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Why pastor Robert Jeffress’ interview with Sean Hannity was so maddening to so many

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons

(RNS) — Who knew that a simple meeting between a preacher and a pundit would be so controversial? But it starts to make sense when you consider the preacher. And the pundit. And the meeting itself.

At First Baptist Dallas last Sunday, pastor Robert Jeffress took time out of his worship service for nearly 15 minutes to interview conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity. The purpose of the meeting was to promote the feature film “Let There Be Light,” which Hannity executive produced. The movie tells the story of a combative atheist, Dr. Sol Harkens, who eventually converts to Christianity. Early reviews of the film have been overwhelmingly negative, but the narrative will likely connect with heartland Christian audiences who believe their worldview is under attack from atheists and secularists.

The clip of Jeffress’ interview was criticized by many online, including some conservative Christians, who feel that using a church service to promote a film with a political message is inappropriate.

Texas-based Bible teacher Beth Moore tweeted, “Mars. I’m telling you. We’ve awakened to Mars.” Florida pastor Dean Inserra responded, “Speechless. Long way from the scarlet thread sermon in downtown Dallas.” And Republican Sen. Ben Sasse tweeted, “By the way, we’re talking about Sunday here. (You can be free of politics.) And Christians: Are we really ignorant of the Scriptures? ‘Jesus answered, My Kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36.'”

Jeffress shot back at Sasse in a tweet of his own, saying, “Jesus also said His followers are to influence the world for good. Matt. 5:13.” The Dallas pastor later stated in an interview on Fox News radio that he felt it was inappropriate for a politician to criticize the actions of a local church pastor and demanded that Sasse issue an apology.

Jeffress’ actions are even more confounding when one considers that Sean Hannity is a committed Roman Catholic. In a 2011 sermon, Jeffress stated that Catholicism is the result of a “false religion” that originates in ancient Babylon:

And today the Roman Catholic Church is the result of that corruption. Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn’t come from God’s word. It comes from this cult-like pagan religion. “You say, ‘Well now pastor how can you say such a thing? That is such an indictment of the Catholic Church.’ After all, the Catholic Church talks about God and the Bible and Jesus and the blood of Christ and salvation. Isn’t that the genius of Satan?”

Jeffress told me via email that his comments on Catholicism have been “ripped out of their context.” He added that he believes Hannity is a “fellow Christian” despite any theological disagreements they may have.

“No one goes to heaven in a group. We go one by one based on our relationship with Christ,” Jeffress wrote. “There will be millions of Catholics in heaven who have put their faith in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. There will also be millions of Baptists in hell who have not put their faith in Christ.”

In a statement issued by Jeffress after the interview, the talk show host said: “I was raised a Catholic, I was even an altar boy, and attended seminary, and I can tell you that Dr. Jeffress has expressed to me both privately, and publicly, that he agrees Catholics are Christians.”

Still, the tension remains between Jeffress’ previous comments and present actions. As a Roman Catholic, Hannity practices what Jeffress believes to be a corrupted, pagan religion. Why then would the preacher offer the pundit 15 minutes in the middle of a worship service to speak to his congregants?

Perhaps it is because the bonds binding Hannity and Jeffress are primarily political, not theological. A few weeks before Hannity spoke at First Baptist Dallas, the church hosted Ainsley Earhardt, another conservative television personality, who co-hosts “Fox and Friends.”

I pressed Jeffress on this point via email, asking him whether he would offer the same platform to someone who shared his theology but diverged with him politically. Would he, for example, interview liberal evangelical Jim Wallis? And if not, why not?

Jeffress responded, “The criteria we use in selecting guests for these kinds of segments is that they must be a born-again Christian and they must be well-known enough that guests would be motivated to come.” He added that he would not offer such a platform to a figure like Wallis: “I believe Jim Wallis is a fine Christian from everything I know about him, but for the purpose of attracting guests who will hear the Gospel from me, we have to use people guests would be familiar with.”

We’ve undoubtedly entered a moment during which partisan politics have infiltrated the church to a degree not witnessed since the emergence of the Moral Majority in the 1970s. While Christians mustn’t withdraw from the public square altogether, they are too often used by politicians and activists for partisan ends. So the questions and criticisms being raised in response to this interview are fair and needed.

Jacques Ellul, the French philosopher, once famously remarked, “Politics is the church’s worst problem. It is her constant temptation, the occasion of her greatest disasters, the trap continually set for her by the Prince of this world.”

