Sunday, January 24, 2016

Rapert vs. Wikipedia and Reason vs Presumption

Senator Jason Rapert (R) Conway, is involved in a messy squabble with Wikipedia over the page which describes him. Apparently he thinks the page falsely paints him as a racist due to its inclusion of a link describing some comments made at an event where he told the audience "we're not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in"

One can't even tell if he was even referring to racial minorities, or the ongoing dispute where hard-left courts are using government force to impose their own novel ideas of what marriage is on a less-than-receptive population. Plus the page mentions his missionary work in Ghana, so I don't get that the page is painting him as a racist, except among that sliver of the population which sees racism hiding under every bed and reads it into any statement even possibly connected to the subject.

But the bigger issue as I see it is that Rapert's reaction here is not an isolated incident. It's S.O.P. for him. Add to it that whenever people disagree with him he has a strong tendency to not only react like this, but to play the martyr. That is, he attributes the "attacks" he is getting to the fact that he is such a courageous Christian who is suffering "persecution" for his stand for righteousness.

Look, I am a Christian, and I know Christians can and have been persecuted for their faith. While what we experience in America is only a fraction of what is happening overseas, I will say that it even happens here. In very small ways I have probably been treated in a way that I would say falls short of "persecution" but is headed that direction. Still, that is far from the norm.  I am not being "persecuted", or anything like it, every time I get criticized, whether by believers or unbelievers. Sometimes, most often in fact, the reason I am being criticized is that I have done something wrong, made a mistake, or acted like a jerk! I find it very odd that brother Rapert never seems to acknowledge any of those other circumstances for himself. Instead, I find that when he discusses causes he invariably attributes the reason for the attacks to his great spiritual stature and bold stand for Christ.

That brings me to my next point, and that is his reaction. If someone is in fact persecuting him because of his stand for Christ, you would think that his reaction to such slander would be more like the reaction Christ-followers were instructed to have in those circumstances;

Matthew 5

10"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

He claims this is what is happening to him, but he does not respond as he has been commanded to respond. It is almost as if he were an example of a member of the Republican party trying to use the name of God to shield themselves from fair criticism of their actions.

Someday I hope America gets a real Christ-led political movement. I have a strong instinct that it won't look much like the lame attempts to exploit the name of Christ for political purposes that we have seen from both parties but primarily the Republicans. In the mean time, I would urge citizens off-put by politicians who try to use the name of God to blunt themselves from criticism to not judge Christ by those who attempt to exploit His name for political reasons. He said that many would come in His name, but not really represent Him. This is what we see even 2,000 years later. Rather than use the self-serving actions of politicians who use His name but don't do what He told them to do as an excuse to dismiss Christianity, consider that what is happening today is just what He said would happen. That it is still happening 2,000 years later is evidence that He is who scripture claims Him to be.


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UPDATE

The first thing I did when I posted this article was to ask Sen. Jason Rapert for comments. He replied that there was no point since I had already put the story up. I replied that it was likely no one had seen the story but him, and that I pulled it and put it back into draft status to give him 24 hours to respond.

Those 24 hours are up. The response I got was unfortunately about what I expected:

"Some of your comments were very misinformed and very off base. You really should just take a pass rather than doing their dirty work.
I pray God prompts you."

"Their" being the Arkansas Times, who I agree is run by Max Brantley who has shown he is willing to distort the truth, or even outright lie, if  he needs to. The thing is, I was not linking to Max, I was linking to the Senator's own interaction with Wiki, If it was over something Ark Times originally reported, even that was based on video of Sen. Rapert himself speaking. It really gets tiresome when politicians repeatedly dismiss any criticism without explanation if they can find three degrees of separation leading back to the Arkansas Times. This story is about Rapert's interactions with Wikipedia and me, not anything the Arktimes has said about him. It is about the way Christian Right politicians are responding to criticism vs. the way Christ said to respond. How is that an Arktimes story?

If my comments are indeed "misinformed and very off base" then reasonably explain why it is so. In Isaiah God said "Come, let us reason together."  Even God Himself is willing to stoop to reasoning with mere men in order to show them where they have gone wrong. Why is Jason Rapert above doing so? And not just him, its becoming an increasingly common mind-set. People feel like they don't have to explain their actions or their policy positions anymore. Reason is out the door, replaced by a "respecter of persons" mind set based on emotion: If you question them, why you are against God's chosen, so you are misguided at best and possibly even evil. 

This is a very dangerous mindset to have, especially for politicians. True faith supports liberty because the politicians understand they are accountable to a higher power outside of and beyond themselves. This knowledge is supposed to humble the official, and lead them to critical self-examination. Empty religion undermines liberty because those in power no longer have to act with humility or introspection once they come to believe they are God's man of power for the hour. Not only is there no critical self-examination, but examination from the outside is also dismissed as religious "persecution" of God's chosen. "Repentence" is a religious concept, but there is no room for it, or any of the other Christian practices I have referenced in this article, in the false religious mind set which is corrupting our politics.


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