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July 12th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My Take: Christian politicians should start acting Christian

Editor's Note: Richard T. Hughes is Distinguished Professor of Religion at Messiah College and author of Christian America and the Kingdom of God.

By Richard T. Hughes, Special to CNN

Let me be frank from the outset: A great cultural divide is ripping the heart from this nation and Christians are partly responsible.

I say that because 83% of the American people claim to be Christians. If those Christians lived as they are taught to live by the teacher they claim to follow, the American public square would be a very different kind of place.

If one reads the New Testament—the charter for the Christian religion—one can discover rather quickly what that tradition is all about.

Jesus tells his followers to tell the truth.

Jesus tells his followers to make peace.

Jesus tells his followers to turn the other cheek.

Jesus tells his followers to bless those who persecute them and pray for those who misuse them.

Jesus tells his followers to extend justice, especially to the poor and the dispossessed.

Jesus tells his followers to serve as bridge-builders and agents of reconciliation.

And Jesus tells his followers to love one another, even their enemies.

But based on their words and behavior, we may safely conclude that many of the Christians who dominate America’s public square routinely reject the teachings of Jesus, in spite of their claims to the contrary.

Sharron Angle, for example, wants to be the next U. S. Senator from Nevada. She founded a Christian school but casually announces that “the nation is arming” since “if we don’t win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?” For Angle, that next step is clear: those who oppose the current administration may “have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways.” In other words, if the ballot fails, the bullet is the next best hope.

Sarah Palin is open about her allegiance to the Christian faith, but routinely trades in sarcasm, deceptions and lies about her political opposition. During the health care debate, she repeated over and again the falsehood that “the sick, the elderly, and the disabled . . . will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide . . . whether they are worthy of health care.”

Newt Gingrich trumpets his allegiance to the Christian religion and writes about the role of the Christian faith in American history. He also knows that Barack Obama is a Christian. Yet he shamelessly denounces Obama as “secular”—a term Gingrich defines as an “outlook [that] does not acknowledge God.”

No wonder that some Tea Partiers claim—as one woman put it—that “we are losing our country; we think the Muslims are moving in and taking over; we do not believe our president is a Christian.”

Glenn Beck warned a national television audience to “look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can,” adding that those terms are code words for communism and nazism. Surely Beck knows that there is no theme more central to biblical faith than social and economic justice for the poor, but still he is willing to distort the Christian religion for cheap political gain.

Ann Coulter promotes herself as a representative of the Christian religion. Yet, Coulter claimed after September 11, 2001 that the United States “should invade their countries [Muslim nations], kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

When public figures like these so completely diminish the Christian faith, it is hardly surprising that grassroots believers often engage in similar distortions of the Christian religion.

Some Christians at anti-Obama rallies have displayed signs that proclaim, “Since 1630: Bible hugging! Gun toting! Red Blooded American Against Tyranny.” Or another: “I will keep my freedom, my Bible, my gun, and my money.”

When Christians so widely and publicly embrace such blatant distortions of the Christian religion, they abandon one of the roles they might have played in America’s public square: fostering civility and dialogue and building lasting bridges of reconciliation.

But civility and respect have been all but lost in contemporary American politics. Alan Keyes, for example, has proclaimed that “Obama is a radical communist.” And one of the signs that routinely appears at anti-Obama rallies shows the President wearing a Nazi uniform and doing a Hitler salute. Another sign reads, “Barack Hussein Obama: the New Face of Hitler.” Those kinds of accusations are nothing short of slander.

The issue I am raising has nothing to do with whether one is a Republican, a Democrat, a Tea Partier, or an independent. Neither political conservatives nor political liberals have a monopoly on this kind of behavior, though in recent months conservatives opposed to Barack Obama have been especially guilty.

Yet the issue I am raising ultimately has nothing to do with whether one likes or dislikes Barack Obama. The issue has to do with Christians behaving like Christians and thereby telling the truth, doing justice, and promoting basic respect for other human beings.

After all, since 83% of the American population identifies with the Christian religion, that 83% could make an enormous difference in the tone of American politics if those Christians actually practiced what they profess to believe. They could also make a positive difference in American politics if they held other Christians accountable when they engage in deception and slander in order to score political points.

America’s churches and their pastors therefore have a grave responsibility: to urge their members to serve the public square as peacemakers, as truth-tellers, as people devoted to justice, and as men and women who are actually willing to practice what Jesus taught. If America’s churches refuse to take up this task—which, after all, is a task that is central to the Christian calling—the consequences for our country could be dire, indeed.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Richard T. Hughes.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Culture wars • Politics

soundoff (586 Responses)
  1. Bradley

    Since when are social and economic justice – as provided for by the government – biblical, Christian priorities? Mr. Hughes seems to think that opposition to government forcibly taking funds from one person and giving it to another is required by the teachings found in the New Testament. As I read the NT, I see a call to personally reach out to the poor. The parable of the Good Samaritan was about an individual personally serving someone he found in need, not calling a social worker. To find evidence of someone's commitment to loving their fellow man I would look at what they voluntarily give, not how they would choose to spend other people's money!

    July 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
    • Ego

      But you have examples of individual giving and corporate collection (based off of individual giving) that is not at the descretion of the giver to spend as they think.

      July 12, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • Luke2

      The problem arises from the dilemma that the first charge of a government is to protect its citizens. How can the richest nation in the world sit around impotently while millions would go hungry, without healthcare, without shelter, etc., if the rich decided to hoard money during economic turmoil, refused to aid outside of their direct community of for no good reason whatsoever? That is, if you live outside of Detroit, for example, are you going to personally aid people in Detroit? What if you live in a part of the country with near-null unemployment and no less fortunate sons. Would you drive to Gotham to aid the people I do? That is where a socially responsible government comes from.

      July 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • XWngLady

      The issue is one of the heart not of whether you gave it personally or whether the gov't took it to give it to someone. If you are offended by the fact that someone took something from you and gave it to someone less fortunate than you, then your heart is not in the right place. If Jesus walked up to you and said, "Give me %30 of your substance I'm going to give it to this guy over here because he needs it, you would break your neck to give it so that you could look good in Jesus' eyes, but if the Gov't (which is really the people, specifically the other 50% of the country who are ok with giving it) says give it to me then you have a problem with it...check your heart.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
    • MTrox

      @ Bradley - Mr. Hughes perhaps used the wrong verbage in the article. Recurring themes in the Bible consistently ask for us to care for one another and the 'poorest among you' How in God's name can you as a human being stand back and watch people suffer when you are comfortable or even wealthy. It is morally the 'right' thing to do regardless of what religion you follow. If we love and care for one another, so many of the ills that cause us to be so fearful will no longer exist. Common sense, if you make sure the basic needs of people are taken care of– health and safety, education, etc... It benefits us all. Instead, conservatives want to spout social values while hoarding their guns and money. I am not comfortable in the knowledge that 45,000 people die each year because they don't have health insurance. I don't mind paying a little more in taxes to ensure that someone with cancer can get care without having to worry about their coverage being canceled. I don't mind paying more in taxes if it means that people who are out of work can continue to get their unemployment benefits. I think that the article gets at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. I think its important that I care for my fellow man, be a good steward of the planet God has given me, and work to make the world a little better when I leave it than how I found it. I am a liberal democrat. Call me what you will. I think that I espouse Christian values and so many conservative who stand upon their soapboxes spouting judgmental giberish soooooooooo do not.

