An Open Letter to Conservative Christians in the U.S., On Health Care

By Brian McLaren

Dear friends,

Although today I would not call myself a political or social conservative, I am grateful for my heritage as an Evangelical Christian: my faith is rooted in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, I honor and seek to live in harmony with the Scriptures, and I love to share the good news of God’s love with others. Since my teenage years when I decided to follow Jesus, I have pursued wholehearted discipleship, and my life has been shaped by that commitment. After completing graduate school and teaching college English, I became a church planter and pastor and served in the same congregation for twenty-four years.

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  1. Sad. I read this and the author assumed that I was stupid and a blind follower of people he discredited as bad people — if not bad Christians. If I am not like the author of this article and I do not believe like him then I am not his kind’a “christian.” Since when did God die and this guy become my judge and take the Lord’s rightful place?

    This statement really bothers me: “I sometimes think that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Fox News may now influence many conservative Evangelicals, Charismatics, and Catholics even more than Billy Graham, Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Pope Benedict, or even the four gospels.” Now, how can I take this man’s writing seriously! It is insulting and degrading for me to waste my time reading any more. Degrading one’s opponents is the point of this so-called “open letter.”

    This so-called “open letter” is an arrogant and weak form of political intimidation and at worse the product of Obama’s divisive political/religious bigotry. Of course, this guy can’t see it – he is the problem. I thought Christians were able to be citizens of this country? Have Christians been disenfranchised? It is sad that this man and his friends think Christians should just stay in their churches and keep their nose out of the power elites (liberal or conservative) business. I had some friends when I was young that had escaped from the U.S.S.R. This sounds so similar to what their regime pushed upon the Christians there: “Stay in your church, keep your mouth shut, accept what we do, pay for what we want, don’t share your Faith, give us your children and drop dead – this is what will please us.” As the power elite of Soviet times wanted so, too, the power elite of our day follows this same mentality.

    I don’t think Christians in America will stand for such a “self-imposed” disenfranchisement just to please comfortable weak Christians. Spoilt people whine but real citizens organize and VOTE! This is a representative republic! Wake up your not in Oz any more! In other words: “This isn’t Starbucks, Toto!”

  2. You obviously agree with all of the scare tactics a lies that are being spewed by the like of O'Riley and Limbaugh and the rest of that Ilk. What Brian McLaren is saying is that we Christians should be informed by scripture and not bu oafs like those on Faux News.

    I also find it interesting that you say that you don't want to read any more but then you go right on reading. It is time that other Christians speak up which is exactly what Mr. McLaren has done here and not let the loons speak for the rest of us.

    You say "If I am not like the author of this article and I do not believe like him then I am not his kind’a “christian.”" Just like when the loons on the right call Obama a Nazi becasue he does not think like the loons do. Are these the kind of people you want speaking for you? I certainly do not and that was his point.

  3. I am sorry you interpreted this response of mine the way you did, and I strongly believe that my writing had nothing to do with your interpretation.

    Your interpretation Father was entirely yours and it had nothing to do what I wrote — you had been primed before you read it and you did not read it objectively. You didn't read what I said deeply. You didn't hear my opinion as I have heard yours. Diversity is beautiful but on Obama's followers terms: "everyone else get out of the way we don't want to hear anything you have to say." So much for a bi-partisan approach. "Other citizens need not apply or exercise citizenship than the ones (Obama's followers) that are with us" seems to be the main thrust of so much of what I am reading from Obama's side. I cannot take it seriously.

    Disenfranchisement is the crux of my argument as you can see — it is not healthy for disenfranchisement to happen to any citizen and democracy is weakened when intimidation is used (as in the situation with the New Black Panthers in Phili during the election). I respect everyone but no one is going to tell me not to vote the way I want via intimidation of me because I am a Christian! No one!

    I vote as a Christian because I don't compartmentalize morality from politics or my religion from my citizenship. I have heard more compelling arguments from Savage than this guy who has irritated me so much by his soft and comfortable religion.

    I respect all people but I am compelled to listen to the person who actually does respect me. Respecting me almost wins me over! The rest is to have a logical and well reasoned argument to clinch the deal.

    Now, I am finished with that point now on to another: Father, how do you justify (if you do support Obama) supporting Obama's agenda, if you do, again, with his support of abortion in all stages of gestation? I never supported all of Bush's agenda and I do think Obama has some good points but as an Orthodox Christian with our history of saints I cannot understand how an Orthodox Christian could support him (and I also found it difficult to support Bush, by the way). You branded me. That is the easy way. That is dehumanizing because you dismiss me via a label. I am a human being created in God's image. To dismiss a person is to dismiss Christ.

    Your assumptions are wrong and you need to read what I SAID and not what you presumed to read and respect me enough to understand that my position, this particular one of disenfranchisement, is logical and well reasoned.

  4. I read what you wrote the same way you read what Brian McLaren wrote. I read things and interpret them just as you do. It is my opinion and just as your opinion is right for you mine is right for me.

