On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the formation of the Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives, but even more stunning than that announcement was, is who is to head the office. Shaun Casey, former religion advisor to the 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama, will take the lead role. In the last presidential election, Casey told an audience at the Center for American Progress, which was focused on God and Politics, “I, frankly, am glad American civil religion is dying.”
First, what is this new office for?
According to the State Department’s website:
This is absolute non-sense. You create an office to “helps equip our foreign and civil service officers with the skills necessary to engage faith-communities effectively and respectfully,” and at the same time you head that office with a guy that is glad that American civil religion is dying. I suppose the goal is to engage those who claim to be religious to direct their thoughts, prayers and deeds more “stateward.”
Kerry tried to wax eloquent about Casey as he introduced him. “Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate Shaun as a deeply thoughtful person who cares about the place of faith in our public life,” he said.
Casey is a professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. However, it’s his statements about how religious convictions affect the political sphere that are misleading.
In the discussion I quoted above, Casey’s comment in context was:
“There is also a negative underside to that history with respect to slavery, manifest destiny, to war, you know, to empires, so I, frankly, am glad American civil religion is dying.”
However, keep in mind this is the same man that defended Barack Obama’s attendance of Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years! In fact, Casey said that while Obama was trying to remain loyal to Wright, he also sought to differentiate himself politically. We know why that was, don’t we? It was because he saw Wright as political liability and he lied about his attendance at the church as well. Furthermore, a simple look at Obama’s interview concerning his claim of being a Christian would tell anyone who holds to Christian doctrine that Barack Obama is not a Christian (Matt. 7:20).
In Casey’s remarks on Wednesday, he recalled theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s influence on foreign policy in the aftermath of World War II. He said “I think we find ourselves today in a similarly complex ‘in between’ time, as was the case in the late 1940s. Niebuhr feared at that age that America might be distracted by several things in its foreign policy that might have led the country astray.
“Among those was perhaps an inordinate pride in our own power and our own virtue, and also the absence of a clear path about how to negotiate a post-World War II map as well as the emerging Communist bloc,” he continued.
“Now in contrast, he was preaching a message of chastened wisdom in which the United States government engaged in the slow, and at times difficult, process of diplomacy, willing to courageously pursue justice and peace while exercising American leadership in a very muddled and confused world,” Casey said.
“I’d like to think that Niebuhr would approve of our efforts today in expanding religious engagement as we, too, navigate through very perilous times,” Casey added.
Understand this. Niebuhr was a prominent leader of the militant faction of the Socialist Party of America. Niebuhr was a liberal theologian and so is Casey.
In fact, John Kerry seems OK with Scripture, but only when it suits him and when he completely removes it from its context, which he did on Wednesday in claiming that he would seek “common ground” between “all religions.”
“One of my favorite passages from the Scripture sums up what Shaun and I think this effort is really all about,” Kerry said. “It’s a familiar Gospel of Mark in which Jesus says to his disciples, ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for the many.’”
Blasphemy! Friends that passage has nothing to do with John Kerry, Shaun Casey or a political office. Are they attempting to equate themselves with Jesus Christ? Are they claiming that their work in Washington is somehow akin to the redemptive work of Christ? That passage has to do with the Son of God giving his life on behalf of sinners like you and me. Kerry failed to give his life, even for his country, but instead became a traitor during the Vietnam era. As for Casey, his theology demonstrates how he has already sold out the truth of Scripture.
Finally, there is no “common ground” between religions and biblical Christianity. There is a vast gulf between those who trust in their works to rid them of their sins and those who cling to a Savior from sin. The irony here is that I’ll just bet John Kerry is one of those liberals who believe in the lie of separation of Church and State.
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.