Thursday, April 05, 2007

Leftist corruption of the term "Evangelical"

Rush Limbaugh has said “words mean things” for years, but what’s left out is that some definitions evolve and change over time. The intent of the radio talk giant’s oft-invoked principle is to delineate the boundaries for which words can and cannot be used, and then illustrate how certain words are misused — usually by the scourge of his being, liberals. For example, many leftists apply the term “racism” only to white people, usually conservatives. In explaining the true meaning of the word, Limbaugh shows why anybody is capable of it.

One classification that hasn’t really narrowed things down much — for decades, at least — is nevertheless the popular descriptor for most Americans’ faith: Christian. The term was first used for the followers of Jesus at Antioch, as recounted in the Book of Acts chapter 11. Today, far removed from that time when it had precise meaning, “Christian” can mean anything from devout adherent to simple do-gooder. Doctrinally and politically it distinguishes no one. For a long time there were names that differentiated groups within Christianity, with Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic, and Fundamentalist being a few.

Another category of Christian, however, is rapidly losing its traditional identity in our culture: Evangelical. While it never made distinctions on theological grounds, that term could always be counted upon to identify those Christians who are conservative, Protestant, culturally influential and outspoken about their faith. With recent developments, however, the defining elements of Evangelical may soon go the way of the much-encompassing Christian.

Why? Because some who purport to speak for all evangelicals are being sucked into marginal issues that are usually harped on by America-hating liberals. And because conservative Christians are allegedly being divided, the mainstream media is eating it up. In reality, what is happening is that journalists are hailing political frauds like Jim Wallis, who largely promotes “social justice” (in other words, socialism) through his organization Sojourners, as one of many who are supposedly taking evangelicalism in a new direction.

Not far behind in the media fanfare is their advocacy of the National Association of Evangelicals, which has adopted global warming alarmism as one key issue for emphasis. “Great scientists are people of imagination,” said Rev. Richard Cizik, the NAE’s vice president for governmental affairs. “So are people of great faith. We dare to imagine a world in which science and religion work together to reverse the degradation of creation. We will not allow it to be progressively destroyed by human folly.”

What NAE fails to envision is the potential for devastating economic setbacks in dozens of countries, if tax-raising, income-redistributive policies are implemented because of a theory that divides the scientific community. Similarly, NAE endorsed a statement on U.S. policies regarding the torture of detainees in the War on Terror, written by something called Evangelicals for Human Rights. “Tragically, documented acts of torture and of inhumane and cruel behavior have occurred at various sites in the U.S. war on terror,” the statement says, “and current law opens procedural loopholes for more to continue.”

The list of signatories to the statement, unsurprisingly, is no “Who’s Who” of recognized conservative Christian leaders; it’s more like a “Who’s That?” And Evangelicals for Human Rights defends itself preemptively on its Web site, claiming “any fair-minded review of the names of our drafters would have to say that we represent voices from the evangelical center-right, center and center-left.” Comforting, huh?

The mainstream media ignores such nuance, instead portraying conservative Christians as split, because it serves their liberal agenda to do so. They practice the same thing when they identify a liberal Republican or two as dissenters from the rest of the party, and then break news that the GOP is divided. The media allow the liberals’ dubious claim to “evangelical” to go unchallenged, because it gives them the controversy they crave, while weakening a powerful conservative entity they disdain.

One historical credo for traditional evangelicals is that they stand on the truth, first grounded in the Bible, and secondarily in measurable, incontrovertible evidence. Human-induced global warming doesn’t pass either test, and what constitutes unreasonable treatment for prisoners also bleeds into a massive grey area. If evangelical is allowed to go the way of Christian, we may need to develop yet another identifier. Conservagelical, anyone?


More British hot air

Pious talk, talk, talk, but no action -- when existing policies have clearly failed to protect Jewish students and supporters of Israel from Muslim and Leftist harassment

The government today strongly urged university vice-chancellors to meet MPs to discuss what can be done to stamp out anti-semitism on campuses. At the same time the communities minister Phil Woolas "urgently" referred the issue to the government's cross-department hate crime taskforce "to look at possible ways forward". Although the government has again said that it "deplores" any attempts to target Jewish students at British universities, it stepped back from recommending any new hardline measures against student or academic activities deemed to be anti-semitic.

Instead ministers, responding to a report on anti-semitism published last year by the all-party parliamentary inquiry, have reiterated that universities should adopt existing guidance from both the government and Universities UK, the organisation that represents vice-chancellors, on how to tackle hate crime and incidents involving extremist groups. The government also reminded university governing bodies that under race relations legislation they have a statutory duty to produce a race equality policy, which sets out how they intend to prevent racial discrimination and promote good race relations on campus.