    As far as President Obama is concerned and I would ask you to speak of him that way here on my blog as I like to respect the President of the United States. I support whoever the president is because he is the president and if he fails we all fail. I do not support the entire agenda nor did I support the entire President Bush agenda. I am not a single issue voter nor do I think we can change abortion in the courtroom. Abortion needs to be changed from the pulpit! We need to change the culture and make the law not necessary. We clergy needs to roll up our sleeves and be heard on issues, being careful of course not to cross the line, and speak out and write on issue so the faithful will know what the church believes.

    I believe what Mr. McLaren was saying, and maybe he was not talking to you, I was not insulted by his writing. What he was saying is that we need to be informed by scripture and good preaching, I try good preaching but sometimes it does not work… LOL
    If I labeled you wrong sorry but I did read what you wrote and commented accordingly. I would suggest you go back and read what Mr. McLaren wrote again and really read it this time before getting hot under the "collar" and see if you still believe the same way.

    Hey, thanks for the comments it is nice to read someone who disagrees with me for a change. Keep it up!

  5. Didn't care for his tone or condescending attitude towards Christians that don't agree with his analysis of what is taking place in our nation at this time. Those torture surveys are skewed by many variables! Sorry, but I try my best to personally live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Osama’s interpretation of the "Social Gospel” is the same as Rev. Wright and father Flagger and IMO, it's a heresy! Our republic is being re-engineered and that’s the problem. I heard that Sweden’s health care system works very well for the citizens. The People are angry because they have realized that they have been bamboozled!

  6. SINGLE ISSUE voter! Father it's murdering babies we are talking about! For President Osama to answer the question of when life begins with a stupid answer as; paraphrasing him "It's beyond my pay grade" As a Christian, we ALL should KNOW that we were created in Eternity, so OBVIOUSLY life begins at conception! His answer was a clever cop-out! I believe that the courts should outlaw abortions as it should be illegal to kill babies. The reason the culture so easily accepts these abortions is BECAUSE it is legal! Some people actually believe that the government knows best. Some people believe if it’s legal it’s good and illegal it’s bad. And we all know that legalities can be political rather than moral. These babies have rights to inheritances and other legal things, but they don’t have the right to life???

  7. Denise,

    Pro Life is more than Anti Abortion. I believe that we will not win this war in the courts we need to change the attitude of people and we can do that thorugh the church. Pro Life is also anti poverty, anti dealth pentalty, pro health care for all etc. If we truly believe in the sanctity of life from the moment of conception to its natuaral end then we need to be concerned about poverty, hunger, lack of affordable housing, education etc.

    Thats what I mean when I say I am not a single issue voter. If you read my entire reply you would have seen that.

  8. HUGE difference between how charitable should the GOVERMENT be towards the less fortunate and killing the most defenseless of us, don't you think? All these Catholic politicians that use the same cop-out nonsense as, “I don’t believe in abortion, but far be it for me to tell others that they must believe that too drives me crazy.” Lol Nobody is denied healthcare itself in this country at a county hospital. Its healthcare insurance that needs to be more affordable. It has always been way too expensive for us raising 3 girls, but we made sure we had it. Not sure if I want a governments brand of charity! I have seen it and entitlements do nothing but exploit and keep poor people down and the rich get discouraged at the government taking way too much of their money to provide entitlements that we can’t afford.

  9. Father, this is notion is not of God. You cannot take care of poverty by aborting the future generation. That is how this world does things by killing the innocent — it is a neat and tidy way of taking care of unwanted people and social dilemmas– it is historical as well. You cannot do anything for anyone if you do not first let them have life in the first place!

    Secondly, how are we going to change a thing if we don't vote pro-life? I see your statement "Pro Life is also anti poverty, anti death penalty, pro health care for all etc." as an idealistic cop-out. First things first and the first thing is life.

    For me, to vote for "President" Obama is to vote for abortion (and the responsibility that one will have before God on the Last Day for participating in such a thing!) and his picks for fulling positions in his administration were sanitized of ALL pro-life people! Now how compatible to Orthodox Christianity is that? The President has been for the killing of children in their mother's wombs from the moment of conception to the very second of birth — ALL 9 MONTHS! This is evil and this is a choice by this man. You get rotten fruit from a rotten tree — his whole agenda is now tainted.

    The more I see what this man is pushing the more I will fight against him and his agenda and, obviously, many, many others are feeling the same way! It is democracy! All should have their say, in any way they want to say it, and not be vilified! His so-called "health care" program is worded in such a way so as to get him all that he wants in his agenda. Read it! It is vague enough to take advantage of our naive idealism all the while he and his cronies actually have the POWER to interpretate it the way they want — if not right off the bat then over time.

    It is the "Pro-death" creep. If there was just a few people alarmed then I would not feel the way I do so deeply! Many intelligent people have been awoken. We all weigh these things in our minds (about this so-called "health care" agenda). I have been involved with politics for way too long to be naive any longer.

  10. Father, believe me I am pro life but pro life to everything that it means. I believe we should vote pro life but I also believe that we have to vote for the person who would be the best for the country on all issues and not just one.

    But I will say this again we need to change the culture and we need to change our people so that the laws become irrelevant. But at the same time we need to be concerned about health care, poverty, housing, education, and all that is involved. We need to speak to all the needs of people.

    Since this does not seem to be going anywhere I am going to turn the comments off because we are not getting anywhere even though I think we agree we are just saying it different.

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