Wall Street Occupiers Urged to Target Churches

Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.theird.org) and author of Methodism and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Follow him on Twitter: @markdtooley.


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Franky Schaeffer is the son of the late, highly influential evangelical thinker Francis Schaeffer, who helped shape the modern conservative evangelical movement. The son boasts he was himself a co-founder of the Religious Right. But he since has denounced Christianity as “stupid,” writes bitter tell-all books about his parents, and ferociously attacks conservative religionists as the virtual root cause of all American evils.

A blogger for The Huffington Post, young Schaeffer is now faulting religious conservatives for facilitating Wall Street greed. He’s imploring the Wall Street Occupiers to “protest the root source of America’s tilt to the far unregulated corporate right.” For Schaeffer, the next logical step is to demonstrate “outside mega churches, Evangelical publishing houses, [and] religious organizations that lead the ‘moral’ crusades against women and gays and all the rest.”

Will the Wall Street Occupiers heed Schaeffer’s frenzied call and next park their tents, blankets and anti-capitalist placards in the parking lots of suburban mega churches? It seems unlikely. But Schaeffer’s demand fits with the crazy Left’s sometime fixation on demonizing opponents based on class and religion.

Thirty years ago, young Schaeffer joined his father in critique of the secular Left. Today, he faults religious conservatives for the “insanity and corruption” that plagues America. In 2008, he endorsed Barack Obama and publicly demanded John McCain renounce his ostensibly “hate-filled supporters.”  More recently, he’s slammed Obama’s critics as “racists.” All the energy he once channeled into what he derides as “fundamentalist” Christianity is now furiously focused against all the perceived representatives of his parents’ faith.

In his recent appeal to the Wall Street occupiers, Schaeffer accused “Evangelical fundamentalism” of enabling the sinister top 1 percent’s “rape” of the remaining 99 percent. According to his mythology, perhaps based on Thomas Frank’s 2005 book What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, evangelicals’ delusional focus on “values” issues beguiles them into voting against their own supposed economic self-interest. Their “bogus (and hate-driven) ‘morality’ litmus tests of spurious red herring ‘issues’ from abortion to school prayer and gay rights” inveigles clueless evangelicals to vote for Republicans “serving only billionaires instead of the rest of us.”

Ecumenically, Schaeffer also tars Roman Catholics as likewise “fundamentalists” who have “delegitimized the US Government and thus undercut its ability to tax, spend and regulate.” So Catholic bishops, like evangelical mega churches, have also tricked their followers into voting against their “own class and self-interest.” Naturally, Schaeffer prefers not to acknowledge that traditional Christians and other people of faith, unlike the dialectic Left, do not typically identify by “class interest.” In contrast with the Left’s materialist obsession, religious believers view the world through the prism of their faith. Not as naïve as Schaeffer insists, traditional religionists have noticed that the supposed champions of their “class” not only disparage their faith’s morals, they also want further to marginalize faith through Big Government’s constant expansion. While people of faith prioritize churches, families, private charities, and private business, the Left pushes for centralization of power in the coercive and unelected federal bureaucracy.

More revealing of his own politics than of the purported beliefs of his targets, Schaeffer explained that “fundamentalists” had stigmatized government as “evil” and “satanic” because it allows abortion and gay rights. Accordingly, these otherwise progressive “God-fearing folks will always vote for less government and less regulation because ‘the government’ is evil.”  These fools equate Wall Street with “freedom” and government with “tyranny.”  Incoherently, Schaeffer also surmised that Evangelical and Catholic “fundamentalists,” in keeping with their Puritan witch-burning and Spanish Inquisition heritage, seek “fusion of state power and religion through the reestablishment of the ‘Christian America’ idea of  ‘American Exceptionalism.’” So they apparently think government is both “satanic” and ordained by God, in Schaeffer’s telling.

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  • Steve

    A fascinating essay….a more detailed of Schaeffer's conversion to the Religion of Marxism would be a nice follow up.