If Ellul is correct, and I think he is, then what he said certainly applies to the kind of interview Jeffress conducted with Hannity in his church.

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.

74 Comments

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  • Hannity quoting John Locke is surprising. In the time of christ it was believed our inner voice came from god because science had not yet discovered the inner voice came from a portion of our physical brain. We are born morale from birth, we don’t learn morality as we learn about christ. Far earlier than that.

    Sometimes religion gives people an explanation for morality, those who don’t know we have it as a result of evolution, from just being born. It’s why people of all faiths and none are morale people, it doesn’t happen to us later as a result what family we were born to or the location of our birth.

  • “Evolution”? Forget it.

    Materialism? Forget it.

    Material objects cannot originate immaterial objects. Especially can’t produce **intelligent**, **functioning**, **purposeful**, immaterial objects.

    So you got an immaterial human conscience? Then Romans 2:15 says that God wrote it into you, a law that originated completely outside of yourself, yet was written into you.

    Just another disproof of atheism.

  • you can’t disprove anything to an atheist using the bible, which we believe is man’s invention. saying ‘forget it’ doesn’t disprove evolution.

  • Whenever you have to resort to a Bible verse to “prove” a point, you have already lost the argument.

  • There is always a bible verse that these guys can find to “prove” whatever idea they are pushing.

  • I have differences with Jim Wallis, but then I have differences with Robert Jeffress, if Jeffress acknowledges Wallis’s common Christianity and does not object to his theology, his putative unwillingness to proffer him an invitation on the basis that he would be “unfamiliar” to his “guests” is both questionable and laughable. I resent his usage of the media term, “guests” for the congregation of people that Jeffress purports to serve. And if we are to be educated or ministered to by only those with whom we are familiar, then we will likely be reduced to gibbering idiots in an echo chamber.

  • Very informative article. Mr. Jeffress gives his answer when pressed on past theology comments. Mr. Jeffress gives the criteria that is used to select “well know” guest to share his platform. It’s just like reading John chapter 8 verses 1 through 11, only different.

    Jesus shared his platform with that, “well know,” woman who was caught in adultrey. Some guest showed up…with some rocks…they had some theological questions and they wanted to see if he would change his prior answers. This wasn’t a Sunday school bible verse spitball fight, it wasn’t electronic theology email bombs lobbed back and forth by two parties that didn’t get along. This was more like IS showing up ready to carry out an execution. Jesus whole sermon went like this.

    To the guest who showed up to see the well known person sharing the platform with Jesus:
    “If any one of you is without sin let him be the first to chunk a rock”

    End of sermon. Nobody stayed for the interview. Jesus, probably feeling bad about all the money he was making conducting this interview, goes ahead and finishes up with his well know guest.

    Jesus: “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?
    Well Known Guest: No one, sir.
    Jesus: Then neither do I condemn you. Go and leave your life of sin.

    Just like Mr. Jeffress and FBD only different. The difference is Mr Jeffress probably as a panic room to run into just in case these kinds of guest show up. What is more profound than the words Jesus said are the circumstances that they were said in and the people they were spoken to. It is easy to quote Jesus today in the circumstances he is quoted in, and to the people they are quoted to. I’m a bible reader, I like getting something out of a bible story. I’m not so crazy about being around bible quoter’s, I usually see them as being some of the last people to actually say what was said, to whom it was said, when it was said. I am impressed with people who can say the kinds of things Jesus said, to the kinds of people Jesus said then to, in the situations he said them in.

  • Fundamentalists have always hated atheists more than they do other Christians that they consider sinners, so I’m not sure why this is shocking that Jeffress is a hypocrite.

  • There is nothing unusual in the interview that would make it controversial. It’s pretty standard preachy fare. Hannity shares his personal story into spiritual awakening. Jeffress reaffirms his conservative stand (anti-liberal, anti-Catholic). They tell about a movie that they believe would affirm the attendee’s conservative religious beliefs.

    This is as traditional a sermonic episode as I have ever seen in the Baptist churches I grew up in. I think the “controversy” is just that Hannity and Jeffress are controversial in themselves. Though I don’t agree one whit with Jeffress’s politics and probably agree only one wit with his theology, I don’t see any point in criticizing Jeffress’s choice of presentation in his own church–except if one just wants to criticize Jeffress, for which he provides plenty material.