Speaking to members of the all-party committee of MPs, ahead of today's response document, Mr Woolas said: "Open and public debate is one thing, but rhetoric with an undercurrent of hate and racism is quite another. Perhaps this is most worrying on university campuses." Campuses should be places for constructive dialogue and exchange of views where "differences and diversity" should be welcomed, he said. But he added: "There is increasing evidence of activities well beyond what could be labelled freedom of speech or normal youthful behaviour. These cross the line into anti-semitism. "It is not acceptable for Jewish students to be attacked in this way, either verbally or physically. And it is not acceptable for people to incite this kind of behaviour among students."

The government said it supported the all-party group's comment that any moves for UK universities to boycott links with academics working in Israel would be an attack on "academic freedom and intellectual exchange". The government also backed MPs who were opposed to any moves to "de-legitimise Jewish societies on campus". The report also agreed with the party's conclusions that while the issue of anti-semitism is taken seriously by universities the "practice is not consistent across the sector."

But the government failed to endorse the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia's (EUMC) definition of anti-semitism on the grounds that it was a "work in progress." The EUMC, now the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, defines anti-semitism as the expression of hatred towards Jews, their property and Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. More contentiously, it adds "such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity".

The Union of Jewish Students' campaign director, Mitch Simmons, said the government report was a "major step and valuable". But he was disappointed that the government and MPs had failed to address the issue that some universities fail to take up incidents of anti-semitism raised by the student union because they believe the organisation is separate to the university. He said: "Some universities think that the student union is a separate body to the university and as such when something happens in the student union the university will say that it isn't covered by its guidelines. "The other problem which was not addressed is that student unions are not recognised as public organisations and as such are not included under the Race Relations Amendment Act." He added: "On a lot of campuses the university will work with the student union but really it's quite diverse and haphazard - in some places it works very well and in others it is dreadful. I can't say I'm disappointed with today's response but it's irritating that they haven't been thinking 'outside the box'."

The president of UUK, Prof Drummond Bone, said universities were already "playing an active part in strengthening community cohesion - this involves combating all forms of intolerance on campus, including anti-semitism". He added: "Universities have a legal obligation to ensure academic freedom. In the rare instances where this freedom is being abused to discriminate against one particular race or religion, our institutions take firm action. This will include working with police and other authorities where, and if, necessary." He said its guidance, Promoting Good Campus relations: dealing with hate crimes and intolerance, and advice published by the Department for Education and Skills provide universities with "practical and useful information", which was "robust" and had been widely circulated and used.


A British ignoramus

And a privately educated one at that. The ignoramus was even more ill-informed than she seemed, however. Eggs and rabbits are associated with Easter because Easter is a Christian adoption of an old pagan fertility celebration. Eggs=Fertility; Rabbits=Fertility. Rather obvious, isn't it? Christ expected his followers to celebrate Passover, not Easter (1 Corinthians 11:25)

A supermarket chain got itself into a huge muddle over the meaning of Easter yesterday in its attempt to sell more chocolate eggs. “Brits are set to spend a massive 520 million pounds on Easter eggs this year — but many young people don’t even know what Easter’s all about,” said the press release from Somerfield after a survey. It then went on to claim that the tradition of giving Easter eggs was to celebrate the “birth” of Christ. An amended version changed this to the “rebirth” of Christ. Finally a third press release accepted Church teaching that Easter celebrated the resurrection of Christ.

The press release was written by Hayley Booth, 30, of the PR agency Brando. Ms Booth, who was privately educated, told The Times that she had corrected the release as soon as she became aware of the error. An explanatory note on her second release read: “Please find below the amended story revealing Britons’ mounting ignorance regarding Easter. Note the references to rebirth (not birth) as previously stated. Apologies for any confusion.” Hurried consultations with the Church of England followed and Brando finally issued a correct release.

Pete Williams, head of PR at Somerfield, said: “We spoke to the Church of England press office, who suggested we use the word resurrection, in keeping with the Church’s teaching. We were happy to do that.” Ben Wilson, in the Church of England press office, said: “It was a genuine mistake, if a rather unfortunate one. I clarified with them that it would probably be best to refer to Easter as a celebration of Christ’s resurrection rather than His birth.” It has been suggested that Easter eggs represent the stone rolled in front of Jesus’s tomb. But the tradition has pre-Christian roots: in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia eggs were dyed for spring festivals.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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