Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Phil Cooke asks Jesus to resign His Role To Get People to Like Christians

Phil Cooke
Here's today's Scandal of Christianity.

Today, September 9, 2015, Christian filmmaker (in Hollywood), and media public relations guru, Phil Cooke, wrote the following post (found below in black).

In my opinion, Phil has set a dangerous precedent by advocating the abdication of moral leadership given to Christians by the citizenry through elections. What he advocates is exactly what Christians did in Hollywood, media and entertainment in general. They walked away. Phil Cooke says that Kim Davis should have resigned her job, and walked away from the controversy that, he says, has cast Christians in a bad light. I wonder if he would have suggested that Jesus do the same thing so that Christians would not be eventually thrown to the lions? Of course is doing what Phil (the PR guru) recommends, the void is filled by those with less moral foundation to run the clerk's office. He also says, quite plainly, that that civil law is above God's law. (As Christians, he says, "we don’t get to pick and choose which laws to obey".) 

Phil is a respected filmmaker and Christian in Hollywood. This extended post is necessary, I think, to help Christians not fall into his Politically Correct (PC) state of mind, and stand firmly for what is good, true, and beautiful. See my comments in-between his post, which is below.  My response is in purple. Link to Phil's original post and the comments it attracted.

Why Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis Isn’t A Christian Hero

by Phil Cooke

There have been tens of thousands of social media posts, as well as numerous Christian websites calling Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis a Christian “hero” or “martyr” for her refusal to obey the law and provide marriage licenses for same sex couples. Her refusal, after receiving multiple orders to do so, led to her arrest and she landed in the Carter County Detention Center where crowds have been standing outside chanting for her release. But is Kim Davis a Christian hero for standing on her convictions? Are people right in admiring her and calling her a martyr for her faith?
Like it or not, same-sex marriage is now legal, and as citizens of the United States, we don’t get to pick and choose which laws to obey.
Phil, as Christians our responsibility is to obey God first, and then, and only then, if a civil law doesn't contract God's laws, are we required to obey them.

It’s worth noting however, that our current administration does that very thing. It’s been reported across the political spectrum that in recent years, President Obama’s Department of Justice refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called on state attorneys general to refuse constitutional amendments they believe are “discriminatory.”  It’s been a similar story with immigration.
You mention this because you are later going to claim that Ms. Davis' actions were illegal and that she was lowering herself to the same behavior as the administration. But the 3 assumptions you make (and I think they are faulty) are: 1) she was breaking a law, 2) Christians should never break a law regardless of how immoral the law is, and 3) she was not in a position of authority to obey a higher law.   
I seem to think she was part of the executive branch of government, which has demonstrated time and time again that they can enforce or not enforce laws they think are immoral. (This is my officials are asked to uphold the constitution...we want to guard against immoral laws.) Secondly, judges don't make laws. A judge's ruling may interpret a law, and we're seeing here an example of a judge thinking he can force an elected official to go against her conscience to obey an immoral law. Kim Davis has ever legal right, I believe and so do some attorneys, to do what she did, and not do what she didn't do. She's a duly elected official. She's not appointed, or hired on a right to work status. Her election raises the bar regarding how she should act as a moral agent for the long term good of society which she serves. She has executive authority.  If this was just before the civil war when slavery was legal by a Supreme Court ruling (the Dread Scott Decision) would she have been right or wrong to return a runaway slave back to his or her owner?  It took a war to figure that one out. Running away just prolongs the injustice. 
And in this article, Leo Hohmann, reminds us back in 2004, Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco and Mayor John West of New Paltz, New York, both directed marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples long before it was legal.
You again equate civil legality with Natural Law legality. Is that what we're called to do as Christians who have an influence on culture? ...especially if we have the authority of being elected by the citizens?
Illegal acts like these anger me as well, but how does it help change the culture when we act the same way they do?  Stepping down to their level doesn’t create a higher standard or make them “marvel” (as Jesus did) by showing them a better way.
Ms. Davis was NOT even close to what these other law breakers were doing. They were and are breaking Natural Law. Ms. Davis is upholding Natural Law. Civil laws will change. Natural Law never does.  
As a result, Kim Davis should have resigned her job.  Certainly she should have done it in protest, making sure the local government officials and community leaders understood her reasons. It would have been a great opportunity to raise the discussion of workplace accommodations which has worked very well in North Carolina.  In fact, a compelling campaign could have been mounted around stories like hers – good people, forced to resign from their jobs because of their principles. But by breaking the law, she gave up the moral high ground which in turn, undermined her point.
If she would have resigned, my guess is that relatively nothing much would have been made of it. (Any PR campaign to the contrary would have been flatly ignored or mocked by the press.) No one would have cared. The issue would have disappeared overnight...have you forgotten who controls the news?   
I would have discounted her for having no backbone, and I would have considered her Christian faith faint, if not artificial. SHE WAS THE ONE IN AUTHORITY, not the unelected bullies. You just advocated abdication. If Ms. Davis had resigned she would have given over her legal, elected authority, by the citizens she works for, to those with less moral foundation, and no official capacity...as the hired clerks are now that are issuing "marriage" certificates. Is that what you want?  You sound just like Obama telling terrorist supporting countries "I'm sorry, we're so evil. We'll be nice and let you have your way. Won't you like us now that we're weasels?" You're suggesting that Christians in a situation like this should never suffer or stand up for what is right, just fade away and be nice. Where is THAT in the Bible? 
Then there’s that pesky fact that Kim Davis has been married four times.  She’s stated that the first three were before her conversion, but do we really want to make our “hero” on the sanctity of marriage issue someone who apparently has had that much difficulty with it? Only God knows her heart, and certainly there are legitimate reasons for divorce, but when it comes to our perception in the culture, positioning as our champion someone who’s had four times at bat, doesn’t create an inspiring story of the importance of a fruitful, long-term marriage. It’s not about judging, it’s the simple observation that the media has had a heyday with that issue alone.
Phil, you're assuming that she chose this moment to make a media deal out of it. You're acting as if SHE was the one responsible for publishing reports that called her a hero. She wasn't. You're also ignoring the fact that she was chosen by some other force for this moment. She didn't seek this or manipulate it into being. 
But, of course, you're criticizing those Chrisitian writers that called her a hero.  Well, there's a Biblical example that perhaps you'd like to explain. You remember Rahab don't you? She was chosen (after how many acts of prostitution?..forget three marriages) to save Israel and who was later embedded into the lineage of Christ. If you're going to criticize Davis, then you better be ready to criticize Rahab and the writer of Joshua and St. Matthew, who made her a very big media deal.
The question is: What did Kim Davis’ actions accomplish?  If her goal was to change people’s thinking, or move the culture in a better direction, I haven’t seen any signs of success. She’s been vilified in the media, and held up as another example of ignorant, backwards Christians who refuse to see reality. Whether that’s right or wrong isn’t the point. It’s the story that has prevailed.
You write: "I haven't seen any signs of success?"  Really? And your perspective is what....24, 72 hours? Might God be doing something that is unknown to you? Is it possible that there are tens of thousands of us who have taken inspiration from her? I have. Are you privy to a supernatural poll that says nothing has or will come of this? Can you share the results?
How has that helped?

