According to a NEW YORK TIMES piece written by Laurie Goodstein, Reverend Gregory A. Boyd “was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.” The piece continues:
The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?
After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.
Reverend Boyd says he first became concerned with the mixing of Christianity and politics “while visiting another megachurch’s worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service finished with the chorus singing ‘God Bless America’ and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses.
“’I thought to myself, “What just happened? Fighter jets mixed up with the cross?”‘”
I’d like to know what happened too — what happened to Reverend Boyd? Maybe he’s been replaced by a pod preacher or something, I don’t know. But I do know this: his attitude is just not right. Now I know there are liberal Christians — oxymoron, anyone? — who feel that Jesus was just a swell guy and probably really cuddly and pacifistic and such, but Reverend Boyd claims he is no liberal; he just doesn’t think that Christianity should be corrupted by politics. He believes, like Truman did, that politicizing Christianity, corrupts it.
And to that I say, “Huh?”
I mean, if you aren’t going to politicize Christianity, what’s the point? It’s just a really good way to get people to the voting booths, all indignant, ready to vote counter to their own best interests. That’s not easy to do, but politicizing Christianity is one good way to do it.
The liberal Christians — always the liberal Christians! — might argue that the point is finding a personal relationship with God, and letting that personal relationship guide you without politicizing an entire religion which can be interpreted so as to encompass almost every political ideology, in part because people inevitably bring their political beliefs and prejudices to their religion and project them onto it, finding religious justifications for positions they already hold — and there’s just no way to be sure exactly who — if anyone — is right.
And to that I say, “Huh?”
Of course there’s a way to know who’s right. It’s the guy who speaks the loudest, the longest.
How many people have heard of Reverend Gregory A. Boyd? Some, sure, but not as many as have heard of Jerry Falwell. And so we know, Jerry Falwell is right. Obviously. He’s been standing up there, shouting angrily, little white gobs of spittle forming in the corners of his mouth as he preaches, for so long that if he was wrong, he surely would have been discredited by now. But he never has been.
I think that speaks volumes in and of itself.
You say religion is about a personal relationship with God; I say the personal is political, and I feel personally that God hates liberals. And he probably doesn’t like super old people, either. He thinks they smell funny and are annoying, especially when He goes to the theater to catch Monster House, and some old fart is sitting behind Him, coughing on the back of His freakin’ neck, ruining the entire experience, so that He has to change seats and because He’s in the middle of getting re-situated He misses a really cool scene. Man, that makes Him mad.
And that’s why we need to finally get rid of Social Security.