Over at Mike Stuchbery's blog, a comment fight is going on over Peter Garrett's letter to Evonne Paddinson, head of ACCESS Ministries and self-admitted winner of souls for christ through the NSCP.
Garrett, of course, is a stealth christian, as I've pointed out previously, but oddly enough so are many of his defenders around the blogosphere. Take, for example, Philip Brookes.
Philip is a prolific commenter over at Mike Stuchbery's blog, and in fact anywhere the NSCP is mentioned. Philip avoids any reference to christianity in his posts, and cultivates an outward image of the unbiased onlooker, all the while accusing opponents of the NSCP of red-herrings, strawmen and all manner of other rhetorical tricks. Oddly, he always comes down on the side of ACCESS and the NSCP in his conclusions.
Philip sometimes goes so far as to mention that he himself is not a christian, notably on this ABC piece entitled "Teach Don't Preach: How to Do Religion In Schools".
This comment, of course, is emblematic of Brookes's style. Attack credibility of critic, avoid point at hand, play the part of unbiased outsider. It's like an odd variant on concern trolling.
Of course, what Philip won't tell you is that he's an evangelical christian himself, playing the stealth game to further the agenda. Here's a post from Philip's own blog, in his own words.
And I quote:
[...]Since arriving here on Thursday 21st September, I’ve had the privilege of
Find all my photos at www.flickr.com/photos/philipbrookes/
- Dining in style at GreenBelt on the finest Filipino fare
- Worshipping at Victory Christian Fellowship, Robinson’s Mall – a dynamic, mission-focussed, vibrant and growing evangelical Christian church
- Walking and talking with a lady and her son who had no money to return to San Pablo, so I was able to purchase the bus ticket for them to return home
- Debating with a security guard whether I really wasn’t allowed to photograph a particularly prominent building
- Visiting Kids Hope Ministry and meeting with a group of street kids hanging out on a vacant block, where we prayed with them, told a story about (King) David working in the fields and obeying God to fight Goliath, and finally feeding the children.
- Meeting with a lovely Christian programmer who’s just as inspired as me (even more??) to be a channel of God’s love to these people, and thus see the country turn to God and receive His richest blessings. Only God knows what this valuable relationship may lead to in the future…
P.S. While I’ve been sitting here, the Rating 3 Tropical Storm ‘Milenyo’ has snapped trees in the street outside, which have taken out street signs and power lines. The wind is virtually bowing the trees to the ground! Through Him we live and breathe and have our being!!!
It's almost as though there's a whole bunch of christians who were, in recent times, vocally and openly committed to spreading the gospel, but who have adopted a kind of radio silence to hide their beliefs. Stealth Christians.
I say "almost as though" sarcastically, of course. We know this to be the case. People like Fred Nile, who are openly idiotic about their christian beliefs, tend to do more harm than good. Better to achieve the goal without the obvious signs of affiliation. Better to hide one's true intention. Better to attack secular principles while making it look like they've fractured from within.
Sure, this paragraph can be attacked as paranoia. That's the whole point. Yet we see it time and time again around the world, in Dominionist ttempts to infiltrate political parties by stealth, in Opus Dei politicians who remain silent on their beliefs and affiliation until uncovered, to creationist lunatics who manage to keep their beliefs covered up until the end of a four year PhD programme in order to "Bring down darwinism from within". We even see it in radical antivaxers who attempt to don the cloak of "impartial whistleblowing scientists" or "vaccine safety advocates". Lying about one's agenda is commonplace, though I don't see a lot of secularists, skeptics and atheists doing it.
So what to do? Well, first, expose them wherever you find them. If someone is making an effort to conceal their aims, deny them the luxury. Then make sure everyone knows about the lies. If they find it unpleasant to be branded with their true labels, make damn sure life is unpleasant for them. Secondly, Don't become like them. Lying to achieve a goal taints any victory you might achieve.
Honesty, I was once led to believe, is a virtue. The truth has a value greater than gold, and if you're compelled to conceal the truth in your quest for a goal, you need to ask yourself: is your objective really that noble if you have to lie to attain it?