Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Their Moral Values Aren't So Moral

With all the talk about moral values after the 2004 election, observers from other planets might think that the Bush voters were somehow morally superior to the rest of us. We knew all along, even before the latest evidence which I'll get to soon, that this is not true. We knew that there is nothing moral about lying the country into a war, or winning an election by pandering to xenophobia and homophobia. Nor is there anything moral about imposing religious views upon those suffering from diseases which might be helped by stem cell research. As Bill Clinton pointed out, on stem cells we have the pro-life stand. We've also watched repeatedly as leaders on the right, such as Rush Limbaugh, Bill Bennett, and Bill O'Reilly, have been caught in failing to live up to a very high moral standard.

The latest evidence comes not from the liberal media, but from Christianity Today which looked at The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience--Why don't Christians live what they preach? They note that the percentage of born-again Christians who have been divorced was slightly higher than that of non-Christians. The number of unmarried couples living together jumped up more in the bible belt than in the nation as a whole. They were disturbed that, despite living in the richest country in the world, and despite biblical teachings to help the poor, evangelical Christians turned out to be quite stingy. So much for Compassionate Conservativism.

Christianity Today did see these findings as a problem:
In spite of the renewal movement's proud claims to miraculous transformation, the polls showed that members of the movement divorced their spouses just as often as their secular neighbors. They beat their wives as often as their neighbors. They were almost as materialistic and even more racist than their pagan friends. The hard-core skeptics smiled in cynical amusement at this blatant hypocrisy. The general population was puzzled and disgusted. Many of the renewal movement's leaders simply stepped up the tempo of their now enormously successful, highly sophisticated promotional programs. Others wept.

This, alas, is roughly the situation of Western or at least American evangelicalism today.

Scandalous behavior is rapidly destroying American Christianity. By their daily activity, most "Christians" regularly commit treason. With their mouths they claim that Jesus is Lord, but with their actions they demonstrate allegiance to money, sex, and self-fulfillment.


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