The Voice of Chalcedon: Death to Liberals! (?)
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Dec 19, 2005 at 01:34:51 PM EST
For a generation, the premier Christian theocratic think tank in the U.S. has been the Chalcedon Foundation, based in Vallecito, California. Founded by the late R.J. Rushdoony, the organization is now led by his son, Rev. Mark Rushdoony. It is working hard to define, defend, and advance the work of this patriarch of modern Christian theocratic thought -- the seminal thinker of Christian Reconstructionism. So its fair to say that when Chalcedon speaks, American theocrats listen.

Thus it was startling when Chalcedon's Director of Communications, Rev. Chris Ortiz, aimed a blog post filled with what author David Neiwert calls "eliminationist rhetoric" at Talk to Action writer Dr. Bruce Prescott, and liberal Christians in general.
 

Ortiz knows that we honor civil discourse at Talk to Action -- and having met him and corresponded a bit, some of us thought that perhaps he did too. He has heard me speak in person about how whatever the political outcomes of the day, an integral part of living together in peace is how we approach civil discourse.  Eliminationist rhetoric, such as that used by Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Pat Robertson and organized hate groups, typically calls for the death or removal of people with whom they happen to disagree.    

Here is what Ortiz wrote:

"I am willing to swallow most criticisms from the secular anti-theocrats. Much of their critique stems from misinformation so I try to be patient and instructive.

HOWEVER....

This recent post from Mainstream Baptist is beyond my human ability to tolerate. It's idiotic, satanic, and outright unbiblical. Behold the fool:

'Today's Ethics Daily has posted a couple stories about the new imperative among Southern Baptists to reproduce. Bob Allen has a story about how "Under-Population Worries Southern Baptist Leader" Al Mohler. Miguel De La Torre has an article about how this "'Full-Quiver' Theology Appeals to Race".

Jesus commanded Christians to "make disciples," not "make babies." The kingdom of God does not grow by biological reproduction, it grows by spiritual reproduction.

The Genesis command for mankind to "be fruitful and multiply" has been amply fulfilled. Cities the world over are teaming with evidence of that. In a world that is struggling to find, produce, equitably distribute, and preserve the resources necessary to sustain life, the responsible thing for Christians to do -- and for people of all faiths to do -- is to have fewer children than they had before modern forms of birth control became available.'

These wolves must be condemned in the severest terms. Their outrageous ideas are antithetical to the clear teachings of Scripture regarding children.

But, then again, this may be a blessing in disguise! Dedicated protestants will continue producing large families while oxymoronic "liberal Christians" have little or none. These useless faith-bearers will eventually face extinction by their own doing.

There is much that could be said about this extraordinary statement. And I am sure others will have much to add.  But I want to say just one or two simple things, lest they get lost.

Let's start by noting that Bruce Prescott is a serious Christian whose view of Christianity happens to be different than that of Rev. Ortiz. And that, more than anything else seems to be what challenges Ortiz's toleration. Ortiz claims that "liberal" and "Christian" are mutually exclusive identities.

Liberal Christians, he says, are "satanic," "unbiblical"  "wolves," who must be "condemned in the severest terms."  He also strongly implies that the only reason they should not be eliminated now, is that they will eventually eliminate themselves by failing to sufficiently breed.

As R.J. Rushdoony cataloged in his major work, the Institutes of Biblical Law, come the theocracy, there will be a long list of capital offenses, including such religious crimes as heresy, apostasy and idolatry, alongside such sex crimes as adultery and homosexuality. (I discuss this in some detail in Eternal Hostility:  The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy.)  Rushdoony's list of capital offenses has in fact, been a matter of considerable concern to many. Recently, Ortiz has actively sought to reassure people -- particularly gays and lesbians -- that they shouldn't worry, because Rushdoony felt that theocracy is a long, long way off. Ortiz also says that theocracy cannot be imposed via political takeover, but that it must be universally accepted (more or less) by believers. While this argument deserves to be debated on its merits another time, suffice to say that Ortiz displays the very impatience for theocracy -- with all that that implies -- that rightfully alarms other sectors of society in the face of the the contemporary theocratic movement now under way. His words sound a great deal more like a call for theocratic vigilantism than the patience he elsewhere claims to counsel.