There’s a long tradition of civil disobedience in this country, and I’m in agreement that there comes a time to take a stand. But this wasn’t that time.
Phil, what would a good time be to take a stand? Perhaps if a Christian man, a bastard in most people's memories, who rebells against the church, and causes havoc among the civil authorities, but continues to do what he feels he must, causes civil disruption, draws large crowds of thousands, and so the authorities get a bunch of bullies together to lie about him, so they can put him to death.  Would that be a good time to slink away to avoid all that disturbance, so the world would like Christians? 
Phil, you are NOT in Kim Davis' place. If you were, and I'm glad you weren't, you might have just slithered away under a bush and hid, claiming it was for the best.  She may have been called for such a time as this. She was in the position of authority, and still is. Her WORLD, her little clerk office, was not yours. That is all she knew to do. She did not deny the truth. She had ONLY THAT TIME. God bless her for standing for the truth where she was planted.  She's a hero.
There is plenty to discuss here about the constitutional and legal issues of how this came about, and as citizens, we should fight those battles.  But when it comes to Christian influence and witness today, the Church needs to understand that people who are committed to the gospel are a minority, and learn to act from that perspective. To move the dial for Christ in today’s world, we have to be more thoughtful about when and where we take a stand, lest our actions hurt more than they help.

I’m not worried, because nothing can derail God’s ultimate plan.  But if our goal is to share Jesus with unbelievers, Kim Davis’ actions have allowed the secular media to paint all Christians with her brush. Which means it will be that much harder to share our faith with nonbelievers, and it will be that much harder to get non-believers in the door of your church. After all, in their minds, we’re “all like Kim Davis” now.
Just amazing, Phil. Christ said the world would hate us because they hate Him. And you think you can change that by rolling over and be the willing target for immoral bullies? "Oh, pretty please. See, I'll do whatever you want, if you'll just like us Christians."  Phil, they hate us because they first hated Christ, no other reason.  Running under a bushel and hiding is worse. Kim Davis' light was a torch on a hill. Our job is to stand up for truth, not be bullied into blowing out the light. If you remove light and salt from society, what good is it? There's a Scripture about that, isn't there?
That’s why she isn’t a hero.  Granted, she was standing against what she perceived was an immoral law.
A "perceived" immoral law? You think the law was okay?
She may be well intentioned, and we can appreciate her commitment.  Her actions have given many Christians a morale boost, but the truth is, those actions haven’t helped the greater cause.  I’m not calling for anyone to compromise their message or go soft on principles.
You have absolutely have done what you say you are not doing. Saying otherwise doesn't change the consequence of your action. (This is a liberal's trick, don't lower yourself.) You sound like Obama...you can keep your doctor, when he knew we couldn't. You have asked Kim Davis and all of us to be soft on our Christian principles and to compromise just like Neville Chamberlain did with Hitler. 
But as Christians, if we really want to make an impact on today’s decaying culture, we need to be more strategic – certainly more thoughtful and strategic than we’ve been so far.
Let me suggest we be more like Christ. As I recall He didn't resign his position ... but went forward to jail and then the cross. But, I realize you probably didn't think that was a good idea. Right? Bad PR.

1 comment:

  1. JeeBe, clearly you have no idea what being a Christian is about. Hope you find out someday. A bigot, BTW, is someone who holds hateful views toward another for no rational reason. I can't be a bigot if I desire good and happiness toward all gays and want them to avoid the physical and psychological problems that medical science demonstrates they have. I outline some of those here: http://thescandalofchristianity.blogspot.com/2015/05/gravity-once-considered-good-idea-ruled.html But then there's this, if St. Paul is right: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9ff)" Not fun stuff. JeeBe, civil law does not trump Natural Law. Avoid walking off a cliff and gravity won't hurt you. You have a choice.

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