Sunday, November 20, 2011

Outrageous and Sad.

I was going to post this as a comment on Douglas Groothuis's Facebook page, but I decided against it. Not because I am afraid of the consequences, but because I did not want to start a long, pointless tirade against me by a few of Douglas's hundreds of friends. While I have no ambition and no delusion to pose as a teacher or a professor, I do hope that Douglas finds this post here and that he learns something good from it.

On his Facebook page, Groothuis-- who is a professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary--recommended Mark Levin article with the following title: Mark Levin on Occupy: ‘What are these pieces of crap contributing to society?’ Levin is known for his hateful commentaries against all things liberal and I am not linking to his post because I do not want to foster undeserved publicity for him and his hateful thoughts. 

Occupy, of course, is short for Occupy Wall Street, the protest movement which for the last two months has brought the issue of how big financial institutions have brought economies all around the world to their knees, without any of them paying the price for their actions. One of his Facebook friends posted the following response: "My son, a gainfully employed New Yorker, marched on Thursday. We are all made in the image of God and we've all have fallen short. People are not pieces of crap." Another wrote ‎"Pieces of crap, huh That's not what my theological anthropology says." And I wrote: "Merry Christmas to Doug and Mark Levin, too." That's it. On the other hand, Groothuis's recommendation earned 3 "Likes", but I am sure that number will rise before long.

The fact that Groothuis has chosen to recommend the link without so much as a disclaimer about the title can only be taken to mean that he endorses not only Levin's message but the way it was phrased as well. And that would be no surprise, since Groothuis is not new to these attacks on OWS protesters. A few weeks ago he made a comment to the effect that Tea Partiers are better dressed and smell better than OWS protesters.

Since the birth of OWS, Groothuis has not missed a chance to take the worst possible examples offered by protesters and build negative generalization upon generalization of the movement's participants and their, admittedly, varied goals. At the same time, Groothuis likes to post about Christian apologetics and often quotes passages from the Bible on his page. What a curious mix of Christianity and contempt for fellow human beings.

Unfortunately Groothuis has some influence in Evangelical circles, often talks at Churches and public fora around Denver, and has a loyal following on Facebook, so his frequent posts decrying all opponents of conservative politics, and particularly President Obama, as socialists, un-American, unintelligent, hypocritical, deceitful, etc, carry some weight.

What never ceases to amaze me is that very few people call him out on the dissonance that exists between his avowed love of Christ and Christianity and his pedestrian rhetoric about anyone who has a different point of view. In doing what he does, and in how he does it, Groothuis trespasses the line that separates Christian advocacy and political indoctrination. You can be a credible advocate for Christianity or you can be a mouthpiece of the worst elements on the Right, but you cannot be both.

It is a shame that only few of his followers on Facebook attempt to show Groothuis what a sad, outrageous, and indefensible example of Christianity he offers, and that many of them choose to laud him and encourage him instead of calling him to use better judgement. Well, I am glad to be one who is willing to call him on the madness of his words, with the hope he will see the error of his ways.

2 comments:

Steve Schuler said...

As you have probably already noticed, Doug doesn't engage in dialouge. I think that his only effective outreach is to speak to those who already share his outlook. He is willing to talk 'at' unbelievers, but not able to talk 'with' those who don't agree with him. Yes, it is somewhat outrageous and, from my perspective, very saddening.

Doug is certainly not unique in the world of American Evangelicals who have forged a new variety of religion which melds aspects of a regressive and pernicious form of Christianity with aspects of political and social 'conservatism' based in the fear and loathing of all that it does not embrace. It appears that the most profound and valuable teachings of Jesus are completely displaced and ignored in this philosophy, although he ocassionally gives lip service to them. Of course, none of what he promotes can be properly attributed to him, he is merely parroting what his superiors in the movement hierarchy advocate.

We've come so far, but we got so far to go...

Sirfab said...

Splendidly well put, Steve.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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