One of my favorite movies is An American President, not because of the cheesy romance, but because of the sharp, rapid-fire dialog that is a hallmark of any Aaron Sorkin project. Late in the film, as Michael Douglas’s President is giving the press conference that marks the climax of the film, he makes the following comment about his conservative opponents: “They’re only interested in two things: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it.” Or something like that.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the same is true of the religious right. In general, the religious right is what one would refer to as a bounded set. There’s an “in” group and an “out” group. Furthermore, the pastoral leadership is personally invested in making sure the community hangs on their every word and buys what they’re selling from the pulpit because their livelihood depends on it. Of late, the conservatives have been losing the cultural battle against the gays. Turns out, they’re just like straight people, for the most part, and not scary at all. Would you believe they’re not even recruiting children? As greater percentages of professing Christians fail to see what the big deal is about gay people wanting to get married, the conservatives have had to find a new Boogey Man to blame for what’s wrong with the world.
Enter: progressive Christianity. In the picturesque hamlet of Fountain Hills, AZ, a group of conservative churches have united against the scourge of Progressive Christianity to preach six sermons with the same theme, all to answer the following question:
It’s even made the local news. Yes, these banners have been seen around town as advertisement for this expression of church “unity” against an EVIL WE NEVER SAW COMING!!!! I bet that you figured out that the quotes around “progressive” give you the answer to that puzzling “fact or fiction” question. By the way – is it a question? There’s no question mark. So clearly, they’re not asking. The answer is fiction, obviously.