Jan 272016

The-Spirit-And-The-Word_BalancedA couple weeks ago an incident occurred in my city which made national news.

A man walked up to a police officer in a squad car and shot at him many times, hitting him with several of those shots and seriously injuring him.

The man was captured and confessed to the crime, plainly stating that he did it because of his Muslim faith and his support of ISIS.

As is the pattern of some today, our newly minted mayor along with some other politicians stubbornly stated that this crime had nothing to do with Islam.

They chose to ignore the truths of reality in order to further their political agenda.

There are many crimes and terroristic acts committed in today’s world expressly in the name of Islam.

Conversely, one is hard pressed to find many instances at all, at least in Western or many Middle Eastern cultures, where these types of travesties are done directly in the name of any other religion. Additionally, while the majority of Muslims may disagree with these types of violent acts, there is a minority that accepts and incorporates them.

And this minority is destructive and significant and influential. In many places, the percentages of Muslims who agree with these violent acts are in the double digits.

And so, while it is wrong to label all or even most Muslims as violent, one who argues that Islam has nothing to do with these terrible actions is arguing with reality.

Radical Islam is real, substantial, and to be reckoned with.

Intentionally ignoring truth and reality isn’t right no matter what ends one is trying to achieve. It’s dishonest and wrong and I do not believe God honors this type of approach. Even if it is done in an attempt to accomplish some kind of good ends.

But wait, I’m not done. Because the point of this post is not to bash those dishonest political liberals.

For no matter what our political leanings are or aren’t, I believe we are all guilty of the same types of transgressions at one time or another. And many times it doesn’t even have anything to do with politics. Politics is just the easy example here.

Just to even the political scales for a moment, I bring up as an example, David Barton.

This man, who has been spoken about here before, is a politically conservative Christian culture warrior who has been exposed for regularly bending, stretching, and obfuscating the truth in order to make his political points and further his agenda. Even when he is criticized by other politically and/or theologically conservative Christians, Barton and his supporters will try to smear and misrepresent the opposition as some kind of crusaders of political correctness or as “liberal bastards”.

Now, I know that not all conservatives act like or support David Barton and people like him, They don’t all parrot Barton and his ilk and choose to ignore the truths that they misrepresent. Just as I know that not all liberals duplicitously ignore the connections between *some* segments of Islam and violence. And I know others yet would even reject the liberal or conservative label and would take on some other label, or would reject any label at all.

All that notwithstanding, I believe we all have our biases and will at times allow those biases to misrepresent or cloud the truth of the matter at hand.

Whether it be governmental politics, or church politics, or really any argument or issue of life with which we’re dealing. We don’t like those little inconvenient truths from getting in the way of what we want or the argument we’re trying to win or the ends we’re trying to achieve.

Let us strive to be honest and straightforward. Let us not intentionally skew the truths of reality. Let us not try to achieve the ends we think God wants with disingenuous means. Rather, let us be true and upright and rely on God to see things through.

  22 Responses to “Kevin H: To Tell The Truth”

  1. Not new to the accusations against Barton, but I’ve never seen his claims refuted. Can you refer me to a website or other material where I can check this out?

  2. Warren Throckmorton at Patheos has a number of articles and wrote a book about his nonsense.

  3. Barton lost my respect when he couldn’t differentiate between Mormonism and Christianity in regards to Glenn Beck.

    “Let us strive to be honest and straightforward. Let us not intentionally skew the truths of reality. Let us not try to achieve the ends we think God wants with disingenuous means. Rather, let us be true and upright and rely on God to see things through.”
    — Well said.

  4. Kevin is gold…very happy he’s letting us read his thoughts.

  5. Mark,

    There’s not one singular site or webpage I know of that you can go to that will categorically and succinctly spell out all of Barton’s hijinks. There are sites you can go to that do have a lot of posts and information exposing Barton over time. The most voluminous information is probably on Barton’s Jefferson Lies book that he has recently re-released after having it pulled by a Christian publisher a couple years back because it had too many inaccuracies and unsubtantiated claims.

    Here are a couple suggested sites:

    Warren Throckmorton is one site as Michael has already mentioned: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/category/david-barton-2/

    And Throckmorton did write a book along with a colleague critiquing Barton’s Jefferson Lies book.

    John Fea is a Christian American history professor who has also posted much information about Barton over the years: http://thewayofimprovement.com/?s=David+Barton

  6. And thank you Michael for your kind words and support. Support even to the point that you stick my article back up at the top of the blog. Completely unnecessary, but I appreciate the gesture.

    I’m glad you find my thinking and writing to be good, because I don’t find that compelling even myself.

