Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Who do you think you are, Mr. Kellner?
Continuing his critique of this Blog and its contents, Apologetics Index "co-publisher" Anton Hein says this:
" In apologetics and countercult circles Kellner - who is neither an apologist nor a countercult professional - is known primarily for his partipation on the AR-talk and AR-forum lists, where Kellner:
"-- identifies himself as a Seventh-day Adventist (Kellner is the assistant director for news and information for the SDA's General Conference Communications Department).
"-- defends religious cults under the banner of 'religious freedom,' and/or
as a result of his apparent lack of theological discernment.
"-- agitates against the reporting of U.S. human rights issues as noted in Religion News Blog."
(Source: Apologetics Index "Mark Kellner" page, http://www.apologeticsindex.org/k04.html)
Some quick responses:
A) First and FOREMOST, as noted at the top of this site, the opinions expressed here are solely mine. This Blog is NOT affiliated with any church, publication, denomination or entity. I am a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (http://www.adventist.org for those interested in information) and am employed by the Church's world headquarters. But again, the views expressed here are representative only of the writer. (And, by the way, Seventh-day Adventists ARE Christians, and certainly ones of the evangelical stripe!)
B) Mr. Hein says I am "neither an apologist nor a countercult professional." True. But I've written enough about religion and religious topics (for Christianity Today and other publications) that I feel as competent to comment on these topics as Mr. Hein apparently does. Fortunately for me, there is no professional license needed to make these comments.
C) The roots of Anton Hein's opposition to the human rights policies of the United States of America (not to mention internal justice matters, America's foreign policy and self-defense) are far too complex to discuss here. But when he says that I am someone who "agitates against the reporting of U.S. human rights issues as noted in Religion News Blog," which is another Hein-sponsored Web site, he only tells half the story, if that much.
Those of us who believe -- and again, these are my personal beliefs here, though many others may share them -- those of us who believe that the freedoms enjoyed in the United States are worth not only promoting but defending have been distressed by the drumbeat of anti-American stories Mr. Hein posts to the AR-Talk list under cover of "Religion News Blog." As with any editor, Mr. Hein has the right to select the stories he likes. But when people respond, negatively, and with countervailing information, Mr. Hein's hackles are raised. How odd!
D) Mr. Hein laments that in my AR-Talk and AR-Forum postings, I am someone who "defends religious cults under the banner of 'religious freedom.'" Oh my! Mr. Hein forgets that the European Declaration of Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- documents to which his much-touted Netherlands are signatories -- guarantees the right of people to practice, promote and change their religion without coercion by the state.
Mr. Hein labors mightily against the so-called "slippery slope" argument epitomized, I believe, by German pastor Martin Niemoeller's formulation:
First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.
-- by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945 (Source: http://www.hoboes.com/html/FireBlade/Politics/niemoller.shtml)
But we've seen the truth of this "slippery slope" time and time again. Mr. Hein, in essence, has said he expects persecution because he is a Christian, and that's fair enough. But I see nothing -- not one word, not one sentence -- in which I as a Christian am commanded to allow or encourage the rise of such persecution. Indeed, as a good citizen, I am required to make my voice heard so that the rights of all might be protected.
Mr. Hein failed to note that I am a "nice Jewish boy" from Rego Park, Queens, New York, who found Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah. He also omits the fact (shared with him several times) that half of my father's extended family in Europe died in the Shoah. As such, I am personally committed to not seeing that happen again, to anyone, which is why I defend religious freedom for all.
Can Mr. Hein think of a good reason not to? Can YOU?