UPDATE: Chalcedon & Clarkson, Cont.




Display:
In the essay above, Clarkson quotes Ortiz's original essay, first published under the title "What an Idiot Looks Like." In response to Talk to Action critiques, Ortiz has retitled his essay "A Dreadful Perspective," edited it, and noted certain changes in a footnote. But he still refers to "oxymoronic 'liberal Christians'" -- a pejorative with which I take issue here.

Here's Ortiz's revised essay:

A Dreadful Perspective

I am willing to swallow most criticisms from the secular anti-theocrats. Much of their critique stems from misinformation so I try to be patient and instructive.

HOWEVER....

This recent post from Mainstream Baptist is beyond my human ability to tolerate.* Reformed readers should be equally outraged:

Today's Ethics Daily has posted a couple stories about the new imperative among Southern Baptists to reproduce. Bob Allen has a story about how "Under-Population Worries Southern Baptist Leader" Al Mohler. Miguel De La Torre has an article about how this "'Full-Quiver' Theology Appeals to Race".

Jesus commanded Christians to "make disciples," not "make babies." The kingdom of God does not grow by biological reproduction, it grows by spiritual reproduction.

The Genesis command for mankind to "be fruitful and multiply" has been amply fulfilled. Cities the world over are teaming with evidence of that. In a world that is struggling to find, produce, equitably distribute, and preserve the resources necessary to sustain life, the responsible thing for Christians to do -- and for people of all faiths to do -- is to have fewer children than they had before modern forms of birth control became available.

These comments must be condemned in the most severe terms. They are antithetical to the clear teachings of Scripture regarding children. No matter to Mr. Prescott though, he doesn't subscribe the veracity of the Bible.

But, then again, this may be a blessing in disguise! Dedicated protestants will continue producing large families while oxymoronic "liberal Christians" have little or none. These questionable faith-bearers have no solid doctine of the future -- that requires offspring.

*NOTE: My original post bore more scathing pejoratives. I've removed the harsh language at the gentleman's appeal of one whom I respect. I cannot, however, emphasize enough the offense of Mr. Prescott's unbiblical view of the family.


Although Ortiz errs in asserting that one cannot be a liberal and a Christian at the same time, I still embrace his right to believe as he does, because I believe the message of the gospel, the "good news of great joy" that God's love extends to "all the people," including people who see issues from a different political or theological perspective. And though we disagree, I applaud Ortiz for editing his original post to promote a more civil, and mutually respectful discourse. Ultimately, democracy will prevail over theocracy because it welcomes and includes more people and perspectives -- and that's a more solid doctrine of the future, as opposed to theocrats, who draw smaller and smaller circles of exclusivity. From the joyful hearts of "all the people," a Very Merry Christmas, Brother Ortiz!

by jhutson on Mon Dec 19, 2005 at 05:40:56 PM EST

Might come to recognize a common foe:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Dec 19, 2005 at 07:30:39 PM EST


compared to the organization Mr. Ortiz represents, the southern Baptist convention (SBC) is, or at least once was, arguably mainstream among Christian organizations and denominations. that is why I think its politicized call for large families is an important and alarming development in the history of the religious right.

so numerous are the members of the SBC, and so relatively venerable and influential is the SBC as a denominational institution, that some informed commentators probably don't see the SBC as part of the Religious Right at all. to be sure, I'm unaware of any explicit calls by the SBC for an American theocracy. (please correct me if I'm mistaken.)

but, I would submit that the religious right includes more that effectively self-proclaimed theocrats. this is an idea many other experts on this site would seem to agree with.

therefore, I believe it is on-topic for me to suggest that when large numbers of offspring are being demanded of or encouraged among families only within racial, national, or theological parameters (e.g. all white families, all German families, all fundamentalist families) a dangerous action has been taken.

