Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Who's A Christian?

Dear Madame L,

I saw the Rev. Franklin Graham on TV this morning say that "most Christians" don't think Mormons are Christians, and then I saw the Rev. Robert Jeffress repeat several times in the evening (on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell) that Mormons are definitely not Christians.

Jeffress---remember him?---he's the one who said last October, over and over again, while smiling as if he'd just won the lottery or something, possibly excited about being interviewed on TV, as he was endorsing Texas Gov. Rich Perry's bid for the Republican presidential candidacy, that Mormonism is a "cult." 

I know you've been writing about how YOU think Mormons ARE Christians, but apparently most of the evangelical ministers in America think Mormons are NOT Christians.


Are They Or Aren't They?

Dear Are They Or Not,

Madame L, as you know, is herself a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or, as many people call us, a Mormon. And she is a Christian: That is, she accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world and tries to live a life of love and compassion.

Madame L notes that Christ taught us to love everyone and to refrain from judging, because judgment is God's and God's alone. 

Therefore, Madame L doesn't feel qualified, as the two ministers you mentioned above do feel, to pass judgment upon who is or is not a Christian. 

But Madame L thinks it makes sense that any church with Christ's name in its very name, which believes the Bible to be the word of God and accepts the Book of Mormon as a further testament of Christ's mission and divinity, is a Christian church, and its members are at least trying to live Christian lives.

Madame L notes also that Christ said you'll know people by their "fruits," that is, by their deeds, and other Christian evangelicals have said that Mitt Romney "is a believer in Christ like me" (Joel Osteen) and that Mitt Romney is "an outstanding Christian (Pat Robertson).

(Madame L mentions both of these as examples that not all evangelicals and "mainstream" Christians  necessarily agree with Franklin Graham and Robert Childress, not because she thinks Joel Osteen and Pat Robertson have any inside information on Mitt Romney's wonderfulness or God's acceptance of his Christian life, and CERTAINLY not because Madame L agrees with their views on anything at all.)

Lawrence O'Donnell in his "The Last Word" show of Feb. 21 pointed out that Christ himself said no one can be his disciple unless they're willing to give up everything; that Franklin Graham has not only not given up anything but is making a minimum of $750,000 per year and continues to make political pronouncements to maintain that income; and that Franklin Graham and Robert Jeffress have also accused Pres. Barack Obama of not being a "real" Christian and the whole Catholic church of being apostate. Yet they both think candidate Rick Santorum is okay (even though he's a Catholic) because he has affirmed his Christian beliefs to their satisfaction, but, Madame L cynically suggests, mainly because he agrees with their political views. (Franklin Graham, as Lawrence O'Donnell pointed out, really opposes Pre. Obama's re-election because he has never in his life voted for a Democrat for president.)

Madame L thought the funniest part about Rev. Jeffress's interview with Lawrence O'Donnell was when he said, "I'm gonna hold my nose and do it" ("it" being to vote for Mitt Romney next November) because "I believe there is merit in choosing the non-Christian [Mitt Romney] over the nominal Christian [Barack Obama]." 

Madame L thought it was not so funny when Rev. Jeffress mentioned, again with that big grin, to show what a great guy he is, Madame L supposes, that many ex-Mormons have contacted him to tell him that Mormons are really not Christians --- not so funny, but very telling. 

Here's the video from "The Last Word," in case you want to see the whole thing. Madame L was pleased to see Lawrence O'Donnell call the two pastors on their hypocrisy.

Madame L thanks you for bringing this to her attention. She regrets that the politics of this election year have sunk so low, that religion and self-righteous judgment are being made part of the political dialogue, and that these so-called Christian beliefs are being used as excuses to deny women their rights.

Madame L also apologizes for digressing from her usual attempts to be a true Christian. This political year is definitely getting to her. Madame L is well aware that she's not as good at  being a Christian as she'd like to be. But she's going to keep trying, and wishes you the best.


Madame L

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