Lanterns: Why Christianity Today Didn't Go Far Enough

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Why Christianity Today Didn't Go Far Enough

In July of 2016, on www.lanterns.buzz, I wrote an article entitled #RIPGOP Now What? in which I said the following:

There have been times in recent history where the death of the Republican party was forecasted, predicted, reported and celebrated. The GOP, however, continued to take another breath. The Tea Party rose up spontaneously 9 years ago, threatening to reform and bring the Republican party back to its limited government, fiscally responsible, free market, constitutional roots bringing about the death of Republican status quo. The GOP, however, continued to take another breath. The establishment, beltway Republicans, have continued to slide the party further and further to the left, abandoning its base and demonizing its social conservatives as religious zealots, clinging to our bibles and guns. Christian and social conservatives declared that if we left, it would be the death of the Republican party. The GOP, however, continued to take another breath. In fact they have taken a huge breath into their political lungs and lurched left with the nominating of Donald J. Trump for President of the United States.

Reflecting back on the work I did as a founding member of the Tea Party movement in America, I fear that the frustration and anger that I so often highlighted within the American electorate, while hoping to incite a sort of righteous anger that would motivate and inspire Americans of all stripes to re-education themselves, their families, their friends and anyone in their circles of influence, now appears to have only pushed people further away from the moorings of our constitutional founding, frustrated them with the tediousness of the founding processes of government, created an impatience for real change and ultimately abandoned the very principles that can save our Republic both now and for future generations. I believe that many of us have benefited greatly from the organic nature and genuine purposes of the movement but there can be no doubt that there were powers at work who were actively co-opting the movement from the beginning to bypass and overtake the very establishment leaders that have now embraced and nominated Donald Trump.

There was from the beginning a repudiation on the part of many Tea Party “leaders” for the inclusion of “social issues” as topics for inclusion within the movement. We were warned to stay away from issues of morality, especially those that were obvious signs of immorality. We were kicked out of groups, maligned by others and spoken harshly of by people within the movement because we warned of what would happen if we continued down the path of making reforms without discussing the reasons behind good fiscal decisions, the need for limited government and the justice of free market ideas and policies for all. We had the record of the American Revolution and the French Revolution to know what the outcome would be. History has once again repeated itself.

The establishment leadership of the Republican party have for 30 plus years done their best to drag the rest of the party, kicking and screaming, to the left; seeking to reach across the aisle, compromise, deal make and accepting Marxist ideas, liberal ideology and progressive policies, while simultaneously condemning and demonizing conservative ideas, Judeo-Christian ideology and liberty minded policies that truly are bold contrasting colors instead of the pale pastels that can never distinguish themselves from those offered by the Left. Every major Republican candidate that has principly stood for constitutionally conservative principles has been the actual outsider in his or her own party. Most Republican candidates campaign vigorously on conservative rhetoric, only to get to Washington and govern like the leadership of the party demands. It is only after kowtowing to the demands of the establishment leadership that these once outsiders are welcomed into the “club” and given a seat at the “adult table” of the party, instead of sitting at the “kids table” where no power, finances or support exists purposely to keep these once principled men and women from having any influence on the direction of the party.

The Republican National Convention is over and much has happened that may be irreparable. The now de facto leader of the party has put forth policy ideas like affordable childcare provided by the government, law enforcement promises that the office he’s seeking, cannot be made good on, hubris that somehow he alone can fix the problems of America, as though he’s a tech support expert on the other end of an 800 number or worse, that with him, “all things will be possible again”. He has abandoned the values of Christians by elevating himself as the one to depend on and the one to put our trust in, while simultaneously accepting LGBTQ issues as valid, giving their issues recognition, while knowing that bathrooms and showers are distractions. This didn’t prevent him from admonishing the delegates on the floor of the convention, as though the stereotype of Republicans is somehow true and to his surprise, his LGBTQ comments were accepted, all to rousing cheers. He has transformed the party of limited government, Judeo-Christian values and constitutional conservatism into one of a secular, Marxist, nationalist, big government. The Republican party, that has vilified thin skinned, arrogant, elitist, establishment types has now full-throatedly embraced the guy who funded and donated to these same once-vilified politicians and even chuckled at the idea that “if anyone understands how the system works, it's me”, admitting that he used the very corruption that he now rails against and Republicans once opposed. Republicans and conservative media types have beat up President Obama and Sec Hillary Clinton for their incompetence, arrogance, lack of humility, lack of government experience and elitist ties to the inside the beltway special interests. At this convention, Republicans made the openly Democratic Socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders, a victim and begged sympathy for the man who rejects the founding of the country and the principles that have made our nation great. They made “the most articulate conservative candidate for President of the United States since Ronald Reagan”, according to Rush Limbaugh, the villain of the convention because he called for voters at home to come out and vote their consciences, not unlike that of what Ivanka Trump does when she admitted to not being a Republican, at the Republican National Convention, and voting the way “she feels is right for herself and for the country”. In Donald Trump, they have nominated an inexperienced, incompetent, arrogant, poor charactered, billionaire who funds other elitists and special interest groups unapologetically and unrepentantly.