  • Though an admirer of Jeffress, I still confess discomfort with political posturing from the pulpit. Yet, I find it refreshing to witness Evangelism’s comeback after it’s virtual shut down by the oppressive eight year reign of a Muslim president. Criticize him all you want, but Robert Jeffress has chosen the good fight.

  • Our God– whom by the way is your God too– is a patient God.

    Hell is a place inhabited by those who knew better, had a lifetime of opportunities to make themselves right with Him through His Son, yet willfully chose not to. Please do not squander the chance to embrace and accept the most precious of His many provisions, the free gift of salvation.

    Though I risk offending you Dennis, know that I pray for you.

  • god kills 158 times in the bible, whole cultures and the whole population. I don’t need that kind of love in my life.

    there is no god, John. it was invented for stories and still only exists in stories.

  • I agree with you in that, painful as it is to admit, too many Christians are hypocrites. Proclaiming “righteousness,” many have unfortunately become the ugly face of “self” righteousness. But, to be fair, no historical figure has ever shown greater contempt for such hypocrisy than Jesus Christ Himself.

    True “Fundamentalists” are those who practice their faith according to Christ’s command to love and serve one another. Therefore they should “love” atheists themselves even if they abhor their belief system. As for Mr. Jeffress, I have never heard him profess a hatred for atheists. So I’m curious, why did you call him a “hypocrite?”

  • So you believe in the establishment of a Christian hegemony with privileges for self professed believers, right?

  • According to the Baptist minister, his guests at Church who will be interviewed are only people who attract large audiences. Remember how Jesus Christ always wanted to get the most popular, the most famous people to interview? This is just so bizarre and upside down. Jesus said: Beware of false prophets. LISTEN TO OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST– IN HIS OWN WORDS. NOT THE WORDS OF A BLIND MAN.

  • “for the purpose of attracting guests who will hear the Gospel from me, we have to use people guests would be familiar with.””

    Even if the blatant use of celebrity is justified the possibility that the listeners will hear the Gospel from Jeffress is less than certain.

  • instead of wasting your time praying for me, please do something real, act on something, give money to someone in need, plant a tree.

  • Your question is puzzling but I’ll do my best. Hegemony, NO, although I made no such claim. God’s domain is His “Kingdom,” and you are invited to join. But that’s a decision YOU must make. He forces no one to accept.

  • God doesn’t “kill” in the sense of homicide. He administers justice according to a code of reason incomprehensibly superior to man’s. And yes, Dennis, you DO “need that kind of love.” But the choice is yours to accept.

    Finally, you’re wrong on your final point. Yes, God does exist, and he’s patiently waiting for you to come home. But he never forces compliance. Think of Him as a patriarch of a Kingdom. Like a father or a mother, you would more enjoy the hug of child when freely given, with a smile and without coercion. Your Father in Heaven feels the same way. He loves you, Dennis. I wish you well.

  • Sinful as I am, doing the Lord’s work is never a “waste” of time. And, by the way, I’m not the only one praying for lost souls. Sincere Christians do this every hour of everyday. I count myself among those needing such prayers.

  • it’s a waste of time because there is no god to answer them. if you actually got out and did something in the natural world for someone I’m sure they would like that more.

  • “Now we know that God heareth not sinners, but if any man be a worshiper of God and doeth His will, him He heareth.” John 9:31

  • Has Jeffress converted from the Gospel of Christ to the gospel of Trump, Fox News and the Republican Party? Converted from Christ to politics? Has can someone support anyone who is against healthcare for the poor, feeding the hungry by proposing cuts to USAID, taking a trillion dollars from Medicaid for the poor to help finance huge tax cuts for the rich? Has Jeffress ever read Matthew 25 where Jesus warns of a special place in Hell for those who do not feed the hungry, care for the sick, etc.?

  • “… but for the purpose of attracting guests who will hear the Gospel from me, we have to use people guests would be familiar with.”

    Hey, Sean, I guess that just makes you Jeffress’ whore.

  • It’s voices like yours, Jonathan Merritt that gives God’s Prophets lock-jaw on the Word of God. No prophet is perfect but I love a man-of-God who was born-again during God’s Work as the result of one of the Great Awakenings by the name of, Charles G. Finney. He knew well about the First Amendment that prevents a state-church but allows the church to be a thermostat and not a thermometer. Charles G. Finney, in the chapel sermon, The Decay of the Conscience, instructed a group of young ministers – “Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.” https://www.gospeltruth.net/1868_75Independent/731204_conscience.htm

  • I consider Hannity an Alternative Catholic. He may believe in Christ, but, you know, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and TRUTH.”