    • grafox

      For helpful perspective, see (not my blog): http://www.verumserum.com/?p=1724 Search the name 'Os Guinness' who was a close Schaeffer family friend to get more insight.

      • John

        Os Guinness is good! This guy has gone thru stuff that would crush most people. He has an amazing story.

    • robert donaldson new zealand

      well franky things are obviously not at all well for you.
      it may be that the experience you encountered was not recieved or given in a manner that portrayed the truth ..personally the conviction of the truth when it becomes real to you will totally turn your thought process around from where you will be before the experience..,,,religion is at fault,.. as the truth is not at all religious,.. and to have it told and explained as religion will bring about false experiences and conversions .
      if you want to write to me do so im not here to push anything upon anybody ..my intention in writing this is to say how awful it must be for right now to be faced with anger inside you.
      I live miles away in new zealand have travelled widely over the years seeing some great and not so great things..here we have many lost ..profoundly lost i might say young people all seeking something from booze sex drugs and anger to boot.
      When in truth one thing only matters .
      it is a blessing to have this opportunity to write you.
      robert

  • SMeloche

    Ah Franky – the Ron Reagan of evangelicalism. And he once pointed out the hypocrisy of the news media in "A Time For Anger". Since church groups rejected "Wired to Kill" he has gone off the deep end, it seems. Hard to believe the person who helped his dad produce the excellent film series "How Should We Then Live?" could adopt such views.

    • Margaret Williams

      "Now the serpent was the most subtle beast of the field."

      Margaret in Alabama

    • RosettaStone

      Ouch, ouch, ouch!!! Well said, M. Meloche!!! The Ron Reagan of evangelicalism!!! That's the best description of Mr. Schaeffer I've ever heard.

    • akbass

      I'm guessing radical Leftism pays better.

  • cpmondello

    lmao

  • Nixon is Lord

    Schaeffer converted to (Greek) Orthodoxy, a branch of Christianity that doesn't allow women to be ordained or its bishops to have wives or priests to re-marry if their wives die or even to change their minds and get married after they've been ordained. It's backwards enough to allow a chunk of Greece (Mount Athos) to be strictly off-limits to women. It also fought its supposed Orthodox brothers (Russian Orthodox) over who got to tell the Estonian Orthodox what to do-something like two bald men fighting over a comb.
    Why preach "progressive" and then join an outfit that makes the most Western churches look like the Unitarians?

    • Paulette

      I am an Orthodox Christian and am extremely offended by your lack of knowledge and understanding of my faith and theology as well as your idiotic representation of it. I don't know Schaeffer's political views and I don't really care to know his views. They are his own. There are idiots from every walk of life and every religion and non-religion as you and Schaeffer have so aptly demonstrated.

    • http://theheartlander.wordpress.com heartlander

      I don't think Franky is Orthodox any more.

      Many years ago, I read the book he wrote just after converting to Orthodoxy, Dancing Alone: The Quest for Orthodox Faith in the Age of False Religion. As I was interested in finding out more about Orthodoxy myself at that time, I found the book very interesting. However, even then I was a little unnerved by all the anger that came through. I've read lots of conversion accounts, but never one with so much anger in it.

      The title, Dancing Alone, should have tipped me off that Schaeffer might have some unresolved personal issues. After all, while Christian faith comes through a personal, individual encounter with the Lord, it is experienced and expressed and lived out, not alone but in community.

      This article makes me very, very sad. I'm sorry that Schaeffer has evidently rejected the Church that he once embraced. Pretty hard to have a warm relationship with God when you've got all that unresolved anger. Didn't Jesus have something to say about that?

    • Chris

      Nixon,

      You are horribly misinformed about Orthodox Christianity, whether Greek, Russian, Roumanian, Arabic, etc.

