Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Christmas Carol

I've never been a fan of "Christianity Today" because I'm not an evangelical Christian (not in their sense of that word, anyway), I'm more of a "Christian Century" guy (with "Sojourners" sensibilities about social justice and care for the poor and marginalized, though there again, "Sojourners" is/was (is it still around?) too evangelical for me), and I don't at all care for mendacious bullshit where the speaker preaches it round and square:

The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible. We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.

That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.

Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.
That's a sort of "both-siderism" where one side has to be slammed as the source of evil in the world, yet the other side can't be perfect, because only God is perfect.  But that side is clearly more nearly perfect, so its faults must be examined from time to time, if only to practice "true Christian humility."  Yecch.

True, when they lay into him, they lay into him:

But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused. 

But with the mendacity of those who know how power works and who it works for, and like it just fine when it works for them:

We have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for our reserve. But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first. So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr. Trump. To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence. And just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern.

The "welfare" referred to in that last sentence is not welfare that can be administered by any government, or provided by any charity.  "Welfare" there means the "spiritual welfare" of men and women who are not "evangelical Christians," and therefore doomed to hellfire for their apostasy.  Which is why, despite the condemnation of Donald Trump in their brief essay, I'm not particularly applauding them.  We speak an entirely different language, the Christians of that magazine and I; and while I'm not trying to keep myself holy and apart from them, I'm not trying to side with them, either.

They are, for my conscience, too late to the party and too little concerned with the damage Donald Trump has done to people in this country, and to the alien and the orphan seeking our help, our compassion, our basic humanity.  Those are the very people who were the central concern of Moses, and the prophets, and Jesus of Nazareth and Paul of Tarsus.  So I'm glad the writers and editors of "Christianity Today" are finally roused from their moral torpor to speak a cross word about the political ambitions of the President of the United States.

But it's hardly the moral conversion of Ebenezer Scrooge, is it?

1 comment:

  1. “So I'm glad the writers and editors of "Christianity Today" are finally roused from their moral torpor to speak a cross word about the political ambitions of the President of the United States.

    But it's hardly the moral conversion of Ebenezer Scrooge, is it?”

    So well said. And yes, editors of Christianity Today, the Democrats were after him from day one because as we know, from day one he was conspiring with a hostile nation, abusing the powers of the surface, engaging in high crimes and misdemeanors, and broadcasting his unfitness for office.