    Were I a journalist (which Sean isn’t), I’d consider lying (especially to help us lie ourselves into a war in Iraq) a mortal sin. That would be liberating in the sense that I wouldn’t have to speculate much about my destination in the next life.

  • Thanks for bring up a Matt 25 Tally (which Alternative Christians ignore). My tally is high: I write seven prisoners and spring for coffee for street people.

  • “Evangelism’s comeback (its losing adherants) after it’s virtual shut down by the oppressive eight year reign of a Muslim president (a bald-faced lie-Obama is a Christian).” The thing about the truth is that you have to use it, not have a passing familiarity with it. Otherwise, no one will listen you because you’re nothing more than a liar.

  • Absolutely. The greater canopy of Christianity has only itself to blame for any smeared images it suffers today. But, I spoke the truth. Barack Obama is NOT a Christian.

    Obama abandoned Israel. He fought tooth and nail to impose ACA birth control and abortion mandates on religious organizations. In his own words, “America is no longer a Christian nation…”

    Calling oneself a Christian isn’t enough. Like you yourself said about “truth,” “You have to use it… otherwise no one will listen because you’re nothing more than a liar.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOOrSAbU9z8

  • Not at all. I found out many years ago, that many good people don’t even know of the existence of Rom. 2:15 and other amazing Bible texts that explain exactly what makes humans unique, special, and non-evolutionary.

    So instead of just offering a nice rational argument (which were the two sentences preceding the Bible text, by the way), I always try to include a Bible verse that goes WITH the rational argument.

    In this case, Rom. 2:15 provides the flavor that spices up the rational claim. It shines a new light on the rational argument, and makes people quietly whisper, “Hey I didn’t know that was in the Bible.” A delicious tactic, yes?

  • Wanna talk genetics? I know where you can find some supernatural genetic engineering experiments in the Bible. Curious?

  • How convenient of you to completely ignor the fact that you called President Obama a Muslim. As the link to the You Tube video makes plain, you have taken Obama’s words completely out of context and distorted them. As I said, you have nothing more than a passing familiarity with the truth. That’s why the rest of what you say cannot be believed.

  • Do you really mean “hypocrite?” Wouldn’t “inconsistent” or “misinformed” be more accurate? Hypocrisy is preaching one thing in public –ranting against some sin — while committing the same sin in secret. That does not appear to be the case with Dr Jeffress. He’s just preaching an idea that is superstitious and divisive. (He’d be a hypocrite if he preached this anti Catholic nonsense while being a closet Roman Catholic.)

  • No committed follower of Jesus would ever have an interview with Hannity. Yes, I am prolife. Therefore oppose the death penalty. And I oppose the dangers to DACA. As a follower of Jesus oppose people like Hannity and Jeffress. They have sold their convictions to a mess of pottage.

  • It is a lot of great catholic churches but it has been popes who ment Jesus will woreship them, our pope of today say Jesus is a sinner and like he is working to make crislam was ancient popes including peganism in catholisism. F.eks praying to saints. Jesus has a lot of rom in his fathers house. Some for catholics and som for the rest of us, but no one should forgett that it is evil false prophets everywere.

  • Most of mediaworkers are leftwingers and atheist. A lot of them hate christians, espesialy those who live by the book. They are also mostly humble people who is easy to attac. It is them who never critisize a muslim.

  • It is not about politics, which many tried to suck Jesus into during his time on earth. This is what has happened to many churches. They have crawled into bed with the World and forgotten their assigned mission. TO PREACH THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL PERIOD!! Nothing more, nothing less!!

  • Of course preaching right wing politics from the pulpit is a tradition at Pastor Jeffress’ church.

    “Never Had I Been So Blind”: W. A. Criswell’s “Change” on Racial Segregation
    By Curtis W. Freeman; Journal of Southern Religion 10 (2007).

