Sunday, February 01, 2015


Well Starnes gets no argument from me - seems obvious if you listen to this exposé

My friend and colleague Peter Enns is a theologian, well biblical scholar to be precise, and here is what Pete has to say:

Word is making its way around the blogosphere that Fox News is doubling as a theological think tank.

I don’t like picking on Fox News when they talk religion of any sort, including Christianity. It’s too easy and it gets boring.

But I can’t help myself here
According to the Fox News website, Michael Moore–who really hates this movie, I mean really, really hates it–tweeted about how inconsistent this movie is for Christian faith–hardly a sign of Moore’s Paul-like blinding light conversion, but more a dig.

Fox News took the bait. Correspondent Todd Starnes, after telling us twice that he’s “no theologian,” nevertheless makes a rather hefty theological claim in response to Moore: Jesus would be saying “well done thou good and faithful servant” to snipers plucking off Muslims, thus sending them to hell where they belong.

I think Starnes is mistaking Jesus for…well…not Jesus. Jesus had plenty of chances to wage war on people he didn’t like, and he had his enemies, but he preferred his sniping to remain verbal.
At least according to the Bible. Which I’ve read. More than once.

If anything, Jesus would have stepped in front of the target and taken the bullet.

“You mean, even for someone from the wrong religion?”

Yes. That’s how Jesus rolls. Jesus came to save, not condemn. And certainly not to reward snipers for killing the enemy.

I understand that the realities of modern warfare are such that snipers aren’t going anywhere–and dare I suggest they are a necessary evil? But what do I know? I’ve never seen war.

But rather than thinking of Jesus as giving a sniper a good ol’ boy slap on the back, maybe Jesus would have compassion on him when PTSD sets in and the burden on his conscience got too heavy for him to bear. That’s sounds more like the Jesus I’ve read about.

Maybe Jesus wouldn’t pick sides. Maybe Jesus isn’t American. Maybe Jesus would have compassion on the Muslim, too. That’s not too hard to imagine–if you’ve read the New Testament, even just parts of it.

The real problem here isn’t the spat between Moore and Starnes, and whatever, who cares. It isn’t Starnes’s cluelessness about Jesus 101. It’s not even that Starnes–like so many others–confuses his own nationalistic agenda’s for Gods.

It’s that, in the public eye, such extremist rhetoric is seen as an acceptable form of Christianity–if not its normal expression.

I’m tired of people like Starnes who for some unknown reason have access to a microphone, a camera, and get paid to talk.

I’m tired because letting people like Starnes talk about Jesus without adult supervision is like letting Justin Bieber discourse on Bach.

I’m tired because I have to explain to people that, even if they think Starnes is wrong, this is the kind of smug character Christianity seems to produce.

I’m tired–and angry–that many people will listen to Starnes and not conclude as they should, “What a complete fool; why is he talking?,” but “Wow, there goes another Christian.”

This isn’t personal. I don’t know Starnes and I can’t judge his deep motives. Maybe it’s all just about viewers. But don’t drag Jesus into it.

And when you have to preface a comment about Jesus by saying, “I’m no theologian,” you should probably trust that instinct and zip it or at least check for journalistic accuracy. Although at Fox, since when….Oh forget it.

Maybe people like Starnes give me job security.

Well done, good and faithful servant Pete.


Bizzy Brain said...

When facing an enemy who wants you dead, love beads in one hand and a Bible in the other and a degree from the seminary in one pocket and a license to preach in the other are no match for a fanatical Muslim with an AK-47. Without someone willing to fight back, we would all be dead.

Bizzy Brain said...

On the other hand, maybe Jesus wants us all dead so His followers can join Him in Heaven, not at some distant time, but within the two years remaining of Obama's Presidency.

I'm No Theologian Either said...

Jesus certainly was not being very Christ-like when He drove the money changers out of the Temple. A real for sure Mennonite Jesus would not have fashioned a whip and run about knocking over the tables of the money changers, spilling coins everyplace, and running them out of the area. He would have showered care and compassion and Jesus love on them. Even though His house of prayer was turned into a den of robbers, Jesus would have understood. Probably at the very most, He would have asked them politely to leave, and if they ignored Him, He would think, "So be it," and shower them with compassion and love and sympathy so they could be won to His cause by his wonderful display of understanding and Christ-like love. They surely would be so moved and touched that they would gather up their coins, fold up their tables and leave on their own, feeling terribly sorry that they had desecrated the Temple, and repent. “I am very disappointed in you, Jesus. Why don't you practice what you preach??”

DES said...

Bizzy - hmmmm - what did Jesus say we should do to our enemies? And there are ways of "fighting back" without killing, eh? And surely you see a difference between sending our soldiers into another country to surreptitiously kill and staying 't-home and making this place reasonably safe.

The "Jesus in the Temple" story hardly equates to sniping. There is a difference between being passive and being a pacifist - pacifism embraces resistance of various sorts, and would likely include throwing around a few tables :-)