Asking the (W)right questions

My dad sent me a link to this film and asked me if think it’s valid. Take a look:

In a word, no, I don’t think this is valid. My issue is with the questions that are being raised. This approach attempts to make McCain account for these crazy views espoused by one of his supporters. Basically, it’s a move to try and get McCain to answer: “Do you agree with or repudiate these views?” Seems fair in light of what happened to Obama, Wright?

Problem is, it is not legitimate to try and make McCain, Obama, or anyone else account for the views or statements made by their supporters. Instead, we need to hold them accountable to their own beliefs and actions. In McCain’s case, the questions can and should be raised: what are your views on the practice of Islam in America and elsewhere? And why is your campaign seeking out endorsements from religiously-bigoted pastors? For Obama, he shouldn’t be asked to approve of or repudiate everything Rev. Wright ever said, but I think it’s fair to ask why, in light of Rev. Wright’s controversial views, did he attend Trinity UCC for so long?

Each of these approaches to McCain’s and Obama’s pastors provides room for the nuance that has gone missing on both sides of this issue. And that’s what is needed, not simply to do unto them what was done unto us.

7 Responses to “Asking the (W)right questions”

  1. Elder Hoss Says:

    Barack Obama sat under Wright for 20 yrs. Now, it could be argued that he aligned himself with Trinity for the purpose of proving his “blackness” and currying favor with the African-American community, and that he does not really believe what Wright believes, but there is every difference in the world between THAT, and a one-off political endorsement (notice McCain’s generic “A moral compass” or “A moral guide” statement).

    Parsley is probably a fraud like Wright, both of whom have multi-million dollar credit lines, 10,000+ sq foot homes, and who are essentially religious racketeers and pimps. Wright works one side, Parsley the other. The interrelation however, of the respective candidates for the Presidendy, to these men, differ widely.

    As to Parsley’s condemnation of Islam’s violence, look up the word “Jihad”, view a picture of a woman in a burka, and ask yourself whether what you are observing conquering the Western world over the next 40 yrs is indeed a religion of peace.

    It’s not. Endemic to Islam is ‘Jihad, or violent struggle.

    Whatever else may be said of the horrific abuses perpetrated within Christendom (yes, there is such a thing as “Christendom” sins and all, and not merely a privatized “closeted” religion), these cannot be said to have their origins in the teachings of our Lord and His chosen apostles. Islam however, is a different beast altogether – a violent one, spawned by a false revelation about God/Jesus/the Cross/Conversion, etc. Really, Islam can be construed as a Christian heresy, as it was spawned in a portion of the world where Trinitarianism had been transmogrified into Tri-theism, Mary worship occurred, etc.

    Frauds like Parsley and Wright are not frauds 24/7, such that in this instance, what Parsley states about Islam is not off-base with the core tenets of the religion itself, much less its historical outworkings viz. the merciless treatment of Jews and Christians by its proponents.

    For the record, both McCain and Obama are miserable choices for the highest office in our land. And ironically, we can concur with frauds like Parsley and Jeremiah Wright that, apart from true repentance, our nation is doomed.

  2. Tom Ryberg Says:

    Elder Hoss,

    Let’s stop right there, since we don’t even agree on the definitions. Challenge his views all you want, but Wright is no fraud. Where are you getting that idea?

    Neither is it apparent to me that Parsley is a fraud. I think he is being perfectly earnest about his views as they are, however misguided they appear to me. You have no apparent basis for this view, other than that he, like Wright, is wealthy.

    Also, I cannot accept your attempt to excuse Parsley’s rhetoric as “condemnation of Islamic violence.” His categorical statements specifically conflate Islam and violence, based on past actions and sentiments popularly espoused at various points in history, as you appear to want to do as well. Sorry, that doesn’t work for me – if for no other reason than my own faith wouldn’t survive that litmus test! Why don’t you look up the word “Inquisition” before we get too far along in the debate of how Islam is encroaching into the Western world. I looked up Jihad in order to verify that yes, “violent struggle” is, in fact, only one of its many common interpretations – suggesting your narrow focus on this definition does not tell the whole story of what “Jihad” means to all Muslims.


