Will this kind of nonsense ever stop?
I’m not endorsing or supporting any Presidential or VP candidate on this blog, but yes, I will vote tomorrow. But tonight I’m more troubled by the blindness, the coldness, the manipulativeness coming from the “Radical Right” who call themselves evangelical Christians.
Evangelical Christianity is best represented by intelligent, good-hearted people like CS Lewis, John Stott, and/or Billy Graham. The “2012 Letter” is NOT evangelical Christianity. It is hate mail wrapped in the flag and coated in a quasi-religious veneer.
Four issues which the letter raises that I’d like to address here:
1. The USA is not a Christian nation — it is a nation in which the majority of people are Christians. There is a difference: the latter is a majority; the former is a theocracy. It’s high time the Radical Right stopped trying to take over the government. Wrapping a (so-called) Christian message in the flag does a disservice to our Lord by encouraging people to think that (a) the problem of sin can be solved by legislation, and (b) that a vote for Candidate X is a vote for Jesus.
Jesus never supported any political party, nor did He encourage His followers to do so. He encouraged His followers to obey the law, and to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.
When will the Radical Right stop portraying Jesus as a supporter of white upper-middle-class American values of the 1950s? When will He be seen for what He really was: a dark-skinned man from a Middle Eastern country, Jewish by faith, who worshipped in the Temple, ate with sinners, and hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes? When will His message of redemption and love and hope be taken to EVERYONE regardless of race, ethnicity, economic level, gender, denominational affiliation… and yes, even sexual activities?
2. The “2012 Letter” focuses on the wrong issues. In the beginning, God gave humanity the task of caring for the earth — this was the first directive we received from our Creator. Doesn’t obeying Him mean caring for the environment? Shouldn’t this be a top priority for Christians?
Then in the New Testament, Jesus affirms that the greatest commandment is to “love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves”. With all the donations the “2012 Letter” will generate, would it not be better to use these funds to promote hope rather than fear? To develop ways to reach out with Christ’s love to women with problem pregnancies, or to develop ways to reach out to the gay community (rather than trying to outlaw the participation of gays in public life)? To provide resources for Christian ministry in the inner cities, or through the arts, or through education, or in health care. Isn’t it time to stop complaining about how good the world used to be, and deal with present realities?
3. Nowhere in Scripture does God recommend a Democratic Republic above other forms of government. (As far as I know, the only form of government God ever set up was the pre-monarchy system of judges in the Old Testament.) In fact, if anything, Scripture makes it clear that humanity’s ability to govern itself is a myth. Human beings are deeply flawed and are NOT capable of governing themselves equitably or in a way that honors God. Therefore the very foundation on which the USA is built — a belief in self-government — is flawed and will eventually fail. The “2012 Letter” is at best an attempt to spray termite-repellent on a crumbling sandstone foundation.
Lastly, the marriage between evangelical Christianity and the Republican Party needs to end. It is not an indication of second-class faith to vote for a candidate outside the Republican party. The Republican party has used Christians as a power base for decades and has consistently failed to live up to its promises and/or listen to Christian concerns. The Republican Party’s Christian veneer is so thin I could chip it off with a fingernail. (Granted the veneer of acceptance of faith-based views is thin in the Democrat party too.) The Republican Party has been completely unfaithful to Biblical mandates to feed the hungry, provide for the poor, minister to the sick and imprisoned, or even to prevent corporate evildoers from walking off with millions of taxpayer dollars. (The Democrat party OTOH has been completely unfaithful to those within its ranks who are people of faith, who would like to see a more moderate party, and who would like the right to keep the money they work for… but that’s an argument for another day.) It’s time Christians got out of this unholy union, one which never should have happened in the first place.
So enough already.
Tomorrow, may the man who loves Jesus best win.