Saturday, October 21, 2006

"Black Letter" Rightists

Mark Tooley, the Director of the Committee to divide the United Methodist Church at the Institute of Religion and Democracy, has ably projected the perspective of "Black Letter" Rightists in an essays about "Red Letter" Leftists on Frontpage Magazine.

Tooley faults Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, Randall Balmer, Richard Rohr, Ron Sider, Barbara Brown Taylor and other "Red Letter" Christians for speaking out in the public square about Christian values.

While recognizing the authority of the entire Bible, "Red Letter" Christians believe that the words of Jesus should have precedence when weighing biblical values. They emphasize the values of peace, justice, equality and the common good. They are concerned about poverty, global warming, human rights, and health care.

"Black Letter" Christians believe that the words of Jesus are too liberal and utopian for life in the real world. While claiming allegiance to biblical authority, in practice they deny any temporal authority for the words of Jesus. They emphasize the values of the neo-conservative police state -- pre-emptive strike defense, unregulated capitalism, social darwinism and Christian nationalism.

Tooley calls red letter Christians the "elite" but that is merely a diversion to distract attention from himself and his cronies at their well-funded neo-conservative think tank. The Institute for Religion and Democracy, founded and led by Roman Catholic neo-conservatives in 1981, exists to divide and disrupt progressive mainline Churches and organizations. Generously funded by Right-wing political groups and foundations, the IRD uses the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention as a model for fomenting similar fundamentalist takeover movements in mainline Episcopal, Methodist, United Church of Christ, and Presbyterian churches.

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