And Another Thing…

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Sigh

Even as the dust settles from the recent election, the spoil sporting continues. It appears that Abilene Christian University has come under fire in a recent column in The Abilene Reporter News by one of her alumni because the student paper, The Optimist, endorsed Obama.

Steve Hemphill, the author of the column, is surely within his rights to criticize his alma mater and to disagree with the student paper, even to take his toys and go home refuse to pay for his children to go there and to stop sending donations. However, I think that his logic is faulty on multiple levels. Consider:

Loyal donors aren’t going to be loyal to a “Christian” school with liberal, anti-God endorsements.

I recently asked an ACU professor, “What if I told you I had just come into some money and was interested in giving $300,000 to ACU or Harding, and ACU would get it if they (The Optimist) withdrew their endorsement of Obama?” He replied he would recommend not accepting it. He indicated that money shouldn’t influence a political decision or affect a moral position. I agreed. Moral positions shouldn’t be changed for monetary gain. But now we have a problem. That’s exactly what The Optimist did. It endorsed Obama, noting the primary reason as the economy.

Sadly, this is the state of the union — economy over morals.

First, the school did not endorse Obama. The student-run campus paper did. Second, his differentiation of economy and morals rings false – how we spend our money is a moral issue. Furthermore, as Mr. Hemphill notes, in a campus poll, the majority of students stated their support and intention to vote for McCain. Of course, Mr. Hemphill takes issue with the paper over this as well:

This minority endorsement is a reflection of that. The campus majority favored John McCain (in an Optimist poll). The paper didn’t reflect the feelings of the majority…

Granted, it’s only a campus newspaper. And while we could certainly debate the merits of any newspaper offering an endorsement of any candidate (personally, I’m against it) is any paper, even a student paper, obligated to adopt the majority stance? And are Christian schools (or any other school, for that matter) obligated to censor all editorial content in their papers?

There is also the disturbing phrasing he chooses in the top quote, “liberal, anti-God”. So I guess that everyone who voted for Obama is a liberal, and anti-God (why even separate the two, when in this fellow’s mind liberal politics automatically equals anti-God?). Good to know. Has it ever occurred to this gentleman that people might be more than their politics? That people other than registered Republicans can cast votes from spiritual convictions? That politics is an inherently sleazy enterprise and to seek pillars of faith among the elected is a waste of time and energy?

Next, he offers one of the most unctuous guilt-trips I have ever read (and I used to be a youth minister!):

One day, we’ll have to give an account, we’ll have to face those 45 million American aborted babies in eternity and explain ourselves. Somehow, I don’t think we can change their minds by saying, “I’m so sorry for voting for a man who supported abortion, but he was the best choice for the economy — I’m sure you understand.” They won’t. And God doesn’t.

I have already explained why [Comment 9] I put little stock in any presidential candidate’s stand on abortion ~ I have yet to see an compelling evidence that a president’s position on abortion has any effect whatsoever on the number of abortions performed in this country. I have also stated that Obama’s double-talk on this issue was a deal-breaker for me. But suppose that Obama actually delivers on his promise to lower abortions in the US through some of his policies…is Mr. Hemphill ready to eat crow over this?

He goes on:

The school paper is a reflection of ACU, and it endorsed a political candidate who supports abortion and homosexuality.

I can’t help but snicker when someone is accused of “supporting” homosexuality. I imagine someone running around yelling, “C’mon straights! Let’s try a little switch-hitting! Its fun!”

Next, he quotes Proverbs 14:34 (in the NLT no less): “God-devotion makes a country strong; God-avoidance leaves people weak.” The NASB translation is probably better: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” I certainly wouldn’t quibble with any of the wisdom to be found in Proverbs; but I wonder if he realizes the broad application of this verse? As a graduate of a Christian college, I can assure any reader that our campuses are, sadly, rife with sin; we just hide it better. I wonder if Mr. Hemphill is as concerned with the binge-drinking, casual sex, sanctimony, and hypocrisy rampant on our campuses as he is with the subjective endorsement of a handful of students. Does he care that Harding University, which he holds up as some moral light shining in the darkness, pretty much allowed intercollegiate athletes to do whatever they pleased without consequences (at least when I was there), just like those anti-God state schools? Favoritism is a sin too, kids.

