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Public Theology: The Unchristian Coalition Exhibits Intolerance and Hate
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The Unchristian Coalition Exhibits Intolerance and Hate
In its petition of support for President Bush the so-called Christian Coalition reveals how far it is from the real message of Jesus Christ. The Unchristian Coalition should be actively opposed.

By Ed Knudson

I must say that it is often shocking to me when I read the material that the religious right offers to its followers, all in the name of Christian faith. It seems so very far from the spirit of Jesus. It is designed to activate its followers, to get people mad at other people; it is completely irresponsible politics.

On its website the Christian Coalition has a petition of support, reproduced below, for President Bush in his prosecution of the Iraq war. It calls the president "tough, reasoned, and clear" but anyone who questions the war is "cowardly, timid, and hate-filled." It claims the news media plays up protests against the war so grass-roots people have to show their support for the president.

Notice that this language makes it appear that to be a Christian one must certainly support the president. For the religious right, the test of true Christianity is whether one supports a particular president, a particular war, and also, in truth, a particular political party. That is not a "Christian" perspective; it must be called what it truly is, unChristian, outside the historic confession of the church that it is Jesus Christ who is lord.

What we have in the religious right, of which the Christian Coalition is the primary organized entity, a movement within this country trying to do what Hitler tried to accomplish in Nazi Germany. Hitler tried to take over the church, to create what he called "German Christians", and was quite successful. The Barmen Declaration and Confessing Church were efforts to oppose this movement, confessing Christ rather than the German nation. Dietrich Bonhoeffer lost his life because of his participation in the Confessing Church. The religious right has become like the German Christian movement of Hitler; it claims that people should be "American Christians", that loyalty to country is more important than the historic evangelical witness to Jesus Christ.

The religious right sees itself as a minority religious voice but that is not true in terms of its political influence. It has been able to align itself with a political party willing to use it for the party's own interests. And that party now dominates the political context of the nation. It would not be able to do so without the support of the religious right. This is wholly inappropriate for a group which claims the name "Christian". Every effort should be made by people of faith to work against the religious right in our time.

Responsible politics in a democracy requires a measure of tolerance for the views of others. The so-called Christian Coalition with its leaders such as Pat Robertson do not meet that test. They are engaging in such an irresponsible politics and in that way are damaging the country. There is a point at which intolerance cannot be tolerated and that point has been reached in the abusive rhetoric of the religious right.

---------- Christian Coalition Petition

Monday evening March 17th, President George W. Bush addressed the American people. He laid out a bold and courageous plan of action. In statesmanship language he recounted the threat Saddam Hussein poses to the United States and the world. He was tough, reasoned and clear in his heroic determination to rid Iraq and the world of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. He has bravely faced the attacks of the cowardly, the timid, the hate-filled and of nations that put their selfish economic interests above the safety and security of innocent people.

The news media proudly plays up the marches and screams of the anti-war crowd. Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America believes that it is time to let their faith-filled President know that he has the solid support of Grassroots America. Join me in acting quickly to encourage our President and to let him know he is in our prayers in this trying time for our nation and the world.

----------- End of petition

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Date Added: 3/25/2003 Date Revised: 3/25/2003 1:04:16 PM

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