      In eastern practice there is the phenomenon of dispensation which allows for a relaxing of norms. If a priest decides he wishes to marry after his ordination, he certainly may but he will be laicized. That is why in many regions, if the man is not married, the Church will typically wait for ordination until he is married. If a priest's wife dies, there are circumstances in which he may be allowed to remarry, especially if he has young children.

      With regards to Mt. Athos, it is not backward to not allow women there. It is a monastery where men have given themselves entirely to prayer and communal living. A monk once told me that if women were allowed on Athos, they'd all want to leave and marry them! Let them have their piece of land. Would you be surprised to know that there women's monasteries have the same practice. The only time a priest is allowed is for the Divine Liturgy, typically on Sundays.

      With regards to the jurisdictional dispute between the Russians and the Phanar as to who has canonical oversight of Estonia which includes the approval of bishops, that's a remnant from the communists and their interference with church polity.

      You are obviously misinformed. Try to do some research before posting next time.

    • Immeritevole

      The Greek Orthodox Church is generally rejected by Christians who study history. Whether or not he was part of this church is not the point for me, it is that you called it 'Christian.' I apologize to my Catholic (and any other sect thereof) friends, but a cry comes from Heaven, imploring, pleading with you: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”

      • Chris

        I came to the Greek Church from my study of history.

  • mrstarry76

    I can't believe this is the Franky Schaefer who I used to love! "A Time for Anger" was a favorite of mine. The teachings of his father and mother were prophetic and today we see all that they predicted happening. "How Should We Then Live?" was/is a Christian classic. Francis Schaefer will always be one of my all-time most respected writers. What has happened to Franky to turn him against Christianity so viciously?

    Thanks for an excellent article!

    • grafox

      For helpful perspective, see (not my blog): http://www.verumserum.com/?p=1724

    • Sound Doc

      Bitterness,as was prophesied in the Bible has defiled this man. Jer 23:15 "Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets: 'Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, And make them drink the water of gall; For from the prophets of Jerusalem Profaneness has gone out into all the land.'" As it is written, many false prophets' will be in the last days. They will prophesy from their own hearts. There is a few true prophets, David Wilkerson, who died recently in a crash wrote, ''The Vision'' He saw in 1974, and a lot of that prophesy has been fulfilled. But, if You look in the face of this man, the bitterness is astounding.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    If you have insight and understanding, it is not uncommon for people to loose
    faith but it is uncommon to loose faith and your mind all at once, makes for an
    uphill battle royal to regain equanimity. Franky should have a nice hot cup of tea,
    I am sure many people are praying for him…………………………William

  • RosettaStone

    Franky Schaeffer makes one thing obvious: While we may inherit our propensity for intelligence, stupidity develops on its own!!! No self-respecting evangelical would be seen dead skulking around the HuffPo. The fact that he doesn't realize that the entire crew there is laughing at his family and all they stood for shows him to be either clueless or uncaring. Get a therapist, Franky. At least then you won't have to come back and apologize to your entire family–not to mention the entire Christian world–when you come to your senses. Next stop, Scientology? I wouldn't doubt it!!!

  • grafox

    I heard the public presentations of both "How Should We Then Live?" and "Whatever Happened to the Human Race?" when Francis Schaeffer and Franky (as he was known then) brought them to the U.S. in the late 70's and early 80's. While it was Franky's film-making skills that brought his father's work to the masses, it was clear even then that he had no where near the intellectual firepower of his dad. Francis put Franky on stage to field some questions and I remember cringing at both his condescending arrogance and his angry tone. I dismissed it, thinking that he was just growing up, but he apparently never did. Os Guinness was a close family friend of the Schaeffers' and has responded to Franky publicly. You can search his name to find some good perspective on this sad situation (such as at this link: http://www.verumserum.com/?p=1724)

  • StephenD

    The man has "Daddy" issues. Perhaps a time riding the couch is in order. Posting his venom in front of the world does no one good. Maybe some prayers for him and a warning to all to realize the man ain't right.

  • John

    How have I been blinded by corporate greed!? So much hyperbole and no facts. They are disingenious with their complaints.
    I would not be surprised if this gets worst and leads to a civil war….

