Monday, January 21, 2013

Mark Driscoll, Twitter and the Inauguration of President Obama

 I'll confess, I'm not certain about how I feel right now. I think this issue is not only sensitive but is quite primed to explode. Driscoll and the President both provoke fairly intense feelings on all sides so this controversy is by and large fueled by passion. Which is by no means a bad thing.

I will lay out a few points and attempt to explain what I believe is going on.

1. Mark Driscoll shouldn't have posted the tweet. Period. For a few reasons. One, it is far too hasty and two, the opening clause about "praying" may be well-intentioned, but what follows seems to contradict it.

2. As with the nature of controversy, it is fanned and flamed because people, simply, lose their minds over it. This is, for many, a special day. The inauguration of the President of the United States creates passion and optimism for the future, particularly on MLK day. Detractors of Mark need to realize this and tone things down. Calling him an asshole doesn't do much besides piss off everyone else.

3. Despite Mark's comment about the President not "knowing" God, the President claims to be a Christian. According to the President,
I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful. I didn't 'fall out in church' as they say, but there was a very strong awakening in me of the importance of these issues in my life. I didn't want to walk alone on this journey. Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals.
There is one thing that I want to mention that I think is important. Part of what we've been seeing during the course of this campaign is some scurrilous e-mails that have been sent out, denying my faith, talking about me being a Muslim, suggesting that I got sworn in at the U.S. Senate with a Quran in my hand or that I don't pledge allegiance to the flag. I think it's really important for your readers to know that I have been a member of the same church for almost 20 years, and I have never practiced Islam. I am respectful of the religion, but it's not my own. One of the things that's very important in this day and age is that we don't use religion as a political tool and certainly that we don't lie about religion as a way to score political points. I just thought it was important to get that in there to dispel rumors that have been over the Internet. We've done so repeatedly, but obviously it's a political tactic of somebody to try to provide this misinformation.
You can read the entire interview here.

I think we should take the President at his word that he is a Christian. I do not agree with his stance on taxes nor do I approve of his handling of the abortion issue. However, the attempts he has shown to live out in regards to helping the poor and providing healthcare are firmly with the Gospel. If one must criticize him, do so by saying he is "inconsistent," not "unChristian."

Still thinking this through.


1 comment:

  1. As a Christian who is a political liberal, I find Mark Driscoll's words to be disgusting. I think George Bush was a terrible president. I believe he also had inconsistent positions as a Christian, like leading us into unjust wars such as Iraq, as well as letting corporations bring working families into poverty.

    Still, I would never say that Bush didn't know God. Where was Driscoll's righteous fury in the Bush years? He wasn't there because he's a hypocritical partisan. I would never attend his church after this incident.