    The Fiery Sermon

    In February 21, 1956, W. A. Criswell addressed the South Carolina Baptist evangelism conference. Criswell was pastor of the largest congregation in the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the denomination’s most popular preachers. Standing in the grand pulpit of the First Baptist Church of Columbia before an overflow crowd, he exhorted his listeners, many of whom were fellow ministers, to be true preachers of the gospel. But he warned them that a passion for evangelism comes at the cost of undergoing a “baptism by fire.” Describing the sort of fiery ordeals they must face, Criswell segued into a heated attack on the forces of desegregation. He expressed astonishment at the cowardice of ministers “whose forebears [sic] and predecessors were martyrs and were burned at the stake” but who themselves refuse to speak up about “this thing of integration.” True ministers, he argued, must passionately resist government mandated desegregation because it is “a denial of all that we believe in.” This rhetorical move portrayed Southern Baptists as the de facto established church of the South and gave the ministers the privilege to speak for all white southerners. He denounced as “foolishness” and “idiocy” the recent ruling of the Supreme Court that was meant to ram integration down the collective throat of the South. Irritated with the carpet bagging supporters of civil rights, he exclaimed: “Let them integrate. Let them sit up there in their dirty shirts and make all their fine speeches. But they are all a bunch of infidels, dying from the neck up.”…

  • Once again, out of context scripture for the examples used.

    Also, it isn’t healthcare, it is health insurance.

    Above all it is waaay out of context to compare what Christians are to do of their own free-will and charity with the government using the tax dollars taken at gunpoint from citizens and giving it to many who do not need it.
    It is absolutely a nicety to have gimmes at working joe’s expense (Communism, etal) but your verse speaks of citizens charitable giving and helping of their free-will, not the government giving of money taken from working citizens to give to many who can do for themselves and surely would if there were a lot less of these government so-called freebies.

  • ya know, if you repeat that enough times and even write it in a novel advertised to be “based on the truth” you might just get a few sheeple to believe it is true. moreso, you will have many using it themselves as a statement they assume is true unitl it is oft repeated enough that the feeble minded crowd of followers will assume it is and will take it as factual without as much as a hair’s breadth of research.

  • the sermon quoted came from the church in Columbia, SC, not Dallas, Tx…may be same or similar denomination but not same church as you stated. Seeing as this is more a message of the socio-political arena, there is no theological reason it should be or should not be preached from a church of the same denomination….except you also missed the fact it was of the Left-Wing of the political spectrum, NOT the Right-Wing. If you would take time to do as much research in to politics as you did to dig up this message from 60 years ago you would be aware that what he was talking about was right down the line with the Democratic party agenda, not the Republican.

    Also it is so popular for many of the anti-Christian groups to stand on 1st ammendment rights that they unfortunately have not realized that pastors (Gurus, Imams, Priests, or other religious leaders) are also citizens with the same constitutional rights as they to give opinions on society, religion, politics, etc. (IRS anti-constitutional opinion notwithstanding).

  • Yes,W.A. Criswell’s segregationist sermon was preached at a S.C. First Baptist Church of Columbia, then repeated in the S.C. state house…. but Pastor Criswell was from the First Baptist Church of Dallas and that is the same church which Pastor Jeffress now leads.

    I have his book, “Why I Preach That the Bible Is Literally True.” Nashville: Broadman Press, 1969. 160 pp, but haven’t got around to reading it after…five years? I can’t see how the Bible that I read is “literally true,” how such a thing is even possible, and if it is, how I could possibly know. So, such a belief sounds like a deeply pathetic way to religiously legitimate your bigotries and misconceptions.

    Baptists don’t quite have a formal “denomination,” they, as near as I understand it (I was raised a Methodist), generally have “conventions.” Individual Baptist churches can belong to more than one convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest and most influential, I think, and it’s probably a pretty sure bet that both the Columbia and Dallas churches had a fellowship with the Southern Baptist Convention. Of course if a church doesn’t meet the standards (or bigotries) of a convention, they can be “disfellowshipped.”

    Yes, the ‘white’ South was pretty much solidly Democrat at that time…but the ‘Dixiecrats’ that ruled the Bible Belt were hardly “liberal” and “left wing” just because they were Democrats. Not all Republicans back then were “conservatives,” either.

    For instance, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was very much a bi-partisan effort (though Democrats outside of the South supported the act more than Republicans (there were no Southern Republicans that I, anyway, can think of.) Barry Goldwater opposed the Act…which may have been part of the motivation for Strom Thurmond to switch parties and join the GOP.

    Of course some conservatives are liberal for a cause that effects them personally. For instance, Pat Robertson’s anti-Social Security, signer of the “Southern Manifesto” and generally repulsively racist and anti-union father, Virginia’s Sen. A. Willis “Nordic Nation” Robertson, an outdoorsman and hunter, and had a record as strong nature conservationist.

