Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christian Cultural Wars heat up again...

America’s Cultural War heats up as Christmas nears

“Have you ever wanted to be baptized in the Jordan River?” That is the question Reverend Tim Wildmon asks as he introduces his next tour of Christian sites in Israel. I have only heard this tourist promotion on American Family Radio.

The tour commercial reminded me of what a fellow student said to me regarding visiting the Holy Land. I came upon J.E. “Hoppy” Hopkins studying in the Howard Payne College (this was back before it became a “university”) in the Old Main library. I remember this encounter as it was one of the few times I was ever in that library. (I am not proud of avoiding the library. It shows on my college transcript; somewhat near our current governor’s level.)

I ask Hoppy if he ever thought of visiting the land where Jesus walked. He replied with evangelistic fervor: “I don’t want to go where Jesus was, I want to be where he is.”

I do have a distant relative through marriage that was baptized in the Jordan River once. Apparently Tim Widmon is not the only tour guide pushing Jordan River baptisms.

The Reverend Tim Wildmon is now running the organization his father Don Wildmon founded in 1977. Don Wildom was then pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Southave, Mississippi.

In the beginning the elder Reverend Wildom called the organization The National Federation for Decency. After a decade or so of promoting his idea of decency the name was changed to American Family Association.

Mississippi was recently in the news when voters defeated a ballot initiative that would have declared life to begin at fertilization. The Personhood Law was in reality a step to prompt a legal challenge to abortion rights nationwide. A person is a person at conception; not when a baby heartbeat is heard, not when the baby arrives and breathes its first breath, but when a sperm and egg have an encounter.

Leaving such a decision to voters is like voting on how many angels can kneel on a tiny sewing needle. The American Family Association went to the mat on this vote and were rejected by more than 55 percent of voters.

The AFA has been in the forefront to replace American secular democracy with Reverend Wildom’s version of fundamentalist Protestant Christianity “democracy.”

According to the AFA’s radio stations they are on what they like to call the frontlines of “America’s Cultural War.”

AFA believes that God has communicated absolute truth to mankind, and that all people be subject to the complete authority of the Bible at all times. A culture based on AFA’s biblical version of truth is a stretch at best.

Most of this war they have created is negative rather than positive. “Preservation of Marriage and the Family” is code for their homophobia. “Decency and Morality” is good for the soul, home and country. Once again, AFA, like Orwell’s Big Brother decides what is decent and moral.

“Sanctity of Human Life” is their phrase for killing the Roe V. Wade law that permits legal abortions.

One particular program on AFR signs off by reminding hearers to NOT shop at Home Depot. Seems Home Depot treats gay employees like anyone else on the payroll. This week on a program titled “Nothing but Truth” the host was upset with Walgreens pharmacies for not mentioning Christmas in their ads. The ads only said “Happy Holidays.” For these guys the war on Christmas is but another battleground of the “War on Christianity.”

Thanks Rev. Tim, but one baptism experience is enough for me.

1 comment:

Lynn Raley said...

I am so happy to have discovered your blog. It comforts me to know that the OLD Southern Baptist tradition of independent thought is alive and well in some quarters -- even among retired missionaries! The denomination that embraced a Jimmy Carter or a Bill Moyers (as well as a Falwell), no longer seems to exist. I lived in Mississippi now (where my parents have retired), and I appreciate your comments here. --Lynn Raley