    • John

      Sorry, my previous post was more-or-less directed at the anarchists protesting Wall Street, but Frankie appears to be infavour of them.

  • Katie Caliente

    His Father is probably my hands down favorite "Christian writer", and if one was to read "A Christian Manifesto" as I did! ( i dont know how my father managed to get it in his otherwise mostly vapid library of christo-garbage, but he did) If you read it, you may find it does condone protesting against these bankers and their system, and the sympathy for the hippies and peace movements. In fact, thats why Francis is hated. watch his movies that oozzzeee with sympathy for regular kids. "Such Liberalism" his critics cry! I think he was always describing what we have. Christians may be closer to a totalitarian collective than they know. It's too bad the son has drifted off course, but he isnt much different than daddy. He always expressed sympathy for the general masses angry at oppression.
    And, Christians by and large do make up the American Corporate monster, and it is Fascist by nature. It places accumulating money above the preservation of society and the general well-being of the people. It's certainly unchristian from the start! You cant by the very method of wanting to be successful worry about how your corporation affects others.
    This system has co-opted Jesus into their corporate portfolio, to be carted out at will, to justify the making of money.

    • StephenD

      "…the American Corporate monster, and it is Fascist by nature. It places accumulating money above the preservation of society and the general well-being of the people."Because the Evil Corporate Monster can survive without a functioning society. No wait, because if the general populace isn't well the Corporations do better….no that can't be it. Wait….it's Bush's fault!What are you smoking?!? You bind the idea of being successful with being against everything virtuous. That just can't be true. Of course companies want to make money. How does that hurt society? I contend it is just the opposite. IF it wasn't for the potential profits why would Pharmaceutical companies invest in Research and Development? Why bother? The same holds for all manufacturing. Just compare the Soviet Unions autos to America's; clothing, buildings, appliances, ad infinitum. Society and the general-well being of people are added by the corporations’ pursuit of excellence. Competition will ensure it remains so. Though admittedly not perfect, you cannot name a better system.

    • grafox

      If all you've read of Schaeffer is the Manifesto, you really don't know him or what you're talking about. Go back and read "He is There and He is not Silent" and "How Should We Then Live?" at the very least. He was a one-man early warning system to exactly the kind of collapse into a dependent, totalitarian mindset that the street mobs are being duped into before our very eyes.

  • LindaRivera

    The Jew-haters have sprung up in the Wall Street Occupiers and now the Christian-haters are springing up. This humanity hater spews forth his lies and venom. Christians and Jews are utterly opposed to an American government ruled by religion!

    This Christian hater must be vehemently opposed to G-D's BIBLICAL requirement for ALL humanity – KINDNESS.

    Micah 6:8 And what does the L-RD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your G-D.

    And vehemently opposed to Christ teaching:

    Matthew 7:12 Treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

  • Katie Caliente

    Your all very wrong here. Francis taught about "the Idols of personal peace and affluence".
    His beliefs were directed at the problem of a society wherein the people wanted to be left alone to enjoy their luxury, and if it was at the expense of the greater part of that society, so be it.
    He was showing the fall of Rome as compared to America. All this religious talk is merely descibing a false church that is largely secular humanistic and isnt based on the early church meeting the needs of the people. Christianity did function in a way similar to communism…it was communal. Totalitarianism is not based on the community..it's based on the whims of a leader or group of leaders. The true church is willing to take care of the needs of it's own. I remember our church paying for health care as a kid, as the church is instructed to care for orfans and widows, a widow indeed, wife of one husband over the age of 60. Frankie is seperating himself from corporate churchianity…which, im not welcome in churches as ive got no money. They see you are poor..get out of my church! Once i donated 5 bucks to a church, and they treated me alot better after that. What a racket!
    ( that was in addition to the 10 percent my mother and father were paying!) I thought wrongly that my family forking over ten percent of daddys good salery would be enough, this is thousands of bucks a year…THOUSANDS to a vapid preacher man who talks about sports and garbage. Vaguely edifying. Ad-hoc bible stories that dont change the heart, dont shake up the community, and appease the bench warmers! VILE!