      July 13, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • jack2

      Luke,

      I pray for you and your atheism. I hope you recover and grow in faith. The first responsibility of gov't is to protect the citizens –from outside threats, from other citizens, and in our case the gov't itself. You seem to be suggesting that gov't money be responsible for curing all the material social ills of this country. This is quite different from protection. Germs and viruses are not enemies of the state. And the sad fact is that every time you grant gov't more control and every time you people more priveliges, the more and more they expect. What liberals fail to realize is that the quickly apparent solution to social problems, throwing around gov't money, is often not the most effective solution. For example, if the gov't wants to intervene with healthcare, it should have started by finding ways to cut costs, before it decided to hand out funds. Now that funds go out and costs will still rise, we will be paying more and more forever. Not to mention that the gov't will now penalize people who don't want healthcare. Blindly handing out money to poor and sick people does not make you moral. We must also tend to ourselves pragmatically.

      July 13, 2010 at 10:21 am |
    • Jim

      "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's..." – Mark 12:17. As I read it, that means "pay your taxes." Besides, you aren't supposed to have that much money in the first place – unless you're good at passing through eyes of needles.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:40 am |
    • Kate

      Of course, why hand out money and food blindly to those who need it when you can force them to pretend to convert to your religion first. I'm so impressed by those who pray for atheists who needs it not and will not appreciate it but practices antipathy for the poor and hungry who need caring, love and respect.

      July 13, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
    • Liutgard

      Bradley, you said: "As I read the NT, I see a call to personally reach out to the poor." Cool. If the 83% of the population calls themselves Christians, and actually did this, the country would be a drastically different place. But they don't. Because of our own selfishness and cupidity. Government does it (and badly) because individuals WON'T.

      July 13, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
  2. DeanLusk

    I don't find myself in agreement with everything Mr. Hughes says here (a couple of examples were rather unfair), but he made some excellent and valid points, and this summary was right on target, in my opinion:

    "...83% could make an enormous difference in the tone of American politics if those Christians actually practiced what they profess to believe. They could also make a positive difference in American politics if they held other Christians accountable when they engage in deception and slander in order to score political points."

    Agreed! And is this really arguable? I think even atheists and agnostics would like to see Christians act the way Jesus acted and do what He taught, whether or not those atheists/agnostics believe Jesus was real or fictional.

    Most of what I've seen in the commentary amounts to, "Oh yeah?! Well, THEY (the other side of whatever issue is being addressed) are doing even WORSE stuff!!" as if to justify any potentially negative activity in which their preferred party or religious organization is engaging, or whatever position they espouse. One point made in the article, which echoes something Jesus said when speaking about planks vs. splinters, is that His followers should stop doing that.

    It's puzzling to me that several commenters attempt to discount and discredit this article because it takes the perspective of a Democrat. Yes, it seems fairly apparent to me that it does, but disagreement with parts (or all) of someone's political ideology clearly doesn't render everything stated from that point of view incorrect.

    I believe the author's point is sound: if someone is a follower of Jesus Christ, it would be a pretty swell idea for that person to read and remember what Jesus said and actually DO that stuff. Jesus' brother James was pretty straightforward about this shocking concept in his letter (James 1:22).

    July 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • Luke2

      You'll find it heartwarming to know that many atheists, including myself, don't have a problem with the Jesus character from the New Testament. We have issues with his followers.

      July 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
    • DeanLusk

      Thanks, Luke. 🙂 Heartwarming. Actually, I was already pretty sure of that. I have many friends who have told me exactly what you just said.

      July 12, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  3. Mike

    christians are hypocrites...this is news?

    July 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  4. Doug

    "The issue I am raising has nothing to do with whether one is a Republican, a Democrat, a Tea Partier, or an independent."

    Then why are none of your examples Democrats? Would have been much more honest for you to make your list more inclusive. No side has a monopoly on truth...or hypocrisy.

    July 12, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • ConcernedPerson

      The republicans have openly courted the religious christian extremists to make christianity a political tool, and preach it from the political pulpit. You don't see the democrats doing that. The democrats, and I am an independent by the way, seem to leave the religious angle more where it should be – A BELIEF outside of politics. They do seem to be getting sucked in a bit, but I must say, they have done a good job of letting the repubs make fools of themselves on this issue of religion INSIDE the government.

      July 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • Luke2

      Because the republican party openly panders to the religious right. It's a smart tactic, but clearly a card that should not be played. I find it disgusting, myself. This is a secular nation, no question or debate about it. Also worth noting, that the crowd I run with has recently agreed that we would have no problem voting for a conservative politician in England, where evolution, global warming and social norms are not at the core of the party.

      July 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • PsiCop

      He doesn't mention Democrats, because almost without exception, they do not make an issue of being Christian. It's Republicans who tend to do that.

      July 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
    • John Clayton - Altanta

      Sorry but the right does in fact have a monopoly on hypocracy. Republicans core beliefs are a lie. They promote smaller government, less entitlements, less speding and then they lead the way in everything they claim to be against.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  5. jonathan

    We are reaching Critical mass...in America. The 9/11 event was the triggering point..We are under judgment right now! The words coming out of our mouths are forced through the cataclysmic event of that Day..."FOR OUT OF THE ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART THE MOUTH SPEAKS," Said Jesus. Our hearts were pierced that day...God showed me...If you will turn in your bibles to Psalm 110:5..you will see these words...The Lord shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath, He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies, he shall wound the heads over many countries..

    I have cogitated over these words, since the night after that attack..I must admit that i was pleased and comforted by by the fact that God would awaken me speaking these words to me..So I analized our nation, looked at our place in History and decided rather than contribute to the down fall of this nation I would encourage that we should seek God and understand..It is obvious that the invasion into Iraq was a major mis-step . There we lost focus on what this was all about , and yet it at the same time magnified what this is all about.. its' the crusades...and it promises to be as long as the previous crusades which lasted 200 years..So , ask yourself what part are you going to play in the Crusades; because it's a long long long war...unless you have the final solution. Do you? have it? I do...

    First of all all the words we are speaking come from our hearts..Those words which we repeat the most is what is really what is deep inside us...that is because we are pounding those words inside us..{ If we are speaking evil of our neighbor all the time, we are creating the image of the thing we hate inside us..in other words we are becoming what we hate}..Uhh! That's what God sees cause he is listening..Genesis 18:20-21..tells us that . This is why Jesus comes and tells us to bless and curse not; pray for and do good to our enemies..and rejoice and be exceeding glad when we are persecuted for righteousness sake..it is so that we may be the children of the Highest! Whose child are you???

    July 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • Luke2

      LOL – What?

      July 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
    • Frogist

      "So I analized our nation" ... that's my favorite part!

      July 12, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • Grandeur

      "analized the nation" – wow. Here I was, thinking that sodomy was forbidden. Buggering every person, one by one, until the Word of the Lord is spread seems a less effective evangelical tool than...most.

      July 12, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
    • Kate

      ROTFLOL, out of the posts of the deluded....

      July 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  6. David Himes

    It's almost impossible to disagree with Dr Hughes fundamental premise, that every professing Christian fails to measure up. And many seem to proclaim political views that the name of Christianity. Christianity is not a political point of view.

    And in fact, Christianity probably violates the tenets of both major parties. For example, the admonition to love one another easily seems to call for Christians to treat people well and care for the poor - regardless of whether the individual is a legal resident or illegal immigrant. But it's equally true that Christians should call on an individual to obey the laws of the land where they live, just as Jesus obeyed Roman law.

    Jesus counseled us to note that there is a worldly point of view and a spiritual point of view - and they don't always or even often coincide.

    July 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • Ego

      "It's almost impossible to disagree with Dr Hughes fundamental premise, that every professing Christian fails to measure up."

      I think Paul said it better, "I die daily."

