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Cincinnati.com Article – 9/19/06

Cinicinnati.com posted an article on Christianity and politics. “What Scares the Left About the Christians in Politics”. 

What scares the left about the Christians in politics?
Peter Bronson

A young woman on my right, wearing the official flip-flop uniform of jeans, t-shirt and baseball cap, raised her hands like she was trying to stop a train. Drums crashed, guitars howled and an electric bass thumped like the dancing feet of God. Then suddenly, silence. Purple, blue and white cones of light flooded an auditorium big enough to park 747s, and more than a thousand voices spoke as one, reading a Bible verse.

Welcome to Crossroads Community Church – one of the biggest megachurches in Ohio. To thousands who flock there on Wednesday nights for “Next Level” services, it’s a place to recharge spiritual batteries, stretch their minds and crank up the volume on their faith.

To Michelle Goldberg and many blue-state liberals, it’s the heart of Christian-cult darkness.  The dust jacket on Goldberg’s book, “Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism,” says “the heartland of our country is in the grips of fevered religious radicalism,” from a “right-wing evangelical culture” that is “threatening the foundations of our democracy.”

OK, I thought, the rest of the book can’t really be that silly. I was right. It’s worse. Goldberg, who is a New Yorker (why am I not surprised?), finds churches like Crossroads “terrifying.” They are “tightly organized right-wing political machines.” “They’re where all the weirdness comes out.”

She’s not alone. Cincinnati Magazine warned in its August issue, “Separation of church and state be damned. A significant number of Ohio pastors are doing more than simply praying that Ken Blackwell will land in the governor’s office.” How dare those uppity Christians participate in politics?

In the far-left Huffington Post, blogger Stephen Gyllenhaal smites “evangelical-right-wing-Christian-overweight-fools in their mega-church-garbage-TV realities.” Now there’s a tolerant kinda guy.

Ever since evangelicals were blamed and blessed for giving victory to Bush in Ohio in 2004, some on the left sound like they miss the good old days when lions in Rome ate three square Christians a day.

On a given day last week, Google showed 569 references in the news to “right-wing Christians.” Although liberal churches crusade for gay marriage, amnesty for illegals and anti-war protests, there was only one reference to “left-wing Christians.” And that was a parody of right-wing Christians.

But let’s go back to Crossroads. The speaker, Greg Boyd, a pastor from St. Paul, Minn., announced that Christians are “subversive revolutionaries,” and urged the crowd to join “a mustard-seed revolution that is taking over the world.”

But then Boyd said it has nothing to do with joining a religion or a political party. He even said the church is often “the best argument against Christianity.”

Wait a minute. That doesn’t fit the scary script. He even said that loving your neighbor is more important than going to church. That’s radical stuff. It’s so radical, Boyd lost 20 percent of his congregation by preaching against mixing politics and faith.

I’m not sure where he’s going with his four-week series at Crossroads, but after hearing two parts, I want to hear more. The growing crowds he draws on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. indicate I’m not the only one.

So what does it take to crack the door on closed minds and shed a sliver of light into the darkness of Christian-phobia? Maybe the answer is churches like Crossroads, that throw the doors open and welcome everyone.

When I got home I flipped on the TV. One pundit said Democrats hate Christians and the other said, “How dare you drag my God into the Republican Party.”

Boyd says God loves them both and so should we. That’s the most radical idea in history.

Ever since evangelicals were blamed and blessed for giving victory to Bush in Ohio in 2004, some on the left sound like they miss the good old days when lions in Rome ate three square Christians a day.


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