“My Country, right or wrong, My Country” is the rally call of most people, most Americans and tragically most Evangelicals.
I can remember how much I detested all Dennis Rodman (eventual Hall of Fall Basketball player) stood for UNTIL he became a member of my beloved Chicago Bulls. Funny how our ethics can easily become jaded for expediency sake.
While basketball has it place it does not rise to the import of our political and religious leaders. As a result I cannot embrace the acceptance of the conduct and temperament of our current President.
I will tread lightly here as the Bible admonishes me to honor those in authority over me. Yet, I believe this clear admonition is balanced with our obligation to act as God’s prophetic voice within our culture.
One recent example was the President’s initial reaction to the testimony of Dr. Ford during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. I must admit I was initially shocked at the measured and sober analysis the President offered. He was quoted as indicating he found Dr. Ford’s testimony “compelling” and he believed Dr. Ford to be a “compelling witness.” I was shocked because these were not the type of reserved and measured comments we have to come to expect from the POTUS.
This shock was short-lived as the POTUS quickly reverted to his typical rancorous manner. He used a political rally in Mississippi to mock Dr. Ford. Now, it is not my intent to attempt to ascertain the truth of Dr. Ford in this forum. The truthfulness of her allegation is not my primary concern here. Instead, I am concerned with civility, even to someone one who may not be the paragon of virtue. Maybe Dr. Ford is part of a political process motivated to do whatever is necessary to thwart the Democratic process. Maybe but maybe not. Even if it determined one way or the other there is still a noble and dignified to enter into the conversation.
Even if she found to be untruthful, Dr. Ford is still a human being created in the image of God. Thus, even if found to be duplicitous, she is still to be afforded common decency and not subject to ridicule.
While I did not vote for or support the policies of President Obama there was NEVER a time I came to believe he was not acting in a manner he did not believe was the best for the country. There was NEVER a time I came to believe President Obama did not carry himself in a dignified manner worthy of honor and respect as President. Sadly, I can not say the same for our current President.
It is telling how we have prominent recently retired military leaders going on the record deploring the conduct of President Trump. Retired Admiral William McRaven wrote an eloquent op-ed piece in the Washington Post where he asked the POTUS to revoke his security clearance to show his support for former CIA Director, John Brennan.
McRaven wrote, “Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs. A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leaders always put the welfare of others before himself or herself,” but ‘through your actions, you have embarassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us a nation.”
McRaven has served under both Democratic and Republican presidents and he goes on later to discuss how he came to respect how even when he ultimately disagreed with the particular president’s final decision he would always able to come to believe the president was acting in a manner they believed was the right thing to do for our country.
I share in his sentiment, especially concerning President Obama. I strenously disagreed with many of the moral choices President Obama advocated but I readily concede President Obama did so because of his embrace of a worldview that is radically different than mines. According to our system of democrary President Obama was able to convince a sufficient enough number of fellow Americans to agree with his political and philosophical worldview. Thus, his particular worldview was able to win the day.
As Evangelicals attempt to live in fidelity to Biblical principles in the midst of post-Christian world we must never resort to pagan methods as we “push back” against the culture. Yet, this is what we see from many professing Evangelicals. The very same things we vigorously opposed when the Democrats were the culprits are somehow magically (better term is tragically) overlooked and explained away.
Are you kidding me? This is one clip of Franklin Graham lambasting the moral failures of President Clinton’s marital infidelity but asking for prayer for Republican Presidental Candidate Donald Trump when the same very issue arose. Somehow for Candidate Trump it was a “private matter” between Trump and his spouse but for President Clinton it was grounds for his unfitness for office.
While I need to always approach the moral failings of another individual with a sober reminder of “but for the grace of God go I” I can not postulate one standard for those I agree with politically and then possess another standard for those who I oppose politically.
If and when the USA takes a position that is morally or ethically wrong I must break from a sense of blind patriotism and become God’s prophetic voice. As Evangelicals our calling is always first and foremost to God. One can certainly and should be a “proud American” but never at the expense of what is true.
I can disagree in a manner where I never have to resort to mockery or use use demeaning language. I do not have to “demonize” those who I oppose. I can do so because ultimately my warfare is not against “flesh and blood” but against spiritual wickedness in high places. My weapons are not to be carnal in nature but mighty in God.
As a result, Evangelicals are not authorized to resort to means which are not consistent with the manner that Jesus Christ exhibited while on Planet Earth or commissioned in His Word through His Apostles. Yet, there are many professing Evangelicals who not only enthusiastically voted for President Trump (more about that later in a book I hope to get published next year) but sanction his conduct because “he shakes things up” or “he gets things done. ”
Evangelicals, when we resort to the world’s way of addressing conflict then we look and act no differently than the world does. It is no wonder then Evangelicals continue to lose credibilty at an alarming rate within the culture.
While I have not, nor do I expect to vote Democratic anytime in the near future I will never become a blind apologist for the Republican Party.
It should never be “My Country, right or wrong, My Country”
For Evangelicals it should never be “My Party, right or wrong, My Party,”
For Evangelicals it should never be, “My ____________, right or wrong, My _____________” not even our fidelity to Christ should be built upon anything but absolute truth.
Evangelicals should reject Myopic Evangelism.