      July 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  7. Frogist

    I kind of have to agree with him that a lot of people who claim to be Christians are not following the tenets of that interesting character we call Jesus. I think those who only deny his examples of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck et al are missing the point. If you say you are Christians, aren't you angry at the hatred that these people spew while at the same time they are pandering for your allegiance? Don't you see the hipocrisy of it? Why bother to defend them, listen to them, vote for them etc? It doesn't matter if they are entertainers, if they abuse your religion does it? It never stopped you before. Why not question them, hold them up to the standards of truth and love that all Christians proclaim to know more than anyone else?
    I suppose that's the point... A lot of the religulous just want to hear the term "Christian" and take it for granted, or "take it on faith" I suppose is the better term. There is no need to question what doesn't sound right. That's the truth that the author doesn't really want to say.

    July 12, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • Luke2

      Because the likes of Palin and Beck pander to politicians that pad the wallets of their followers and attempt to derail progressiveness away from their core beliefs, most of which are unfounded or based upon a philosophy that only benefits people "like them".

      July 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
    • Frogist

      Luke2:
      I think Palin and Beck etc do things to pad their own wallets. I doubt they care a whit about the people who follow them except in how much their followers can give them. I'm not sure what you're saying about core beliefs or philosophy though, if you don't mind explaining.

      July 12, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • Luke2

      Frogist – That was a sly way of saying that Capitalism is unfounded or broken as evidenced by the financial fallout of 2008 and 2009. Additionally, and much more aimed at a deeper conversation, Christianity has constantly had to evolve in order to remain relevant. While its core system of love remains, much of the collateral belief systems have collapsed in on themselves as the moral zeitgeist has evolved. That is, we used to burn witches, but then everyone realized there was no such thing as witches. Today, we prevent two males from marrying. One day, we'll likely see this law, which has religious roots, changed. Of course, I can rattle off dozens of examples, but you get the point. Finally, yes Palin and Beck do things to pad their own pockets of course, but those that follow get their drippings.

      July 12, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • Frogist

      Luke,
      Thanks for the explanation, Luke. I appreciate it. I can't speak on Capitalism. I haven't honestly given that much thought. Guess I'm always at work so there's not much room for thought.
      Yes, I agree with you that religion is a social construct that, to remain relevant, must evolve. But unfortunately that's kind of a hipocrisy built into religion since practically all of them, tell us that the way to redemption is to hold to ideas thought up hundreds or thousands of years ago. A lot of people get stuck at that conundrum tragically. I don't consider the Palin/Becks to be of that ilk. They are just opportunists who take advantage of those folks who are stuck. Also, on a personal note, I can think of a few people I would like to see burned at the stake.

      God... the Palin/Becks... what would those children be like?!

      July 12, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • jack2

      Luke, capitalism is unfounded and broken, and you know this from the recession? Now you show your true self. You should know that the economy has always been a cycle of booms and busts. Did the Depression, or the recessions of the late 70s to 80s disprove capitalism. Not according to reality.

      July 13, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  8. Gumby

    I think it stinks that my views and opinions are being banned from this post, even though I am not being abusive in any way. Way to go, Christianity. Suppress and censor the minority in this country that are unbelievers. That's what Jesus would have wanted.

    /sarcasm

    July 12, 2010 at 11:41 am |
    • Frogist

      You don't seem to be grammatically-challenged. You use full coherent sentences. You haven't used an egregious swear word... I don't understand why you would need to be censored...

      July 12, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • verify

      Who knows what possesses the 'nanny filter' here... I have had several posts, which had nothing drastic in them, which just never appeared. That's why I keep them real short now... no sense wasting time. Keep trying, though.

      July 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
    • Anonymous Coward

      There might be some technical problems on the server side or even in the network, occasionally. I've also had some difficulty posting after switching browsers and playing with my cookie settings..
      Anyway, besides the politically polarising parts of the blog post, the point about many Christians not really following Jesus is very accurate indeed. I personally had to change my religion (to Buddhism) in order learn to appreciate what Jesus really taught, or to get a new perspective to the teachings, and compare the ideas to those of the main forms of Christianity in my country and community.

      July 13, 2010 at 6:43 am |
  9. Reality

    Hmmm, according to the Rev. Hughes who suffers from the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in Christianity:

    Jesus tells his followers to tell the truth.

    Jesus tells his followers to make peace.

    Jesus tells his followers to turn the other cheek.

    Jesus tells his followers to bless those who persecute them and pray for those who misuse them.

    et al.

    But did Jesus really tell his followers that? Thorough analyses of the scriptures by contemporary historians have shown that only about 30 % of what Jesus said is authentic and most of that was apparently borrowed from the ancients like the Babylonians and Egyptians.

    July 12, 2010 at 11:08 am |
    • Ego

      Could you please explain that more? Somehow I'm missing the 30% thing...I wonder if that means love only works 30% of the time? Crap...our divorce rate isn't high enough..

      July 12, 2010 at 11:20 am |
    • jonathan

      I only believe 30% of what you say...30% of the scolars and even less than any agnostic...your points here are not accepted becasue we have found Jesus' words to be exactly what he has said and recorded..but you are free to express them.

      July 12, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Reality

      Ego,

      From the Egyptian Book of the Dead:1580-1350 B.C

      "Hail to thee, great God, Lord of the Two Truths. I have come unto thee, my Lord, that thou mayest bring me to see thy beauty. I know thee, I know thy name, I know the names of the 42 Gods who are with thee in this broad hall of the Two Truths . . . Behold, I am come unto thee. I have brought thee truth; I have done away with sin for thee. I have not sinned against anyone. I have not mistreated people. I have not done evil instead of righteousness . . .
      I have not reviled the God.
      I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
      I have not done what the God abominates . . .
      I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
      I have not caused anyone's suffering . . .
      I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
      I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
      I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
      I have not taken milk from a child's mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage...
      I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
      I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
      I have not kept cattle away from the God's property.
      I have not blocked the God at his processions. 5

      July 12, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Ego

      Right, but, I'm not sure I'm on the same page.

      What proves that one is borrowed from the other instead of both using a similar source, or, if one existed in the other then seperated leaving both to become what they are today?

      July 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Reality

      Ego,

      As a minimum, it shows that humankind developed it own rules of behavior without the need of some god writing rules on stone tablets.

      July 12, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
    • Ego

      What evidence is there to that, since the copied text is riddled with God?

      July 12, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • Reality

      Ego, Riddled with the word god yes but said god(s) did not write out the rules for them as the Judaism, Christianity and Islam claim.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • Reality

      Ego, Riddled with the word god yes but said god(s) did not write out the rules for them as Judaism, Christianity and Islam claim.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  10. Chris R

    The message of the New Testament, the truth that Jesus was trying to convey, the principle that we need to stake our lives on is that love is everything. Love conquers fear. Love conquers hatred. Love conquers death. Those that hate and fear don't really know love and, as such, need to be loved by others even more. That's what makes being Christian so hard – that we *have* to love people... all people... not just those that agree with us. We can disapprove of those that engage in sinful acts *but* we can't scream and shout at them for doing something wrong. We need to gently admonish while showing them a better path through the example of our own life and loving outreach.

    July 12, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • Ego

      Ehm, what about the examples of discipline provided in that same testament enacted by the church leaders? I think gently admonishing them may not be doing due diligence on the testaments behalf. But of course, different context, different situation. How you treat belivers, new converts and non-beleivers ought to be different. However, I think the discussion is on those who proclaim Christianity, so, we are beyond the gentle, childish punishments. But of course, the real issue is getting 100% voter attendance out of the 83% that claim Christianity, or out of any religion for that matter. Govt is pot because no one votes for the right people and the right people can't get support to be voted upon.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:54 am |
  11. Luke2

    Moderators – delete this hatefulness please.