    My grandfather was, I think, a fairly moderate Republican politician… though since he died just a year after I was born, I didn’t really get to know him so maybe I’m wrong. Several of his grandchildren, anyway, are now fairly liberal Democrat inclined voters.

    The two parties are political coalitions, not lock-step political cults (or at least they should be political coalitions, I think). To paint ‘white’ Jim Crow era Southern Democrats as “left wing liberals” is deeply pathetic, duplicitous nonsense.

    They were the Southern Baptists, and segregationist Southern Methodists that had merged with the original Methodist Episcopal Church in 1938, if memory serves (a legacy of which was a race segregated administrative structure that was only changed in 1968 with the merger of the E.U.B. Church), and segregationist ‘white’ Southern Presbyterians like Billy Graham’s segregationist father in law, Dr. L. Nelson Bell (founder of the racist ‘Southern Presbyterian Journal’ and the generally petulantly hostile to the Civil Rights Movement ‘Christianity Today’), and usually condescendingly paternalistic segregationist minded ‘white’ Southern Episcopalians.

    They were “conservative” then when they were usually Democrats, and they’re conservative now when they’re usually Republicans.

  • Odd, that you reported how the movie critics overwhelmingly were negative for Let There Be LIght, and now several days later I read in a recent report that over 90% of movie goers liked the movie, and the critics have commented on still compiling information before they can make an official report. Could you be a little biased? In fact, could that entire article be biased?

  • John, yet God is forcing compliance. When the option is to either believe or spend eternity in hell that is not really giving someone a free choice. Why a God would need your compliance, belief, love etc. seems odd, especially for an all-powerful and loving God. I, and many others, don’t understand how you are comfortable with such a belief.

  • Dennis: right now there are a million websites for non-believers, where people are discussing all kinds of stuff (people like you, who are just smarter than everyone else). Guess what? I’M NOT THERE. Why? I have more self-esteem than that. I have no need to troll sites where people who hold differing beliefs than my own are congregating. I eat meat. I will not be sticking my fat head into the Vegetarian News Service to say something like “We’re carnivores by nature. Give it up. You can’t convince me with your emotional appeals to…bla, bla, bla.” Expecting someone to “disprove evolution” in the comments section of the RNS is idiotic. Anyone can say “forget it” to something they don’t accept. This is not a premises in a logical syllogism. Good grief, you panting non-believers are everywhere. And you are so needy! NOTICE ME!!!! Give it a rest.

  • Dennis: do you have ANY idea how much Christians contribute to charity, planting trees, fixing old persons’ homes, etc? There is data available. This is another stupid statement. Is it your job to make non-believers look like arrogant, flippant, ill-informed jerks? If so, mission accomplished. Get a life.

  • How can you get health care without health insurance? Become a pure charity case? The two are linked hand-in-hand — not out of context, my friend.
    I disagree with you totally: Our government is supposed to be “Of the people, By the People, and For the people.”
    If people in government are against health insurance/care for the people, then they are against the people. An AP/NORC poll found the majority of Americans believe health care is a RIGHT that ALL Americans should have, not an option, or charity.
    And, good luck on judgement day. Personally I believe Jesus would NOT buy your excuse to try and separate “people” and “government.” Governments are people.

  • True that. This, what you said, brother Robert Jeffress, is “ripped out of … context. … Guests … will hear the Gospel from me … [to] influence the world for good. … Isn’t that the genius of Satan?”

  • The data is easily found. It may be un-Christian of me, but I wouldn’t waste time gathering data unless I thought you were an honest seeker. I think if you WERE honest, you’d say something like “Christian charity is well known, but this fact does not count against the point I was making, which was…bla, bla, bla.” Or, “I believe the bad effects of religion out-weigh the good that comes from Christian charity” (but, of course, that is a statement that might have to be defended, so best to stay away from it).

    Instead your response is essentially: “Either you waste your time pulling data to amuse me, or I declare your point invalid.” This denotes an unwilling to take a subject seriously; only dropping by to take pot shots at believers.

    Your homework: 1. At the height of the AIDS crisis (when getting the disease was a death sentence) what religious denomination cared for literally three out every five persons in an AIDS hospice? 2. While “red” states have a lower per capita income, they have a much higher per capita charity contribution. To what phenomenon is this attributed to?

    You can have the last word (I’m sure that’s important to you). I’ll look for honest discussion elsewhere.

  • Sorry for the delay. You’ve asked a tough question which deserves the best answer I can give, so I took some time to think.

