(the question is, “Faith in what?”) *
About a week ago, Jerry noted SoL’s praise of this Joseph Farah article regarding Rick Warren’s acceptance of an invitation to pray at president-elect Obama’s inauguration. Jerry’s post was primarily regarding the SoL article; mine is primarily regarding Farah’s article.
I won’t bother addressing the infantile (and self-defeating) nature of citing Obama’s middle name (been there, done that), nor will I do anything more than note Farah’s snarkiness via the overuse of quotation marks. Suffice it to say that his style stinks (and not just because he makes the silly Hitler reference); I’m more interested in the substance.
OK, one small sidenote that isn’t that substantive. At one point, Farah refers to Rick Warren as “a brother in the Lord”. Given the fact that — in the days when SoL allowed moderated comments — several commenters definitively stated that Warren was not a Christian, and were never chastised for such blasphemy, it’s somewhat surprising that Ingrid would praise such an article.
Let me state, up front, that I agree with Farah that Obama’s policies regarding abortion are evil. I state this based on his record and his actions, not the drivel that his pro-life supporters fell for. It is Farah’s belief of what actions should be taken in response to these policies (and the twisting of Scripture to “support” his attitude) that I have a problem with.
Farah admits that “we are commanded to pray for our leaders” (how generous of him). But he immediately follows this by stating:
But there is no suggestion in the Bible that we are ever to be used as political pawns by praying at their events – especially when they are promoting the wholesale slaughter of innocent human beings.
I have three problems with this statement.
1. Even as Captain Cynicism, I find this statement incredibly cynical. Granted, being immersed in the muck of politics would garner cynicism in Will Rogers. But when that cynicism starts bleeding over into your faith, there’s a problem.
2. Somewhat related to that, Farah shows a very limited and pathetic view of prayer. Even if the motives of Obama (or whoever on his staff invited Warren) are 100% impure, and they simply want to use Warren, this is prayer we are talking about. Ya know, communication with God. What kind of wuss does Farah think God is, that Obama’s motives trump that?
3. I will give Farah this much — there’s not a “suggestion” in Scripture — there’s an outright command from Jesus Himself. In Matthew 5:41, Jesus tells us:
And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
The background on what Jesus refers to here is pretty straight-forward. In Jesus’ day, a Roman soldier could legally compel any Jew to walk with him for a mile and carry the soldier’s pack (or whatever other burden the soldier had). Jesus said that if such a fate befell one of His listeners, he should walk a mile more than he was legally obligated to go.
So let’s break this down. A representative of the government forces you to do something that benefits you in no way and benefits him immensely, and Jesus commands you to go even further. But if a representative of the government asks you to do something that you ought to be doing anyway, and he is doing so to garner benefit for himself, then Farah commands you not to do it.
Farah closes his article by saying:
It’s time for Rick Warren to decide whether he stands with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or if he stands with the world and his “friend,” Barack Hussein Obama.
I would say that it’s time for Warren (and everyone else) to decide whether he stands with Jesus or with Joseph Farah.
Me, I’m going with Jesus on this one.
* I was going to title this “Sola Scriptura, my ass”, but I didn’t want to have to pay Jerry the royalties.