    July 12, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  12. gilberto lawrence

    Jesus tells his followers to tell the truth.

    Jesus tells his followers to make peace.

    Jesus tells his followers to turn the other cheek.

    Jesus tells his followers to bless those who persecute them and pray for those who misuse them.

    Jesus tells his followers to extend justice, especially to the poor and the dispossessed.

    Jesus tells his followers to serve as bridge-builders and agents of reconciliation.

    And Jesus tells his followers to love one another, even their enemies

    enough said

    July 12, 2010 at 10:26 am |
    • Ego

      I think J said more than that...

      July 12, 2010 at 10:46 am |
    • notbuyingit

      J did say more than that. I have also read in the bible that we are to kill others that worship another god, kill those who work on the sabbath, oh, and if our children misbehave, we are to bring them to the streets and have the elders stone them to death as an example to the town.

      Christianity is no different than extremist Islam, look back at the OLD versions of the bible, not just the "new testament."

      July 12, 2010 at 11:17 am |
    • Ego

      Old testament is not an old version of the bible, but it is what the new testament is following.

      You might do well to study Era's or as some used to call it, dispensations. Differences between each are amazing, while the similarities and, I hesitate to use the word, evolution, are even more amazing. You're referencing an outdated Era that the new claims is not be able to save anyone.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:24 am |
    • HeReigns

      @notbuyingit Here's an excerpt from carm.org

      "It is easy to throw stones from the comfort of our 21st century perspective. But the ancient harsh example is intended to keep order in the family and also in society. Consider Exodus 20:12 which says, "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you." God's intention is that the family not degenerate to such an extent that authority is undermined. This has potential serious consequences in society as a whole should familial rebellion become rampant.

      In the Old Testament God appears harsh for three reasons. First, it was to demonstrate the exacting requirements of the Law, a perfect and demanding standard. Second, it ultimately demonstrates the need for grace that would eventually be manifested on the cross. Third, should rebellion take root the very heart of the gospel would be at risk since the prophecies of the Messiah coming to and through Israel could be undermined should rebellion become rampant and society fall apart causing the prophecies to fail. Therefore, we can conclude that this harsh requirement was a necessary legality to instill and designate the necessity of family order and respect and to ultimately provide another safeguard that would ensure the sacrifice of Christ."

      July 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
    • ReconsiderEverything

      so you are saying that the bible was written by man to control man. sounds like sound logic to me. agree completely

      July 12, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • Eric

      Actually Jesus said one more VERY IMPORTANT thing that was totally ignored here. He said that his followeres would be "no part of this world." (John 17:16) And all this politics is at the center of the world. So true Christians won't even participate in all these slanderous (political) things.

      July 12, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
    • Theresa

      Good point Eric!

      July 13, 2010 at 12:59 am |
  13. DanT

    As I see it the core belief of Christianity is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Not one Christian pioneer from the apostles til now tried to change or influence politics but rather (with God's help) tried to change people by bringing them into relationship with a loving heavenly father. Once people REALLY change, their politics change. While a little one-sided, your premise is absolutely bang on. When will Christians start acting Christian? It all goes beyond subscribing to the words of the Bible to knowing the God of the Bible personally. Only then does real change happen. DT

    July 12, 2010 at 10:11 am |
    • Ego

      No one tried to change politics? How are we defining that? Who did Paul testify to? What was the career path of Theopholus? Was not the church doing what the Govt didn't care to do?

      Was not every prophet of old politically based?

      Seriously, politics / govt and religion are mere inseperable. One does thing the way man wants it done, while the other the way God wants it done. Two methods to do the same thing.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:21 am |
    • fern

      > Once people REALLY change, their politics change

      That is so true. May God's Word sink into people's souls and replace "Christian" lies, hate and fear with the love that is God's two greatest commandments.

      July 12, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • Theresa

      Dan, You said it well. This is the heart of it.

      July 13, 2010 at 12:56 am |
  14. furaha

    Practice what you preach, my friend. If you had really been seeking Christ-like truth in your article, you would have named public figures from all across the political spectrum. There are plenty of examples to go around on
    both sides of the aisle! This article did not belong in the "Belief Blog". It was not about religion; it was purely political.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:28 am |
    • Q

      While I agree that there is no shortage of less than Christian behavior on either side of the aisle, I believe the author's point was to illustrate the clear hypocrisy when one side attempts to cloak themselves in Christianity while simultaneously and blatantly disregarding its core tenets.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
    • Ted Obrecht

      Amen. This fellow wouldn't know a true Christian if he fell over one. He's probably too busy protesting the Arizona immigration law. He really should look up the true meaning of the word "meek".

      July 13, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  15. jack

    The point about Christians in politics not living up to standards is quite right, but this has always been the case. Your article fails though, because you quite obviously trumpet your own politics. You say personal politics don't matter, but all your examples clearly display your true objective. "...there is no theme more central to biblical faith than social and economic justice for the poor..." –> That's not correct. You tout it because it fits your politics. What of the Obama administration's funding for overseas organizations that sponsor abortions? What about the drone strike assassinations by the Obama administration? What about campaign promises, or should I say deceptions, that have not been fulfilled, like closing Gitmo? WHAT ABOUT THE DEMOCRAT US REPRESENTATIVE WHO PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED THE YOUTH INTERVIEWERS??? This is why your article is guilty of committing the same sin of deception that you denounce in others.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:16 am |
    • Ego

      That whole "assault" thing is sham. Get over it.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • ReconsiderEverything

      ego-> There is a video and an apology from the representative. I am failing to see how it is a sham, however I now see how you are an idiot. Thank you, come again.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:07 am |
    • Luke2

      Jack – Can you please show where in the bible it where it states that under-regulated capitalism triumphs social welfare? Where a gun in every household prevails over loving thy neighbor. Where the denial of civil rights to certain ethnic groups wins over equality among mankind. I'm truly don't understand, so do please educate me.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:07 am |
    • Ego

      YAY! We've graduated to name calling. It's sham because it makes no sense why two people, unwilling to properly conduct an interview (let alone announce themselves to an official) and a human being is not allowed to make a mistake. I'm not condoning his actions, just don't give a rip about it nor should it even be considered in such a topic as this.

      You want to rebuttle me, then do so with dialogue, please and thank you.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Luke2

      ReconsiderEverything – I saw the video. It was in no way a physical assault. That is, unless, you fall into the camp of people that think grabbing an arm or a shove is in the same family as socking someone in the face repeatedly with a bag of pennies. It was a minor indecent and he apologized. Moreover, no one condones he actions.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:24 am |
    • ReconsiderEverything

      Well in college I was not a legal major, however I am pretty sure when you physically grab someone and they ask to be let go and you refuse, that can be considered assault and possibly illegal detainment of somekind. Once again I have not studied law. Furthermore, I personally would not apologize for something if I believed I had done nothing wrong.
      Also I am not on either side and I have also watched the video. The kids were very unprofessional, so they probably deserved what happened i'm sure.

      July 12, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • jack

      Luke2, capitalism wasn't discovered at the time of bible writing, so.... there is nothing in the Bible that says economic justice is the most important thing. IMO, it's not umimportant, but also not the central thing. You should never limit the BIble to your political agenda, as the article author does.

      July 12, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
    • Luke

      jack – Exactly. You just proved my point. That is, that the republican party panders to a religious right in a disingenuous manner. IE, Goldman Sachs doing "god's work."

