11, 2008

Evangelicals and the Inability to Tolerate Diversity

My contention in this post is that "Evangelicals" have fundamentally evolved into a group intolerant to diversity of thought, even within the strictures of their already narrowly defined theological dogma.

Why is the National Association of Evangelicals unable to find stable leadership? It wasn't long ago that the NAE President Ted Haggard was exposed for being involved with a homosexual prostitute, despite being a prolific "warrior" against the social progress of LGBTQ equal rights. Now, the most recent resignation comes from the NAE Vice President of Governmental Affairs , Richard Cizik, (See here). He was ousted because he didn't sufficiently repress and subjugate individuals espousing alternative sexualities. That is to say, he thought it was okay policy in the United States to permit homosexual civil unions. In my estimation, that is not tantamount to saying that one necessarily endorses the life-style as a normative or morally valuative practice.

I thought that the conservative Evangelical position was that homosexuality was a sin. However, this man was ousted ipso facto that he didn't take a political orientation toward domestic policy in a empire that is not distinctly oriented to a religious group or ideology. America is not a theocracy, and most Christians, even conservative Evangelicals that I know, don't want it to be. However, "evangelicals" have been high-jacked by fundamentalists who desire power to purge the "wicked" (=those not conforming to the exact litmus test of theological dogma of the one judging) from their midst. There was a time, history tells us, when evangelical was a broad term encompassing many confessing, moderate Christian individuals (and denominations). But now, who would want to be associated with a term that continues to be defined by narrow, bigoted, hate-mongers that herald themselves as the last bastion of truth, when in fact they fail to look even remotely like the Jesus of history or his earliest followers.

I suppose there is a reason that I do not aspire to participate in distinctly Evangelical circles, a sad reason. They feed on their own. There is no room for thought, for difference, for diversity. This is a case in point. He said things the President, Leith Anderson, didn't think represented the association. Thus, despite his "regret" expressed (See the NAE account here), he was (as is implied) forced to resign. Is that what being an evangelical means? Does it mean opposing civil unions for homosexuals? Is that really it? Is that what Jesus would do? Are there any who call themselves evangelical out there that disdain this behavior?


Rob said...

Interesting. I've been ridiculed similarly in the past few days for joining a group on Facebook that supports homosexual rights. My view is similar to Cizik’s. Though I am against gay marriage, I am for homosexual political rights. Should they choose such a lifestyle, I think they should be able to receive health benefits from their spouse and also receive the taxing benefits that comes with marriage. How can we force our Christian ideal on a people insomuch that we punish them for not adhering to our standards of living? This is not religious freedom (though one may try to argue from natural law, nonetheless distinct from political law), and can easily backfire on Christians in the future. What happens when the American people turn on Christianity and begins punishing Christians for not holding to their anti-Christians standards (something not far-fetched in light of modern times)? What happens when the marginalized minority becomes the oppressive majority? Perhaps it is then that Christians will finally rethink their philosophical approach to this situation.

Rob G. Reid said...

Thanks for your comments. It is rather unfortunate that "even your own" turn on you when you stand up for the civil rights of others. How is it that Christians fail to perceive that this is not a Christian nation, it was not---ever, and should not be?