My point is simple: Who is Mr. Hemphill, or myself, or you, or anyone to judge another’s faith, especially by how he or she votes? That is a dangerous game for any of us to be playing.

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Filed under: Faith and Religion, Politics, Rants, School, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quick Hits VIII: Back to School

Michael Spencer (a.k.a the Internet Monk) has a terrific post up about “prosperity gospel.” However, it isn’t the one you hear about in the news. It’s the prosperity gospel that seems all too prevalent in Western Christianity.

Money quote:

We evangelicals apparently need to believe a version of the prosperity gospel where, at the least, none of us are below an understood “line of credibility” in Christian experience. And if we happen to go below that line, don’t expect instant encouragement. You may be surprised at what happens to you when you become walking evidence that not everyone is as happy, blessed, obedient and satisfied as they are supposed to be.

Ask yourself this question: Why is it that so many western Christians find the greatest challenges to their faith are experiences that do not even qualify as persecution or serious suffering? Why will the loss of a job or the moral failure of a pastor lead to the end of faith? Why do interpersonal conflicts in a church cause so many to abandon Christianity altogether?

                         

Over at Political Cartel, one of their members writes about having rocks thrown at the window of her dorm on Harding University’s campus because she put up an Obama/Biden poster.  While I don’t think that this behavior is indicative of Republicans, I do think that it is indicative of an on-going failure in the university’s self-proclaimed mission.

Although the behavior of throwing rocks is a new one on me, the attitude that it represents is not. The prevalent mindset on Christian college campuses of avoiding the standard don’ts (cuss, drink, smoke, chew, or date girls that do) seems to miss other don’ts, such as committing acts of violence (and throwing a rock through a window is an act of violence) against people you disagree with. Back when I was an undergrad, I used to marvel at how someone could get up in chapel and give a stirring devotional (always using the holy voice, of course) and then go out on the field or court during an intramural game and talk trash, gloat about winning or pout about losing, and curse everyone and everything around them. If you go and read the piece, make sure you read the comment thread, which is one of the most hysterical I have ever seen, especially the woman who tries to equate name-calling with violence. I’m not saying that name-calling is a good thing, but really people…

                         

Did you know that Sarah Palin once shot and ate an Eskimo and that Barack Obama hates children? I kid! But seriously, if you are tired of the spun-like-a-load-of-laundry campaign coverage and chain e-mails, check out FactCheck.org which seems to actually present non-partisan information on all of the candidates and the campaign. And please don’t come back here and tell me that they are biased because they have something negative about your candidate.

                       

You know, I start getting excited about elections every time one comes up but then the behavior of both major parties and their talking heads in the mainstream media (or, heaven help us, the blogosphere) becomes so vile, dishonest, and condescending that I find myself wishing that it was over long before the election arrives. I have mentioned my disgust in the past with the whole “Obama is a Muslim” meme, but now I am getting just as disgusted with the left. If Obama loses this election, it will be because so many who write in support of him seem determined to stereotype everyone who votes for McCain as a gap-toothed, slope-browed, troglodytic hillbilly who can’t keep his hands off his nearest sister. Newsflash, kids: voters will not select your candidate if you insist on calling voters stupid. I find myself leaning towards Bob Barr for the simple reason that neither he nor his party has done anything to disgust me yet. But the night is young…

                       

The pictures below bother me for a lot of reasons, but I think the most disturbing is the one in the upper left corner, where it looks for all the world like Jesus is about to face-plant that dark-haired kid.

 

Jesus saves...the big game!

Jesus saves...the big game!

[H/T: Stuff Christians Like]

                         

Mystery quote:

It’s gettin’ so a businessman can’t expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can’t trust a fix, what can you trust? For a good return, you gotta go bettin’ on chance – and then you’re back with anarchy, right back in the jungle.

Filed under: Quick Hits, , , , , , , , , , ,

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