An audience member at a conservative conference proposes stopping Muslim immigration …

… and is slapped down by Alan Keyes with his Christian gobbledegook.

As I’ve lamented before, Christian conservatives and particularly evangelicals, who are thought to be the most conservative faction in America, are, when it comes to immigration, insane open borders liberals. Or at least (as Clark Coleman reminded me recently) that is true of the evangelical leaders, who suppress the conservatism of their flock and lead them into open borders liberalism, as you will see in the below, deeply depressing story from WorldNetDaily.

Moratorium on Muslim immigrants?
Radical solution to homeland insecurity stirs controversy at conference
September 18, 2010

A proposal on how to stop the spread of Islam in the U.S., suggested from the floor at WND’s “Taking America Back” conference in Miami, Fla., stirred a rousing response from the audience but received an even more impassioned reply from the platform.

“I propose a moratorium on Islamic immigration and mosque construction in the U.S.,” an unidentified attendee suggested during a panel discussion on Islam, “until the Quran is scrubbed of its passages that are incompatible with our Constitution.”

The audience responded in spontaneous applause.

But the panel on stage gave a surprising response that quickly made the audience rethink its enthusiasm.

“The moratorium would be forever,” stated William Murray, chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition, warning the audience that asking Muslims to scrub their scriptures was unreasonable.

Keynote speaker Alan Keyes took admonition of the audience one step further.

“One word of caution,” Keyes said. “We get into a defensive position as Americans because we have forgotten our own roots.”

Reminding those assembled of his speech the night before—in which he contended America owes its liberties, prosperity, rights and democratic republic government under the Constitution to dependence upon and submission to God as declared in the Declaration of Independence—Keyes asserted that any immigrants of any faith who come to America’s shores should find a land brimming with irresistible, life-changing freedom, enabled by the principles of Christianity.

“If we’re in a situation where we’re afraid to have Muslims come to our nation,” Keyes stated, “it is because we have forgotten that when they get here they’re supposed to find a society based upon God.”

He continued, “The U.S. is not a fortress intended to put up battlements around a Christian enclave. Christianity’s message is to spread the gospel, not contain it. … We shouldn’t be afraid, we should be eager. It would save us the trouble of having to go over there to evangelize them. That’s the spirit that founded this country in the first place.”

With the audience visibly stirred by his challenge, Keyes gave a final, impassioned point:

“I think we’ve become timid, cowards. We’ll hide faith under a bushel?” he asked. “I don’t think that’s the road I want to go down.”

Applause erupted from his listeners again, this time even louder than before.

- end of initial entry -

September 19

Aaron S. writes:

The article says:

“If we’re in a situation where we’re afraid to have Muslims come to our nation,” Keyes stated, “it is because we have forgotten that when they get here they’re supposed to find a society based upon God.”

And what? See instantly the error of their ways and fall down on their knees before Jesus?

Maybe Mr. Keyes could clue us in to that part of the Gospel where a presumption of one’s own spiritual purity warrants gambling with the lives of innocents.

Is this where we are? A room full of conservatives can be charmed by any edifying language spoken on behalf of Christianity, even if the content of what’s being said is patently anti-Christian? I guess so.

LA replies:

There is this type of evangelical Christianity which consists of nothing but feelings, and which is patently anti-rational and anti-political—meaning anti the type of rationality needed for organizing and sustaining political society. And the fact that the crowd were won over by Keyes’s moronic statement shows that they are of this type of Christian. Though I have praised Keyes highly in the past and had sent him donations in 2000, I wrote him off after his absurd and unseemly move to Illinois in 2004 to run for the U.S. Senate, an act in which he threw away his dignity out of his evidently desperate need to be a candidate again, to be in the spotlight again, even if for just a few hopeless weeks before his inevitable defeat. But his comment here is even worse. He sounds like a Christian nut, calling on his society to commit suicide in the name of Christ. I would feel sad for the waste of his talent, if I weren’t infuriated with him for his destructive statements and influence.

September 19

Alan Roebuck writes:

There’s a technical name for the error Keyes is making. A knowledgeable Protestant would say he’s “confusing the two kingdoms.”

Lutheranism and Calvinism, the two original branches of the Reformation, both hold that Christ rules human society by two kingdoms, commonly called church and state. The church is a spiritual kingdom charged with teaching Christian doctrine, administering the sacraments and applying church discipline. The state is a secular kingdom charged with maintaining order and protecting men from evildoers.

Confusion of the kingdoms occurs whenever one kingdom tries to do what is properly the other’s business, or when the members of one kingdom are urged not to do what they ought. The most commonly-commented-upon confusion of the kingdoms occurs when a church leader openly uses his religious office to engage in political activity such as conducting voter registration drives or lobbying the government. Individual Christians, and organizations of Christians other than the church are of course permitted (even encouraged) to engage in these activities, but the institutionalized church is not to act in this way.

But another form of “2K” confusion occurs when Christians are urged not to be involved in sociopolitical activism, and that’s Keyes’s mistake. He’s applying the standards of the church to what is properly the business of the state. The institutional church is not in the business of opposing (or supporting) Moslem immigration, and Keyes therefore thinks that individual Christians ought not to be either.

Keyes presumably holds his position because, as an evangelical concerned with propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ, he does not want to place unnecessary stumbling blocks in front of unbelievers. If we tell the unbeliever the illiberal message that Moslem immigration is a threat to America, it will presumably make him even less inclined to accept the Christian message. So, says Keyes, just keep your mouth shut about any issues except the Gospel. And, of course, there is the general atmosphere of the liberal imperative of tolerance that Keyes, like most of our leadership class, has imbibed since he was a baby.

But Keyes does not speak for historic Protestantism. He’s engaging in, not exactly heresy, but erroneous thinking about issues beyond the strict domain of Christian thought. He’s giving Christianity a bad name by erroneously applying its principles where they are not valid. We need prominent Protestant leaders to oppose this thinking publicly. But since speaking out against this error apparently has the stench of two-kingdom confusion, one rarely hears it except from laymen.

LA replies:

This is a good analysis in general terms, but it seems to me that the error made by Keyes and other open borders evangelicals and Christians is more rudimentary than improperly transferring the functions of one kingdom to the other. I don’t think that they are confusing the two kingdoms. I think that they are essentially canceling out the secular kingdom and acting as though the spiritual kingdom is the only kingdom.

September 19

Alan Roebuck writes:

Regarding your observation that these Christians are “essentially canceling out the secular kingdom and acting as though the spiritual kingdom is the only kingdom,” Pastor Riddlebarger, in the “two kingdoms primer” that I linked in my comments, says

When the Christian’s dual citizenship is denied (or ignored), we see the rise of asceticism, pietism, radical pacifism and Anabaptism.

We have here a new and so-far-not-officially-identified manifestation of this error, which you have perceptively called “canceling out” the secular kingdom.

Another thing. Many Christians misinterpret II Chronicles 7:14, which reads:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

to mean that if Christians become sufficiently pious, then God will in some sense be forced to intervene and purify America. They think that the really effective way to restore American society is to pray and evangelize, and the rest will automatically fall into place. For someone with this viewpoint, the distasteful operations of politics, which often involve activities that anger large blocs of people and can be personally dangerous, can safely be ignored.

In reality, this verse was directed at Old Testament Israel in captivity, and does not have universal applicability. Besides, God is not “forced” to act, so this verse cannot possibly be that sort of guarantee. Individual righteousness is a blessing, but not a sure-fire cure for what ails America.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 18, 2010 11:08 AM | Send

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