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Rhetoric and Reality; an audacious double standard

By Dr. Robin Meyers  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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The IRS has warned All Souls Episcopal church in California that it risks losing its tax-exempt status because of a sermon preached in 2004 against the war in Iraq. The preacher told the congregation that if Jesus were around, he would tell Bush, AMr. President, your doctrine of preemptive war is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat has led to disaster.

The same sermon was the subject of an article in the Los Angeles Times, which called it "a searing indictment of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq." The preacher even apparently had the audacity to say that tax cuts for the rich "are inimical to the values of Jesus."

The preacher did not endorse any candidate by name. No funds were raised in the church, and no voter guides were handed out after the service. It appears that the only "sin" of the preacher is that he is a liberal. If that's the case, then I'm in trouble.

I have been preaching against this war for three years. I have repeatedly expressed my disdain for the claim of the Bush administration to being either "moral" or "Christian." Now I have written a book about, to be released in May, called WHY THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT IS WRONG.

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I have expressed my opinion that the Sermon on the Mount has been trashed, and that corporate greed is the real agenda of the prayer breakfast crowd in Washington. I have said that the deficit created by this "family-values" administration hangs like a giant millstone around the necks of our children. Will the IRS be contacting me?

I have said these things as an American citizen protected by the First Amendment. I said them as an ordained minister whose denomination respects the freedom of the pulpit. I have said them because it is a sacred responsibility of the church to speak truth to power. If we are no longer free to do this, then this isn't America anymore.

And let 's face it; with the near takeover of the Republican Party by the Religious Right, someone at the IRS has some explaining to do. Liberal churches did not invent the voter guide (telling the faithful which candidate is God's candidate)--conservative churches did. Liberal churches do not host "Justice Sundays," at which far right political operatives call judges "vermin in black robes" and plot a "war against the judiciary" to institute "biblical law." Conservative churches do.

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Liberal churches are not training thousands of "Patriot Pastors" in Ohio to take back American from the secular humanists by voting Republican-- conservative churches are doing that.

It wasn't a liberal church that formed a tax-exempt PAC called Campaign for Working Families. It was Jerry Falwell. Just before the election he wrote to his millions: "It is the responsibility of every political conservative, every evangelical Christian, every pro-life Catholic, every traditional Jew, every Reagan Democrat, and everyone in between to get serious about re-electing President Bush."

The separation of church and state is a profoundly important principle in American life, but so is the freedom of the pulpit. At Mayflower, we don't hand out voter guides, raise campaign money, pass out bumper stickers, or tell people which candidate God wants them to vote for. We have too much respect for our members to do that, and too much reverence for the separation of church and state.

But we still believe in the First Amendment and the liberty of conscience-- especially in these dark and frightening times.

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Dr. Robin Meyers has been minister of Mayflower UCC church of OKC for 20 years, and is a professor of rhetoric at Oklahoma City University. His next book, WHY THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT IS WRONG: A Minister 's Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, and Your Future, is due out in May.

 

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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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