Tuesday, April 02, 2013

President Obama's Pastor Problem Continues

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First, candidate Barack Obama, who had been very comfortable in Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church in Chicago for 20 years, had to denounce his pastor's comments and worldview and leave the church to save his own candidacy.

Now, President Obama finds himself in a similar circumstance in his new church home.

While much of America celebrated God's love and forgiveness for our sins through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ this past Sunday, Rev. Luis Leon, the new pastor to the Obamas, lashed out at "The captains of the religious right," calling the leaders of the right racists and bigots.

I'm not sure whether this says more about the President and the people he chooses to associate with, the pastor himself or the profound moral divide that exists in America today.

Perhaps all three.

Here's what the pastor said to his congregation, including the President and what the pastor is telling America.


This past Easter Sunday the President and his family walked from the White House to St John's Episcopal church for services.

The Washington Post says he and his family have been attending the church fairly regularly when they are in town as a number of other president's have done in the past.

While the service at St. John's did proclaim that Christ is risen in one of the hymns they sang, it was the pastor's rant that has drawn the attention.

Quoting from John 20:1-18, Leon said in the same way that Jesus told Mary Magdalene not to hold on to him, it is time for conservatives to stop holding on to what he considers outdated stances in matters of race, gender equality, homosexuals and immigrants.

The Washington Post quoted the pastor as saying:

“It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back . . . for blacks to be back in the back of the bus . . . for women to be back in the kitchen . . . for immigrants to be back on their side of the border.”

What the Post failed to report was the pastor's statement about homosexuals.

Jeff Mason, a reporter with Reuters, Tweeted that the pastor also included the statement "putting gays back in the closet."

It's interesting that the Post chose not to quote that comment.

Is President Obama attracted to this kind of belief or is he simply in the wrong pew at the wrong time?

This kind of belief allows for truth and values to "evolve."

He was comfortable with Rev. Jeremiah Wright's preaching until it threatened his political career. It does seem he has a history of questionable associations.

The President has admitted he has "evolved" on moral issues. St. John's Episcopal has also evolved on moral issues.

Although every president since James Madison has at least visited the church, it is not the church Madison or even George H.W. Bush knew.

The Episcopalians are remaking themselves into the image of progressive liberalism. When they embraced homosexual behavior, it drove biblical and social conservatives from the church, but in doing so it strengthened the progressive left who stayed in the church. That is a profile of today's St. John's Episcopal Church.

It is the profile of too many churches in America.

There is a profound divide in our country today. It extends beyond politics. It is a spiritual divide. We are once more a "House Divided" and this divide runs deep and falls along the distinctions between the religious left and the religious right.

Relativism and pop culture dominates the "evolving" beliefs of the religious left. Traditional, eternal, biblical values define those on the right of this divide.

The President's pastor, in advocating a "move on" morality, is advocating for a relativistic morality.

And relativism is deadly. It undermines religious freedom and prevents sustainability of a culture, leading to its collapse.

There are 4 kinds of relativism.

1. Objective relativism is the view that the beliefs of a person or group of persons are "true" for them, but not necessarily for others. This brand of relativism says there is no universal truth. Different people have different "truths." No one is wrong---no one is right.

2. Religious relativism is the view that one religion can be true for one person or culture but not for another. No religion, therefore is universally or exclusively true. This idea holds that religious belief is simply an accident of birth. They say Americans are generally born Christian, just like those in India are generally born Hindu, Saudi Arabia, Muslim, etc.

3. Moral relativism maintains there are no moral absolutes, no objective ethical right or wrong. Moral values are true or "genuine" for some, but not for others. Since there are differing opinions of morality in the world, there is no reason to think that one is more true or objectively binding than another.

4. Cultural relativism says that what is immoral in our culture is not necessarily immoral in another country. Therefore no one can judge another person's moral values.

The implications of relativism are many.

One is directly related to biblical Christianity and the Great Commission, which mandates Christians to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

Relativism prohibits religious "persuasion." It is called "proselytizing" and is viewed as "cramming your religion down someones throat." Sharing your testimony of what Christ has done in your life suggests your religious view is superior to other's experiences. Trying to "evangelize" is wrong and can become illegal in this environment.

Another implication is that to claim to have any exclusive truth, given the number of religions in the world, is arrogant. The exclusive claims of Christ in regard to access to the Father, or as the only way to salvation is seen as arrogant, ignorant Western colonialism. Nothing more than narrow mindedness and bigotry.

Tolerance is the cardinal virtue of relativism. To imply that someone is wrong is very intolerant. Ironically the virtue of "tolerance" is not tolerant at all. In reality, relativism's tolerance is anything but tolerant. For example, what homosexual activists call tolerance, is actually unconditional acceptance and affirmation of their lifestyle as legitimate and normal.

The progressive "tolerance" movement is the primary challenge to our Christian worldview, our religious freedoms and the prosperity of our culture.

Proponents of progressivism argue that Christianity is intolerant and inconsistent with a free and open society, yet the principles of Christianity are the foundation of the greatest and most free nation in history.

Relativism, taught in our public schools from K through college, is shaping how America views homosexuality, abortion and biblical truth and sin itself.

In the world of relativism, tolerance is affirmation, it is coercive and it asserts what it claims to reject.

It is intolerant and dogmatic. It is not inclusive. It is exclusive. If you reject the premise or do not comply with it, you face public ridicule and even legal challenges.