    Many are troubled by this riddle, including some committed Christians. On the night before his execution, Jesus Himself struggled bitterly with the “choice” he was facing. On the eve of the darkest hours of His Life, He asked His Father to consider sparing Him of the torturous fate that awaited Him. “…if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” Just as evidentiary though was what He said next– “…not as I will but as YOU will.”

    Incredibly, it seemed that Jesus was seeking a way around the cross. And as Christians believe, God would probably have spared His Son. But Jesus made the the decision– the “choice”– to honor the centuries old plan for salvation as foretold in the scriptures.

    My short answer– yes, we do have free choice. Besides the blessing of life itself, choice was among the first of God’s gifts to Adam and Eve, an account of creation often contested, even by some Christians. But my point is that God yearned for the first of His children to love and honor him, not through coercion but of our own free will.

    Consider God’s only inflexible mandate, that Adam and Eve were never to eat the forbidden fruit of but one lone tree. What I myself find interesting is that He challenged the two to honor this prohibition not by force but through free will. He never built a fence around the perimeter of the tree to block their access. Why? Fathers and mothers first draw boundaries. “Yes, you may go to the dance, but you must return home by 11 PM.” The wrath of a parent occurs only if (and when) the child disobeys by coming home late.

    The greatest joy experienced by parents is the free expression of love offered by their toddlers. A child smiles and reaches out, arms extended, yearning for a hug. Not because mom or dad forced it, but because the child intuitively yearns for love. Forcing the child’s hug would serve no reward for either. It is the same with our Father in heaven.

    Narrow minded fundamentalist Christians have for centuries perpetrated the image of an angry God laying out for us, eager to punish us for screwing up. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Though He is a just God, He is first a loving father, yearning for fellowship with His children. True, we must comply to His terms. But the rewards for compliance are unimaginably wonderful. Still, the “choice” to comply is ours to make. I wish you well.

  • Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I still question your metaphor of God as parent however. I am a father of three and I can’t imagine a wrath that would punish eternally. My other reservation about what you state has to do with God yearning or needing something for us. This never made sense and makes God’s behavior/mood/etc. contingent on our actions. How can that be? Certainly that confines God’s abilities. Even the idea of free will is questionable. Yes at any given moment we have the ability to decide for or against something but those decisions are heavily determined by our past experiences, our personality, current context, etc. There are always limiting factors which probably is a good thing otherwise it would be too difficult to make a choice. Anyways, thank you for the civil comments and I hope I responded in-kind.

  • You dont work, you dont eat. Its in the bible. Im pretty sure if jesus feels youre not entitled to food, im pretty sure he wouldnt want anyone buying you a healthcare plan either. Buy it yourself you loser!

  • A fool is a person, like yourself, who lives in the world made up in their own mind because they cannot face the real world as it is. Although, I did take the time to answer a [email protected]$$ like you so…

  • I can only suggest that you read Matthew 25 verses 31 through 46 and see what Jesus says about feeding the hungry and caring for the sick — and what may happen if you don’t! The section may have titles in various translations as ‘The Sheep and the Goats,’ or ‘The Judgement of the Nations.’ It is about judgement, and is bad news for those who do not care for others in need. Christianity is SUPPOSED to be about (1) loving God above all which means to obey His commandments, and (2) loving others as much as you love yourself. That is the Gospel according to Jesus in a nutshell. Christianity according to Jesus is about giving — not getting. The LOVE of money, NOT MONEY, is the root of all evil. You do NOT take one penny of it when you leave this earth.

  • Sir. I have no problem giving. I tithe on every penny. When it is *taken* from your pay that is not giving. Further, it cheats the receiver as well. Instead of them seeing a kindness done to them it is seen as something they are owed. That sir, is greed, and a very bad attitude. As you know christians are not owed anything from anyone, and we are certainly not right to rob others of their hard earned paycheck to give to those who have made poor decisions in life. Most of my family is on welfare sir. Its not a help, its a hindrance, and it also promotes very wrong entitlement mindsets instead of that of gratitude. You wont change my mind on this, because i know im right on this, so have a nice day.

  • “You lost!”? That doesn’t make any sense as it doesn’t respond to anything I said. In fact, it reinforces what I said about you in my previous post.

  • I think you have that backwards, politically Progressive Christians (basically Bolshevists who think Christ was a fellow destabilizing revolutionary) have always used cultural destabilization as a weapon.

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