If you missed the contentious dialogue between the Rev. Franklin Graham and the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday morning, you had better go back and watch it first. The interview, during which Graham declined to say whether he believes Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are Christians, has captured headlines and has been extensively debated in the 24 hours since it aired.
Last night, Al Sharpton took to his MSNBC show "PoliticsNation," where he offered a confusing rebuttal to Graham and a somewhat convoluted commentary on Christianity.
“We’ve been hearing a lot of talk about faith and religion in recent days," Sharpton proclaimed. "This morning, Franklin Graham went on national television to question President Obama’s Christian faith. And in Washington, we've seen politicians using faith to attack women's rights to health care."
Then, he delved into the notion that faith has the potential to be a divider rather than a uniter, while uttering some words that many people of faith would actually agree upon (aside from the definition of "justice," which, considering Sharpton's activities and background, would be very different from an individual with a conservative worldview).
"The fact is religion has always had the potential to divide us...but it doesn't have to be that way," he said. "Our religious views can help us pull together. They can guide us toward justice..."
Now, here's where his commentary takes a controversial turn.
"I am a Christian but I don’t require everyone to believe what I believe and share my faith. I believe in Jesus. I read and preached since I was a little boy," Sharpton said. "A Jesus that healed the sick, opened blind eyes, opened deaf ears. But He never asked anyone he healed what faith they believed in and never told them they had to be with him in order to get healed."
While Jesus didn't blatantly ask individuals for their religious preference, it was their belief in him -- in his ability to help them -- that led to their physical healing. Thus, peoples' faith in Christ, according to the Christian Bible, was the catalyst for their cures.
"Real Christians help heal people and help people," he continued. "They don’t talk about it. Their works speak for themselves."
Watch these comments, below:
While Christians, at least according to the holy book they embrace, are commanded to help those in need, they are also commanded to share their faith. Take, for instance, Matthew 28:16-20, which reads:
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Regardless of whether one believes Biblical doctrines, Sharpton's take on the matter -- that one doesn't need "to talk about it" does seem to run somewhat contrary to Christianity's central tenets. Additionally, his definition of healing and helping people is starkly different some others who may embrace more right-leaning ideologies.
While Graham spoke about being able to discern Christians' faith from both their stated words and actions, Sharpton seems more concerned with seeing actions and allowing them to showcase, on their own, one's faith. This is by no means a defense of Graham's comments about Obama and the other presidential contenders, but it is necessary to differentiate the areas of focus that each individual pinpoints when defining Christianity.
“I think you have to ask President Obama…I think people have to ask Barack Obama — he‘s come out saying he’s a Christian. So, I think the question is ‘What is a Christian?,’” Graham said when asked about Obama's faith yesterday.
It is this question -- "What is a Christian?" -- that seems to starkly divide people like Graham and Sharpton.
(H/T: Gateway Pundit)