It is critical that Christians rise to this moment and speak to a culture that has inverted truth, morality and common sense.

God help us.

12 comments:

  1. It's worth noting that Leon also delivered the invocation at Bush's second inauguration. He was a close friend of W's and dined with him at the White House.

    Obama doesn't have a minister problem, the religious right has a policy problem and I hope you don't change a bit at least until 2016.

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    1. So according to you , you see a problem hurting America but wish to keep it so your political views will be enhanced .

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  2. @Anonymous -- Don't you mean you think Conservatives have a "sacredness" problem? Me thinks that you think that Conservatives will be fine once we give up God, ignore God's teachings on how to live happily and become secular? Is that what you mean?

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  3. While I have great appreciation for your critique of relativism I was very struck that you implied that this pastor didn't preach the resurrection. You said "one of the hymns" mentioned it, highly suggesting that it wasn't otherwise proclaimed. Is that what you intended?

    I know the Episcopalian liturgy and this is nearly slanderous. Please, if you are going to critique other churches, (which is sometimes necessary) at least have the integrity to be honest, and not make false accusations. We may disagree with the sort of interpretation this pastor gave to the Biblical texts that were read, and you may not approve of his take on the implications of the Easter story, but to imply it wasn't mentioned is hogwash. You make those of us concerned about theological orthodoxy look ugly when we make such unfounded claims.

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  4. I hope and pray that the religious right does not fall away from the truths of scripture as so many would have us buy into. Wrong is not right, no matter how often it is said to be and by whom, just as right is not wrong. There is one Judge to whom the truth belongs, the Creator of truth and of justice. We are told there will be those who will try to place stumbling blocks before us and we must be vigilant.

    - GM in Kitsap

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  5. A bigger and more important divide is among Bible believing Christians and that is the divide over whether Christians are supposed to only love people into the Kingdom or to stand up and fight evil in our culture. The outcome of this dispute will decide the fate of our nation.

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  6. It really irks me how you continue to refer to this imposter as "President"!! He's an illegal alien Communist.

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    1. Basiclly I think he is just wrong on the issues .

      Mick

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  7. Gary you're posts and radio programs are helping me to better understand what is happening in the world around me. Thank you.

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  8. It seems Obama is not causing the move away from Bible values, he is going along with it because he is one of them.

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  9. I respect you very much Gary, and I agree with much of what you say. I am always a little uncomfortable, however, when Protestants (rightly) lament relativism in our culture without any introspection about the role of religious relativism in their own ranks.

    For the first 1000 years of Christianity there was one, Catholic Church with recognized authority to teach and govern the faithful. Doctrines were defined and heresies denounced, and this was the foundation which allowed governments and cultures to flourish. The rupture between East and West happened in 1050, with the major fault line of the Reformation happening a few centuries later. The fracturing has continued unabated ever since, with about 30,000 different denominations today. Relativism, by definition, is present.

    "Biblical truth" is a relative term if there is no ultimate authority to interpret and define. If there was objective agreement on "Biblical truth", there would be no need to keep splitting into different groups. Our Lord gave the power to bind and loose to His Church, founded on the rock of Peter. We see the wisdom of this divine plan as, for the past 2000 years, the Catholic Church has remained the rock around which civilizations and empires rise and fall. There is no shortage of "bad" Catholics, like Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi, who publicly disavow the teaching of their Church, but it precisely because there is an unchanging objective standard that we can judge their actions as disobedient and wrong.

    One modern issue which brings religious relativism into focus is that of artificial birth control. The Catholic Church alone has stood firm against the changing tide of the culture to denounce the separation of the unitive from the procreative ends of the marital act. The 1968 papal encyclical, Humane Vitae, correctly and prophetically anticipated the evil fruit, including increased divorce and abortion, that would result from use of birth control. Beginning with the Anglicans at the Lambda Conference, but quickly spreading throughout all of the non-Catholic Christian traditions, the birth control pill was embraced and defended. We are reaping the bitter results - including so called gay "marriage" today.

    We cannot have a meaningful discussion about how to move this culture toward Godly values if we are not honest about how we got to this point.

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    1. I highly object to your ascertion that the Catholic Church holds absolute truth in her doctrines. She is the most anti-christ religious organization on earth, professing that Mary is a co-redeemer w/Christ, that she may be be prayed to and makes intercession for believers. Also, that individual saints can do the same. This is blasphemy, there is only ONE mediator bewteen man and God, that's Jesus Christ. The head of the body is Christ, not the pope. This is also blasphemy. Jesus said the rock of the church was the fact that he was the Christ, the son of God. Rome teaches that for a certain amount of money sins may be forgiven before they're committed (indulgences), that sins must be paid for in purgatory before entering heaven, that the common man can't understand God's Word(chaining the Bible to the pulpit)and must be told what it says.

      All these teachings, which they still hold, are not found in Scripture. Rome promotes a false gospel and is robbing the common man to enrich herself. She is the beast that sits on 7 hills, drunk on the blood of the saints. The popes have been some of the most bloodthirsty tyrants on earth.

      Have there been good, godly men who tried to reform her from within? You bet, and they were rewarded for their efforts by being branded heretics and burned at the stake.

      Have the Protestants had their issues, again, you bet. I make no excuses. Paul asked the question, "is Christ divided?". We would do well to be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures daily to see if what we are being taught in ANY CHURCH is in alignment with God's word.

      Then and only then will we discern false teaching.

      Craig in Lacey

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