    • grafox

      He warned against settling for individual personal peace and affluence — not for having the government provide personal peace and affluence for all. He fought a mighty battle to shore up the crumbling Christian consensus, as he called it, in Western Civilization. His point was that our freedoms spring from biblical values. He predicted that once the society built upon Christian consensus erodes, chaos will ensue and an elite ruling class will impose by totalitarian power a worldview that derives from humanistic rather than biblical values. Exactly what is happening before our eyes. (p.s. — I'm sorry you've had a bad experience with church, but most of us have. The solution is to look for a healthier church environment)

  • Jim

    Attacking the churches is the same blunder that created the conservative Christian movement to begin with. That's the same movement he blames for everything.
    Why doesn't he blame the Reagan Democrats?

    If I were a good communist the first thing I would do is purge the rascal from the ranks.

    The Conservative Christians used to be politically docile. They even liked the new deal.

    If I were paranoid ( wait a minute I am) I would accuse him of being a spy trying to create opposition to the movement at hand.

    It's ok to tax the main line churches. The reasoning is very solidly based." I do not like them."

  • Ben

    the collectivist ideology of self-sacrifice is fighting with the thinking individualists who create the modern prosperity.That`s funny that the ardent supporter of the common prosperity ( remember the term "social justice" had been invented by the catholic bishop) have turned into the lefist supporter of the common prosperity.

  • mrbean

    Ah yes,,,, what one man is unwilling to or incapable of providing for his own needs shall become the forced burden of another, and that forced burden shall be according to the another's abilities. The threshold for the top 1% is $381K who pay 38.3% of the taxes and of the top 5% the threshold is $159K who pay 59% of the taxes and the top 10% withthe threshold is $114 K who pay 75 % of the taxes, All those ( 99% of the occupiers) below $67K rest are almost all on the government dole.

  • xlent

    The book L'Abri by Dr. Francis Schaeffer had a powerful impact on my life. This is the first I have heard about his lost and confused son. What a sad sorry creature he has become. I have some disenfranchised feelings toward the church today myself but I only desire to see it make some corrections and grow stronger.

    • Jenelle

      If you are a born again believer, you are the church. Get out of the "mainstream church," use a real Bible (KJB check out this issue), meet together with real Christians as the Bible teaches. Buildings filled with unsaved "seekers" are not the church. People should only be allowed in a meeting of the church when they become believers. The church does not include the lost world. Bringing the lost into the meeting of the church has backfired. The lost have infiltrated church meetings and are taking over with their Catholic versions like the NIV and their Rock "music" filled with satanic rhythms, satanic sensual beats, and ecumenical Charismatic doctrine. Run! Have a real meeting of the church as shown in the New Testament.

  • RobNclt

    Camping out in tents in a church parking lot will get all of them arrested or run off by the police. That would be trespassing and any violence perpetrated against a church will land one in jail on serious charges. Those charges would not easily be dismissed by some left wing judge. So I don't think they are going to start squatting on church property. It might help some of them since most probably stay as far away from churches as they can.

    • Jenelle

      It is unbiblical to invite the lost into the meeting of the church (Christians).

  • John

    Thanks grafox for the input and link.
    As our time grows shorter church, this should not surprize anyone.

  • kiltmaker

    There are so many things wrong with the man's philosophy, it is hard to start. Unfortunately, I think he has misconstrued many teachings in the Bible about money (and there are many). Most are to the individual about wisely using and/or being a good steward of money. One of the parables of Jesus was about investing the talents (money) of the master and gaining a return on the wise investment of those talents (Matthew 25). The servant that didn't wisely invest was chastised and his master's money removed from his care. Those that invested wisely were rewarded. There are some other teachings about money and charity in the chapter that also instruct, but the wise use of money and gaining profit are taught. Also, taking care of the needy is taught, probably with the money gained from wise investing. It can be a very difficult chapter to read and understand and has many interpretations. And at times has been misread and misused by both conservatives and liberals, alike.