      July 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • jack2

      Luke, the Right doesn't say all christians must be unregulated capitalists to be moral, so it really just sounds like you are confused. You are suffering from the widespread disease of using your religion to justify your politics, but this only confines your faith and makes you a disingenuous religious. The fact is neither side has purity; however, the author only points out problems of conservatives, while pushing his own politics and biblical interpretation. The fact is that economic justice is not and never will be the central message of the bible. This is the mistake of liberation and US liberal theologians

      July 13, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  16. Luke

    Richard – while I find your article to be spot on, one thing to think about, specifically, is that the likes of Coulter, Beck and Limbaugh are entertainers at the core. We do not know if they truly feel this way or are merely being disingenuous for ratings and money. It is a win-win for them. If they feel this way for real, they earn ratings and cash. If they are hamming it up, they gain ratings and cash. While I feel that on some level, they are delusional sociopaths, I know they are preying on misfits that do n ot have opinions of their own and injecting radical thoughts into their minds for political, monetary and ratings gains.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:08 am |
    • Margot707

      Unfortunately, there is a large number of "misfits" who hang on every word and lie form the likes of Beck, Coulter, O'Reilly, etc. People believe what they WANT to believe. That includes believing that Obama is the anti-Christ, or that the earth is only 10,000 years old.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • Kate

      True, no halfway intellegent person would see any attempt at following a Christian lifestyle by Coulter and others, so it's hard to imagine what all those fans are so impressed with. I was actually surprised she was brought up as an example, she's so far off the mark, but I guess there are people out there who are really that incredibly foolish.

      July 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • jbb

      Spot on! Well said. Beck is laughing all the way to the bank! Afterall he does do stand up comedy!

      October 24, 2010 at 7:26 am |
  17. Goreczky

    Richard T. Hughes dont forget stone thy child that talks back and same for a wife that isnt a virgin! Stop reading between the lines and start reading the WHOLE THING.

    July 12, 2010 at 8:00 am |
    • Luke

      I loved the part when a man lived in a whale. Great literature that rivals Tolstoy, Twain and Kipling.

      July 12, 2010 at 8:52 am |
    • Ego

      You want him to read the whole thing and stop reading between the lines, you can't even do the same.

      And the post above me shows the same arrogrance / ignorance to study the one thing you abhor the most.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:13 am |
    • Grant

      Is it so bad that he picked passages that define a very very good way to live not just as Christians but as humans? Why is everyone so bent on tearing down someone when all they are asking for is for people to be good?

      July 13, 2010 at 10:46 am |
    • zarinrules

      To Goreczky:

      If you have actually read through the Bible, you would know that there are entire books in the New Testament that explore why passages like the one you have referred to are archaic and flawed concepts.

      I will say that many Americans I have encountered have blatantly chosen NOT to read through these sections, but I would hardly call them Christians. A Christian follows the teachings of Christ to their fullest capability–not what society or religion dictates to them. A Christian also has a love for humanity, and a love for their God, which should be reflected in their day to day lives.

      I have not yet been to the USA, and I really hope that this isn't reflective of most Christians in the States, but if this is the case, I fear for the future of your country, and hope pray that each and every one of them can turn their lives around.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  18. Mark

    The only important point in all of this is how does Scripture define a Chriatian. God has no respect for mankinds opinion and neither do I. But what both God and I do respect is his Word.

    July 12, 2010 at 7:50 am |
    • ReconsiderEverything

      What word of God? Has he/she/it ever spoke to you? Because the Bible is not the word of God, it is the word of man that was edited by man, then edited by man, then edited by man, passed down to man, and again edited multiple times by man.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:52 am |
    • Ego

      RE

      Funny, "The word became flesh" – you are so theolgically correct yet able to come to a wrong conclusion, it's amazing!

      July 12, 2010 at 11:00 am |
    • ReconsiderEverything

      re

      became flesh per human
      I guess I need more brainwashing to understand this?

      July 12, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • Nursehope

      Reconsidereverything: Absolutely, although you will never put a chink in the fantasy armour with which the Christians shield themselves. REality does not penetrate their impervious rationalizations. Pity.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
    • Ego

      Man, even the armor is sooo close!! Wow! You're getting warmer!!

      July 13, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Mark

      Given that the human-written book you call "the Word" has been proven to be pretty much completely wrong on astrophysics and a number of finer points of natural science and contains so many contradictions, how could it possibly be the unfiltered "Word" of the creator of the entire universe? Accept that it is the work of a human desert tribe, which was then reinterpreted by an empire trying to stave off its end by changing to one unified religion.

      Does this mean you have to give up all spirituality? Of course not. Instead let spiritual ideas evolve with new information to form new ideas, rather than clinging rigidly to outdated scripts that humanity should have grown beyond years ago. Work from a place of loving life in all its forms, not a place of ancient dogma.

      July 13, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • Ego

      That's a blatant, stereotypical comment that has no substantiation. How about you do the whole, Bible says A, Science says B and ____ is the scientific answer. I'm sure you will find no contradiction after you get past cultural influences, which of course, I'd have to explain that too because you somehow think God dictated or possessed writers of old without letting them write with their own words and understanding what God wanted them to for their own context which still exhort timeless truths and principles regarding the fallen state of humanity and the need humanity has for a savior and the plans that he only slightly revealed to certain people who couldn't have possibly known 21st century logic and language to be able to explain the things revealed to them and....meh.. too much to explain.

      July 13, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  19. MJCIV

    How interesting, Mr. Hughes, that you save your breathless outrage for people whose politics you don't share. Tell me, what culpability to Democrat/liberal Christians have for the deaths of 50 million human beings in our country because of a woman's alleged "right to choose"? I read today in the Boston Globe that a woman is being charged with manslaughter for causing the death of an unborn baby during a fist fight. That same woman whose child was killed could have walked down the street and had an abortion. Do liberal Christians have any responsibility for these horrors? Do liberal Christians drive cars (supporting big oil!), shop in grocery stores (supporting Big AG), pay their taxes (supporting the military industiral complex!) or buy cheap plastic crap from China (eroding the rights of workers! spewing carbon!) ?Or are the sins of right-wing nuts like Sarah Palin simply too delicious to avoid lecturing about? Look in a mirror, friend. There is plenty of social sin to go around. Lefties like you are far from immune.

    July 12, 2010 at 7:43 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Yes, MJCIV, abortion is the number one issue that separates the 'Christians' from the 'so-called Christians'. You could draw a diagram showing how other evils stem from abortion-greed, selfishness; it is all about me-me-me. Stemming from the non-abortion side of the diagram you will find truths of Christianity-concern for all living persons from beginning to end of natural life-sharing from the heart…monetarily as well as in prayer….volunteering to help others less fortunate, the giving of self.

      July 12, 2010 at 8:41 am |
    • Luke

      The topic of abortion and a woman's right to chose has nothing to do with the theme of the article. How about staying on point.

      July 12, 2010 at 8:50 am |
    • ReconsiderEverything

      question(s) answered:
      1) Yes it's a woman's right to choose.
      2) That is a tradgedy that her unborn fetus died due to her mother's stupidity. Doctor's do not abort a fetus by telling the mother to get in a fist fight. They do it a touch more humanely.
      3) Should they walk? Big AG really, as oppose to smalle ag? You dont pay taxes? p.s. you can't choose where your taxes go. I pay for welfare and i dont want to. LOL you said spewing.
      4) Sarah Palin is delicious. I would love to lick that lolli pop.
      It's not their falt that this world is set up for right handed people. You shouldn't poke fun because they are lefties. I believe you can order stuff like binders, notebook, golf clubs, ect... online for left handed people though.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:46 am |
    • Chris R

      While I don't support abortion I happen to believe that everyone needs to be given the opportunity to find their own path towards grace. We can't just say "I will save you from sin by removing the opportunity to sin!" That's not how grace and salvation work. People have to be given the *choice* to accept or reject sin.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:49 am |
    • jonathan

      Luke you'l have to understand thirty plus years of the abortion debate is at the root of the hearts of many persons..they feed on that word....all the time Muslims clearly announced their plans for America..beginning with the Iranian reveloution...Death to America! yet the entire Christian world ion America did and said very little except as Americans...with no solution ..

