Those are actually two independent thoughts. My breaking up with Evangelical Right leader Colson happened before the elections ever took place. But since they are the only two politically significant events I care to write about, I’m throwing them all together in a distasteful stew of political posting that could also be called “Libertarian Burgoo Boogie”. Come to think of it, that’s actually a better title. But I’m committed here.
Politics and I actually broke up awhile ago. While I maintain an adult’s responsible and education sensibility about who is running for what office and what that candidate brings to the table, I no longer thrill at the call of long arguments over bearing arms and bearing children. I know what I believe; I know those beliefs are not easily changed and if changed slightly only because of long and studied contemplation. No one has ever–not once–changed my mind with screedery and obstinance. In one case (that of the blogger who calls himself Mack Farmer) that strident behaviour actually DELAYED a change of mind I’d been harbouring for awhile. I didn’t want to appear to give in to his arrogant bellicosity. That being said, I stopped flirting with politics. In fact, perhaps you could say that we’ve married instead of broken up. It’s a mature relationship, not a wild college group date speeding down the back roads into Muncie.
As for Colson…there’s another story. I used to admire him in the days when I wanted (most of) his career as my own. A Christian at the upper edge of political influence! That was the dream of my 16 year old self, and Colson was living that dream. He came to it later in life, joining Christianity during a stint in prison as a Watergate conspirator. Maybe that difference in Christian life experience is part of why we’re parting ways. When I picked up his opinion piece in the last Christianity Today the first paragraph was clearly written about me.
Many Christians have grown weary of the culture wars. Compared with prior years, Christians have little visible presence in this season’s election campaign, and certainly younger evangelicals see the conservative religious agenda as strident and often offensive.
Quite frankly, I balk at the idea of letting so much of the public face of Christian politics be determined by a non-Christian* with a very NON-NEW-TESTAMENT agenda. (I’m talking about Mormon pundit Glen Beck here, who owes his political stance and voice wholly to the Mormon Church’s directives about engagement in American politics. Those are their beliefs, from Smith and Young. Not mine from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.)
Colson’s piece then goes on to actually say–he ACTUALLY SAYS–
Who started the divisive culture wars in the first place? Far from being the aggressors—as the press would have us believe—religious conservatives have simply been responding to the relentless secularization of American life.
This forms the backbone of his thesis statement, that being that we Christians should keep on fighting in the Culture wars, especially on their frontline of elections. Seriously. The man’s actual argument is “They hit us first. We’re just hitting back.” This? From the people who brought you “turn the other cheek”?
We’re actually supposed to bring salt and light to the world by throwing temper tantrums about the word Christmas and fighting over whether or not the state lets homosexual people have tax breaks for long-term contracted partnerships. I cannot allow something so gravely revolutionary, so utterly profound, so beautifully loving as Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection be corrupted into a battle for a transient culture. Let the dead bury the dead. He came so that we might have new life, and that more abundantly. That we may know peace that transcends understanding. That we may know perfect love. He didn’t come for tax breaks and bailouts.
*There is presently an ongoing debate about the Christianness of Mormons which puzzles me. They believe in a whole different set of gospels in addition to our own, even though they reference our holy books as the precursor to theirs. Calling Mormons Christian is like calling your typical Lutheran a Jew because he reads the Pentateuch. Or like calling Muslims Christians because they pretty much have the same relationship to Christianity that Mormons do. You know–they have our Bible, they read it and they like that Jesus dude. But then they’ve got this whole new prophet who tells them extra stuff that they believe in.
Mormons are Christians like Wild Cherry Pepsi is Classic Coke.