Evangelicals & Partisanship
My Country, Right Or Wrong, My Country!
We are witnessing the retardation of language as an effective means of communication right before our very eyes. Much of this degradation is due to poor employment of critical thinking. The average advocate of an ideology only does so by parroting the rhetoric of their favorite talking head. Conservatives are devotees of the Sean Hannitys & Rush Limbaughs, while Liberals favor the Rachael Maddows & Anderson Coopers of the world.
I have yet to hear Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton postulate one word about African American accountability. It is utter madness to rant and rave about negative police encounters when they amount to a scant 2% of violence perpetuated against AAs when 98% of the violence occurs intramurally amongst AAs. What sane person spends any considerable time addressing something that amounts to a mere 2% of the problem?
Similarly, I dismissed Dennis Prager and former Secretary of Education William Bennett from my listening retinue when they advocated the dismissal of concern about the COVID-19 virus. While there is legitimate room for differences of opinions regarding the degree of the governmental response, I refuse to accept medical advice from people whose expertise is not in the field of medical science.
If I listen (and I do not whenever practical) to Jesse Jackon and his cohorts, the problem is always grounded in an aberrant Conservative Ideology. When I listen to the Rush Limbaughs from the Right, America’s foibles always find their source in a Leftist worldview. There is rarely, if ever, any nuanced or balanced query as to the real source of the malady.
This past Wednesday, our nation witnessed one of the darkest days in US History. A day much akin to President Roosevelt’s declaration of the attack on Pearl Harbor as a Day of Infamy. Like September 11, 2001, Americans will remember where there were and what they were doing when they first became aware of Americans breaching the US Capitol as a brazen act of sedition.
While the vast majority of Americans can agree on the criminal duplicity of those who stormed the Capitol, there sadly remains a profound philosophical divide in the national discourse. Pro-Trumpers passionately and unapologetically advocate the POTUS did nothing wrong. Simultaneously, the Never-Trumpers joined with the Left in their full-breathed animus against President Trump and demanded his Political Head on a platter. (Editor’s note: the House of Representatives moved historically to indict President Trump for impeachment for a SECOND time on January 13, 2021).
I know people personally who are fellow Conservative Fraternity members who found nothing out of place with the President’s action. One fellow Conservative Fraternity brother wrote:
How is encouraging people to exercise their 1st Amendment rights by coming to D.C. to protest equivalent to telling them to riot?
I cannot believe you frame the narrative in this manner. Any reasonable person understands just the tenor the words of POTUS would have for this audience’s political fervor. If you want to take the view that his calls were pure and patriotic, you go right ahead. POTUS still riled up the crowd with cries of “stolen elections” the very day of the riots. Sorry, that is “Stinkin Thinkin” on steroids.
One of the chief reasons I decided to attend The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was due to the theological erudition of it Seminary’s President, Dr. Albert Mohler. In a time of rank & rabid partisanship, Dr. Mohler is the last of a dying breed who will let his yays be yay and his nays be nay. I have written and spoken about this example several times, but it bears repeating. Dr. Mohler is a staunch Conservative, a fact he does not shy from in the slightest. Yet, immediately after the historic election of Barack Obama as the first AA president in U.S. History, Dr. Mohler took out a full-page ad in a local Kentucky newspaper to offer his prayers and supplications for God’s divine blessings over the Obama administration.
Dr. Mohler wrote this full-page ad as an ardent objector to the ideology of what a President Obama presidency would entail, but Dr. Mohler astutely understood the sense of pride and historical significance a Barak Obama presidency would have for many People of Color, both in America and for people internationally. Dr. Mohler, because he biblically yearns for what is best for the country, unashamedly asked God to bless the administration of President Obama. He praised President Obama for his excellent character and evident love for his wife and children. Dr. Mohler prayed for God’s very best for a president that he would staunchly differ on what is the best course of action to maximize the chance for human flourishing at the lowest levels of American society.
I ask you, when was the last time you saw a Republican wish God’s very best for someone who posited a Leftist ideology as the best course of action and easily vice versa. The very next time Sean Hannity grants a favorable analysis of a view from a Liberal will in all likelihood be the occasion for the Fox News Channel to interrupt their regular programming for a Special New Report because it would be a FIRST.
By definition, you can categorize me as a Conservative. That is fine because we require labels to function as a society. That is why the Transgender Revolution is illogical on its face. We need categories to distinguish this from that. This cannot be That. Up cannot EVER be Down. Left can never be Right. So, while I will wear the Conservative label with pride, distinction and unapologetically so, I will never adopt the mantra, My Country, right or wrong, My Country.
Evangelicals must never get caught up in a nationalistic groundswell. Our only chief allegiance must be to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. All other allegiances must and must always be derivative and secondary. No matter how noble and necessary, no entity must ever be on par with our allegiance to fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If my beloved mother or father were still alive and though I would love them dearly, if they were amongst the scoundrels who invaded and occupied the Capitol, my familial connection would cede into the background. I would have no choice other than to call a spade a spade. In this case, My Country, Right or Wrong, My Country morphs to My family, Right or Wrong, My Family and still qualifies as Stinkin Thinkin.
Consequently, it matters not the noun. What matters is the object of our devotion only. Evangelicals hold unquestioning loyalty only to God Himself, not the country and not even to the family or to the Church. All of these and all other temporal entities are temporal and fallible and will tragically fail us in the final analysis without exception, end of story, full-stop!
Only the naïve or unsophisticated Evangelical will ever be guilty of aligning with partisan politics. As an enlightened and ever aspiring astute Evangelical, I seek to call Spades whenever and wherever I see one. I, first, want to always to look inwards to ensure my house is in divine order. Then, I want to look at those closest to me. My Mom and Dad raised me to believe that charity always starts at home and then spreads abroad. As a Conservative, that means I always labor to hold my fellow Conservatives to a higher standard. In light of last week’s action, that means when I look at President Trump’s actions, I refuse to give him a free pass. I refuse to play the game of Partisan Politics.
In an likewise fashion, when I believe AAs are culpable, if I truly and consistently champion truth and fairness, then I must own it and not attempt to not deal with that reality. When it is a charge properly leveled at males in general, then so be it. No one ever promised us that being followers of Jesus Christ would be easy.
Jesus Christ does not improperly prepare us for what would lie ahead as His followers. He explicitly informed those seeking to follow Him they would have to pick up their cross and deny themselves. The careful Bible student understands the symbology of the Cross and the theological implications.
Because I do understand the implications of both being a Christ-follower AND picking up my cross, I readily understand I must sell out to right being right and wrong being wrong no matter where I find it. Last week I found the deliberate and calculated actions of President Trump grievously wrong and morally reprehensible. Conversely, I stand against him all day, every day, and twice on Sundays regarding that particular issue. I would expect all fair-minded Evangelicals to do the same. If we seek to posit fidelity to biblical truth I see no other worldview perspective available to us.
As always, let me know what you think. Until then, Keep your Hands to the Plow and Seek to Serve for an Audience of One.