Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Religious Right Does Not Know What to do Because they Stopped Being the Christian Right


I noticed that the New Republic has an article up entitled "The Religious Right has no idea what to do now" by Suzy Khimm. She is correct, they don't. The leaders of the "Religious Right" did not even know what to do in their heyday, much less now that they are viewed as a distasteful group of oddballs. They were easily seduced and co-opted into becoming shills for one of the corrupt D.C. run and globally funded political parties that have looted America. At first, the "leaders" of the Religious Right were flattered and given "access"- so long as they did not get too critical of the club. As the article points out, candidates are not even bothering to lie to them now. They simply make a few vague statements that don't translate into policy.

They know, and the article alludes to it, that those voters are so anxious for a Moses to deliver them to the promised land, or "another Reagan" that they will throw their support behind someone who gives them even the slimmest of rhetorical affirmation. They want to be misled. People who want to be misled will always get their wish.

Then I read another article which made the same point, the "Religious Right" is looking for a Moses, or a Political Messiah, to deliver them. What really brought it home to me is that this past Sunday I attended an adult Sunday School class and this was also the hope and view of many of the attendees.

The "leaders" of the religious right continue to mislead their flock. We don't need "another Reagan" for people to put their hopes in. As much as I loved the man, it was under his watch that the Republicans realized that they could borrow-and-spend. They abandoned their prior tradition of fiscal responsibility. We don't need another Moses either- that is going backward. Nor do we need a political Messiah- that is what the Jews thought they were supposed to get when Jesus came along. He went and hid rather than become that kind of Messiah.

If you are a Christian, you are a member of the Body of Christ. A "cell" if you will of His corporate body, to do the will of God in the earth. Christ is better than a Reagan, Christ is better than a Moses, and Christ is better than a political Messiah who people expect to fix everything for them. We have forgotten the first truths. As awful, and weak, and sinful and flawed as we are, we are the Body of Christ. It is more glory for God to do His work through us as we are than for some white knight to ride in and do it in His name.

Now you may be thinking "but I can't save America." That is true, but God cares about individual people first, and the corporate entity of a nation only secondarily. And that is the way we should approach our ministry. We want things to be fixed from the top down- that way we on the bottom need change nothing. But God wants to fix things from the bottom up. He wants to start with the individual. When enough of us get better- because we are connected to Him, the top gets better naturally. Not effortlessly maybe, but naturally and easily.

Trying to "save America" is a heavy burden and a difficult yoke. But if you are like most Christians God has put someone in your life who is in need of salvation, or someone just saved in need of mentoring and discipleship. You can't even save them of course, only Jesus can save anyone, but you can help manifest the salvation which He has already bought into their lives. Helping an individual near you who you already care about is (compared to "saving America') a burden that is both easy and a yoke which is light. That is how you know you are carrying the right burden. It is the one Jesus said He would give to His followers.

And if we serve to turn confused people, captured by their baser impulses, unable to discern truth from error, into people who grounded in the truth, free to refuse sin, discerning in their minds and virtuous in their conduct then we will have done our part to "take back the country." Not that we should do it for that reason, for then it becomes the same heavy burden to which the religious right has fallen captive. Even sympathy for the lost is a mere secondary consideration to sympathy for God who does not want a single soul to be lost to Him, or a single soul once gained to lose the blessings which can come with discipleship.

A nation of people like that has little need of government officials to oversee their lives for them- they can handle their own lives. Government needs people to need government to grow. This explains why so many governments continue policies which reward poor choices and enable dysfunction. Good government starts with self-government.

By becoming disciples ourselves and helping others to become disciples we can save "America" one soul at a time. But discipleship requires discipline, and we can fall into the trap of loving the concept of "America" while failing to show the same concern for the spiritual health of the actual Americans who are around us. It is much more fun in the short term to eschew all of that discipline stuff and go emotionally invest ourselves in cheerleading for whoever we want to be our "next Reagan", our "Political Messiah" for this election cycle.

Now when I say that good government is a by-product of virtuous citizens I don't mean that we should not mess with politics at all. I reject the so-called "Benedict Option" of withdrawal from the culture. I just mean that we have focused on the wrong end of things. Any of us have only a negligible impact on who the next president might be, yet that seems to be the race which has us all stirred up. But somewhere in your county is a decent person who ought to be the Sheriff, or the County Judge, or a State Representative.

They may not be a celebrated national figure who show up on all the newscasts, but they are a decent, real, flesh and blood person who you can minister to as you help them with their campaign. You can make a real difference in their life whether you win the election or lose it. This is much closer to the will of Christ than becoming so emotionally invested in a name on your computer screen. It is better to serve a real person near than cheer on the media image of a person that you don't really know who is running for President. And if enough of us did that, it would matter a lot less who the President was.

Look, Billy Graham went around preaching the gospel, now his son is preaching that people should vote. The gospel crusades of a generation ago have deteriorated into a "get out the vote" campaign for a Republican party that refuses to provide candidates that a typical Christian, or even just a virtuous person, would be motivated to vote for. So now they urge voting as some sort of Christian sacrament, something we should do as a religious duty regardless of how bad the candidates might be. I see it differently. If the system provides terrible candidates, we have a Christian duty to refuse to validate them with our vote. Refusing to vote for them despite social pressure to give our approval to a corrupt system by continuing to pretend its OK is a Christian duty.  Our duty would not stop there though. We then work to form a new party or new way to get candidates to the ballot that does not route them through a terminally corrupt two-party system that has destroyed our children's future with debt and insane policies. All of that though, is something that we do while we have no opportunity to preach the gospel, not something that is in place of it.

The Religious Right quit being the Christian Right. That's why they are losing. But we shouldn't change in order to start "winning".  If that's our motive, we will still lose. We should change because it is what Christ wants us to do. It rightly describes the yoke that He said that He wanted you to carry instead of the yoke that many who come in His name entice you to carry. It is what our neighbors need us to do. We should do it that way because that's how you Love God with all you have got and love your neighbor as yourself in this area of life.

For more thoughts on the subject, please see "Why traditionalists are losing and what they can do about it."

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