      July 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • Luke2

      jonathan – I am very well aware of the abortion debate and how it is become a tool of politicians, but it has very little to do with the article. It is clearly spelled out that politicians and pundits are disingenuous to the philosophy they say they hold on to dearly.

      July 12, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • Eric Porter

      Not surprisingly, you missed his point. In the name of religion (i.e. Christianity, Muslim, etc), we have done more harm to people and our environment than any other source of humanity. Liberals, conservatives, independents who proclaim Christianity as their faith, have very questionable practices in their daily living.

      The claim that our country was founded and based on Christianity, I find no evidence. I would agree that our country was founded on some fundamental Christian principles. But, never was it the intention of our founding fathers to claim our nation is a Christian nation or that Christianity is the state religion of choice for our rule.

      Until we lose the idea that we are a "Christian" nation, we will find politicians exploiting their "Christian" faith as their guiding principle. But, yet their daily lives, actions and decisions are far from any of the "Christian" principles our country was founded. Nor any of the "Christian" beliefs they espouse.

      July 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
    • PsiCop

      Yes, of course, MJCIV. We get it. Being a Christian begins and ends solely with the issue of abortion. Not one other thing Jesus said has the slightest thing to do with being a Christian. The only thing that makes a Christian a Christian, is opposing abortion. Yes, I know Jesus taught a lot of other things ... such as the Sermon on the Mount ... but a good Christian casts all of that aside in favor of only one issue: Abortion. This in spite of the fact that Jesus himself never once mentioned abortion ... but he did mention many other things such as "turn the other cheek," "walk an extra mile," "do unto others as you'd have done to you," "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword," "the meek shall inherit the earth," "what you do for others, you do for me," etc. Not one speck of anything Jesus actually said, matters to Christians. Only something he NEVER spoke about. I got it.

      July 12, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • Nonimus

      ReconsiderEverything: "Big AG really, as oppose to smalle ag?"
      Yes, Big AG usually refers to corporations like Monsanto and ADM. Small AG, owner/operator farms.

      July 12, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • Jesse

      "2) That is a tradgedy that her unborn fetus died due to her mother's stupidity. Doctor's do not abort a fetus by telling the mother to get in a fist fight. They do it a touch more humanely." – ReconsiderEverything

      Do they? How do you define 'humanely? What other forms of life-ending violence are okay if they're done by someone in a smock in a sterile environment? The fact that abortions happen in clinics and hospitals seem to blind us to what a brutal practice it really is. There is no 'humane' way to kill. It is a contradiction in terms.

      July 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • Luke

      Jesse – i vehemently disagree. Euthanasia is widely accepted has being a humane way to end life and something I look forward to should I end up a vegetable or brain dead, only kept alive by machines. The delusion that life is sacred runs widely. From a scientific standpoint, we are merely a collection of cells that through evolution, found a way to self replicate. One day, they stop replicating and we die. End of story. Life is worth enjoying, but it is us who made life sacred. I wonder if you think animals alive during the Cambrian period thought life was sacred. Perhaps the dinosaurs thought the Stegosaurus was sacred and refused to kill it for food. And for the record, in the US, we subscribe to capital punishment and go about it in a humane manner compared to some nations, relatively speaking. Certainly better than the days where we burned or drowned witches as well.

      July 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • angelina Spencer

      You just made the author's point for him with your vitriolic assumptions. Dialogue, civility and trans-partisan analysis go ignored in favor of mean spirited hyperbole and twisted context. Public policy discussions are too dominated by huff and puff instead of the mutual respect and substance of thought needed to generate genuine solutions to our all too human dilemmas.

      July 12, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
    • some sense

      Republicans tend to parade their religious beliefs more than Democrats. This naturally sets them up for more scrutiny. If you make an issue out of Christian values, you must behave in a more Christian like manner because you are representing not only yourself, but your religion to the nation.

      July 12, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • Checkmyfact

      Do you agree with the Death Penalty? Or is your concern for "all life" restricted to those that happen to be inside of another? So many these day practice catch and release Christianity, throw them back when their young and kill them when their poverty and poor upbringing causes them to commit a crime.

      Have you adopted? Or do you expect the "someone else" will want and properly take care of those 50 million children that you wanted?

      I think you need to walk a mile in the shoes of those faced with the choices that you hate so much to understand that nothing is as simple as you want it to be.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
    • Casey Blase

      Instead of making a law based on your beliefs... would you be willing to say... have the child that would be aborted... health care taken care of till they are 18? How about just the delivery... a delivery of a baby costs more then what I make in a year? I mean the same people who say abortions should be illegal are the ones who also claim "self responsility"

      USA... U Stand Alone

      July 12, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • studebakerr

      Tell me, what culpability to Democrat/liberal Christians have for the deaths of 50 million human beings in our country because of a woman's alleged "right to choose"?’
      Posted by: MJCIV July 12, 2010 at 7:43 am

      Hello MJCIV:

      I do not believe that the Popular Evangelical ‘Pro-Life’ movement of recent decades is driven by a genuine concern over lives of the unborn. Instead, I think, the prime mover to be a mass culture of shared frustration & resentment in which one of the few acceptable forms of venting is to accuse others of hideous crimes.

      This is why:

      I clearly remember when the Evangelical/Fundamentalist/Born-Again variety of Christians suddenly expressed their abhorrence over abortion: It was 1979, six years after Roe-v-Wade. Straight away, the ‘born-again’ folks, Moral Majority and so on, were blaming the rest of the country, especially liberals & ‘humanists’ of the very genocide they had approved tacitly all the time before.

      Abortion has been commonplace in America since colonial times. For a people to remain “ignorant” of the fact of abortion (as American Evangelicals have managed to do for hundreds of years before & several years AFTER Roe v Wade), must have taken a considerable effort of denial. In American Evangelical Christianity there is no ‘Pro Life’ / Anti Abortion tradition before around 1979; but there is a very long, deep & rich tradition of finger-pointing and scapegoating.

      In the Christian tradition, it is said, knowing a good deed can be done or a wrong be made right and then not acting, is a sin—a sin of omission.

      Christian America is well aware of the more than 400,000 human beings who (in embryo form) are trapped in frozen limbo here in the United States. And, they must realize that these lives are at risk of destruction from embryonic research, from being discarded as medical waste on purpose or by neglect. Christian America has the resources to secure the right to life of the frozen unborn in the wombs of Pro-Life Christian women. Why has there been no such effort? So far, Christian America has fallen short of being Pro-Life for these frozen children. Why then, do many Evangelical Christians spend so much time condemning others of genocide, when, by-and-large, they have not made the sacrifices necessary to save these unborn who are in danger of death?

      Believing that abortion is murder & murder a mortal sin is not the same as saving life—neither is condemning a politician of genocide. If millions the of people who claim to be “Pro-Life” while making little sacrifice than accusing others of “mass murder”—and get away with it—then there really is something wrong with our society.

      July 13, 2010 at 2:41 am |
    • Bill

      If Jesus was a Jew, then he upheld the right of a woman to choose. Jewish law is not Christian (as on on wife beating, for example). Jesus would have upheld abortion as THE responsible choice when faced with Tay-Sachs.

      July 13, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • Kate

      Most of those abortions could have been prevented by a support network for the women who had them. Unless you have done everything you could to help women keep their babies instead of trying to make abortion illegal which history has amply shown is useless in stopping abortions you are far more guilty than the liberals you lazily try to demonize. You sir, are immoral and dishonest.