  3. Elder Hoss Says:


    The citation of the Inquisition proves my point viz. the grave sins of Christendom as those which are NOT intrinsic to the religion itself (unless one wants to argue that the NT inculcates such examples of violence).

    Far far different was the modus operandi of Muhammad, if you care to view history and not just content yourself with subjective platitudes. Muhammad and his immediate successors (and down to this day, those by extension therefrom) advanced their heretical teachings by the point of the sword.

    While we are at this discussion, please cite a single Islamic nation where churches or synagogues may be built.

    You see, “ideas have consequences.”

    Re Wright and Parsley (and Hagee for that matter) I stand 100% behind the assertion that they are, of a piece, frauds.
    The 10,000 square foot homes, the $1m salaries, the private jets (those would be Parsleys’) speak volumes, as does Jeremiah’s $150K Mercedes….

  4. Tom Ryberg Says:

    Elder Hoss,

    “…please cite a single Islamic nation where churches or synagogues may be built.”

    Frankly, I’m a little shocked that you can’t imagine that it’s permissible to be Christian or Jewish in even one Islamic nation:

    Christianity in Iran.

    Christianity in Pakistan.

    Christianity in Jordan.

    Christianity in Iraq.

    Christianity in Indonesia

    Christianity in Turkey.

    Judaism in Iran.

    Jews in Pakistan.


    Also, in the pre-Inquisition period under Muslim rule in Spain, synagogues, churches and mosques often co-existed in the same small communities. (Of course, this would change following the Inquisition.)

    As far as the Christians were concerned, the way that the Great Commission was interpreted, coupled with John 3:16 and 4:16-17 provided more than enough ammo for Christians to kill each other and Muslims and Jews alike for thousands of years, literally. (That’s because the lives of enemies were expendable since they weren’t heaven-bound anyway. Convenient, no?)

    I’m not advocating that Muslims are better or less violent than Christians. But any student of history can see that there is horrific bloodshed on both sides, that has been justified in the texts on both sides.

    Finally, I haven’t seen any evidence citing the extravagant wealth of the preachers you’re talking about. But even if it were all true, what about having wealth makes one a fraud? In Wright’s case, his home is coming as a retirement gift from his church – and many churches provide retirement housing for their pastors. What is fraudulent about that?

    If you can cite more than just rumors here, inquiring minds want to know! Throw up a link or two, and please let me know where you’re getting some of these ideas. I’m earnestly trying to understand your positions here.


  5. Elder Hoss Says:


    The citations say nothing about what I mentioned viz. building churches/synagogues, or in other words, evangelizing the populace of these nations.

    Stated yet another way, Persians in Iraq may remain within certain geographic/ethnic boundaries as “Christians” but for a Muslim to convert to Christianity is both a theological and theocratic “heresy” eventuating in some cases in capital punishment.

    Two former colleagues of mine were just murdered in Pakistan, where they had an underground house church.

    Would you not grant that fundamental to Islam is the notion of a strict unity between religious/state rule, in other words, that Islam is theocratic. Why do you think Muslims in Canada and the United Kingdom are pressing the case (quite effectively I might note) for ‘Sharia law?

    Conversely, you would be hard pressed anywhere in the NT to find the apostles inculcating the notion that the Mosaic Law ought be the form of Government for the Graeco-Roman world.

    In a nutshell, my position is that Islam, given to the world by Muhammad through a supposed direct revelation from God, is a religion intrinsically predicated upon advancing its claims through the point of the sword.

    Whatever manifold abuses have occurred in Christendom (particularly against Jews, as the church’s legacy of Anti-Semitism is horrific) , these abuses are in fact, a direct contradiction of what it’s Founder has taught us.

