The Religion of Fear

I posted recently on the silliness of the "holiday phrases" war. I'm watching Charles Stanley, a TV minister whose program is recorded at the First Baptist Church, here in Atlanta, stirring up the congregation about how Christians are under attack by some evil group of lawyers and their godless colluding judges. Their aim: to create a secularist society with no traces of God or Christ. It's an attack, he claims, made by people who want to do whatever they like in accord with their own conscience (instead of the Bible's take on a given issue).

First Baptist is a gigantic church-it isn't a building, it is a campus.

I was caught one day over by the church when it had finished Sunday services. There were police directing traffic to accomodate the huge number of people leaving the church. Police. The rest of us were made to wait, so that the congregants could get out and back on the road.

The ministery of Charles Stanley offer cruises with one can only assume, a Christian focus.

As I look around the world, and through history, the persecution of different religious groups never was connected with massive religious complexes, police assistance after worship, plenty of books/videos/other items for sale, and cruises to the Bahamas. Holocausts, death sentences (see my entry on a an Afghan Christian convert from earlier this year)

Aside from what is honestly just aimless rambling about the war on Christmas (he offers nothing but vague, general anecdotes about how saying Merry Christmas is verboten, our country's youth are being cut off from Christianity, "they" are out to get you, those liberals are forbidding the erection of creches at city hall et cetera ad naseum) he hasn't made any reasonable point to support his position. His argument essentially boils down to the accusation that the public (and somehow the government) are violating the rights of Christians, but his solution is do the same thing against those who don't believe as he does.

I don't know if Mr. Stanley gets out much in the Atlanta area, but I can tell you that there is no shortage of mainstream, conservative Protestant churches here. If his experience with culture war comes from living in Georgia, he must live in some unkown secularist bubble. Of course it is more likely that he is using fear as the motivator for his flock to part with their money (I mean a campus doesn't fund itself!).

And I would be remiss in reviewing his sermon if I didn't point out that 6 years ago he divorced his wife-something that is not allowed by Jesus in the New Testament. I bring this up because it seems to me that divorcing would qualify as someething done by someone who does as he wishes, rather than as God commands.

BTW, a search of the InTouch ministry website returns no results for "divorce" although it does have a number of entries for "what the Bible says about [insert issue here]"

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