The Stigma of Christian Thought

For some time now, here in the United States, a peculiar way of thinking has set up and proliferated, so that finally it has massed into what I consider a questionable and highly suspicious thought: Persons who openly talk about the Bible, about God and about looking to Him for direction are thought peculiar, and often are investigated (even castigated, though this may be couched differently, and stringently denied) for those ideals. This spread of such a negative comprehension baffles me. For some time now, I have been brooding over this development: I am filled with righteous indignation at what has developed in my country.

In my mind, the awareness of this stigma associated with Christian thought, and the speaking to such ideals, has come to a head during the past few weeks since Sarah Palin has been chosen as Republican vice-presidential candidate. It is now clear, that among us, there is a fanatical anti-religious movement that denigrates those who are God-minded; God-minded to such degree that they speak openly of those thoughts, and that they consider their daily activities in the light of God’s will.

Sarah Palin has been scrutinized, castigated, misquoted, and disdained because she said this:

“Pray for our military men and women who are
striving to do what is right, also for this country, that our leaders,
our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God.
That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is
a plan and that plan is God’s plan. So bless them with your prayers,
your prayers of protection over our soldiers.”

What is wrong with such words? How can a Christian nation reprove and upbraid one of its leaders for such worthy request? How dare she be chastised for suggesting that our plans need to be aligned with God’s plan?

Jana Allard first made me aware of the Pat Oliphant cartoon the Washington Post ran several days ago now, in which it sneers at  Pentecostals and ridicules the biblical-founded practice of speaking in tongues. Recall that Sarah Palin is reputed to have been a Pentecostal for much of her life. The publishing of this cartoon is unconscionable, and served to fuse in my mind the understanding that now in America, there is a stigma to Christian thought and Christian ideals. I am deeply troubled.

I am somewhat soothed by the outcry from such publication. A few days ago my granddaughter Aisha sent me a copy of the following letter from Rev. Nathaniel Wilson.

Letter to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, N.W.
Washington,=2 0DC 20071

Dear Editor:

I am writing in regards to your recent cartoon lampooning Pentecostals.

First, I am somewhat shocked at the paucity of judgment in running such a demeaning piece (not to mention the awful artwork). The crassness and lack of discretion shown in your cartoon reveals a surprising narrowness and ignorance of world realities by both the cartoonist and those who approved it.  When I compare such with the intellectual perspicacity, the enduring utilitarian beauty, and the unparalleled literary skill of the writers of the New Testament (all of which were Pentecos tal, Acts 1:8, 2:1-4) your newspaper comes out a sad and very distant second.  (An example of such beauty is I Corinthians 13.  Yes, it is written by a Pentecostal preacher and author).

Further, it is evident that someone at the Post may not know that 16% of the world’s population is Pentecostal (not just “Christian” but “Pentecostal Christians”).  This is approximately 500 million people worldwide.  Further, this number is expected to continue its exponential growth for decades to come.  So impacting is this phenomenon that, several years ago, Time magazine estimated it may be one of the most impacting events in the last one thousand years.

The liberating power of Pentecostalism also has a direct impact on the political climate of the world. For example, China is being revolutionized from within by conversions20to Christianity, much of which is Pentecostal.  This emphasis on the value of the individual versus the state is literally readjusting the philosophical underpinnings of the world’s largest nation.

In the intellectual and spiritual Hall of Greats, Jesus I know.  Paul I know, but I gently ask, who are you?

Respectfully,

Nathaniel J. Wilson, Ed.D

A few days before I received a copy of Rev. Wilson’s letter,  Rev. Barry King sent this to my screen.

A Message from Jerry Jones:

Dear Sir:

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the long-denied political bias of the editorial board of the Washington Post confirmed by the highly offensive cartoon by Pat Oliphant published on September 9th. I was shocked to discover the board also holds a religious prejudice as well. To single out those of us who are Pentecostal and revere as well as practice the Scriptural experience of speaking in tongues in such a calculatedly offensive way is disgusting. That it was published by a leading U. S. newspaper is beyond belief. Quite obviously the board’s phobia of Governor Palin has caused it to lose its senses as well as its decency. To attack her on the basis of her political positions is certainly within your right, but to attack and ridicule her solely on the basis of her faith, a faith that is practiced by a significant number of Americans is indefensible.

