Sunday, August 09, 2009

Bad Religion

A couple weeks ago, Cal Thomas wrote an angry column about the Episcopal Church. The Episcopals had just ended their ban on gay bishops and same-sex marriages and Cal was miffed that they were daring to be more inclusive that he thinks God should be.

So far, nothing surprising. However, he also took this as an opportunity to expound on the meaning of the church:

“Inclusivity has nothing to do with the foundational truths set forth in Scripture. The church, which belongs to no denomination, but its Founding Father and His Son, is about exclusivity for those who deny the faith.”

I think this is what separates religion as a positive vs. negative force in the world. It's the difference between religion as inclusion vs. religion as exclusion.

When you are encouraged to accept others because religion teaches you that there is that of God in everyone, then religion can be a constructive reflection of God’s will in the world.

When you come to believe that the main purpose of the church is to condemn and exclude others, you’ve lost your way. Calling people heretics may feel temporarily satisfying, but in the end, you can’t slaughter people via Crusade or Jihad without first condemning them as heretics, as outsiders to the one true faith, as other.

The irony is that exclusion isn’t very Christian. The foundational message of Jesus, according to Jesus, is to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. And, for those unclear on the concept of “neighbor,” it includes everyone, even those heretical Samaritans and Episcopalians.

So I think Cal should read the Bible more. If he did, he might be surprised to find that Jesus saved his venom for the self-righteous, for those who claim to speak for God in the service of exclusion.


Shay said...

The question I would have for ol' Cal is, how does being homosexual deny faith?

Dan S said...


Robert Sievers said...

What I wonder Dan is why you are so keen on some of Jesus teachings, and so willing to disregard others.

And if I disagree with you, does that make me angry too?

Dan S said...

Bob, we've disagreed in both love and anger over the years, and I think we both know the difference.

But you've never called me a heretic (at least not to my face). So we have that going for us.