Saturday, March 17, 2018

An Attack on Traditional Christian Values

This is a reaction opinion to an opinion piece from the Liberal, Kansas Leader and Times. The author, Larry Phillips, has submitted many such writings. I have found very little that is agreeable with his content or approach. But this writing was clearly the wrong thing at the wrong time.

No matter what the movies say, gay is still gay

Mr. Phillips begins his opinion with the statement: "The bombardment from progressive Democrats attacking traditional Christian values is always overlooked by the Lame Stream Media." He has displayed, in his writings, a bias against progressives, Democrats, and traditional news and cultural media outlets. There have been many times I have been offended by his tone. There have been many cases where his characterizations are thrown out with no regard for the humanity of the persons they touch. This article, for example, begins with a heterosexual pedophile and is linked to LGBTQ persons, and finally relates that to bestiality.

Liberal, Kansas is not a central hub for progressive and counter-traditional values. It is very traditional. It is laid back. But it does have persons who identify as LGBTQIA. Those people are members of the society of Liberal. They shop and work and go to school in Liberal. They play athletics and take walks in the park. They lead quiet lives where they want the best for their lives. But this attack was a horrible character assassination on those people.

And it was done under the banner of "traditional Christian values".

And that was wrong!

Traditional Christian values do not allow room for character assassination. Traditional Christian values are not filled with hateful characterizations of unknown persons. Traditional Christian values will not make another person feel demoralized, angered, offended, or put into a position where they are depersonalized, dehumanized. Mr. Phillips tries to stir feelings of division and hatred against people who he characterizes as: despicable, dysfunctional, amoral, inhuman, mentally confused, emotionally ill, mentally ill, disgusting, behaviorally sick, and abnormal. Some of those are television characters used to portray the lifestyles he finds reprehensible. Some of those are consumers of media which support those lifestyles.

I am not wanting to address the subject of the content of the media Mr. Phillips is attacking. I want to address the attack on people who Mr. Phillips characterizes as less than human. This is not the first time he has made such a characterization. These are the words of Mr. Phillips from a column following the Parkland, Florida school shooting. He was addressing the students who were speaking up for gun reforms.
These kids sat in front of a TV camera and said they were just stating their reflections on the Florida school shooting and were just explaining their feelings. After all, they were there. And they blamed the NRA. 
Sheer stupidity – apes, taught to mimic. Gun control has never stopped shootings, February 23, 2018
 From the column that sparked this opinion, he had this to say regarding a television show:
We get a cable series that humanizes one of these mentally confused individuals – a transgender teenager. It follows the life of an emotionally twisted teenage girl who wants to become a sexual transgender. They try to portray her as a sweet and tormented, poor little thing.
The fact is she’s mentally ill, and her parents are disgustingly sick.
I understand that Mr. Phillips is calling out a character on a television show. They are not a real person. But that "emotionally twisted teenage" character represents hundreds of real people. That character is the opportunity to see that there are struggles by teenagers in every one of our schools. Every day there are neighbors kids or someone around the neighborhood or perhaps in the grocery store who feel they are sick or ill or less than human. And attacks on a character on television only perpetuates the lack of support that a teenager you may know desperately needs. They need to be heard. They need to be respected as a human being. They need to be loved.

And that is the real understanding of traditional Christian values.

Mr. Phillips doesn't understand "values". He doesn't seem to understand "Christian" either. Traditional Christian values are not grounded in the dehumanizing of people. No where does Jesus tell his disciples, "Find the flaw in another person and use it as a point of assassination on them." Jesus does not condone the dehumanizing or demoralizing of any human being, except for the religious leaders who made true holiness impossible to attain. The only people Jesus judged were the religious who had such a narrow view of faith and obedience that they could not see the persons they were damaging along the way.

Jesus held out one standard for behavior among the disciples. "Love God with all that your are (heart, soul, mind, body). Love your neighbor as yourself." But maybe that wasn't clear enough for those early disciples. So Jesus goes through this over and over.  Love one another (John 13:34), love your neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40), love the stranger (Luke 10:29-37), and love your enemies (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27 & 35). And this is something that I believe Mr. Phillips has overlooked in his lessons on traditional Christian values. He views his enemies with contempt. He has no compassion for them nor does he seem to want to do good for them.

Traditional Christian values built upon the New Testament do not call Christians to attack non-believers, immoral individuals, or sinful behaviors of persons outside of the fellowship of the saints. The accountability that we are called to hold others to only for those who are of the faith and the fellowship of the Body of Christ. Mr. Phillips, and others like him, feel they are justified in calling the rest of culture to follow his understanding of values and Christian teaching. But Mr. Phillips has much to learn about both before he should call upon anyone else.