Christian Heathens

by digby

In case anyone's wondering what kind of appreciation Democrats can expect for publicly discussing their faith, here it is:

Liberal faith, which is to say a faith that discounts the authority of Scripture in favor of a constantly evolving, poll-tested relevancy to modern concerns -- such as the environment, what kind of SUV Jesus would drive, larger government programs and other "do-good" pursuits -- ultimately morphs into societal and self-improvement efforts and jettisons the life-changing message of salvation, forgiveness of sins and a transformed life.

If the newspaper story is accurate, this is where Clinton is on her faith: "In a brief quiz about her theological views, Mrs. Clinton said she believed in the resurrection of Jesus, though she described herself as less sure of the doctrine that being a Christian is the only way to salvation."

This is a politician speaking, not a person who believes in the central tenets of Christianity.

The same book that tells of the resurrection, also quotes Jesus as saying "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me" (John 14:6). One might ask, which the reporter did not, that if there are other ways to God than through Jesus, why did Jesus bother to come to Earth, allow himself to be crucified and suffer rejection?

About the accuracy of Scripture, Clinton serves up theological mush: "The whole Bible gives you a glimpse of God and God's desire for a personal relationship (good, so far), but we can't possibly understand every way God is communicating with us. I've always felt that people who try to shoehorn in their cultural and social understandings of the time into the Bible might be actually missing the larger point."

That is precisely the point of liberal Christianity, to which Clinton subscribes.

According to the religio-politico industry's liberal lobby, there are hordes of good Christians who've reluctantly been voting for Republicans all these years because they thought that Democrats were hostile to their faith.

Who's hostile now?

The Christian right has actually been at war with mainline churches (like Clinton's) for a long time, under the radar, and this argument isn't new. They have tried to defund and decertify them by saying they aren't legitimately Christian. Their effort continues apace. In their own sector of society they are just as ruthless, bullying and intolerant as they are in the political sphere. (In fact, you can see this playing out among the Republicans even more nastily than in this example. Why Democrats want some of that action is beyond me.)

And by the way, that's the reason why freedom of religion and the law against religious tests were put into the constitution. The founders had seen enough of the damage created by Europe's religious wars, and because of their foresight, the American system has been fairly free of them (in our politics anyway, if not our society at large.) It's a mistake to change that. Political campaigns in which candidates and surrogates argue about which ones are real Christians are --- unamerican.

Update: Just in case anyone thinks this is confined to the American protestants, the Pope got into the act, just today:

The Vatican set itself on a collision course with other Christian faiths Tuesday, reaffirming the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church in a corrective document which it said was designed to clear up recent "erroneous" doctrine.

The document's central claim, that only the Catholic Church is "the one true Church of Christ", is likely to revive a debate which has dogged the Vatican's relationship with rival Christian denominations for decades.

Pass the communion wafers.