setting aside the fact that when already large groups of people engage in a campaign of procreation it has negative impacts on the natural world--the environment--it is important to note that historically such calls end up with endorsements (direct or indirect) of genocide resting comfortably alongside them.

a call to procreation within racial, national, or theological parameters is by definition a political act, and by definition it presumes some other population--real or perceived--that must be out-produced. it is, in fact, a call founded upon social Darwinism and aimed against another group of human beings. It is a call to cultural violence.

simply put: I believe calls to procreation among only the racially-, ethnically-, or theologically-sanctioned is the flipside of genocide: it is a call to eliminate an opponent, but not by means of sterilization, concentration camps, or killings, but by a quasi-mechanized operation of over-production of children. It is playing fast and loose with human life: the lives of those the over-producers want to overwhelm as well as the over-produced children themselves, children used essentially as weapons in a cultural or literal war.

as the calls from the SBC for cultural and political takeover of the American republic via child-production increase in number and volume, I suspect the already large industry of Southern Baptist (and other conservative evangelical, as well as conservative Reformed and non-denominational) mega-churches and private Christian schools will be expanded and modified to facilitate the over-production: more and larger Christian/church-sponsored daycare centers, classes on motherhood (practical child-rearing tips combined with indoctrination), and so on.

at the same time, conservative Christians within the medical, hospital administration, political, and charitable organization fields--as well as conservative Christian elected officials--will continue to work to promote Christianization of the institutions and professions in which they labor, and to work collaboratively. (E.g., politicians working to secure federal funding for faith-based daycare centers.)

the SBC's call will be at least heard (maybe followed) by a huge swath of the religious right's rank and file--and many otherwise un-politicalized/non-radicalized conservative christians in general.

it is potentially is a very dangerous development.

by IseFire on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:32:46 AM EST

Interesting comment, IseFire. Along with this call to "sinfulize" unproductive and not productive enough couples, there is also a call to stigmatize familes who still insist on letting their children go to public schools. Clearly there is an intense effort to push the Southern Baptist Convention in an even further far-right, isolationalist, anti-democratic and anti-pluralistic direction.

by Carlos on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 11:13:13 AM EST
Parent
Quite bluntly, folks, you are witnessing the conversion of the Southern Baptist Convention to a coercive religious group.  All of the same tactics are well stuck in (and have in some cases been around since the beginning) in groups with a longer history of dominionism, such as "independent Baptist" and pentecostal and charismatic groups in the dominionist community.

If the trend isn't stopped in the SBC, I fully expect it within twenty years to become as spiritually abusive as the Assemblies of God is now.

It's also important to stop it as much as one can, because among other things dominionists are using the hijacking of the Republican Party and the hijacking of the SBC as models for how they can attack other mainstream Christian denominations and convert them to dominionist groups.  The Presbyterians and Methodists have been explicitly targeted, as well as the Lutheran church.

by dogemperor on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:25:54 PM EST
Parent

Unitarians are considered a bit too wee in numbers for bother.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:19:10 PM EST
Parent



Some ten percent will be gay. Do these nutcases want to make women procreate so that 10 percent of their kids will kill themselves?
Can It Happen Here?
by janinsanfran on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:19:12 PM EST
Parent
What other options would they have ? Plus, they tend to deny that gayness is genetic. That's the typical first line of defense - it has to be. Otherwise, God had to have created gays as an inherent part of the creation - intentionally. That possibility would be problematic for the Christian right, to say the least, to admit.

First of all, they'd have to relinquish the group they love so much to vilify - and think of all the time wasted impressing the notion of a  "Protocols of The Elders of Zion"-like conspiracy, carried out by an alleged gay cabal, into the American public mind. That effort would be wasted.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:51:24 PM EST
Parent




Ortiz must also believe Saint Paul is satanic because he advises Christians not to marry or have families at all unless they are to weak to control their lust. In short, this guy is actually calling the Bible itself unbiblical.

by Dave on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 07:21:20 PM EST


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