Saturday, February 16, 2008

Why This Conservative Thinks Charles Barkley Is Right

Sir Charles has been catching some serious flak from the conservative blogosphere for his comments about conservatives being "fake Christians." If you haven't seen the interview with Blitzer ... you can watch it below before you continue reading this post.

Frankly, conservatives should cut him some slack for saying he's voting Democrat because he doesn't like the direction Republicans are taking the country. Especially since many conservatives, and registered Republicans, feel the same way and are doing the same thing this next election to "prove a point", and that is exactly what they did the last congressional election. Conservatives were fed up with Republicans abandoning their principals, and they didn't like the direction Republicans were taking the country.

If you are familiar with Charles Barkley's political rants in the past ... you know damn well that Sir Charles holds many conservative beliefs, and has openly stated we wants to run for office as a Republican. He also holds many liberal beliefs as well ... many of these come from the disinformation the MSM has been putting out for years. In other words ... if I were to sit and talk with Barkley about those issues I could probably change his mind. If you were to classify his political affiliation .. he is a moderate who leans right ... as most Americans are.

Rush Limbaugh has stated that moderates are liberals in hiding, or cowards afraid to pick a side. I love Rush, but he is dead wrong on this issue. Most Americans have conservative values, but maintain at least a few liberal ideals. Hence ... most Americans are moderates who lean to the right.

Barkley makes his case against conservatives by stating he has no problem with gay marriage, and he is pro-choice. He addresses how hypocritical religious conservatives are, to him, because they often behave in a manner that is actually against the teachings of Christ and the bible. That's where Barkley makes his statement that is getting him in trouble with conservatives. He essentially said that these conservative Christians are "fake Christians" because they don't forgive others, and they judge other people harshly if they don't agree with their point of view. He is dead on accurate.

Unfortunately, Sir Charles ignorantly lumps the majority into the minority. When he stated that he gets sick every time he hears the word conservative ... he makes the mistake of attacking conservatives rather than religious zealots. He apparently doesn't draw a distinction between Republicans, conservatives, and the religious right. This is a grave error, and it has led to conservatives retaliating for being attacked. Even though Barkley wasn't knowingly attacking true conservatives at all.

One of the major mistakes that we conservatives continue to make is that we don't do enough to distinguish ourselves from Republicans. Nor have we taken the proper, and necessary, measures to separate ourselves from the religious right. By religious right I don't mean people who are religious, I mean bible thumping zealots who don't stand for conservative values, and are barely distinguishable from a cult. These groups of "Christians" are dangerous, and should be shunned by those of us who have authentic Judeo/Christian values.

It is important that you understand while reading this that I am not talking about all people of religion. I am only speaking of the fanatics. Those who blindly follow their faith the way they are told to follow it rather than how God and Jesus instructed. These people are, in fact, the biggest hypocrites in this country as Barkley accurately stated in his interview.

As a talk show host I have had many discussions of a religious nature, and have been extremely disturbed by many of my conversations with so called "Christian" listeners ... including priests, pastors, etc. I've not only been disturbed as a conservative, but as a Christian myself to the intolerance of others, elitism, hypocrisy, and downright vitriol that many of these callers convey to me.

One such example came when I had been discussing Islam in schools. There were some cases where teachers were teaching the Muslim religion to students in their class without parents knowing about it, and the many instances of schools accommodating Muslim students while refusing to extend the same courtesy to Christian students. Naturally, I was enraged that these events were taking place. It is not only against the law to teach religion in public schools, but we had a Muslim teacher indoctrinating their students in order to convert them to Islam. As to be expected, I fielded dozens of calls for over an hour from angry Christian parents who were railing on about how wrong it was to try to convert students in the classroom to a different religion than that of the child and their family. I naturally agreed with all of them because they were right. No outside force, especially a teacher, has any right to attempt to coax children away from their family's religion ... period.

Literally the next day I had another story with the same exact plot. A teacher was forcing a religion upon their students without the parents knowing about it, and many parents were rightfully upset with the teacher attempting to convert their children to the teacher's religion. To my utter horror I took call after call from listeners who were angry with me for attacking the teacher. I couldn't figure it out. It was the same exact story as the day before. You had a teacher who was forcing a specific religion upon their students against parents' wishes, and the parents were rightfully angry about it. There was literally no difference between the two stories ... except one. While the story the previous day was a Muslim teacher indoctrinating students ... the story this day was a Christian teacher indoctrinating students. To make matters worse, I took calls from several people who had called the previous day to express their outrage at a Muslim talking about Islam in class. Only now they were supporting the Christian talking about Christianity in class. Why would they be ok with one religion indoctrinating kids against parents' wishes, and opposed to the other? There is only one explanation. They are intolerant hypocrites.

