Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Francis Schaeffer Hit Piece in the New Yorker

The liberal media elites who think they run America really seem to hate Evangelicals. But that is not surprising to me; what surprises me is that they simultaneously think that Evangelicals are the single biggest threat to their Progressive vision for America and at the same time not worth studying or even attempting to understand. More American progressives speak Arabic than Baptist. They wouldn't know the difference between a Southern Baptist and a Pentecostal or between puritanism and pietism.

Therefore, whenever they venture into the "expose" mode of breathless reporting how a secret Evangelical cabal is right on the verge - on the verge I tell you! - of turning America into a Puritan Theocracy, they come off sounding like lazy Jr. High schoolers who got some stuff off the internet the night before and threw together a history essay. They make the Czarist authors of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion look like master historians.

Ryan Lizza is out to get Michelle Bachmann, as any card-carrying member of the media elite (AKA the Obama communications team) would be. And he thinks he has some real down and dirty dope on her due to her connection to a shadowy, theocratic, underground figure no one has heard of but who, he Lizza, is about to reveal to the world. Not since Hilary blamed the "vast right wing conspiracy" for Bill not being able to keep his zipper up, has such shocking evidence of the anti-liberal, anti-progressive, anti-all that is good and sweet in the world right-wing, male, homophobic, bigots (which is, admittedly, to indulge in serial redundancies) emerged. The Dominionists are coming! And it is not an invasion of Canadians, either.

Lizza is smacked down by two excellent articles. First, Joe Carter at First Things administers a little lesson in journalism. This article is too good to summarize. Read it here.

Here is a sample of one of Carter's lesson:
If Lizza had done his homework he would have found that Diamond’s mid-1980s “scholarship” is neither timely nor credible. For example, Diamond bases her contention that Schaeffer is a “dominionist” on his book A Christian Manifesto. The problem is that rather than claiming that “Christians alone, are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns”—Schaeffer says exactly the opposite:
[W]e must make definite that we are in no way talking about any kind of theocracy. Let me say that with great emphasis. Witherspoon, Jefferson, the American Founders had no idea of a theocracy. That is made plain by the First Amendment, and we must continually emphasize the fact that we are not talking about some kind, or any kind, of a theocracy.

In the Old Testament there was a theocracy commanded by God. In the New Testament, with the church being made up of Jews and Gentiles, and spreading all over the known world from India to Spain in one generation, the church was its own entity. There is no New Testament basis for a linking of church and state until Christ the King returns. The whole “Constantine mentality” from the fourth century up to our own day was a mistake. . . . Making Christianity the official state religion opened the way for confusion up till our own day. But through the centuries it has caused great confusion between loyalty to the state and loyalty to Christ, between patriotism and being a Christian. We must not confuse the Kingdom of God with our country. To say it another way: “We should not wrap Christianity in our national flag.”
By the way, the first paragraph of this quote can be found on the Wikipedia page for Schaeffer. Had Lizza merely been as diligent as a college freshman plagiarizing a term paper he would have discovered his error.
Barry Hankins, who has written a good book on Schaeffer, which is critical but fair, has his own piece here. Here is my favorite quote from his article:
The truth quite different from Lizza’s macro-indictment of all things evangelical. Schaeffer had a brief flirtation with Rushdoony's thought in the Sixties, but not with the Reconstructionist/Dominionist vision of Old Testament civil law. Rather, like some other evangelical figures, Schaeffer was enamored with Rushdoony's analysis of where, when, and how western civilization allegedly abandoned the moral standards of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Shocking, isn't it? Thinking that the West has abandoned the moral standards of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Simply preposterous. So, I wonder if Ryan Lizza thinks that John Paul the Great and Alexander Solzhenitsyn are also Dominionists because they believed that Western civilization abandoned the moral standards of the Judeo-Christian tradition because, as Solzhenitsyn put it in his famous Harvard Commencement Address, A World Split Apart: "men forgot God."

I guess it's a good thing John Paul the Great and Solzhenitsyn are dead; the republic can rest easy - except for that pesky woman from Minnesota who won't shut up, which is the only reason Lizza is ploughing through all this dumb theology in the first place.

When so-called "journalists" jump from "Michelle Bachmann likes Francis Schaeffer" to "Francis Schaeffer is a dangerous theocrat who wants to overthrow the government" to "anyone who supports Bachmann is a threat to America," - the end is nigh.

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