Every Christian who has embraced Donald Trump, ignoring the plethora of character faults ranging from poor financial stewardship, support for the killing of the unborn, serial philandering, unfaithfulness to his wives, absenteeism to his children and out and out greed and love of money, will never be able to shake the stigma of Trump. They will never be able to justify their support for a man who says that he has “never asked anyone for forgiveness”, including God Himself. The searing of their own consciences will be forever self-evident by their lack of humility, repentance and pride that will only cause them to become more like Trump and less like Christ. They can never again complain about a lack of “good” Christian conservative candidates or candidates that don’t require a holding of one’s nose when pulling the lever for them. They have abandoned any and all biblical principles and virtues, tossing aside the only lens and filter by which to judge the man or woman that will ultimately earn their vote. They cannot, without a full repentance and admission of guilt, claim the principles and virtues of Christian citizenship or constitutional conservatism because of their unwise, pragmatic, carnal and unconscionable support for Donald Trump.

Every so-called conservative who has embraced Donald Trump, ignoring the lifelong public record of leftist, liberal-progressive beliefs, spoken open and honestly during a lifetime of funding, supporting and giving to politicians and special interests that have worked earnestly against everything that conservatives, conservative groups and conservative politicians have put blood, sweat, tears and treasure into as to prevent Marxist, communist and/or socialistic policies and ideas from being implemented in America, are now found to have zero intellectual integrity and honesty due to their support for Donald Trump. Only an admission of ignorance, concerning the founding and tenets of conservatism, can even begin to salvage their conservative bona fides. These people should be marked and publicly called out and we should never forget who they are but more importantly, what they did, when they threw in for Donald Trump, a leftist fraud.

All of the conservative media and alternate media that got behind Donald Trump, did so while building a brand that considered the media to be untrusting, biased, slanted and a group who prostitutes itself for its own self-serving purposes, seeking to preserve and make space for itself within the decision making class of our oligarchical elites. The press is the only business that the founders saw fit to constitutionally protect because they understood the importance of a watchdog that government couldn’t shut down, couldn’t intimidate and was needed to hold government accountable to and for the people, the rightful holder of all sovereignty given to government. Conservative media prided itself on this understanding. Conservative media built itself on the idea of being unlike the whores of the mainstream media; being the standard bearers of the original ideas of the framers of the constitution. When they supported Donald Trump openly, they abandoned their once stallworth positions to instead lick the boots of a European Right Wing Nationalistic strongman in hopes that he, being their guy, will punch and punish the very people that have abhorred their very existence within the media, the very premise for their presence within the press in the first place. You cannot argue against Obama for almost 8 years and simultaneously embrace a candidate who is the very embodiment of Barack Obama plus a whole host of unsavory characteristics on top and think that you will ever again have the kind of credibility that you forfeited when you chose to set integrity aside for a little political expediency. You cannot serve two masters; you will hate one and love the other. Conservative media’s support for Donald Trump is trading principles for a personality; principles for a persona. They can never regain their credibility in the public square. They have become everything that the Left has always said about them.

