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Recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom cited the words of Jesus in a pitiful attempt to support his belief that the pro-abortion position is a Christian value. Of course, he is not the first person to attempt that ruse, but is certainly one of the more high-profile ones. In doing this, he quoted from Mark 12:31 which says, “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.”
This tactic is straight out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals playbook. Alinsky’s rule #4 is: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. To understand what is going on with this rule, you need to have a little bit of context. First of all, Alinsky didn’t care whether or not there was any truth to his attempt to make an opponent look bad, only that it worked. So, if he could make it appear that his enemies were hypocrites, it furthered his cause. So, he would select a principle that his opponents valued, then accuse them of violating that principle by twisting its meaning. The way Newsom attempted to use this rule was to quote a Bible verse, then accuse Christians of violating what the Bible says.
The only problem is, Newsom quoted the verse completely out of context in order to promote an idea that is actually completely contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Obviously, he reasoned that most people hearing or reading his comment would not even recognize that it was an out of context quote. And even those who realized something was out of whack wouldn’t know how to truthfully respond. He was doing this to try to make it look like Christians who don’t support abortion don’t follow the Bible. Classic Alinsky!
According to articles I found on the internet (and everything there is true, right?), Newsom is a faithful Roman Catholic. Seemingly, he is right up there with a couple of other “faithful Catholics” – Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi – who also assert the belief that abortion is a biblical value. This is certainly not meant to pile on Catholics. In fact, many Roman Catholic believers are among the most fervent advocates for life out there. But what can be said is that there are people who hold false beliefs in virtually every faith.
Why just recently, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough made the comment that Jesus “never once mentioned abortion” in His teachings. The point he was trying to make was that if Jesus didn’t specifically condemn abortion, He wasn’t against it. Scarborough claims to have grown up Southern Baptist, but is, obviously, no more familiar with the actual teachings of the Bible than Newsom. The sad point is, so few people are conversant enough with the actual teachings of the Bible, that ignorant statements like those of Newsom and Scarborough are actually believed by a lot of people.
But the question arises, “Where did the kind of beliefs about the Bible that Newsom and Scarborough espouse come from?” Well, it is way more common than you might realize. In fact, there are theological schools that train pastors that way, and even entire denominations that overtly promote this kind of false belief. Various forms of liberal theology such as Higher Criticism, Liberation Theology, and Postmodern Theology all interpret the Bible based on philosophical points of view that do not correspond to the actual teachings of the Bible.
So, what can Christians do about this? Here is what needs to happen.
- Know false beliefs when you come across them, and why they are false.
- Learn to tactfully engage people in conversation who hold false beliefs.
- Become proficient in knowing, and being able to explain, basic Christian beliefs.
- Know how to share with people how they can personally know Christ.
Never let the Christian haters have the last word.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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