Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Political/Social Pornography

The emails and forwards are maneuvering their way through the internet-highways. Regularly, we open our inboxes and there they are. And with one click of the mouse, these forwards are sent from one person to twenty others.
You know what I'm talking about. They are forwards of the "obvious" (I write with sarcasm) facts that Barack is a closet Muslim, he is really a racist, he has a hidden agenda, etc.

Let's call this what it is--pornography and gossip! Plain and simple! No way around it!

Look, this email isn't about condoning Obama. I would be writing the exact same post if these emails were circulated about McCain or Clinton. However, sense the source of most of these forwards are from right-wing-Republicans, they target the "enemy" in a way to demoralize by proof-texting in order to strike fear in people.

It is a form of pornography--the depiction of acts as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.
It is gossip.
And I am using my blog as a way to say, "This is sinful!"

I can guarantee that the majority of people sending these emails have never read "The Audacity of Hope." Someone with an agenda read it and snatched phrases and sentences without even giving the context. Let's be honest, maybe some of the statements fit the context, but this isn't the best way to obtain information. If so, we could proof-text any author and even places in Scripture to stir up negative emotions.

I am not writing to condone or condemn loyal-right-wing-Republicans who do much of this in the name of God. But will you please listen to the 18-35 crowd...the crowd that is fleeing from many of our churches because of the embarrassment of being lumped into a category of being fundamental-Republican-Christians.

These emails are circulated because:
1) People allow fear to serve as a motivator. Fear has always been and will always be a lousy motivator!
2) There are people who believe that the Republican party is the answer to the so-called spiritual decline of America.

Government cannot be the answer to Christianity or discipleship. When it becomes the answer, we have submitted to the powers of the world and we fail to truly embrace the all-supremacy, Lordship of Jesus. (May God forgive us)

A few suggestions:
1) Pray for God to stir within the hearts of all our political figures in ways that will draw them into the story of Jesus--a story of morals, ethics, compassion, service, sacrifice, unity, and truth.
2) Pray for the world--that peace and harmony will exist.
3) Do not let fear serve as the greatest motivator of your life. It will only lead you to explore desperate measures which will most likely lead to more fear and desperation.
4) Stop with emails and forwards that seek to dehumanize and demoralize people. This isn't the way of the cross.
5) And from my boy Troy Robertson, quit putting the power of government to solve problems over the power of Jesus.

Whew...I love getting stuff off my chest. :)


Shane said...

Shane Utley here...great post. I just had to tell the church secretary that sending some of these emails out to the whole congregation was probably not the best idea. Especially from the church account! I like the term Political/Social Porn, we use "Church Porn" around here to describe stupid church drama. I'll add this to my porn collection..wait..

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Though I do enjoy politics, I do NOT appreciate the slanderous accusations against Obama. I get the emails, refuse to read them, and delete them. I have asked the person (usually the same person) to consider what she is doing. Spreading lies, even about people you don't agree with, is still sin.
Never thought about it being pornography.

Josh Ross said...

Great to hear from you. Made me laugh with the "church porn" stuff.

Appreciate your comment. I just want so bad for us to have some healthy politics, especially over the next 3-4 months. I know that I am thinking idealistically.
Keep Florida beautiful!

phil said...

Great post Josh! Here's a question for you: "Do the constant comparisons of a soldier dying for our freedom and Christ dying for our freedom irritate you as well? These emails usually surface more around Memorial, Veteran’s, and Independence Day; but I am tired of hearing that comparison. Do you think in a way the comparison strips away how significant Jesus death really was and is?

smh00a said...

Phil - Those comparisons irritate me, and they are baseless. Christ embodied "turning the other cheek" and went to the cross willfully and without resistance so that we might have freedom.

Soldiers, by their nature, do not love their enemies, respond to evil in kind, and "play God" by taking human lives. The "freedom" we experience as a result pales in comparison to the freedom we experience in Christ. To compare the two is a travesty.

smh00a said...

Oh, and good post, Josh. Another example of the damaging effects of our political system is the current comment thread over at Mike Cope's blog:

The things Christians say to and about each other in political discussions is wrathful and violent -- murder with words. Shame on us.

James Wood said...

Nothing turns me off to the political conversation faster than these stupid lies flying around. What is worse is when the candidates get involved. Sometimes I feel like no one who is willing to run for office actually deserves to be in office (I know that is not always the case in fact, I'm just talking about my feelings - I don't want to offend any well meaning politicians).

I especially agree with the statement that the 18-35 crowd is sick of the Christian=Republican shtick (and probably older people too). Often when I tell people here that I'm a church planter, one of the next things that I need to clarify is that I don't agree with the fundamentalist-right-wing-republican bloc. Most people around here (Portland, Oregon) can't equate the teachings of Jesus with the political use of Christianity.

Sorry, I'm getting a little fired up; good post.

Chris said...

I think Obama is embarrassed being an American. I only can conclude this by what both he and his wife says. He definately sounds more like a socialist than anything else. I would never listen to the typical left wing 18-35 year old. Perhaps it will take a disaster like his administration would be to bring people to their senses.

Rick Ross said...

I totally agree that as leaders of our churches, we need to stop the spreading of lies. Sadly, this is nothing new to the political arena. But followers of Jesus MUST BE above it.

In the same way, the left is accusing McCain of being "too old" -- suggesting he is senile or on his death bed. Also they are claiming that he is a Bush-clone. Here is a man who was nearly driven from the Republican Party a few years back for being "too liberal." He has knocked heads with Bush and his fellow Republicans more often than not over recent years.

I personally have become a political cynic. I used to be quite interested in politics. But politics and truth seem to be at odds.

Next time you are tempted to forward a political email of any type, pause and ask yourself if you are being led by "Christ in you."

tom said...

Hmmm, who was it who said, "My kingdom is NOT of this world. If it were, my servants would fight..."?

I guess sometimes we just get caught up spending a lot of time fighting over the wrong kingdom.

Just imagine if we were all so full of zeal for the kingdom that truly counts.

Tom said...


Most generalizations about groups of people are ignorant, and your generalization about the nature of soldiers is no exception.

I'm a soldier, but I consider myself to be a christian first. I wouldn't describe any of the other soldiers I know the way you did in your post.

Phil, I don't know where you are seeing these "constant comparisons", but whoever is making them is ill-informed. They are two entirely different kinds of freedom; I don't think the appreciation of one should take away from the other.

mouseclicker said...


Great post! Fear and misinformation has always been a major motivator for those involved in politics and I have seen it on both sides. With email, e-rumors is the latest trend for the past 10 years.

As Christians, we are to raise above that and help people see Jesus in all we do--not in all we vote for.

Here's a thought, "There are neither Republicans nor Democrats, conservative nor liberal, traditionalists nor comportararists for we are one in Christ Jesus." Okay, the last part was more geared toward the style of worship, but you get the point.

How a great weekend!

Jeff said...

I guess I would classify myself as Republican-leaning based on my voting record and feel it has absolutely nothing to do with my faith.

I think too many Christians have set back waiting for government to do what each one of us should be doing. I think I have done that in the past not realizing that I needed to be the one doing, not a government representative.

I pray Christians will realize that Christ-like living will be the only thing that changes the world by building the kingdom and glorifying God.

bloggerdogg said...

Hey Josh. Great message at Bammel on 7/16. Also great post here. I feel as though if you belong to a political party, you are branded with a scarlet letter. Personally, I am an independent and my number one party is the party of Jesus Christ. Great job my brother. By the way, you have "mad"(good) skills when it comes to preaching.