      July 13, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
    • Julie T

      Good article; glad to see a Christian taking a rather intelligent stand to showcase the ignorance & hypocrisy of the Palin, Beck, Coulter, etc. sect. The are Christians in purpose only; to fullfil their self-centered ideologies and need for power. Catholic Mom, you focus way too much on the abortion issue. Let it go. No one is demanding that you get an abortion; you're a broken record! The rest of us will manage our lives just fine without your obsessive focus on this issue. Adopt any kids lately?

      July 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  20. Edwin

    Correct Richard, That is the difference between true christians and the majority of christians

    July 12, 2010 at 7:32 am |
    • PT

      Typical CNN propaganda, the headline is to suggest one thing when clearly the CNN propaganda ministry is preaching a different message. The author is guilty of distorting the Christian faith for cheap political gain himself. His blatant political use of selected verses from the bible are at best misleading of the teachings of Christ and to the undereducated or uninformed may even sound reasonable. This fraud should know better if he is what he proclaims, for example, if you are so enamored with quoting from the bible why not discuss how Jesus declared homosexuality a sin?? Yes, it is in the bible so no matter of what your political beliefs are the bible has many verses that will upset a wide range of people. So, before using one or two selected verses to make a political statement the person should have intellectual integrity and a desire for truth something the author of this CNN article lacks. His is no better than the people he attacks. Before anybody uses the bible they should actually read it and try to understand the complex and difficult teachings, the bible is to be taken by a single verse rather it is to be read and understood as a whole document. This person is best preaching to the uneducated to meet their own political agendas. Truth is something this fraud is trying to prevent, truth is dangerous to his like minded group. Thankfully nobody in my family has ever wasted money attending the college you proclaim to represent, is it a real school that is capably of providing an environment for critical thinking or one of just teaching narrow minded dogma??

      July 12, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
    • Spawned

      Religion itself is a social and political distortion. Religion has nothing to do with God, and God has nothing to do with religion. Religion is Satan's Perfect Storm. Peace over Religion!

      July 12, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
    • PapaKat

      This expert doesn't understand the background info on turning the other cheek – it never meant looking the other way.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
    • james

      He has no idea of what he is talking about.

      July 13, 2010 at 1:03 am |
    • Spikosauropod

      Christians aren't supposed to be sociopaths either, although I won't misuse a biblical passage to support my position. Now that the right is kicking Obama's rear, the left if playing the Christian card. I thought CNN was moving toward the center—one can only dream!

      July 13, 2010 at 1:39 am |
    • brian in germany

      The "Christians" in the religious right aren't really interested in God or Christ. Jesus clearly stated that there are two kingdoms, the Kingdom of this World and the Kingdom of God. He plainly said that the Kingdom of God operates on principals of love, self-sacrifice and forgiveness. That's where the power to change lives comes from.

      But the religious right is not actually interested in Jesus or his methods but rather the power and methods of the Kingdom of this World. They operate in the realm of political power (threat and force) and self righteousness (pride). This country needs Jesus and it needs salvation from sin, but by using the methods of the Kingdom of this World to carry out their misguided quest, they're thwarting the effords of the God they claim to serve.

      July 13, 2010 at 2:02 am |
    • Oswald von Wolkenstein

      Americans have been complaining for 10 years about Muslim clears not condemning behavior contrary to Islam (which they do but are promptly ignored when they do) and then get enraged when Christian Clerics condemn behavior contrary to Christianity.

      O Ye Pit of Vipers.

      My respect and gratitude to Professor Richards.

      July 13, 2010 at 3:30 am |
    • Doug

      Hi Edwin:
      Granted that I would not want to identofy as 'Christian' the behaviour of most of those whom you have rebuked, still, to claim that President Obama is a 'Christian' requires a stretching of the New Testamant defintion of 'Christian' beyond the absurd. Me thinks you do protest too much.
      Cheers

      July 13, 2010 at 6:48 am |
    • Dr. G

      Most people want to set up the straw man and then knock him down. Don't confuse this issue with abortion. Abortion may be wrong in many cases, just as many othe 'christian' decisions are wrong. Do those who raise he abortion issue also require that no divorced person remarry? Or that shellfisj consumption is sinful? These are of similar value if you love the letters rather than the author. My personal experience is that abortion is gift from God, saving some parents from even greater tragedy and suffering. I was myself in that position, fortunately the tests came back with a positive result and I have a healthy daughter. We are to be followers of Chris,t not replacements for Christ, giving our own interpretation higher value than his. Or are you a Bible belivin' "Christian" who because the Bible says it, rabbits chew cud? Try to understand the trancendant truths, its hard but its the point of true Christianity.

      July 13, 2010 at 7:12 am |
    • Chris

      Amen. I have been saying this for years. Some of the responses here are more examples of what the writer is saying. This isn't funny- it's true and it is what will drive this country into complete turmoil.

      July 13, 2010 at 7:52 am |
    • John Clayton - Altanta

      "So, before using one or two selected verses to make a political statement the person should have intellectual integrity and a desire for truth", something you are not doing yourself. Everythin gyou whine about, you are doing yourself in this post. You sound like you do not like what he is saying but have no real arguments against it.

      Jesus was a liberal, by any standards and the rights hate for liberals creates a conflict that they resolve by convincing themselves that he was pro war, thinks we should starve out the poor, feed the rich, power to the corperations and money is the way we keep score. These right wing extremists that have taken over today's GOP will not only hurt the party in the long run, they do more damage to Christianity than any outsider ever could. Eventlually the GOP and Christianity will realize they need to cut these nutjobs loose or fade into obscurity.

      July 13, 2010 at 8:52 am |
    • John Jones

      This is an opinion page and this wacko has the right to it but this is his interpretation of the Bible. I go to another church that studies the Bible word for word. I have a different outlook. I disagree with your outlook on social and economic justice as that can mean many different things. I believe there is nothing wrong with giving to ministries within my church to help the less fortunate or my time. I don't believe that that I need to give government more money to help everyone else. This article is a little suspect because all examples of not living the Christian life are from the right. I don't doubt that they sin, but I also think that all sides don't have perfection in God's view including you sir. Just a political note nobody in you list of "right wingers" have ever called for any riots or arms. Some on your list have shared more truth then anybody in politics since our founders. If you feel you need to discredit someone take the arguments apart piece by piece which you fail to do. I end with my fear that you are a teacher to college kids and changing the Bible to push your views on politics. Shame on you...

      July 13, 2010 at 8:53 am |
    • matt

      Mel Gibson not helpin' the cause either. That tape is scary. Guess we know how he made the violence in Passion of the Christ so "realistic."

      Christians: stop being simple-minded, because that's what people like Palin, Gibson, and Beck make they're living on while doing what is NOT in your best interest.

      July 13, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • RC

      PT and Edwin
      Pleased crawl back in to your cave and go back to sleeep. Richard Hughes comments are spot on. We need more people to step to forefront and meet these $$$ chasers head on. The simple minds of the people identified in his commentary have captured a small and uninformed section of society who graviatate to the sound bites they spew each and every day. Keep in mind........ They need to sell their books so they will continue to cultivate that audience until people begin to connect the dots.

      July 13, 2010 at 9:30 am |
    • Me

      Here's a reality: one doesn't have to be Baptist to believe in God and one doesn't have to be republican to love my country. One thing I will never believe: that you can teach hatrid from the pulpit. What has distorted Christianity is religion.

      July 13, 2010 at 9:56 am |
    • Frogist

      Hi Me... whoa... having an existential moment.... LOL!
      I've heard other people say that Christianity and religion are different. But I always thought Christianity WAS a religion. Can you explain what that means? Or anyone else?

