Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Max Hastings: Evangelicals are ‘stupid people’

Commenting on McCain’s chances – ever-decreasing, it seems – in next week’s presidential elections, respected journalist Sir Max Hastings says in Monday’s Daily Mail ‘McCain has still got the support of the God nuts. These include, dismayingly, many senior U.S. Army officers. For years, the U.S. Air Force has been a stronghold of Christian evangelicalism. American soldiers, alas, have caught the same disease. Many battalion staff meetings now start with prayers. Few ambitious career officers dare refuse to sign up for the Christian agenda. Most of them are solid for John McCain. Yet there are nowhere near enough soldiers, or evangelicals, or rich oil men to get this increasingly beleaguered old warhorse into the White House… To put it bluntly, the Republicans have become the party of America’s stupid people.’
He goes on to argue that a McCain victory, if it happened, would mean ‘more of the same’ – and includes among that ‘perverted religion.’ Since the only religion he has mentioned is Evangelical Christianity, it seems that – for Hastings – evangelicalism is perverted religion.

Hmm. I’m not qualified, by any means, to say whether Bush’s presidency has been ‘brutish’ and ‘a disaster’. On the other hand, I’m not aware that Hastings is qualified to comment on evangelicalism, or religion at all.

Let me grant straight away that evangelicalism has its odd-ball side: think of snake-handlers, tele-evangelists and ‘God wants you rich’ preachers. But just as Hastings wouldn’t want us to dismiss all journalists because of the existence of the Daily Sport, so we have a right to quibble if all evangelicals are dismissed because of some idiots and rogues. Come on, Max – you know better than that. (In case you don’t, look for example at Al Mohler, or the much-respected work of our own John Stott over many decades.)

Perverted religion? Evangelicals are Christians who take the great Christian creeds seriously. That may be wrong of us (I don’t think so – need you ask?) but it is hardly ‘perverting’ the Christian religion to do so.

And wasn’t it Obama who was exposed mid-campaign as sitting regularly under the ministry of a preacher of racial hatred?

1 comment:

Gigi said...

Most French people think evangelicalism is a sect on a par with the Moonies :-(

To be fair, the only image represented in the French media seems to be the Toronto airport sort, or the mega-rich tele-evangelists...quite alarming, I agree :-)