    Eusebius and others tell us that the apostles (10-11 of them) were martyred for the faith.

    Apart from the notion of ‘Jihad and Islam’s advancing its claims through violent struggle way back to the time of Muhammad himself, the revelation it brings to the world is a heretical one with regard to what it says about Jesus.

    Jesus is the JHVH (Jahweh) of the Old Testament Scriptures. He is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, who bore the sins of many.

    Are you suggesting that it is a matter of indifference whether one confesses this about Jesus, contra Muhammad? If so, how do you know this epistemologically, or is it just your preference that you’d rather have a God who essentially states that as long as one is sincere in their religious profession, it really doesn’t mean squat how they view/worship/fail to worship Jesus?

    With re to my contention that such ministers as Wright and Parsley or Hagee are frauds, I don’t mean to suggest they are necessarily consciously engaging in deception. But you see, that’s the problem with deception – it’s very deceiving.

    “Fraud” in the sense John used it as “false teacher” – Oh you bet. John Hagee is a false teacher who reads divine revelation, the Canon of Scripture, in light of the latest conflagration in the Middle East. The Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head, and yet Hagee pulls down a cool $1m per year, his wife earns $200,000 and his son $100,000.

    “He who says He abides in Him ought so to walk even as He walked.” John wrote of our Lord.

    Paul warned Timothy of those who were given to filthy lucre, and every indication from the relevant NT texts is that the ministry is not a business, nor is it to be run as one.

    Re Jeremiah Wright, let’s take the $$ concern off the table for a moment and examine his doctrine (here, I’m not following the tack of the intellectual lightweights on Fox News who are upset that Wright criticized America – America merits a good deal of criticism – my point is rather different).

    With Cone, he completely recasts and transmogrifies biblical doctrine in accordance with a Nationalistic view of terms the bible uses such as “election”, “called”, “chosen”, to no longer mean “those in Christ”, but rather to refer to the “oppressed”. The Bible then becomes, rather than the lens through which we view all of life (Calvin), a convenient tool by which one can promulgate X, Y, Z IDEOLOGY at odds with both Scripture itself, and the history of exegesis.

    I include “conservative” personalities in my rebuke in part to make the wider point that this mishandling of our most holy faith is not simply a Left wing faux pas.

    In fact, for every one mainline Liberal Protestant minister with his decaying denominational church of 25 people, there are 2-3 Fundies and Evangelicals who IN LIKE manner pervert the teachings of Christ to their own destruction.

    Of course, everything I write here is predicated on the presuppostion that A. The Canon of Scripture is a sufficient guide in matters of faith and practice, and that therefore, B. What it says re “false teachers” is tremendously applicable to this essentially post-Christian cultural of nihilistic decadence, wherein the Americna populace is all too ready to embrace superficial ideological construals of the Christian faith rather than Christ-honoring ones.

    Just watch TBN (if you can stomach 5 minutes of it) or visit the average mainline Protestant congrgation in any major city and this hopefully should be apparent.

  6. David F., Evanston IN Says:

    There’s a HUGE difference between the role that Wright has played in Obama’s life and the role that Parsley has played in McCain’s life. If you can’t acknowledge the very clear distinction, you are a complete charlatan.

  7. Tom Ryberg Says:


    Thanks for stopping by. It seems you’ve misinterpreted my post, as nowhere did I suggest that Obama’s relationship with Rev. Wright and McCain’s relationship with the pastors who have endorsed him are the same.

    My central point here is that it is not appropriate to make either candidate account for past statements made by their supporters. I’m much more interested to hear what each candidate’s position is today on a given issue, rather than debate past statements made by others, no matter how close or distant they are.

    With regards for this presidential race, who cares what Jeremiah Wright thinks about race in America? Wright isn’t running for president. What matters is what Barack Obama thinks about race in America. Who cares what Ron Parsley’s views on Islam are? Ron Parsley isn’t running for president. What matters is John McCain’s views on Islam.


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