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
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?
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:
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.
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.