The Biggest Loser in the Alabama Election – Christian Witness by M Galli
I thought this was a pretty good editorial – not that I’m on board with 100% of it, but with maybe 98% or 99%. I’ve written a few similar to it on this blog, such as (Link): this one.
Both the right wing and the left wing get stuff wrong, but both sides are usually pretty loathe to admit it. The left and right wing (the extremes on both sides) are flip sides of the same exact coin, another fact they don’t like to admit.
FWIW, I was a Republican for many, many years, and I’m conservative to this day, though no longer a Republican, and I was really put off by the number of gung-ho Republicans on my Twitter who were stumping for this Moore guy (though I said nothing to them about it; I scrolled by their pro-Moore tweets without saying a thing to them about any of this).
They don’t care that he was possibly a child-predator, they’d rather have a sexual pervert in Congress than a Democrat.
I’m not a Democrat fan myself, but as for me, I’d take the Democrat politician over the kid-diddling Republican any day of the week, thank you. I find Democratic politics ten times less objectionable and odious than I do a 32 year old man preying on 13 year old girls.
If I remember right, Moore lost to the Democrat and refused to concede defeat for a day or so after the election results were announced. I still believe the women who stepped forward to say Moore tried to fondle or date them when they were teens.
I have no idea how some of the Trump-bots I follow on Twitter – though they may be nice people in other ways – were able to so vehemently support a guy who was so obviously guilty of being a cradle-robber. But day after day, I saw them tweet content in support of Moore and content questioning the women victims who stepped forward to tell their stories.
But your average liberal Democrat can be just as blind to defects in their own perverted, sexist political candidates as well.
No matter the outcome of today’s special election in Alabama for a coveted US Senate seat, there is already one loser: Christian faith. When it comes to either matters of life and death or personal commitments of the human heart, no one will believe a word we say, perhaps for a generation. Christianity’s integrity is severely tarnished.
The race between Republican candidate Roy Moore and Democratic candidate Doug Jones has only put an exclamation point on a problem that has been festering for a year and a half—ever since a core of strident conservative Christians began to cheer for Donald Trump without qualification and a chorus of other believers decried that support as immoral.
The Christian leaders who have excused, ignored, or justified his unscrupulous behavior and his indecent rhetoric have only given credence to their critics who accuse them of hypocrisy.
Meanwhile the easy willingness of moderate and progressive Christians to cast aspersions on their conservative brothers and sisters has made many wonder about our claim that Jesus Christ can bring diverse people together as no other can.
The Hypocrisy on the Left
From moderate and liberal brothers and sisters, conservatives have received swift and decisive condemnation. They call these conservatives idolaters for seeking after political power.
They call them homophobes for wanting Christian bakers to legally follow their conscience. They call them racists and Islamophobes for wanting secure borders. These moderates and liberal evangelicals are so disturbed by the political beliefs of their brothers and sisters that many say they don’t even want to be associated with them anymore; they seem to view these brothers and sisters in Christ as tax collectors and sinners.
In general, we have witnessed few Christians among these critics taking the time and effort to understand the views of their conservative fellow believers or to delve into the social and political realities they might be coming from.
Some secular analysts, who frankly acknowledge being on the Left, have been doing this admirably. UC Berkley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right strives to understand Tea Party advocates in Louisiana, most of whom are evangelical Christians.
….This is not to excuse some statements by conservative leaders that cannot be interpreted in any other way than as a slur against gays, Muslims, Mexicans, and others. Some conservatives are fearful beyond reason. Some conservatives clearly worship political power as much as they do Jesus Christ.
But too often, we mistake the inarticulate groanings of certain foolish conservative leaders for the actual beliefs and behavior of the mass of evangelicals who vote for Donald Trump or Roy Moore.
When you actually talk to such supporters face to face, you often find more nuanced and reasoned political views, grounded in moral principles, combined with a ready willingness to condemn the immorality and verbal carelessness of these two men.
These conservatives are of a view one can appreciate philosophically: Sometimes in a nation’s life, one must for prudential reasons cast one’s lot with a morally unsavory candidate. Sometimes it really is a choice between the lesser of two evils, and sometimes three. We can respect that while continuing to disagree with some of their prudential choices, as they disagree with ours.
Our concern here is with a cabal of noisy conservatives, whom the press has apparently (and unjustly) appointed as spokesmen for all conservatives.
This group pretends that the choice for someone like Moore represents unalloyed godliness and refuses to unmistakably criticize immorality in other leaders they admire.
To justify or ignore the moral failings of a politician because he champions your favored policies—well, that is to step onto the path of self-deception and hypocrisy, which according to Jesus, leads to no less place than hell (Matt. 23:15).
Of course, this charge of hypocrisy cuts both ways. It has applied equally well to progressive and moderate Christians, who have in the past turned a blind eye to the moral failings and moral bankruptcy of liberal candidates they support and who have decided, at best, to whisper truth to power lest they delegitimize their candidate or office holder.
Clearly, there are moments on the Left in which partisans are too weak to resist the temptation to entrust themselves to the power politics of the moment instead of “to him who judges justly,” to whom “the nations are like a drop in a bucket … regarded as dust on the scales,” who “brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing” (Isa. 40:15, 23).
Hypocrisy on the Right
As suggested above, some of the critiques by the Left and center (matched by a fair amount of critiques by leading conservatives, by the way), are hard to argue with. Hypocrisy is again the most salient charge.
As recently as 2011, PRRI found that only 30 percent of white evangelicals believed “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” But by late 2016, when Donald Trump was running for president, that number had risen sharply to 72 percent—the biggest shift of any US religious group.
The reason for the flip is not hard to discern. David Brody, a correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network, has noted the desperation and urgency felt throughout much of conservative Christianity. “The way evangelicals see the world, the culture is not only slipping away—it’s slipping away in all caps, with four exclamation points after that. It’s going to you-know-what in a handbasket.”
The logic is then inexorable: “Where does that leave evangelicals? It leaves them with a choice. Do they sacrifice a little bit of that ethical guideline they’ve used in the past in exchange for what they believe is saving the culture?”
Apparently yes. This is precisely why, when serious and substantial allegations of sexual abuse of minors were made against Roy Moore, many doubled down on their support for him.
…Others [other conservative Christians] acknowledge that while the charges [against Moore] may be true, they are minor in nature or happened so long ago they don’t matter today. Some are simply Machiavellian, saying they are not electing Mother Teresa but a man who can look out for the interests of conservative Christians.
…What is going on here? Among other things, there is this: Many conservatives feel marginalized by the culture and remember the days when a Judeo-Christian morality didn’t need explaining or defending. They know that a people without a vision of sound moral grounding will perish. They don’t want to perish, and to give them credit, they don’t want this nation to perish. They really do believe that this is a matter of life and death. To them, our choices are simple and stark: devilry or godliness.
…The problem with many Christian conservatives is this: They believe they can help the country become godly again by electing people whose godliness is seriously questioned by the very people they want to influence.
The remainder of that editorial is on Christianity Today
(Link): Christian Virginity Peddlers Vs Muslims Who Molest Girls and The Liberals Who Look the Other Way – (post mentions SCCL Facebook group)
Link): Stuff Muslim Culture Likes
(Link): The New Minority: Why as a Gay Christian Man I Stand with Tim Farron by David Bennett