Another issue where this hypocrisy reared its ugly head was only a couple of weeks ago. My co-host frequently says "oh my God." I do also, but to a lesser extent. I would like to point out that we are both Christians (her more so than me), and this was never done out of malice. However, a listener wrote a letter to our boss complaining about the use of that phrase. My boss responded by saying we didn't mean anything by it, and it is just the way we talk ... it's no big deal. By boss received an angry response containing a lot of CAPITAL LETTERS, and explanation points!!!!!!!!!! This guy was saying that it was a big deal, we needed to respect and abide by the ten commandments, and something about us being evil I think. In other words, this zealot was offended by our use of the phrase "oh my God", and demanded we be censored until we fell in line with the ten commandments. He did not tell me which version of the ten commandments he wanted me to abide by. Just so you know ... there are several versions more than the traditional two we are most familiar with. Clearly he has never read the bible or studied the teachings of Christ. Nor does he hold the Constitution in any regard, and he is clearly intolerant of other belief systems. If you don't agree as he does ... you must be silenced. That is the attitude Charles Barkley was talking about.

I felt I had a topic with this guy's letter so I read it on the air, and asked for feedback. I asked if the listeners were offended by our use of the phrase "oh my God", and I urged religious leaders to call in as well. While most of the calls were from sensible people, who identified themselves as Christians, defending Heather and myself ... some were not so understanding.

After taking several calls saying it was no big deal, and people should stop being so over sensitive ... I started getting calls from those over sensitive types. The first lady said that it offended her greatly to hear me use the lord's name in vain. She said that I should never say "oh my God" again because there are people who listen to my show who will be offended. So I should stop saying the phrase because I might offend someone. I then asked her if I should never talk about Mohammed again because that offends Muslims greatly. Her response illustrated just how hypocritical the overly religious can be. She said "she didn't care what Muslims thought." Oh really? "What is the difference between offending Christians, and offending Muslims," I asked. She had no answer for me, and continued to say that my saying "oh my God" offended her. I then asked why I should care about offending her if she didn't care about offending Muslims. She ran out of ways to deflect my question, and finally caved by saying that I should never talk about the prophet Mohammed. So now I've been censored twice!

From there I took the obvious stance that I should not say a whole host of things because it may offend listeners. I can't insult liberals, commies, education, or anything else. Do you have any idea how many people I offend when talking about the war, or when I mention disgusting fat bodies? To hell with that garbage. I may as well quit being a talk show host.

I did receive several more calls from people who felt offended by the phrase "oh my God" (including my mother-in-law) ... none could offer me a reason why it was ok to offend some, but not others. Some even attacked my beliefs, and said as a Christian I was required to respect the ten commandments or I wasn't a "real Christian." Which is strange because Christ specifically forbade such insults. Still I was confident that if I could get a religious leader to call in they would defend me. Surely a priest, or pastor, would understand that God will not send you to hell for speaking such a phrase. After all, God is not God's name ... it's his title. How can I take the lord's name in vain if I'm not even saying his name? Finally, my prayers (get it) were answered, and a pastor called in. I don't know which Christian denomination he came from.

Now was my time to be vindicated! We common folk are easily lead astray by such nonsense, but a man of God would surely agree with me about the hypocrisy of it all. As it turns out ... we common folk are lead astray by those who are in positions of leadership in our religion. While this pastor was very nice ... everything he said had a message of intolerance of different beliefs whether he knew it or not. He said it was ok to offend Muslims because their God was a false God. Only his God was the real God, and therefore was the only one we need be concerned with offending. I countered with "with all do respect ... your God is not my God." To which he replied that there was only one God, and that was his God. "Funny," I replied. "My God says the same thing." We went back and forth like this for a few minutes, and while it was always friendly we made no headway. He simply was incapable of conceding that other belief systems should be equally as respected as his version of Christianity. Again, Charles Barkley's points have been made for him simply by allowing these "Christians" to speak on their own behalf.

These are the people that Sir Charles was talking about when he called the "fake Christians." So are they indeed fake Christians? That's a tough question that can be debated for centuries with no conclusion. No doubt there are horrible "fake Christians" who are nothing more than oxygen thieves on this planet (i.e. the Westboro Baptist Church). However, these people I illustrated above are decent people. They are hypocrites yes, and intolerant, but still decent people who are entitle to their beliefs. So what would make them "fake?" Well, that can only be answered by personal opinion. Which is exactly what morals are in the first place ... nothing but an individual's personal opinion. To not respect and tolerate other people's beliefs who differ from yours is a violation of the teachings of Christ. Jesus told his disciples to go forth and spread his message, but he warned them to be respectful of others' beliefs. He did not want his disciples to insult and attack other people's beliefs. Clearly the Christians I've written about today do not adhere to that message at all. It's all about them, and their beliefs ... all others be damned. While that may not be enough to call them "fake Christians" ... an outsider like Barkley could easily interpret it that way. It is important to note that he isn't entirely mistaken either.

Some of you religious types are no doubt upset by the way I'm addressing this issue. To you, I say, that's why I don't go to church anymore. Man is no longer concerned with doing things the way that Jesus or God would want. Churches have become too much about getting as many people into their congregation as possible. This is done by fear, and by attacking other belief structures ... including other Christians.