  • levi9

    A very good read on this would be former Nixon White House advisor Kevin Phillips' "AMERICAN THEOCRACY". Go to amazon.com

  • toddS

    THIS WOULD BE GREAT!!! If the occupiers do start going to churches then that would make it so much easier for us real Christians to open air preach and evangelize them LOL
    Unfortunately,they would only go to the mega churches – who inturn would lead them inside,water down the truth,give them a politically correct feel good message that doesnt save anyone,pronounce as Christians any of them who will sign a card because they dont hate Jesus,and then let them vote on who the pastor will be.

  • noking but KIngJesus

    We all need to look deeper into what our so-called "conservative candidates" are doing behind closed doors. I am thankful for them taking a hard stand against evils such as abortion, homosexuality, etc. However, Francis makes a valid point that the conservative masses are often voting for candidates based on these high profile issues without knowing or CARING about what else is going on.
    Pork is rampant on both sides of the aisle. Politicians are routinely in bed with corporations We have a mess on our hands. If the "church" is in any way part of the problem, the "church" needs to be held accountable. Sadly, the vast majority of the "church" (what is supposed to be the "called -out" and the "set apart") is not.
    Francis should not be dismissed. He knows some things and though he is bitter right now, we need to do some soul-searching. We have strayed so far from Biblical Christianity.

  • alison

    Despite what this article implies, Franky Schaeffer still considers himself an evangelical Christian.

  • abey

    The devil is in his details, except it be foolish . What has Church to do with Wall Street / Obama's next political strategy, blaming everyone except himself & his gang, This is what occupy wall street is all about.

  • rachel peepers

    Love the idea of attacking the churches. With Obama's support, demonstrating at churches would seal ObamaFate, who wouldn't even win New York and California. The election would be a shutout. Republicans would get all electoral votes. Obama, zero. With friends like Schaeffer, Marxist Obamunists don't need enemies.

  • cynthia curran

    Franky went to a form eastern orthodoxy that was anti-Roman Catholic and Protestant. Some eastern orthodox while thinking westerners are Heretics are not as anti-Roman Catholic or Protestant. since a lot of easern orthodox tend to be either paleo-cons or liberals or leftist Franky became upset with the right since his son served three terms of miiltary service and the war wasn't over. So, Franky by natture atacks bitterly what he doesn't like part of its political and part religion since he is an agnostic Eastern Orthodox.

  • ccaffrey

    Oh please don’t pretend to speak the values of faith communities sir! You do NOT speak for a great number of us in the mainstream churches. You know, the ones took on a campaign of targeting in the early 70′s much of it coordinated by Paul Weyrich. Speak for your own theological perspectives but do not PRESUME to speak for the Christian faith! I am the daughter and granddaughter of Christian ministers, my father a scholar, and well into his 80′s could not BELIEVE the theological hack job many of the so-called Bible churches were doing to scripture. In evaluating Christian churches, one should always be a little wary, I’ve found, of Christian churches that preach belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and rarely if EVER preach from His actual TEACHINGS. You cannot CALL for a Christian Nation and then say, Oh, but I don’t mean the government practicing feeding the hungry and taking care of the poor and the sick. Jesus was very specific about changing hats when it was convenient (robbing employees during the week and then beating one’s breast and giving excessive alms on the Sabbath).. He also called out the leaders of the synagogues for focusing on the LETTER of the scriptures and chastised them for ignoring the more important SPIRIT of the teachings. So I don’t know if “religious traditionalists” is one of those wink and a nod coded ways you recognize each other as right-wing fundamentalists, but I would say that a lot of the mainstream churches have you beat by a couple hundred if not a couple thousand years of “tradition”.