Monday, October 18, 2010

Restoring Political Civility

Conservative evangelical Richard Mouw talks to Krista Tippett of On Being (formerly Speaking of Faith) about creating civil political discourse, the tea party and why Glenn Beck has so many followers. A very interesting listen:

Mr. Mouw: The kind of Evangelical fundamentalist Christianity that formed me early on had a very strong streak of incivility. We were people that — we not only had enemies, but we felt that it was essential to our spiritual identity that we have enemies, you know.

Ms. Tippett: Right, because it was about defining yourselves over against, right?

Mr. Mouw: Yeah. I've been thinking about this lately in terms of the pope going to Scotland (laugh). You know, the Westminster Confession of the Presbyterian denomination to which I belong, they revised it, they put it all on a footnote. But that Westminster Confession of the Reformation era says that the pope is the antichrist. And I was raised in a world in which it was important to look out for the antichrist, you know. I mean, you know, that number in the Book of Revelation, the number of the beast, 666, people had this wild stuff…

Ms. Tippett: You know, my grandfather also believed that the pope was the antichrist.

Mr. Mouw: Yeah. And then really Vatican II kind of made it more and more difficult. And really into the '50s, you got a very strong anti-communism with Joe McCarthy and the like and pretty soon it was Stalin, you know.

Ms. Tippett: So you think the antichrist has changed across your lifetime?

Mr. Mouw: Yep, yep. So we hated communists. And I noticed right around 1980 that it began to shift to Islam. Read the rest of the transcript