A Logical Contradiction, or Not?
In a recent post I discussed the behavior and statements of the Rev. Susan Rothenberg within context of reality exceeding satire. However, there is a far more serious, consequential aspect of this situation. For, while it’s easy to point out the ridiculousness of her ranting “We welcome everybody here!” and “You don’t belong here!”, the fact that neither she nor her Presbytery saw anything wrong with these apparently contradictory statements should cause great concern.
In particular, the Rev. Rothenberg explicitly refused to apologize for her statements.
While I don’t regret what I said, I do regret the pain that it’s caused. … It has spiraled, and it’s incredibly sad that that has happened. I love my church, and I love my denomination, and I have deep regret for any harm they may be experiencing.”
The Pittsburg Presbytery also refused to in any way criticize her behavior or words, but rather sought to cloak her in the snow-white garb of official victimhood. Speaking as the top official in the Presbytery the Rev. Sheldon W. Sorge said:
“The pent-up anger this has revealed is astonishing. Susan’s protest has had the effect of a breach in a dam, and the torrent of hate-filled speech it has unleashed is vast and truly alarming,” the letter said.
So, to recap, neither the Rev. Rothenberg nor the Rev. Sorge acknowledged that a PCUSA minister publicly (and hatefully) screaming an apparent logical contradiction (among other questionable ideas) reflects poorly on the denomination’s intellectual or moral standing.
How to account for this result? A charitable theory is that they are so embarrassed that they pretend to not notice, hoping that it will just disappear down the memory hole. There was a time years ago when I would have gladly grasped at this straw.
Unfortunately, the purposeful, sustained over decades, policy of the PCUSA elite has been the implementation of just this apparent logical contradiction. That is, while claiming to be loving and inclusive, the PCUSA elite has hatefully pursued a policy of exclusion for members who oppose (or even don’t sufficiently support) their goals. Compelling evidence for this theory is easily found. For example, contempt of and hatred for non-Progressive PCUSA members did not prevent (and may well have assisted) election of our 2016 General Assembly Co-Moderators. General hatred for non-Progressive citizens was hurled from the pulpit of one of the PCUSA’s largest and most influential churches. A partial summary of recent behavior, actions and policies of PCUSA leadership reveals an environment that ranges from disrespect to open intolerance of orthodox Christianity. Finally note that this group has brazenly and officially self-identified as those who demand exclusion of all who refuse submission to their ideology.
And in response over 1,200 churches and one-million members have exited the denomination in less than a decade. That’s right folks, the supposedly most “inclusive” ever Christian leadership has in reality excluded and then driven out a huge segment of its membership. It would take a heart of stone to resist pointing out the ludicrous irony of this situation.
While the previous text describes the contradiction between “We welcome everybody here!” and “You don’t belong here!”, it doesn’t explain how PCUSA Progressives can logically justify this position. It turns out that the Reverends Sorge and Rothenberg provide key insight. While defending the Rev. Rothenberg:
Rev. Sorge said he does not expect any efforts within the church to oust his colleague and note that Presbyterians have a long history of supporting political activism.
When asked to explain her behavior, she responded:.
“We have to give voice to pain and suffering. And sometimes pain and suffering is not attractive and doesn’t look like we have it all together. And I think that’s what it looked like”
Thus, the fact that the Rev. Rothenberg was practicing “political activism” supporting victims of “pain and suffering” justifies her behavior. And, by extension, the PCUSA’s Progressive elite can and does justify almost anything by this same logic.
Therefore, to expand the Rev. Rothenberg’s formulation, the PCUSA’s policy is:
- We welcome everybody [who claims to either (a) be a victim of oppression or (b) speak out for victims of oppression] here!
- You [victimizers who adhere to the orthodox Biblical doctrines of sin and redemption] don’t belong here!
This is how the PCUSA Progressive elite can pursue a policy that on the surface appears to be a logical contradiction. They say (or in this case scream) the above bolded words aloud. In their heads they add (something along the lines of) the bracketed words. Perhaps we should start to take far more seriously the hidden sense in what appears to be Progressive nonsense.