American Evangelical Christianity has so much merged with the Republican Party that for many observers, the two institutions are almost one. My purpose here is not to defend Democrats or liberals. But liberals have not aligned themselves with religion in the same way that Republicans have. Basically, Republicans have highjacked Christianity and made it represent principles that are appalling to non-Republican Christians. Let me offer examples:
Capitalism: I acknowledge that there are Biblical precedents for protecting private property and principles of capitalistic economy; “Thou shall not steal,” plus the many Biblical instances of financial prosperity seen as a blessing. But there are also Biblical precedents for social welfare; the tithe collected from all Israelites was used to care for the poor, plus many verses mandating care for the poor, “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker” (Proverbs 14:31 ESV). I also recognize that most all of our modern scientific advances were developed under capitalism. Every one of us can thank capitalism for the cell phone in our pocket. However, due to human nature, unbridled capitalism takes the most out of workers for the least amount of pay – even slavery when possible.
The Republican devotion to capitalism results in several destructive policies: they oppose restraints on industry, attempting to deregulate industry and repeal the regulations of the EPA. It appears that in a Republican world the oil companies get whatever they want. Their policies endorse the insurance lobby which fights against universal healthcare. The Bible calls this bribery which corrupts justice (Deuteronomy 16:19). Protectionist policies of imposing tariffs on imports could be replaced with policies that require all imports to be produced by workers making a living wage. This policy would slowly elevate the living standards in poor countries and alleviate the push to migrate to America. But Republicans consider minimum wage laws an obstruction to free market economy. Our Bible warns, “Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter” (James 5, ESV). Oh yes, people will make excuse saying it is not fraud because we paid them something. But the spirit of this verse is that God cares about those workers who produce our goods, and when we benefit from their suffering, then we are accountable.
Please understand, I have nothing against rich people. That is between them and God. Rich people are a gift. Most of my personal income has been made working for rich people. However, I am ethically bound to be concerned for how rich people attain their money, especially when low wages are concerned.
Great or Good? When someone proposes to “Make America great – again” I am appalled. Try this slogan, “Make America good – like never before.” The presumption that power equals greatness is an ungodly lie. A bully on the school ground may boast of his greatness, but he is despicable. True greatness must be in accord with qualities of goodness, not power. A truly good, godly nation shows respect to other nations regardless of their military power.
Historical Patterns: The history of America shows that when capitalism and religion are united with a spirit of superiority, minorities get oppressed. The atrocities heaped upon the Native Americans and the African Americans demonstrate that Christianity has been at least complicit in endorsement. In these cases, Christianity had the opportunity to lead by showing the nature of a just Creator, but it failed miserably. Social justice has often been despised by America’s version of Christianity, preferring instead to protect capitalism. Capitalism, along with delusions of racial superiority, was the demonic force behind slavery and the oppression of Native Americans.
Earthly Kingdom: Christendom often seizes principles from the Old Testament and the kingdom of Israel, attempting to force those principles into the kingdom of Christ; but they do not fit! When these ideals are then merged with American nationalism the mixture is horribly toxic. If Americans want to love their country and have nationalistic goals, fine, but do not mix it with religion. It is not the goal of true Christianity to build a worldly empire. The term, “Christian nation” is not Biblical, nor is there a Biblical mandate to create a Christian nation. This has been a plague upon Christianity since Emperor Constantine.
Meekness: Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth,” not conquer the earth. Psalm 37 defines the spirit meekness as opposed to the conquering spirit, “The meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace…the wicked plots against the righteous…the wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy” (Psalm 37 ESV). This spiritual principle is really the heart of the issue. It is a perversion of Christianity that proposes that God’s goal is to create superior people that dominate others. The spirit of Christ comes in meekness to free the oppressed, but the spirit of anti-christ is the spirit of superiority and oppression. To be led by a spirit of superiority is nothing but Darwinian religion, “survival of the fittest.”
Meekness is misunderstood as self-debasement. True meekness is simply taking one’s place before God, in the created order, showing respect to others as equals. This is true both personally and nationally. Bottom line: arrogance is not a virtue!
Summary: For these reasons I am often apologetic of Christianity to those in my skeptical secular world. My own prayer is, “Jesus, free me from Christendom.” When religion embraces the spirit of anti-christ, we are morally obligated to resist. This unholy union needs to be broken for the sake of creating a good America.