Everyone thought that Obama’s transformation of America would come by might or policy or force. His transformation of America is almost complete and the greatest transformation has happened with 3 out of 4 Republicans thinking that what they witnessed this past week is a wonderful, energetic and positive thing for the party. A viable third party is decades away from being an option in our political system and it looks more and more impossible considering there are few voices like mine, crying out, appealing to the hearts of minds of fellow Americans. Unprincipled Republicans have pushed “all-in” on Donald Trump, betting on his self-serving, genetically predispositioned ego as their hope for a better future. As they chanted “YES YOU WILL!” over and over and over at the convention, I could only think that the butt of so many jokes during the ‘08 and ‘12 election cycles, the campaigns of “YES WE CAN!”, had come home to roost. Many more will bow the knee to “King Trump” before November. Will it be enough? I don’t know. If it is, will it even matter? I don’t know that either. At this point, I don’t know how America ever recovers from this election cycle and where people like me go from this point forward. The wake that was held in Cleveland for the Republican party will be viewed as one of the greatest events in the loss of freedom for humanity and the greatest memorial to an organization that was founded on freedom for all, the abolition of slavery and a stark opposition to the party of slavery, secession, segregation and socialism. RIP GOP. Too bad you’ve put your faith in Trump and not in the only hope for resurrection, the Creator and endower of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Again this was written in the Summer of 2016. Not the Winter of 2019 like Christianity Today’s editor, Mark Galli did just a couple of days ago. Good morning Mr. Galli. It is so nice of you to join us. Actually, I wish you would have hit the snooze button and simply rolled over. Donald J. Trump is the constitutionally elected President of the United States of America and the time for you to offer your woke opinion and call for his prohibition in the Oval Office would have been around or before the time that I wrote my article, spoke to my friends and did radio programs, spending hours discussing this very topic. I stayed principled and did not vote for Donald Trump. I also did not vote for Hillary Clinton. I voted against Barack Obama both times. I voted for Mormons in the last two presidential elections because although I disagree with them strongly theologically, their morality was more similar to mine, they believed in the founding of our nation being an inherently good thing for the world and they didn’t hold Marxist worldviews nor propose Marxist policies.

Since the election of President Trump, I have watched the Democrats within Congress call for the impeachment and removal of this president within days of his election. This was viewed then as a congressional end around to the will of the American electorate and a dismissal of our constitutional process. Yet, many Christians are now calling for this very same thing, simplified down to “removal from office.” I watched our intelligence agencies become political weapons in the hands of those who opposed the Republican party and had the power at the time of the election. Under the Obama administration, candidate Trump and his campaign was spied on, by less than honest means, using a false dossier, undisclosed to the FISA court and all in an attempt to get Hillary Clinton elected and to have an insurance policy in the rare chance that Trump got elected. Except that he did. And the Obama administration, to cover their own illegalities put a plan in motion during the transition in coordination with the Democrats in Congress and the intelligence agencies to form a narrative that the mainstream media would run with, feeling the guilt of not delivering on the election of America’s first female president as they had done with the first black president. The remorse they felt by using Trump for ratings and profits during the campaign, only to be complicit in helping him to get elected, there was only one way to atone for their sins of commission; help the DNC remove Donald Trump with wall to wall negative coverage, including if necessary, misreporting, abject fabrications and outright lies about this president and hiding anything substantive and good about his policy decisions, their effects on the economy and around the world.

We got two years of investigations with unprecedented access to information and void of constitutional protections, only to have convictions by people working within the Trump campaign and administration that had nothing to do with Trump, the campaign or this administration. The convictions were process crimes and most if not all were before Trump’s run and the few others that don’t fit that categorization were convicted on lying to investigators about things that had nothing to do with Trump, his campaign or his administration. $32 million dollars spent by the Department of Justice and not a shred of Russia election collusion with the Trump campaign. But it didn’t stop there, the Democrats downshifted and moved quickly to Ukrainian quid pro quo, except they didn’t expect that the White House would so quickly release the full transcript of the phone call in question, killing immediately the lie that there was quid pro quo. But even that didn’t stop the congressional Democrats. They held countless hours in hearings, provided zero evidence and no witnesses to any sort of quid pro quo. Offered witnesses that testified that Trump actually ordered there to be no quid pro quo and all of this without allowing the Republicans on the committee to interview the whistleblower or call a single witness of their own to rebut or refute or make any sort of argumentation to the American people to the contrary of the Democrats and the media and their agenda to remove this President. How and why would any thinking individual support something as so heinous as to overturn, thwart or reverse the constitutionally and duly elected leader of our country and the will of the American people?

