Opinion

Opinion | Will the Religious Right Wake Up on the Right Side of the Bed?

I want to address the cross-toting elephant in the room. This is a call to repentance.

I am incensed and grieved by how “politically correct” you are, how tolerant you are, how you allow temperamental snowflakes to dictate your ways. You are sexually permissive and give out entitlements to those who haven’t earned them. You drink the fake news Kool-Aid, and you adore the Washington swamp. Yes, I know whom I am addressing. I am calling for a repentance from right wing Christianity.

Call yourself Christian. Call yourself patriotic. Call yourself conservative, right wing, moral majority, Republican, evangelical, fundamental, religious. But you have strayed from your first love. For too long you have hijacked the news of our Redeemer, and distorted the teachings of the risen servant King.

After years of hearing that liberals were too tolerant, I came to find that you are the most tolerant of all. Tolerant of hatred, bigotry, entitlement, ignorance, militarism, big government, and conspiracy theories. You plague the ears of the elderly like a televangelist with a private jet. You misinform the uneducated like a sleazy used car salesman. You accuse and bang and blame like a Puritan England magistrate.

We’re not here to talk about what the liberals have done. You know their hypocrisy well. It’s time to address the plank in your own eye. Out of love for your well being, I beg you to turn inward and confront your soul.

I sat by for eight years watching you treat a man in the most anti-Christian manner, struggling to invest enough hope in you to believe it was for any reason other than his dark skin. You accused the elected President of the United States of being a Communist, a secret Muslim, a Kenyan-born illegitimate citizen, a witch doctor, and even the anti-Christ.

I decided to be as skeptical of your outrageous rumors as I was of Obama’s lofty promises. I looked into the death panels rumor. No death panels. I looked into his faith. Turns out he believes in the resurrected Jesus. I saw his birth certificate. I looked for a video of him telling illegal immigrants to vote, and never found it. I looked for a piece of legislation floating around that would take our guns. I never saw it.

I saw how you acted under a world leader you didn’t like. Now I see you under a world leader you do like. He ingratiates himself with every step, and you follow along. It sickens me. It brings me to tears.

I get it, why you feared the Clinton crisis. Liberals chose a grossly negligent politician backed by Wall Street who puts career before service and surveillance before freedom. I don’t even know why liberals liked her. At first, I thought, Trump was merely your plan to stop Hillary. Why else would you choose a lewd, greedy, narcissistic reality star with absolutely no experience as a statesman?

I wish I could say that this has just gotten out of hand, and even you are repentant of what you unleashed. But this is a product of your toleration, your advocacy. Within the Oval Office alone you tolerate bigotry, demeaning attitudes toward women, the suggestion of killing families of terrorists, mocking the disabled, endorsing torture, shaming prisoners of war for getting captured, and flat-out lying on a regular basis.

Or maybe none of that is true. Because you also taught me that every wrong thing your favorite president does is actually a fabrication of the fake liberal media. Even if it’s one of his own tweets, it’s a fabrication of the fake liberal media.

It doesn’t matter to you that your chosen leader never “seasons his words with salt” or “turns away wrath with a soft answer,” but instead boasts, brags, lies, threatens, gossips, bullies and demeans. It doesn’t seem to matter to enough of you that he stated that he doesn’t believe he has to ask God for forgiveness. What kind of role model is that for our children?

Now I see you for what you are, more interested in privilege and national security than in character and peace. Look at your denominations and sects. You obsess over your national identity more than you do your spiritual identity. You desire a physical wall between nations and neglect tending the divide between households of faith.

Twenty years ago you lambasted a president for an extramarital affair. Now you praise a president who has boasted of sexual assault, promoted a pornographic film, and is now in his third marriage. In recent years you chided one president for playing too much golf. Now you look the other way when the current president plays even more golf.

You curse Washington D.C. for hosting the rich, and so you should. But who will drain the swamp for you? A casino owner who inherited millions from his father, markets a fraudulent university, and hires only the wealthiest people to work for him, including many former lobbyists? You decry Goldman Sachs for controlling elections, but only when your enemies are running.

