Reed Magazine May 2004
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Left Us Pray...

Mainline Christian minister Reverend Rich Lang of Seattle's Trinity United Methodist Church goes even further: he compares Bush to the "spirit of the antichrist" that the Biblical author John warns against. He doesn't mean that Bush is the cloven-hoofed character familiar from apocalypse movies and pop theology; only that, in Lang's opinion, he misrepresents Christ's message, which Lang takes to be progressive, not conservative. "Literally, break the word apart," says Lang. "It is a spirituality that is anti-Christ."

Despite their fame, church leaders like Robertson, Falwell, and Dobson don't own the place, says Jim Wallis, author of the bestseller God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It. "Pat Robertson and the religious right want the world to think that the only option is the religious right, that religion equals right-wing. It's just wrong. There are millions of evangelicals who didn't vote for George Bush and there are even more Catholics who didn't. But the media has given the microphones to the religious right."

cross imageRecently Wallis decided to seize the bully pulpit of the left-wing news program—Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. "I said, ‘I think that Jesus' top priorities hardly would have been a capital gains tax cut and the occupation of Iraq.' And the crowd just erupted. And I said, ‘How did Jesus become pro-rich, pro-war, and only pro-America?' and they were just whooping and hollering. For progressive religion!"

Well, for progressivism, anyway. "The right uses religion as a wedge," complains Wallis. "They say there are only two moral issues, abortion and gay marriage. That's absurd! There are 3,000 verses in the Bible on poverty. Protecting the environment is a moral value. When we go to war, how we go to war, whether we tell the truth about going to war, those are moral value questions, too."

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Reed Magazine May