Sunday, May 15, 2005

Your churchful state

Before you get your back up at the idea of people being thrown out of their church because of their political affiliation, ask yourself: are you really surprised that a church might have rules about acting and believing a certain way in order to stay a member? Since Europeans starting coming to North America, churches have enforced political views and actions on their members. They justify doing so via quotes from the New Testament.

Atrios joined the lefty chorus singing, "I'm sure the Justice Department will get on revoking their tax-exempt status any day now." Wrong. A religious organization won't lose that status for enforcing theological positions. And that's what these are. No matter how horrified non-churchgoers are at the idea that religion might trump politics, the faithful see no obstacle because they don't make a distinction; if it's a question of faith, you act it out in every aspect of your life. Hey, nobody has made the Roman Catholic church taxable, right?

Now, yes, in this case the pastor resigned. He was too heavy-handed even for a Baptist congregation in North Carolina; but his mistake was not in preaching support for Bush, rather he miscalculated the dogmatism of his church.Don't be deceived: This same kind of preaching and excluding goes on all the time, both formally from the pulpit and informally as members gossip about one another.


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