You’ve spent half a century using democracy to fight abortion at all costs because you say you care about the lives of the innocent, yet you endorse leaders who are willing to bomb innocent women and children, even use nuclear warfare in order to commit abortion against another country’s children. Much like your liberal counterparts, you support foreign policies that are not pro-life. You prop up a Commander in Chief whose policies are against The New Testament, The Constitution, The Geneva Convention, and The Pentagon War Manual.

Do you really think you can put God first when you’re trying to put America first? How do you put an empire before a servant king, and live with yourself? Where in the Bible does it say a strong military will save you? Does it not argue the opposite? Have you learned nothing from the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness? Do you think it wise to barter for an alliance with worldly power in order to garner enough support to protect you from that same world? How did that work out for King Hezekiah?

I beg you to be like Hezekiah in the end of his days. I beg you to kneel before God and give up these unholy alliances. I beg that he will extend your life long enough for your repentance.

I am ashamed of you for thinking you are immune to false information, to personal bias, to bigotry, to selfishness. You have become so skeptical of your enemies, you have forgotten to turn that glass on yourself. You are so easily misled by propaganda you can’t even recognize when your strategies match those of the white supremacists.

You associate yourself politically and religiously with people who claim that the Sandy Hook shooting was fake, who dismiss the welcoming words of the Statue of Liberty, who justify rape, who continually court white supremacists, who encourage violence, and who display willing ignorance of the very departments they are in charge of.

Day after day your efforts undercut the very teachings of your spiritual King. I am embarrassed to be associated with you.

I wish I could say that the Charlottesville horror—those coddled little Nazi’s with tiki torches shouting “white lives matter” at a statue until someone was killed by a terrorist—was completely isolated from our culture, that this is not America. But it is America, because you’ve tolerated it for far too long. You’ve allowed the lunatic fringe, the alt-right, the conspiracy peddlers, and the petty rumor mill to influence you, hijack your religion, seduce your otherwise outstanding zeal.

You helped create this. Will you repent of it?

On Saturday, your president said, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides ― on many sides.” He couldn’t look the evil of white nationalism in the face because white nationalism helped him get elected. He was hesitant to decry so many of his own supporters.

And yet, despite everything, I’m optimistic about your upcoming repentance.

Last weekend, as I looked around, I hardly saw anyone who defended Trump’s reckless comments, made excuses about the left, blamed Obama or Black Lives Matter. Rather, I was overwhelmed by the shared outrage from the left and the right at the despicable display of terror that occurred. Rather than take sides and deflect, you stood up against a most obvious evil. You finally and unequivocally distanced yourself from the alt right enough to “tell it like it is” and give shameless idolatry no excuse. Most of you, anyway.

Maybe Charlottesville was your wakeup call. Maybe it took marching Nazis and a woman killed by a terrorist for you to come to terms with the consequences of your tolerance and silence. Maybe your own outcries are what made the president amend his words, if only for a moment, before returning to his ways. I hope that was because of you, conservatives, finally standing up to bigotry, that President Trump finally named names, calling the KKK repugnant, calling Neo-Nazis repugnant, calling white supremacists repugnant. But as we saw mere days later, one moment is not enough to change him. If you turn back to Christ, you have the power to change that wicked man’s heart for good.

What now? Will you persist? Will you distance yourself from evil, or let it slide?

What will you sacrifice to show your repentance?

Give up your Pat Robertson and your Jerry Falwell, your Alex Jones and your Steve Bannon. Say goodbye to Tomi Lahren and Jeff Sessions. Forget Rush Limbaugh and forget Sean Hannity. Kiss Bill O’Reilly and Joe Arpaio goodbye.

Stop circulating political gossip and poisoning the ears of the elderly, the poor, the uneducated, and the fearful. Remain consistent with your reaction to Charlottesville. Confront the reality of America: A divided nation that doesn’t need bigger bombs, higher walls, more gun purchases, or richer wealthy people, but needs genuine faith lived out by followers of Jesus.

Stop praying for Trump to succeed. Pray for him to kneel.

Stop distorting the Good News. Stop making excuses for evil. Stop hijacking the faith of my fathers for political gain. Repent putting empire first and Kingdom second. Otherwise, call yourself conservative all you want, but don’t call yourself Christian.

I beg you, for my sake and yours, repent of this love affair with lesser-evil-ism. Make Christianity Great Again.

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