Monday, May 09, 2005

Minister Ex-Communicates Democrats

For any of you who have been claiming I should have no fear of the religious right, read the below stories. Now, there is no more denying that there is any attempt from the religious right out there to define Christianity as Republican. This story is about how a Baptist minister ex-communicated any petitioner that would not vote for Bush in the last election. When did Christianity become only about abortion and gay rights? What happened to the whole feed the poor and heal the sick thing?

Minister ex-communicates members for not backing Bush

The Associated Press

WAYNESVILLE, N.C. -- The minister of a Haywood County Baptist church is telling members of his congregation that if they're Democrats, they either need to find another place of worship or support President Bush.
Already, the Reverend Chan Chandler has ex-communicated nine members of East Waynesville Baptist Church. Another 40 members have left in protest.

During last Sunday's sermon, he acknowledged that church members were upset because he named people, and he says he'll do it again because he has to according to the word of God.

Chandler could not be reached for comment today, but says his actions weren't politically motivated.

One former church member says Chandler told some of the members that if they didn't support George Bush, they needed to resign their positions and get out of the church, or go to the altar, repent and agree to vote for Bush.

A former church treasurer says she's at church to worship God and not the preacher.

And the follow up story: A spirited spat steals church calm

Update: Pastor Accused of Running Out Dems Quits


Cori said...

Hi there! Thanks for the good will!!!

Your blog is witty and smart!

Cheers to the next election!

Rockchild said...

Hi Dingo!

Thanks for visiting Cori!

If Reverend Chan Chandler said that to my mom, she would leave his church right after she punches him in the face, which is not a good thing, because he's a man of Bush. I mean god!

I hope you had a nice day Dingo!

MaxedOutMama said...

Dingo, bud, you are wrong here.

The question here is whether the argument was about "You must be a Democrat or Republican" or "you must be in word and deed anti-abortion". From DU (not exactly a font of right wingnut propaganda), I gleaned the information that one of the people voted out was Republican, and that the root issue was tacit or explicit support for abortion, not political affiliation. The reason why the minister was preaching about this was that it was a question between an anti-abortion candidate and a pro-abortion candidate. (Not that, as you note, this was a popular position within the church. Baptists tend to be quite independent, regardless of what you might read.)

Now on that head, some Catholic bishops have taken similar positions against support of politicians who vote for abortion measures.

The second problem with your thesis is that both the left and the right campaign in churches and attempt to gain their political and moral support. Christian doctrine, after all, has distinctly "leftist" positions in it. Did you know, for instance, that part of the ECUSA in Maryland passed a political resolution against any amendment of the Maryland constitution to prevent gay marriage, or the passage of any Maryland law to the same effect.

You need to read that article in juxtaposition with this one:
Kerry became more explicitly political, and the congregation roared its approval. "In the 1990s under Bill Clinton, we lifted more people out poverty," he said. "This president has taken that $5.6 trillion surplus and turned it into the biggest deficits in American history. . . . These folks want to take Americans backward and cut overtime pay. Not in my America. . . . These people talk about values?"

Congregants waved fans emblazoned "People of Faith for Kerry-Edwards." Kerry smiled after former U.S. representative Carrie Meek (D-Fla.) said he is "fighting against liars and demons."

Kerry, who has compared Bush to those in the Bible story who ignored the wounded man before the Good Samaritan helped him, joked about the risk of being upstaged by Jackson and Sharpton. He said he didn't mind because "God's speaking here today, and we're going to listen."

The minister, the Rev. Gaston E. Smith, endorsed Kerry, saying, "To bring our country out of despair, despondency and disgust, God has a John Kerry."

Furthermore, some Democrat organizations have followed an explicit and avowed strategy trying to defeat conservative theological positions in the Protestant churches because of the political effect it might have. And that "anti-theocracy" conference held at CUNY the other week was endorsed in part by a council of leftish churches.

You are publicizing only one side of an overall trend, which is an ideological split in our society reflected in our churches. This is not the first time and not the last - the abolitionist movement was dominated by churches.

MaxedOutMama said...

Oh, and by the way, the issue is more clearly state in the second article to which you link:
As a Baptist church, East Waynesville is autonomous and can decide for itself who it wants as members. Still, Baptist leaders say it's unusual to expel members because of their political views, if only because it violates a federal law that prohibits nonprofit organizations, such as churches, from endorsing political candidates.

"The voter has a right to choose," said James Royston, the executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina in Cary. "Those are matters of individual conscience."

If you buy this proposition, it is telling a church that they may not excommunicate any of its members for advocating a position that the church itself finds morally reprehensible. This is an idiotic position to take - yet it is one that the NC's Democratic organization, Daily Kos, etc is taking.

To follow this logic, if a politician such as Hitler would appear, a church could not expel a member for openly saying that he or she would vote for his party. Do you really want to take that position? Whether you agree with the particular moral stance or not, under our constitution any church must have the right to insist upon its principles and that includes in some cases severing its relationship with a member.

You are not being fair to portray this as an attempt by protestant churches to tell people to vote for one party or another. Instead it is a quarrel as to moral positions, and one with a long historical basis. From the very early times the Christian church required its members to promise not to commit murder or abortions (they had herbal potions that caused miscarriage). Furthermore, churches must have the right (and this one does, under its bylaws) to restrict membership based on conduct.

I am becoming more and more concerned that neither the right nor the left in the US truly supports the Constitution and our fundamental freedoms any more. I do not vote a single-ticket for either, and if a Constitutional party were to appear I would sign up for it in a minute.

MaxedOutMama said...

Oh, and by the way, I agree with Rockchild. Most people I know would do the same thing as his Mom! I would walk out as well.

It is the constitutional principle and the distortion of the political reality (leading to cries to overrule the separation of church and state) in our country to which I object. The factionalism and politicking is happening on both sides of the political spectrum. That is reality.

Dingo said...

This is where we disagree. This episode was not about morals, this was about politics, pure and simple. It was a pastor up in front of the congregation telling his parishioners that if you did not vote for a certain person, you are a sinner.

Can you sit there and tell me the Republican party is more moral? Can you tell me that a Republican is a better person than a Democrat? Is it more moral to be anti-abortion and then ignore the kids born into poverty? Is it more moral to give a tax break to the wealthy and cut healthcare to the poor? Where is the morality in cutting HUD, head start, etc? Where is the morality in rolling back clean air and clean water laws? Lastly, can you tell me that if Christ were here, he would get up in front of those people and say, "if you don't vote for Bush, you don't believe in me?" I think not.

Christ never spoke about either homosexuality or abortion, but he did speak a whole hell of a lot about feeding the poor and healing the sick. For me, that pastor has taken Christ out of Christianity and that is what has driven the religious-left from the pews. Unless you can convince me that the GOP platform is inherently more Christian, the the pastor was nothing more than a thug politician.