      July 13, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • JC

      Hmmm, I largely agree with the notion that Christians should act like Christians per Jesus' instructions- but believe the Church itself is largely to blame for not leading by example (when have we ever as a Church embraced "love thy enemy"?). Also, while line item attacking the right, your article fails to address Democratic and liberal politicians routinely "denigrating" and even "demonizing" their political opponents in much the same fashion of the day as their right wing oppoentsl. I do not think much of the discourse coming from either side of the political spectrum could be "truthfully" called "loving one's enemy", right?

      July 13, 2010 at 11:06 am |
    • Robert

      how refreshing to see a christian not being hypocritcal....bravo!

      July 13, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • jan

      The bible also says gluttany is a sin, but no one seems to care about that one...especially in the US

      July 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • JK

      What are you both on?? Claiming you are Christian, Malarkey!! Guess you have never read God’s word the bible!!?! It is very clear from the bible how we should view involvement in Politics and who presently runs the world!

      1 John 5:19 (English Standard Version)
      19We know that we are from God, and(A) the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

      John 18:36 (English Standard Version)

      36Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."

      Daniel 2:44 (New American Standard Bible)

      The Divine Kingdom
      44"In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

      1 John 5:19 (New King James Version)

      19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

      John 17:14 [American Standard Version (ASV)]

      14 I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

      John 17:16 (Today's New International Version)

      16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

      Guess You missed the point that the devil runs the world and to remain no part of this world. That is why Christendom and all false religion will Fall – Failure to abide by the standards of the Scriptures!!

      July 13, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
    • Thembi Huff

      First of all, I want to say that I completely agree with you. Jesus is way is clear. There is no confusion about it. It is distressing that all of the political leaders that are claiming to be a Christian, is actually do the total opposite of what Jesus teaches us to do. Palin is a prime example. I we can do is pray for our nation and God's mercy. I love you Lord because you heard my cry. Your children hears your voice. In Jesus Name Amen.

      July 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • Mark

      Love thy neigbor doesnt mean that you accept everything they do. We are the church militant meaning we are still fighting. Only when we die if we fight right we will join the church triumphant in heaven. Dont be frightened of those that can kill the body be frightened of those who can kill the body and the spirit.

      July 13, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • Buck

      Mr. Hughes is so thin skinned! He might be shocked to learn that Christians in colonial days said much harsher things than the bits he attributes to Palin, Gingrich, Beck, Coulter and others. And they were talking about other self-proclaimed Christians!! Good Christian colonials also exercised their as yet unborn 2nd ammendment rights to win for themselves the freedom that other professing Christians were not willing to give them. The country was founded by good Christians who were willing to shed their own blood and take the lives of those who stood in the way of the freedoms they cherished. Why should Christians today be any different? Don't pout and whine about the relatively genteel discourse going on today Mr. Hughes. Climb down from that tower. Less talk, more walk.

      July 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
    • Rob

      I read many of the opinions chiming in here putting down the author for a variety of reasons none of which in my opinion actually had validity. For instance Richard claimed that the "New Testament" is where we look for direction on Christianity which to me means "ignore" the old testament. Which basically is what Jesus said any way. He said he was the lamb and the new testament for the future for gods kingdom on earth. So that being said all you folks raising old testament issues need to get over yourselves and follow the dialog. Everything said in this article was the TRUTH Gods Truth!!! Their are many folks who would sell their neighbor for a place in heaven or lie for favor in their Sunday Circles. I am not one of them Jesus was an outlaw and above the law at the same time. None of the political and media figures mentioned in this article can claim to be Christians in ANY sense of the word.

      July 13, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
    • Jason M

      Edwin and Mr. Hughes....

      You're both right ON the money. Time for christians to be held accountable and put back in their places. Follow Jesus: is the christian motto is it not?... dont try and lead off on to your own twisted interpretation of the bible or Jesus' teachings. I dont know what that would be called, but its not called being christian. NOT AT ALL!!!

      July 13, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
    • LetoAtreides

      The primary "charter" of Christians is to know, worship and love God through his son Jesus Christ. The second charter is to spread the good news of Christ's salvation for the entire world. If we are trully doing these things, outreach to others will happen a natural result. Loving the source leads to loving others.

      July 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • Cooperman

      absolutely correct. very few people in this country can claim to be true followers of christ anymore. his message has been so corrupted and distorted over the years that no one truly follows or remembers his actual teachings. It goes even further than people evoking his name for power, christianity as a whole is now flawed. Christ wasn't trying to save peoples souls he was trying to make them better people. The resurrection isn't important; Christ was a great moral teacher but his words a now forgotten by the people who claim to follow him. The Bible isn't even reliable because the new testament wasn't written until over a 100 years after he died. It's not his word but some power hungry idiot's instead, who decide to distort Christ teachings for his own purposes

      July 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
    • ToGodbetheGlory

      Frogist,

      I just saw this article and thought I might comment on your question, about Christianity being a religion or how the two are different.

      For me, I am a Christian, not particularly "religious," as religious has a different meaning to me than being a Christian. Yes, Christianity is a religion, but if one is "religious," I do not agree that they are a Christian in particular. Why? Because normally people who classify themselves as "religious," mean they attend a church, associate with others in their faith, and do things they feel "religious" people do .Being a Christian, a true Christian who lives a life glorifying to God and doing what is asked of them from the Bible, is more than religious because they have to have a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ. They read the Bible, pray, and have a true relationship as if Jesus was here on earth with them. They try to live a self-less life, bring glory to God in their actions, and maintain the relationship God asks for. BUT it is important to note that we all on this earth are sinners. Just because I am a Christian does not mean I am ANY better than anyone else. And some Christians and other religious people get caught up in that. That is a part of the reason why Christians get a bad rep to them. I am just the same as my nextdoor neighbor, just the same as someone in a different state or country. Different in looks, but still a human who is a sinner. I try to live a life humble to God, I try my hardest to not judge, and I try my hardest to act no better than the person beside me. I am not religious, because I do not just go through the motions of a person who has faith in Jesus Christ. I am a Christian because I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. And honestly, I have loved every miniute of it!

      God bless.

      July 16, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
    • Joe Shoemaker

      Jesus also said:

      Luke 19:24 – New International Version (©1984) "But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me."

      July 18, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • John

      Actually, the only place homosexuality is called a sin is in the Old Testament – along with eating shellfish, allowing a woman to remain in the home while on her period, being uncircumcised, eating pork, etc. However, Christians claim that the "abominations" of the Old Testament no longer apply because Christ's crucifixion fulfilled the Law. The Bible is not a buffet, sir. You can't pick and choose which sins carry over and which don't.

      August 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • Please Verify

      PT-Can you please cite the scripture where JESUS declares homosexulality a sin?

      August 21, 2010 at 11:44 am |
    • hottehead007

      Christian have become slaves of jews the very race which betrayed prophet jesus christ born to mother mary & who had prophet jesus christ crucified by the romans, shame on the entire christian world for bowing to their enemies of prophet jesus christ

      September 7, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
    • Jake

      As soon as I read this article, I looked over at the other headlines and saw this article.
      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/08/sarah-palin-quran-burning-insensitive-and-un-american/
      Wow, doesn't look like your points against republican candidates are on solid ground. How about concentrating on greater ethical violation by pro-choice Christians? Last time I checked, murder was still a sin.

      September 9, 2010 at 10:49 am |
    • Gary

      "The issue I am raising has nothing to do with whether one is a Republican, a Democrat, a Tea Partier, or an independent."

      Interesting that the above statement follows a laundry list of exclusively conservative "offenders." Recent history is replete with examples of liberal offenders as well. It's a shame – would have been a much better article if you had attempted some balance.

      October 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.