You'll notice that many of the Christians who disagreed with me cited that their God was the one true God. The problem is that while Christians believe in one God ... it's not the same God. You heard me correctly ... Christians don't even worship the same God. History is chalk full of Christians separating from their church, and forming a new church, because they refused to believe that their God would be the deity portrayed to them by their old church. Some Christians believe Jesus IS God, and others that he is the son of God (I'm in the latter), some think God is compassionate, but still some other say God is a vengeful, mean-spirited, bigot.

So, you see, we Christians aren't unified on our God. Yet some of us feel the need to ally ourselves with other Christians to attack other religions simply because we are Christians. In doing this we ally ourselves with people who literally believe in a different God than we do, but we don't even realize it. Even though the Christian Gods share a singular history ... different Christian denominations believe in a completely different personality for their deity. In other words ... the Catholic God is different than the Baptist God. The only thing that unites Christians (other than the Christian value system) is that we believe Jesus was more than just a man or prophet.

Don't think for a second that I'm saying Christian denominations should not stick together when attacked by outsiders because we don't share the same interpretation of our God. The war on Christianity is very real, and we need to combat it. We just have to understand that Christianity does not have a singular belief system. Much like Sunni, Shia, and Wahabists don't share a unified view of Islam, but they are all still Muslim.

This is where we conservatives come in. We are caught in the middle of all this nonsense. Most of us are religious to an extent, but not bible thumpers. We are more tolerant that the religious right of those who are different, and we are far more intellectual than emotional than our zealot counterparts. Yet we continue to allow them to make the rules, and fight all of our battles for us. Guess what ... they are losing those battles. If true conservatives were to take over the abortion debate from the religious right ... it would be a done deal by now. The only reason we still have abortion is because we allow our side to play the religion card rather than using sound science to defeat the issue, and we are losing the debate. Every time religion is used in an abortion argument ... that person will lose. Why? Religion is irrelevant to the population when talking about political issues. They don't like having someone else's religion shoved down their throat.

What other issues has the religious right failed to have any success? How about homosexuality. I've talked about gay marriage dozens of times on my show, and I always get the same response from conservatives. They support civil unions with all the legal protections of marriage, but they don't want it called marriage. It's that simple of an issue. Unfortunately, the bible thumpers have made this an all or nothing issue that violates the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, and the US Constitution. When it comes to homosexuality in schools our extreme right friends have also failed. Rather than focus on science, studies, and family involvement they constantly make it a religious issue. All of this behavior only serves to paint Republicans, conservatives, and the average person of faith as bigoted, oppressive, cold-hearted monsters. All while accomplishing virtually nothing.

That type of perception among the population is what leads to people like Charles Barkley turning on true conservatism, and attacking us. Certainly Barkley is mistaken in who he is targeting for criticism, but ultimately it is our fault as conservatives for allowing the fringe extreme right to speak on our behalf. We are as guilty as Democrats for allowing liberals to take over their party. It's too late for them ... their party is already gone, but we have time. We conservatives call ourselves the silent majority, and we are just that ... silent.


4 comments to "Why This Conservative Thinks Charles Barkley Is Right"

John of fitness training Austin said...
7:26 PM

"if I were to sit and talk with Barkley about those issues I could probably change his mind"

Sir Charles might be insulted by the presumption. Put yourself in Charles's place.

Casey said...
12:18 PM

He might be, but the things he's stated that I'm referring to are factually incorrect. I do not believe Barkley is an unreasonable person, and when presented with facts would change his mind.

Steven said...
2:55 PM

I love the way you present hypocrisy to be what it is. You're upfront and honest, and in today's world, that's hard to find.

Anonymous said...
11:50 PM

You're correct. Hypocricy isn't Christianity. The Lord said a few things about judgment. "He without sin, cast the first stone" and "Judge not, lest ye be judged yourself", but really, "love thy neighbor" said it all. The Lord is the ultimate judge.

I am not just saying this because I am a Republican, I know a Democrat who said to a man bound in a wheelchair, "your legs wouldn't tremble if you practiced mindfulness." He humiliated the man. The peace-loving approach wasn't on his mind. Liberal hypocricy is very much alive, well, and thriving beneath the surface.

Labels divide, though. Think about it. What is the greatest justification of hatred toward an entire group? Religion or dehumanization? Jesus stopped a hooker from being stoned to death! Gay-haters aren't following Jesus as a role model. Homosexuality isn't any of my business. You'll do a hell of alot better in your own business with a loving attitude toward your neighbor.

I'm proud to be a Republican, the origin of a party is a good place to start. We don't need to waste propositions on stone casting. The welfare state is a disaster, useless government bureaucracies are prioritized over business in grants, and children services removes more African American children from their parents in California than white children, poverty is growing... These are the issues that deserve a proposition. More people will vote, if a party adresses the issues that affect their lives and solves the problems they face.



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