Denison Journal of Religion


This essay is a critique of the nationalism of the religious right, as it is personified by Rod Parsley, a televangelist based in Columbus, Ohio. Rogers claims that the election of George W. Bush, and the terrorist attacks of September 11th, have created an atmosphere in the United States that has bound religion to a partisan, nationalistic agenda. Rogers, fearing the impact of this mindset, offers a theological critique of Parsley and others with similar agendas. Rogers' critique is threefold, beginning with Parsley's polarized view of good and evil. By accepting American imperialism as an absolute good, anything that stands in any way opposed to that imperialism becomes an absolute evil. Instead of this view, Rogers posits an understanding of evil, as Augustine said, as "a distortion of the good." Good and evil, therefore, exist among and with each other, and cannot be perfectly divided for the benefit of a simpler world. Secondly, Rogers claims that Parsley's notion of having a God who can fix any problem immediately ignores the power of the future. Rogers references Jurgen Moltmann as an opposing view to this claim. Moltmann, famous for his Theology of Hope and the concept that eschatology is not the end of days, but rather the unfolding of God's work in history, is a strong opponent of Parsley's belief in God's "quick fixes." Rogers uses Moltmann's theory of a hopeful future which inspires men and women to work towards that future today to explain that a theology cannot ignore the power of the future. Finally, Rogers concludes her critique of Parsley by emphasizing that Parsley sees the role of the church as one that propagates the nationalistic and imperialistic tendencies of the United States instead of grappling with the demand for justice and peace in the gospel message. Rogers charges the reader to subvert the nationalistic agenda of religious leaders like Rod Parsley by reexamining and recommitting themselves to aiding the disenfranchised.


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