Friday, August 26, 2011

Believing in Christ = Believing in UFOs: NY Times

Predictably, the New York Times Magazine printed an inquisitory piece by Bill Keller arguing that presidential candidates ought to be grilled, and severely, about their religious theology if they are conservative Christians.

For background, read Media Prepare Anti-Christian Campaign for 2012 and also read ABC News Scrutinizes Faith of GOP Candidates as well as God's Conspiracy Theory via GOP per NBC's Rachel Maddow

-- From "Asking Candidates Tougher Questions About Faith" by Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times 8/25/11

If a candidate for president said he believed that space aliens dwell among us, would that affect your willingness to vote for him? Personally, I might not disqualify him out of hand; one out of three Americans believe we have had Visitors and, hey, who knows? But I would certainly want to ask a few questions. Like, where does he get his information? Does he talk to the aliens? Do they have an economic plan?

This year’s Republican primary season offers us an important opportunity to confront our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life — and to get over them. We have an unusually large number of candidates, including putative front-runners, who belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans. . . .

I honestly don’t care . . . [after all,] I grew up believing that a priest could turn a bread wafer into the actual flesh of Christ.

But I do want to know if a candidate places fealty to the Bible . . . or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country. . . .

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

From "Tougher Questions for the Candidates" by Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times 8/25/11

. . . Here’s the general questionnaire I sent to the candidates [excerpts below]:
. . . (a) Do you agree with those religious leaders who say that America is a “Christian nation” or “Judeo-Christian nation?” (b) What does that mean in practice?

. . . What do you think of the evangelical Christian movement known as Dominionism and the idea that Christians, and only Christians, should hold dominion over the secular institutions of the earth?
For Congresswoman Michele Bachmann:
. . . You have said that watching the film series “How Should We Then Live?” by the evangelist Francis Schaeffer was a life-altering event for you. That series stresses the “inerrancy” ­— the literal truth — of the Bible. Do you believe the Bible consists of literal truths, or that it is to be taken more metaphorically?

. . . One of your mentors at Oral Roberts University, John Eidsmoe, teaches that when biblical law conflicts with American law, a Christian must work to change the law. Do you agree? Are there examples where the Bible guides you to challenge existing secular law?
For Governor Rick Perry:
. . . You have been close to David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, who has endorsed your campaign. He preaches that America is a Christian nation, that we should have a government “firmly rooted in biblical principles” and that the Bible offers explicit guidance on public policy — for example, tax policy. Do you disagree with him on any of these points?
To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

From "My Rick Perry problem — and ours" by Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of National Review Online 8/26/11

Rick Perry's overt Christianity horrifies many of his liberal critics. . . .

Let's cut through the clutter: A lot of people on the East and West coasts are bigots and snobs about "flyover types." They equate funny accents with stupidity, and they automatically assume someone who went to Texas A&M must be dumber than someone who went to Yale. Overt displays of religion trigger their fight-or-flight instincts, causing them to lash out irrationally.

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

From "Bill Keller has tough questions for (only) GOP candidates" by Mike Hashimoto, Editor, Dallas Morning News 8/25/11

[Bill Keller's] latest column for the magazine is interesting, provocative and quite possibly the result of a writer ignoring his own blinders. . . .

. . . As to your specific questions to the candidates, sure, they should be asked. However, I sense a loathing of the right and Christianity. Is that the impression you intend to leave?

[Perry has] been the governor of Texas for going on a hundred years. Surely there's something in his historical actions that would prove (or, unfortunately, disprove) your premise.

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

From "Faith Questions for President Obama" by Stanley Kurtz, National Review Online 8/26/11

. . . to the extent that reporters put any of Keller’s questions — or similar such questions — to the Republican candidates, they ought also to put the questions listed below to President Obama . . . To maintain a rough parallel with Keller, I will illustrate by showing the sort of unanswered questions that could still be addressed by reporters to Obama regarding his own political development [excerpts below:]
. . . You note in Dreams from My Father that you attended socialist conferences in New York when you lived there in the mid-1980's. Archival evidence indicates that you attended the New York Socialist Scholars Conferences of 1983, 1984, and possibly 1985. Please confirm which socialist conferences you attended, and indicate whether you were present at, or were aware of, the talks by James Cone, the founder of Black Liberation Theology, and other Black Liberation Theologians at those conferences.

. . . Two of your key organizing mentors, Greg Galluzzo and Mary Gonzales, founded a group called UNO of Chicago, which you worked with closely during your early organizing years. Your other key organizing mentor, Gerald Kellman, worked with UNO just before hiring you. He specialized in linking community organizations to churches. UNO of Chicago engaged in deeply controversial Alinskyite confrontation tactics, including aggressive moves to seize control of churches against the wishes of their priests. What, precisely, was your relationship with UNO of Chicago? Were you aware of UNO’s controversial techniques for taking control of churches, as your memoir seems to indicate you were? What do you think of these tactics? How has your view on that issue affected your years of subsequent support for the work of Galluzzo, Gonzales, and Kellman?
To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Homosexualists to Buy White House, Say Media

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