The first set of ten was more background and these get a little more specific, and possibly more offensive to some. I am not hopeful anyone will follow this, but we’ve had a couple of posts recently where we discussed political things. I would love it if we stuck to these points for our discussion. Again, I realize that is a bit of a lost-cause request, but miracles happen.
Again, my comparison of what I am doing to Luther’s 95 theses is tongue-in-cheek. His confrontation of the Church instigated a reformation. Mine is more likely just to irritate some folks.
Part 1 of this series can be found here. It would probably behoove the reader to peruse it first. Later this week, or perhaps early next week, I think I have enough left for one more post. Here are theses 11-20.
(For the record, this was written before the first post was published. If it seems I am dealing with topics addressed in the first post, it is a coincidence.)
11. Christians have demonstrated a shameful and embarrassing hypocrisy in the political realm.
I had a personal blog back in 2016 and posted an article on it in which I compared two articles by Dr. James Dobson. In one (1998?), he excoriated Bill Clinton for his foibles as president and said that character was an essential part of his duties. In the next, he took the exact opposite position (the one the Democrats had taken during the Clinton impeachment trial) that personal character is not the issue for a president. “We are electing a president, not a pastor.” Pretty much everything he said in one article he countermanded in the other. Why? Now, a morally-challenged Republican was under scrutiny instead of a morally-challenged Democrat. Sorry, it was hypocrisy.
- When your moral stands change based on the political party in power, that is hypocrisy.
- When you said Bill Clinton was morally disqualified from service by his immorality but excuse Donald Trump’s equally onerous immorality, you are hypocritical.
- When you posted a relentless stream of “Obama is a Muslim” memes and other vituperative derogation on social media for 8 years and you chastise people who question Trump by saying, “He is our president, put in power by God, and we need to support him,” you have tested positive for Hypocrisy-20.
- If you call out Democrats and critics of Trump for what they say about the president, but excuse the president’s harsh words against others, you win the silver for hypocrisy. If you cheer the president for his vicious words, you win the gold.
- When you have one set of rules for Democrats and another for Republicans, it’s hypocrisy, my co-laborers in Christ.
12. If you believe one party is thoroughly good (or godly) and the other party is thoroughly bad (or ungodly), you are not paying attention.
If you criticized every single action of Obama and support every single action of Trump, you are likely not being informed by God’s word, but by partisanship. Life doesn’t work that way. By the same token, if you oppose and criticize everything Trump does, if you assume negative motives on everything, you have likely given in to partisanship.
As a NeverTrumper, I can name several things the president has done that I appreciate. I do not have to disdain every action. I did not agree with Obama’s politics, but I didn’t have to paint him as a terrible human being to accomplish that.
Don’t be driven by partisanship.
13. The GOP platform may be closer, in some ways, to a biblical worldview (especially on life and family issues) but that does not mean the GOP is a Christian institution.
There are elements of the GOP platform that align with our worldview well, but we ought to be very careful about aligning ourselves with Republicans. Political parties are, as Dobson and Thomas said, about gaining and maintaining power, not about proclaiming truth. They are about compromising to gain power and maintain it.
There may be places where the GOP and the SBC have common ground, but they are not a Christian institution. If we cast our lot in with them, we will do the compromising and we will get burned. It has never been good for the mission of the church when it too fully aligns itself with a political party or movement.
14. Binary voting is a myth.
As someone who voted third party in 2016, I was told 2 things. First, I was told that I was wasting my vote. That assumes that the purpose of voting is to choose a winner. I went to the polls knowing that the man I was voting for would not only not win, but not win a single electoral vote. But I view my vote as an expression of my morals and convictions, not just as an exercise in getting on the winning team. I voted based on my morals and convictions, and will do so again in 2020. Second, I was told that my failure to vote for a certain candidate was actually a vote for the other side. Strangely, I was told by Trumpers that I was voting for Hillary by voting third party and told by others that I was supporting Trump by not voting for Hillary. Somehow, by voting third party, I managed to vote for both Trump AND Hillary.
All of that is to say, if you want to limit yourself to voting either Democrat or Republican, feel free. I do not believe I have to do that and I do not accept that you have the authority to tell me to do so.
15. As a faithful Christian, I have every right NOT to vote.
Now I stepped in it!
I have voted in every presidential and congressional election since 1976. There have been times when I have chosen to leave blank spaces on my ballot (congressional races mostly). I have seen people express the view that Christians are required to vote. We are required by the word of God to be obedient and faithful citizens, but I know of no biblical injunction that I would be violating by simply staying home on election Tuesday.
If you want to argue this one, fine. Please don’t tell me, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” That is ridiculous. All I ask is that someone make a case from Scripture that tells me that if I have no morally acceptable choices I still have to choose one. Show me that a decision to not vote violates biblical commands.
Please, show me biblical evidence that requires me as a Christian to vote.
16. The misdeeds of the other party in no way justify or excuse misdeeds of your party.
It amazes me how often I see this idea even in theological arguments. “Well, the Calvinists started it.” Republicans justify their misdeeds because the Democrats have done worse and Democrats rationalize their sins because the Republicans did it worse – or first.
Folks, “He started it” is something a child says, not a serious theological argument.
17. The issue I have is not with thoughtful Trump voters, but with those who are blindly loyal to Trump or fawning in reverence of him.
If you look at Trump’s faults and say, “I think he’s better than the flawed Biden” that is your choice. But those who paint Trump as a servant of God, as a friend of Christ, as a warrior for the kingdom of God – that is problematic. Those who defend his every action, who explain away his faults, who paint him in messianic hews, who demand everyone support him or be cast out of fellowship, called panty-waists, attacked as liberals – it is wrong.
18. Demonizing political opponents and beatifying those we support politically are not theologically justified.
Look, people, Barack Obama was not the devil and Donald Trump is not a saint. If you dug down deep enough, there is probably something good about Hillary Clinton.
Since I announced that I wasn’t supporting Trump in 2016, I’ve had lifelong friends unfriend me on Facebook, I’ve been called liberal, been vilified, all of this because I made a choice not to vote for a political candidate. While I tried not to, I have tended to see reluctant Trump supporters as friends of Falwell or Jeffress.
Demonizing those with whom we disagree is a normal human response, but it comes from the flesh, not the Spirit. We need to fight it, not give in to it.
19. The concept that access to the halls of political power is essential for the SBC is completely without biblical warrant
It was a common criticism of Dr. Moore during the 2016 election cycle. “His criticisms of Donald Trump risk costing the SBC its friendly access to the White House.” Obviously, it is nice to have that access and if we can keep it without compromise, great! However, where is God’s word is political access and power an important virtue. Jesus and his followers never sought to curry favor with political leaders, but confronted them with truth.
20. That some of our leaders have access to Trump is good, if they are influencing him for good. I wonder if that is so.
Those with political access to the White House seem more intent on justifying him and supporting him than on confronting him. Is it controversial to say that Trump is a flawed man? I would love to know that the spiritual leaders around him were calling him to repent and obey Christ rather than filling him with messianic delusions.
I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors in the White House, but based on what I’ve seen, I have serious questions about whether access to the White House is having a spiritual impact on the president or a worldly impact on the spiritual leaders.
Coming soon, part 3 – in which I lose even more friends and influence even fewer people!