Monday, June 25, 2007

Faith as a Uniting Factor?

In a recent speech before the national meeting of the United Church of Christ, U.S. Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama accused the religious right of hijacking faith for political purposes. "Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and faith started being used to drive us apart," he stated.

Interesting.... Faith as a uniting factor. Since when? Certainly as I look at history, religious conviction has rarely had a uniting influence on a national level in any country and in the U.S. less so than in most. But more importantly, from a biblical perspective, I am not even sure that this is either possible or desirable. Jesus, Himself, said that he did not come to bring peace to the earth but a sword (Matthew 10:34). The following verses make it clear that faith in Jesus is not a united factor but a divisive one. This is evidenced by the persecution faced by Christians around the world today.

Before Mr. Obama wraps himself in a religious cloak and suggests that we should just all get along, perhaps he should take a closer look at what faith really is.


Anonymous said...

I have great respect for the work you do, and the stamina you have shown working while you are recovering.

I disagree with your premise. That speech was booked before his party presidential candidacy, and sorry, faith unites in the universal church in certain doctrines and shared issues and in love.
Your compassion for the suffering church is a uniter.

I'm not going to argue with you, on a geo-political level, yes, that is where faith divides. If you are writing this post for a US audience it should tickle them, you are feeding the religious right victim status, the Audacity of Hope and this candidates personal testimony doesn't fit that box.

I'm also not going to presume you didn't read the whole speech, given the quality of work you do.

If Republicans support your ministry I get you have to tell them what they want to hear.
Blog on!

Bene D

Glenn Penner said...

Thanks for your comments. However, since VOMC is not an American ministry (we are Canadian) and hence, Republicans do not support us, I feel no obligation to tell anyone anything. So, please don't assume that this is my motivation behind these comments.

Also. Obama was not speaking as faith as a uniter of Christians (which you rightfully refer to as true unity) but of uniting the people of the United States as a nation and a society. Hence, my premise remains valid.

Also, Christian faith includes issues like homosexuality, abortion, etc., and Obama is taking a position on these issues which places him at odds with the very faith he is claiming to hold to. Curious, isn't it? I have no idea what kind of unity he is really referring to, nor what kind of faith

terri said...


It takes a true wordsmith to flatter so nicely while insulting another's character and motivations.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Penner:

I'm also Canadian.

I took time to read the complete speech. Twice actually, along various kinds of coverage simply because it did stand out. A fair amount of criticism came from conserative religious groups involved in politics in the US and well as the political left. No surprise there.
I don't know how much clearer he and his staff could have been about why he chose to keep this appt and who he chose to focus on.

We'll agree to disagree.
Media was there.
Their job is make this speech about politics.

Again, I respectfully disagree.
Not all people of faith believe committed homosexual couples are sinning, or do all us evangelicals around the world believe all abortion is wrong along with mainstream protestants. Many Catholics I know are not lesser followers of Jesus Christ because they don't believe in all the edicts in the RCC.
You get paid to remind us there are far more important issues believers need to be addressing.

The first time I came across you and your work was a podcast out of the US.

I read your post on your organizations structure and affiliation some time ago - my apology for assuming VOTM Canada accepted donations/staff/resources from our neighbours to the south.

We agree, it was inappropriate to have assumed your motive.
I do not understand your purpose and pov in this post, we'll leave it at that.
Thank you for responding, may this summer will be a time of healing for you.

Blog on!

Bene D

James said...

Mr. anonymous

It is irrelevant what people believe (myself included) about homosexual behaviour, abortion etc.
What is relevant is what God believes about them.
His word is clear.