LETTER FROM AMERICA: US religious conferences come face to face with progressive issues

LETTER FROM AMERICA: US religious conferences come face to face with progressive issues
US President Donald Trump

US President, Donald Trump

THOSE who feel that religious events in the United States are peripheral to the great drama of politics, and therefore, must be considered with mirth are awfully mistaken.
In fact, the great political dramas of the US political firmament are born out of the religious world, not the other way round.
We have just witnessed the election of a mad billionaire, Donald Trump. He is the first to confess that he was carried to his new position on the winds of change put in motion by evangelical groups.
I am writing from the South Carolina United Methodist conference. My church representative led the procession of the 1 500 delegates by carrying the cross, a privilege that comes to each church once in 300 years.
Reverend Brother Bishop Jonathan Holston is the par excellence representative of the “People Called Methodists.” Methodists are methodical, we started on time, we pray every day at 15:33 hours for the redemption of the world. But our hallmark is good works. Holston opened the conference with an hour-length sermon. Methodists dream God’s dreams, receive God’s visions and share God’s love.
Even as we were conferencing, each of the 30 districts has built three houses each and given them away to the needy widows. The saints were charged to remember Nelson Mandela’s charge. “As I left my prison cell for the last time, I knew that if I did not leave my hate behind those walls, I would remain a prisoner for the rest of my life,” he said.
Methodists were charged to free themselves from self-imprisonment, to remember the less fortunate, and yes, Africa University. Each Methodist pledges a sum for that institution.
We were reminded of our Mary McCleod Bethune, founder of a Methodist College for black girls in Florida. The Bishop read Bethune’s will and last testament. “I have never been sensitive about my complexion. My colour never destroyed my self-respect nor has it ever caused me to conduct myself in such a manner as to merit disrespect.”
The sermon was so powerful that Sister Mary Price from Little Mt Zion burst into song without the bishop’s permission. The congregation apparently felt the power of the Holy Spirit, as they sang lustily these words: “The Holy Spirit is welcome in this place.”
I spotted Dr James Salley of Africa University sitting two feet away from me.
Methodists, like all American institutions, are overwhelmed by accelerated break-up of the social fabric of society. Two weeks ago, the saints received with sadness the news that the Nevada Conference had consecrated gay Bishop Karen Oliveto.
The Connecticut Conference had narrowly defeated a resolution by gay freedom fighters to disobey the book of discipline.
Holston did not ignore these issues, but he placed emphasis on the Great Commandment. Wherever Methodists are, they must be recognised for their great love for fellow humans, and their attention to the poor. This year, Methodists have vowed to collect bicycles for mission work in Africa.
With typical American bravado, it has been suggested that if kids in Africa cannot ride buses to school, perhaps they can ride bicycles.
I have taken pains to draw a picture of our thoughtful and gentle brothers, a people called Methodists.
Our brothers in the faith are the Southern Baptists, generally known by the full name Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). They are the rough riders, schismatic street fighters who do not duck from a good fight with the devil.
Baptists include rural preachers who have more faith than knowledge. They are suspicious of seminaries.
Progressives have been undermining the fundamental values of American society through the integrated school curricula as well as through judicial interventions by activist judges.
It has been left to these brother saints to fight the street brawls that are occurring in the social and political universe, even as we speak.
Since the beginning of time, religious organisations used the man-wife based family as the bedrock of all social institutions.
The supreme court ruled, without any basis in law, that same sex partners can marry.
There is another issue. Secret e-mails from the Progressives (Democrats) show that they directly attempted to influence religious organisations by advancing large sums of money to pseudo-religious groups within the churches.
Reconciling ministries (gay support groups) within the Methodist Church are finding fertile ground within the church. They are funded by Progressives.
The Catholic Church has suffered even a more direct attack from progressive attack groups. Their narrative was that the Catholic Church is run by a celibate “middle aged dictatorship” which needs to be replaced by “democracy and respect for gender equality”.
If morality is democratised, rather than from above, man will call whatever fancies him, and call it god. Baptists, through a political group called AWAKENING, saw clearly that government must be replaced.
To their shock, their own (SBC) seminarians were imbued with these dangerous ideas, the Bible was full of errors, that Jonah and the virgin birth were mythical and abortion is a personal rather than a social value.
They closed the social wing of the seminary for 10 years, while they regrouped.
Teachers can lose their jobs if they are accused of proselytising on behalf of the Christian religion. Those introducing Buddhist, Hindu and Islam are regarded more kindly. Vegetarian meals are provided for Hindus and pork free meals for Muslims. This general rule applies in prisons as well.
mufukaken@gmail.com

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