A response by the millions of Pentecostals both in their future choice of reading material as well as at the polls can be expected from this unprovoked attack on a belief than spans many denominations of Christianity.

If such a deliberate disregard of the sincerely held beliefs of a significant segment of our population is fair game in the pursuit of a political agenda, how can the already tattered reputation of the traditional press in our country be rehabilitated? Your abrogation of your responsibility to respect and exhibit at least a minimum sensitivity toward other’s beliefs relegates the fabled Washington Post to the sorry company of yellow journalism rags of the past.

I urge the editorial board to issue an immediate apology to the millions offended by this silly and disgusting cartoon.

Sincerely,

Jerry Jones
General Secretary
United Pentecostal Church International

With fervor do I defend the right of the Washington Post to print their cartoon. With equal passion do I plead for editorial honesty and discretion. Let us in every walk of life consider our godly roots and righteous foundation. Let us be of extreme wariness when a person who speaks to his Christian principles; who voices his faith in God and in the Bible is disdained and scorned. God help us.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

My devotional blog is here.

11 thoughts on “The Stigma of Christian Thought

  1. ginger33

    Shirley, thank you so much for your response to Bret!! He and those that believe like him…if they would only REALLY read the Constitution and the Bible, they just might would get a different view of how they see things. And of course, receiving the Holy Spirit with the evidence of SPEAKING IN OTHER TONGUES, would also help!!!

    Here is a web site that Bret could go to that would offer him much insight to the Constitution: http://www.wallbuilders.org.

    Ginger, thank you for the excellent link.

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  2. I actually posted the cartoon on my blog this morning.

    I am with you that I defend the Washington Post’s right to publish whatever they want. I defend my right NOT to read it. What I find unacceptable is the attach against Christianity. If the cartoon had been Muslim and about Obama it wouldn’t have been published. No one wants to offend the Muslims….but it is perfectly okay and politically correct to mock Christianity.

    I cannot understand how we have evolved to such a place here in America. Thank you for speaking out…we must continue to do so.

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  3. Bret–

    I’m traveling and found it difficult to respond yesterday, but I do want to address your concerns about my statement that America is a Christian nation.

    It is highly suspect to hear anyone seriously suggest that America’s founding was anything other than Christian. We have a rich history of Christian tradition, and until recent years, I suspect it would have been rare to hear anyone suggest that our nation was founded on any principles other than Judeo/Christian concepts.

    That is not to say we have a prescribed religion; we do not, but any honest person looking at our history must come to the conclusion that our founders and our early settlers had a consensus of Christian thought

    The Bible was used as a text book from the beginning of our public schools, and the mainstay of the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are biblical principles.

    1620 – The Mayflower Compact written by the Pilgrims before they got off the Mayflower said: “In the presence of God, Amen. We … do by these presents solemnly and mutually in ye presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves into a civil body politic.”

    1638 – The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (often called the first American Constitution) said, We “enter into a combination and confederation together to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ which we now profess.” It also stated for the first time that men’s rights come from God, as later stated in the Declaration of Independence.

    The Great Law of Pennsylvania Colony said, “Whereas the glory of Almighty God and the good of mankind is the reason and the end of government and therefore government itself is a venerable ordinance of God…”

    1772 – Samuel Adams: “The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty … The rights of the colonists as Christians may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”

    1777 – The First Continental Congress appropriated funds to import for the people 20,000 Holy Bibles as “the great political textbook of the patriots.”

    In 1892 the Supreme Court gave what is known as the Trinity Decision. In that decision the Supreme Court declared, “this is a Christian nation.” John Quincy Adams said, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was, it connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

    Hope this helps. One more thing, Bret. I don’t believe the words “separation of church and state” are in the constitution.

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  4. >Bret, How do you figure otherwise? Just curious.>
    I just don’t see anything in the constitution that would indicate ours is a Christian nation. I see ‘freedom of religion.’ I also see separation of church and state. So again I wonder how some people have this notion that it is a Christian nation. Please enlighten me.