I have witnessed, mostly via the internet, social media and podcasts, Christian leaders, pastors, professors, academics and others appear to be sucked into the political vortex of lies and machinations of the political Left in America. People like Pastors Greg Boyd, Dan Kent, Austin Fischer, Brian Zhand, Derek Vreeland, Aaron Niequist, Jim Wallis and Jonathan Martin, Professors Peter Enns, Michael Bird, Amy Hughes, Miroslav Volf, Shane Claiborne and Andrew McGowen just to name a few. I will say upfront that I don’t think they have malevolent intent behind their opinions and the content that they put out on the web via all manner of media. I do believe that they spend so much of their time focused on the Kingdom of God and working with people, teaching, preaching and working, that they haven’t spent the time necessary to wade into the waters of political America either historically or contemporarily. I have to believe this and plead ignorance on their behalf because I cannot understand how some of the most thoughtful, educated men and women that I’m aware of as things pertain to the bible, the church and the Kingdom of God while simultaneously appear to be as knowledgeable about our government and politics as some of my former 10th grade Civics students. The aforementioned people and many others like them, critique their conservative evangelical Republican brothers and sisters for seeking power, getting into bed with empire, quote one-to-one equivalencies from the first century into today, use the language of the bible that they are often critical of and refuse to take literalized to make political points, comment on nation building foreign policy, the military industrial complex, nationalistic borders, illigal immigration, all while supporting and calling for the very same halls of power to feed and care for the poor, marginalized, disinfrancised, discriminated and otherwise treated unjustly. I cannot tell if they realize it or not, or if they are even aware that they are appearing to be living delusional, hypocritical lives, offering severely contradictory opinions by excoriating the very same government apparatus that they desire and expect to do for them and those that they claim to stand for, advocate for and want to see helped while hopping into the very same bed that they want conservative Christians to abandon. The pointing of fingers and snide remarks, filled with snark and contempt cannot be seen as useful or even honestly helpful to the conversation in the public discourse via the millions of followers that they boast in their classrooms, book sales, social media circles and/or podcast downloads. How do you expect us to take your biblical and Christian opinions seriously when you are so out of step with reality as it pertains to the very same politics that you warn and admonish us all about? We can’t and we don’t.

I would like to challenge Christians like the ones where talking about here to not just point out things that you disagree with or things that CNN makes your anger rise over or a political figure that just doesn’t fit in with your homogeneous paradigm of Christian elitism and anti-evangelicalism but to offer an immediate solution, a simultaneous alternate option to the very thing you perceive as problematic. Give an alternative that can be put into practice in 2019 and 2020 moving forward. Don’t try to biblically contextualize our American situation because you’ve taught us well to not do that when we’ve tried to in the past. I’d like to encourage you to be lovers of the rule of law within our country. I cannot remotely imagine that any of you would be lovers of chaos and criminality. I also believe you can avoid the convenience of either or fallacies of putting people and their needs over those of the country as a whole. We have processes for removing politicians that we deem unfit for the office that our fellow citizens elected to office. It isn’t calling for mob mentalities. It isn’t virtue signalling to the guild or your favorite Twitter followers. It’s elections, protests and campaigning. It’s highlighting candidates that are better fits for the positions that you care about. But I do think it’s harder for you to campaign and support and be activists for those you deem better suited for offices across our government at all levels, when you run around telling everyone that political power is not to be desired, positions of influence are not to be sought and the governmental system that is in place in the United States of America is not the Church and not worthy to have faith placed in it. Why wouldn’t you just tell Americans to avoid voting? Wouldn’t it be better than picking Donald Trump?

Christianity Today and all of the progressive evangelicals don’t go far enough. We need you to offer your voice on the altar of ideas. Put your ideas for how to do it better for all of us in a spirit of unity as our Lord instructed us to do. We offer ideas on how to govern better, lead better, think better. We’re not always right, but at least we’re putting ourselves out there. I’d recommend you do the same and do so under the law of our country and by the Spirit of Jesus, which is love and unity, but be prepared to face rejection when what you put forth sounds a little too much like a talking point of the Democratic National Convention and we return serve to you what you’ve consistently and freely offered; criticism, disagreement and rejection. Just remember we’re all Jesus people, living in His Kingdom.

 

Written by Trey Roberts

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