Film Review: ‘American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel’

Variety | 7/12/2019 | Owen Gleiberman
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“American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel” is a documentary about an idea that’s now such a contradiction in American culture that it has come to feel like an oxymoron, or maybe an M.C. Escher brain teaser: liberal Christianity. I mean liberal in the classic sense (per Webster’s: “marked by generosity…associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom [and] greater individual participation in government”), and I also mean Christianity in the classic sense (the teachings of Jesus Christ). It’s far from counterintuitive to point out that those two things actually fit rather well together.

The central figure in “American Heretics” is Dr. Robin Meyers, the senior pastor of the Mayflower Congregational UCC Church in Oklahoma City, Okla., who wrote the fearless book “Why the Christian Right is Wrong” and has a singular knack for using words to reveal the bent morality of those who would claim the moral high ground. “The interesting thing about people who say they’re certain,” he observes, “is then you need no faith.” He’s talking about those on the right who have transformed Christianity into a closed system, a faith-based version of circular reasoning that reduces the world to two choices: Join with us, or you’re the enemy. But Meyers is also referencing what Christianity was before the absolutists got their ideological mitts all over it: a religion of mystery, of doubt as well as faith, of pain as well as salvation.

Mass - Fundamentalism - Priorities - Rotating - Globe

The new mass fundamentalism doesn’t hide its priorities. They’re as real as the 40-karat rotating globe that sits behind the superstar preacher Joel Osteen during his megachurch sermons. (Jesus would have looked at that aspirational luxury orb and wept.) But in demonizing the Democratic Party, the Christian right has made it virtually impossible for liberal Christians to declare their faith in an organized fashion without feeling...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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