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  5. Sister Buxton:
    This thing about TOLERANCE aparently is tought in the public schools. This is since prayers and Bible readings have been baned from the schools. The Apostle Paukl was not TOLERANT with the false prophets that he met up with but dealt harshly with them. These readeers that are talking about TOLERANCE are speaking out of their own minds — not from the WORD OF GOD. Paul said to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but erather reprove them. 2 Cor. 6:14 said , “Be not unequally yoaked with unbelieve — for what fellowship has righteousness with un -righteousness — what agreement has the temple of God with idols,,etc.”
    If the Washington Post puiblished a cartoon to mock Muselims they would be surounded with protesters and the Washington Post would be forced to apolojise Why can’t the Pentecostals do the same. Why are Pentecustals so quiet?
    Brothr Webb

    Good morning, Brother Webb. I agree with you: we must be sure of our facts and continue to speak for God and for His word.

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  6. I just posted this to my blog a day ago.

    Here’s proof the Washington Post will defend Muslims over Christians. In August of 2007, The Washington Post refused to run a comic that mocked radical Islam but they gladly ran a cartoon this month that mocked Christians. The cartoon mocking Christians had nothing to do with the political season and everything to do with our freedom of religion. This type of discrimination to Christians must cease. Below is the link where you can see the cartoon they refused to run last year for fear of offending the Muslim population. Why didn’t they refuse to run the cartoon that offended Christians?

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,294779,00.html

    Tomorrow and the next day I will have more posted concerning this topic including a letter from attorney David Bernard. There is a site set up for more information about a protest at http://www.protestthepost.com

    Thanks, Jana for the information. I really appreciate it.

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  7. Shirley, you’re writing about the stigma of being Christian; I think that it’s conservative Christians who are under attack. Barack Obama is a Christian, too; no problem for him. Enter Palin stage right, and she is castigated. She is criticized for being a working mother, and yet Michelle Obama is also a working mother (with an income of $273,000.00 to the total Obama income of almost $1 million as of 2006!).

    Imagine if Sarah Palin made that kind of money in her household–what would they say about her? But they criticize one and not the other because only one is a conservative Christian. I think, Shirley, that it’s also about conservatism. It’s not popular at all to read, know, quote, and rely upon the Bible. Sarah Palin evidently does that, and is lampooned for it; Michelle Obama is a “cool” Christian and gets to be in the cool kids club.

    Hi, Eve. You may be right, but I wonder. If there were a “liberal” person who spoke about following the will of God in their lives, would they also not be ridiculed?

    There are politically liberal people who are Christians, of course, and it is interesting to think how such comments would be perceived…and judged.

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  8. Linda (LAS)

    Mervi,

    You are exactly correct about tolerance being taught in the Education system. I am currently enrolled in classes and have had to listen to nonsense at times.

    After the 911 terrorists attacks, many Americans raced to embrace the terrorists’ religion (I always get the name of the religion wrong) I could not and still to this day do NOT understand why America did that (Yes, I know America is a free country). It almost seemed to me (now, this is my personal opinion) that we “hugged” them for the attack. We have to be tolorant, right?

    I remember when the Muslim cartoons were printed and the controversy that went along with it. The Muslims demanded an apology (I don’t remember if they received one or not). They were not very tolorant and they spoke their mind and didn’t care what the Americans or the Educational System or the Political System thought about them.

    I do think we (Americans) are too passive and have listened and obeyed the tolerance message and teaching for tooooo long. I think it is time to take a stand for Jesus Christ and speak out without fear of what ANYBODY else might think for one day soon it will all be over and we will meet the one who gave us the Holy Ghost and it will ALL be WORTH it!

    Linda, I appreciate your taking the time to respond to this issue. As Christians, we must have the courage to continue go speak for righteousness and godliness.

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  9. Sis. Buxton:
    This sad train of thought which Bro Nathaniel J. Wilson, Bro. Jerry Jones yourself and others have and are addressing is a very sad commentary of and on the current ideology within our culture at this point in our history. Those who proclaim the Christian faith are almost FORCED to navigate these negitive concepts each day in this current political, religious, educational and cultural world. We have arrived at a point where God, His thoughts, His people and His word out of bounds; this is being cultivated in those Hollow halls of education.

    I have just completed my Masters Degree in or with and institution which had some religious background. That is way back over their shoulder a long time ago. My religious feels, utterances and writings were very rarely met with understanding! The most common comment was, “You need to be tolerant of others.” OK, I can do that! I am still looking for some TOLERANCE for the Christian people?

    This is my perspective of the problem, and I am able to, “Take ownership of my words.”

    Mervi

    I agree with you that tolerance is a misunderstood word.

    Like

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