  7. Kevin H,

    This was particularly helpful because it reflects some things I think needed said on this blog.
    You said them very well.
    My apologies for the other articles…I didn’t know this stuff was all going to break today.
    I was very happy I had your article as I have to leave soon for a doctors appointment.

  8. Michael,

    You don’t need to apologize for the other articles. It wouldn’t bother me at all if you posted 50 more articles today. No skin off my back.

  9. This place is called the Phoenix Preacher. Not the Philadelphia Parishioner. 🙂

  10. Kevin,

    I’m very picky about what I post here.
    You are hitting on things that we need to hear…and I think it’s very helpful to hear them from another voice.
    This is good stuff…

  11. Something I read from Michael Brown: “Most Muslims are not terrorists. Most terrorists are Muslim.”
    We need to admit the truth of both those statements. Some of us might squirm more when saying #1, some more when saying #2, but both are true in our present era. If we cannot admit the truth, how can we ever consider ways to bring an end to the problem?

  12. “If we cannot admit the truth, how can we ever consider ways to bring an end to the problem?”

    Exactly. In many respects, there are not easy solutions to Radical Islam and the other circumstances it affects (refugees, correlations with world political leaders and nations, etc.). However, ignoring truths of the matter will only make it that much harder to come upon good solutions.

  13. I had typed out a long post in response to this thread but I think reading it back through it was confusing.

    However, in the writing of it, I worked out my thinking on some items about justice/freedom in a way I hadn’t done before.

    Thanks for writing this article Kevin so that I could make some sense of what it means for me to be an American Christian interested in equality, justice and freedom.

  14. Hey Jesus, “What are we to do about our enemies?”

    “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!,” replied Jesus.

    (Matthew 5:44)

    How much do you love the members of ISIS?

    Or the latest person who shot up a school or church or movie theater?

    That question may seem absurd.

    And maybe it is.

    I think “love your enemies” is the most unreasonable thing Jesus says.

    Jesus and His audience lived under an oppressive occupying Roman government.

    The Romans employed torture and murder to keep people in line.

    Everyone listening to Jesus talk about this “love your enemies” stuff had plenty of opportunities to experience “I hate you with every ounce of my guts” enemies in the soldiers and prefects that carried out this daily social domination.

    We’re dealing with humans, We can have hope.

    Hope that messages of love and acceptance and peace can be heard.

    Hope that God can redeem even the worst of sinners.

    Hope that God can redeem my deep, dark sins, too.

    I’m not seeking to humanize terrorists and murderers because they deserve it or because I am ignoring their actions.

    I’m seeking to humanize them because it’s true.

    It is also the only way we can hope to stem the tide of terrorism and shootings at schools and malls and workplaces and houses of worship.

    Because if these actions are the work of monsters and demons, I am powerless to stop them.

    I can only shake my head and feel sad that such beings cannot be stopped.

    And I hear the seemingly insane words of Jesus telling me to love my enemies and pray for them?


  15. JonnyB,

    How to think about and handle the terrorism issue, especially as Christians on a personal level, is a tough thing to totally discern. The point of this article was not to address how we should be dealing with terrorism, except that we need to start out by being honest about the facts and reality of it. When we start with an honest base, it will help us in dealing with all the manifestations of the issue.

  16. JonnyB,
    I think you’re right. The only way to deal with our fears of “the other” is to work to humanize them instead of seeing them as a demon or monster.

  17. As an anti-theist, we’ll said, except you fail to realize that your god will require you to die on behalf of your faith. Religion is real, the absolute unified divider, propping man against man in defense of fables that built structures of law that make it impossible for unity on any front. Islam is but one unified divider among a sea of radical ideologies that demand nothing less than devotion even unto death.

    Perhaps, rather than blaming the Muslim, blame religion, and acknowledge that this god fearing nation kills at will in defense of such nonsense.

  18. Hey Reuben. Hope you are doing OK. I wanted to apologize for being unkind to you many times over the years.

  19. You are loved Reuben.

  20. Reuben,

    Although I completely disagree with the conclusions you have made regarding God, I respect your desire to find and speak truth.

    I don’t think it would be worthwhile to try to debate you on the issues at hand where we have disagreement as I don’t think either one of us would be very successful in changing the other’s mind. But thank you for reading and your willingness to interject in a respectful fashion. Sincerely.

  21. The problem as I see it is not Islam, but the extremist elements of the Islamic religion. I think Reuben touches on a good point that religion does divide people. Religion is the cause of much evil throughout history. By religion, I certainly don’t mean a true faith in Jesus Christ. I’m thinking of religions of works based salvation.

    Christianity has it’s extremists also. I’ve been over on the “God told them to do it” thread, talking about the people in Oregon. Aren’t these men terrorists also when they demand their way at the point of a gun?

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