Thursday, April 16, 2015

Politically Correct Baptist Ethicist

David P. Gushee is senior columnist for faith, politics and culture for Baptist News Global (formerly Associated Baptist Press). He is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University. Associated Baptist Press came on line in the early 1990s as the moderate/liberal alternative to the conservative Baptist Press, the former partnered with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, an early 90s loosely structured “splinter group” from the Southern Baptist Convention, with which the latter is partnered.

Gushee's most recent book, Changing Our Mind, has to do with his “conversion” from what he labels a “traditionalist” in a recent commentary vis-a-vis homosexuality to what he considers himself now insofar as his acceptance of homosexual marriage is concerned, perhaps simply a “non-traditionalist,” translated as a “politically correct ethicist,” which could be called an oxymoron. One reviewer of the book indicated that Gushee had replaced scriptural referencing of homosexual behavior (sin) with experiential referencing, i.e., behavior/emotion...or whoopee.

Gushee also sits on the board of Sojourners, a Washington outfit headed by Jim Wallis a “religio/politico” apparatchik vis-a-vis the Democrat Party, which publishes the liberal Sojourners magazine. Sojourners is joined hip-to-thigh with the George Soros combine and has received large sums from Soros to keep his clambake alive. Sojourners' IRS Form 990 showed total revenue for 2012 of $4.8 million, with only $1.2 million realized from publications.

Contributions, gifts, grants amounted to some $3.3 million...get the picture. In 2004, for instance, Sojourners received $200,000 from Soros, which probably kept Wallis afloat. In 2003, Soros helped bankroll the Clergy Leadership Network headed by former National Council of Churches pooh-bah Albert Pennybacker for the express purpose, as noted on the CLN web-site at the time, of seeing to it that George Bush was not reelected. Being totally religious but also totally political, it was not a tax-exempt organization and disappeared for all practical purposes after its failure. These mentions provide an accurate frame of reference for Gushee.

The forgoing is simply an example meant to point up the fact that churches/denominations and professional religionists have acceded to political correctness as the new religion, not least because of societal pressures to conform to what the self-styled elitists have decided is publicly acceptable as the nation's mores go south. Gushee is merely the most recent high-profile Baptist paradigm of this clutch, although he's very small potatoes Baptist-wise because of his disconnect from the largest Baptist group, the Southern Baptist Convention, with about 16 million members.

The so-called “mainline denominations” involving the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans and Disciples have tussled with the homosexual issue for decades and are drying on the vine, not least because of substituting political correctness for unmistakable scriptural absolutes such as regarding homosexuality and the Ten Commandments. The Presbyterian Church USA, which has just sanctioned same-sex marriage, has lost 27% of membership just since 1996. Gushee would “pull” the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to his take on perversion, and he could well be successful, thus damning another denomination.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, until 1974 homosexuality was a mental illness. Then the pressure from the LGBTQ group became so great that APA trustees voted to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses by a vote of 13 to 0, with 2 abstentions. What’s noteworthy about this is that the removal of homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses was not triggered by some scientific breakthrough. There was no new fact or set of facts that stimulated this major change (Behaviorism and Mental health, Oct. 2011).

The push was to declare homosexuality as normal but the trustees wouldn't hear of that. In other words, actual sexual disorientation, an aberrant formation, might occur in about the same percentage as that of missing limbs or spina bifida or mongoloidism. Homosexuality is overwhelmingly a chosen lifestyle featuring behavior that besides being condemned biblically is a total and obscene violation of biology, accented by God's imprimatur on how the propagation of the race occurs.

Gushee's commentary had to do with the RFRA laws, and he wrote this: “I do not believe that traditionalist Christians should be coerced to change their mind about this issue. We do not prosecute thought-crimes in this country and shouldn’t prosecute them in the church either.” Government can't coerce mind-change, just enforce laws, fair or unfair. Ditto for church leaders. Perhaps Gushee has not heard of premeditated crimes or hate crimes, the consequences of which are established on the basis of thought, such as the difference between murder and premeditated murder.

In any case, believers should have the right to determine the conduct of their businesses as long as the society is not adversely impacted. Even Gushee suggested that homosexuals do business with those who make themselves available; but, of course, trying to bankrupt a businessperson is so much more fun and the legal help is free.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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