In the midst of the horrible tragedy occurring at our borders, and in light of the Trump Administration’s decision to separate Immigrant children from their families, a Biblical debate has emerged in popular media. From the New York Times down to the New York Post, editorial pages and blogs have been filled with arguments over the theological, moral, and Scriptural ethics of the Administrations policies. Usually, when the bible is used as a lens to critique public policy I get scared that the media will find the most uninformed, close minded, and hostile representative from the Evangelical community to speak on “God’s behalf.” I was pleasantly surprised to see a mix of views presented.

This all started when Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed a news conference regarding the Administrations “zero tolerance policy” on illegal immigration. When questioned about the Trump Administrations “Child Separation” policy, the Attorney General brought up Romans 13. For those unfamiliar with Romans 13 it’s a Chapter in the Bible where the Apostle Paul encourages the Christian community to ““Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” In essence the scripture is calling on Christians to recognize that God has a hand in establishing the rulers, leaders, and regimes of this world. This Chapter has often been referred to as a  “bludgeon” by scholars because it can be used selectively to grant moral support to awful political, social, and economic abuse.

Anyone that has ever read one of my blogs will know that I’m not a big fan of those called by the mainstream media to speak on behalf of Evangelical Christianity, however, I was pleasantly surprised that most mainstream evangelical leaders were quick to deplore the Attorney Generals misuse of scripture. The Reverend Franklin Graham, who I previously criticized for zealously supporting the Trump Administration in the past, publicly denounced Mr. Sessions invocation of scripture and referred to the Trump Administrations policy of separating children from their families as “disgraceful.” I believe it’s extremely important to recognize, even when it’s coming from someone I vehemently have disagreed with in the past, when someneone speaks truth and advocates for justice.

Conservative Evangelical leader Bob Vandeer Plaats is another “mainstream representative” of Evangelical Christianity that went against an administration he enthusiastically supported in the past. New York Magazine even reported that Mr. Vandeer Plaats has a creepy photo of Trump, the Bible, and a Cross adorning his office wall. These “enhanced support techniques” (this my attempt at political humor considering Vandeer Plaats support of Sen. Ted Cruz and his ‘torture loving’ rhetoric in the Republican primary) have not blinded him to the moral realities of the Trump Administrations policies. Writing in the New York Times Vandeer Plaats says “As a Christian, I find that the Bible’s Book of Micah offers a guiding principle of doing right: “He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (emphasis added). This is biblical. That means we should execute justice, yes. But not with the kind of cruelty we’re reading about from the border with Mexico.”

It’s refreshing to see people put the Scriptures ahead of their political ideology. My Friend has a saying that he often invokes when we applaud people for doing what they are supposed to do. My friend will say “you don’t get points for breathing.” While I know I shouldn’t be singing the praises of someone like Mr. Vandeer Plaats who has supported some of the most immoral anti LGBT laws in the past and who openly uses derogatory terms to describe Gay men, however, I think as a Christian who believes in redemption and will forever believe that we all fall short of God’s desires and need grace, I would like to pray for him to continue progressing and opening his heart to the troubles facing God’s children.

So often mainstream Evangelical Christians, when it comes to Conservative political leaders, are more like the Jewish masses written about in John 7:49 “The foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them.” I pray that more people awake to the call for peace and social justice that scream to us from scripture. I believe that the evangelical community has a real opportunity to make “justice roll down like waters” and drench our country in a spirit of love and peace. Lets continue praying that this is only the beginning of a new movement to link Evangelical belief with the cause of people suffering both at home and abroad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “For the Bible tells me So (Well, at least those parts that support my politics)

  1. On MSNBC, a catholic priest (archbishop Thomas Wenski I believe) was asked about Jeff Sessions quoting the bible to justify the administration’s horrific immigration policy. His comment was “Even the devil quoted scripture.”

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  2. I differ from many Christians in that I don’t believe it’s possible to run a secular government by the ethics of God’s kingdom. It seems to me that the two (kingdoms) are opposed in their basic motives and objectives. As a Christian, I will always endeavor to conduct myself as Jesus dictates, and the Church ought to do the same, but as far as pushing my kingdom ethics into the secular political sphere, that’s a non-starter to me. I don’t think Jesus came to challenge and change the prevailing political ideology, but to establish a new and unearthly kingdom that functions in stark contrast to the governments of the world. It’s good for the Church to help refugees and any fellow human in need, but demanding political change is, in my view, not our calling in Christ. Others disagree. 🙂

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    1. Hey Don thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It means a lot to me. I think it’s hard to keep the two completely separate. I think this mostly stems from the fact that as Christians no matter where we go we tend to try and be a witness of Christ and his salvation. I think that natural leads us to become interested and sometimes feel “called” to become politically engaged. I understand where you are coming from and appreciate your view.

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    2. I think it’s possible but unlikely. This is because one kingdom is based on power the other, love. The problem with the church’s long history of partisan politics is that, invariably the church has turned to power rather than love, i.e., has taken on the ways of Rome. You are right, Jesus did not come to change the prevailing political ideology of Rome, but of the religious community. Of course this is where as Christians we get in the most trouble. We don’t like change. And we seem to think that change only applies to the world outside the church. If the church was truly interested in radical Christianity would that have an affect on politics? Yes, I believe so, indirectly.

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  3. Toured a Black Church in Savannah. He quoted the slaves obey your masters passage. Said it was used as a bludgeon. Then said they never quoted the last verse that says master treat your slaves as coheirs of salvation. It always comes down to selective use of scriptures. For God so loved the world (everyone – Blacks, Muslims, Gays, Aliens, etc.) That He sent His son. Jesus suffered for all people. Jesus died for all people. God wants us to be more and more like Jesus. Any logic that denies that is wrong.

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  4. I apologize for taking so long to read your post of July 5. Actually it reached me somewhere in August and the first reading I found was dated September 19th. Who said the Pony Express was slow! As a writer, I understand the wisdom of waiting for tempers to fall and reason to make an appearance; though I concur with your words (not specifically said) that time is an excellent use of reason. My reasoning was that (I thought) you would throw daggers at Christianity and in particular on God’s word, and I put it off, knowing I would read it later.

    Later just came for me, and I not only read this one article, I read all three listed and said to myself, this guy is honest, and then I thought better of it and changed the ‘honest’ to honorable. I appreciated your words, your attitude toward the worldly attitude that haunts us, and your approach toward those who take the opposite position, and felt ashamed that I had jumped to a conclusion. This isn’t to say that I have found someone to agree with no matter what you find to say, I’m sure of your agreement that there is no such person walking the earth to date, and if there were, differences would still be there. How can I be so sure? Because you seem to be cognizant of both the world and scripture, an odd combination without any proof. I have come to the conclusion that you are an excellent writer, using your words well in addition to thoughts that seem to follow along obligingly as they give the reader a few thoughts that really grab him. I would like to see more of your articles and would be happy to use them on my blog.

    Marie Hunter Atwood
    gardengirl761@gmail.com

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      1. Thank you for your reply. I’ve written so many replies in which there was no possibility of even a small compliment that it was an honor to have opportunity to send one so richly deserved. I wish you the best and pray that our difficult decisions find completion in the will of Goe.

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