Wednesday, November 10, 2010

conservative ecumenism

So, for once, theOoze actually has an article of some interest.

Co-Existing with the New Black-Robed Regiment

It's about some things that happened at the Glenn Beck Restoring Honor rally, a bit about what was called 'the black-robed regiment'. It's a bit of a link with the past, when pastors at the time of the American Revolution opposed the British. In this new version of it at the Beck rally, though, it wasn't just Christian leaders in the mix, but also rabbis of the Jewish faith and Muslim imams.

Let's summarize what he have so far: The black-robed regiment is back again today to turn the heart of the nation back to God, God is the answer. But this effort isn't Christian, it isn't political, and it isn't sectarian. It includes Catholic priests, rabbis, Muslim imams, all working toward spiritual renewal and the rebuilding of a civil society one person; one family; one church, mosque, synagogue, temple and one community at a time because there is no right God or wrong God.

The aims of the new black-robed regiment appear to work quite nicely with these objectives:

- To promote, encourage and support engagement between Jews, Christians and Muslims both individually and through their respective communities through dialogue, education and research.
- To promote and facilitate the education of the public in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths and belief and in particular to advance the knowledge and understanding of: the teachings, traditions and practices of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths; the shared history of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths; both the common ground shared by the faiths and the theological, philosophical, cultural, political, and economic bases of and differences between the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths and communities.
- To promote for the benefit of the public, religious harmony between Jews, Christians and Muslims by encouraging among them a greater understanding and appreciation of and Muslims by encouraging among them a greater understanding and appreciation of each other’s distinctive faith, beliefs, and practices and their common ground. And to this end also to promote friendship, goodwill and mutual trust among them.

I must admit, this fairly recent development as been largely surprising to me. I've thought of ecumenism as mostly a liberal, progressive thing--it doesn't matter what you believe so long as you're a social justice type, all religions are viable ways to god, and all that.

On the other hand, I've known that politicals has in the past made for strange alliances. Evangelicals and Catholics are both largely pro-life, so that issue has made tem do some things together. A few years ago, Mormons were among the ones leading against the move in California to legalize homosexual marriage, which put them on the same side as Evangelicals.

And now, we seem to have the developing of another form a ecumenism, a politically conservative kind.

Most weekdays, I get a chance to listen to a bit of Beck's radio show. Maybe only a half-hour, roughly, but I still enjoy it, and find it informative. Although I don't listen to him as much as I did a few years ago, I like Hannity, and agree with him on many things, even though he is Catholic, and there are things in Catholicism that I have problems with.

It's an interesting conundrum. On the one hand, I'm an American, and I think our freedom of religion is a good thing. Were I, for example, a part of a pro-life organization, I think I would work with people of other flavors of Christianity, or other religions, or even those who claim no religion, in the goal of helping to save the lives of those who are unborn. I would definitely vote for, say, a Mormon or even a Muslim who would be politically conservative instead of a Protestant whose positions are liberal.

On the other hand, support for a person based on political or social positions should not be confused with thinking that person is a fellow believer or Christian. Confusion on this point may be easily possible, but it is important that it not be allowed to happen.

Although I like Beck and enjoy his show, and although I find much in his opinions that I agree with, I simply cannot accept that he, as a Mormon, is a fellow believer. Mormon doctrine is simply too deviant from biblical teachings. It does make me sad to write that, and I can only hope that a day comes when he will discard the unbibical elements in is beliefs and trust in the true God revealed only in the Bible, but that day is not now.

Nor can I agree with his attempt at a conservative form of ecumenism. If he were to keep it in the realm of political and social issues, I may not have as much of a problem with it (I must also acknowledge that my source here, theOoze, and whatever there sources are, may not be the best). It's when he goes over into saying that a largely undefinied 'god' is the answer that I get very squirrelly.

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