What’s Going On: Christianity under attack from an unlikely enemy
First, it was the Egyptians.
They persecuted Israelites and enslaved them, using their labor to build the pyramids.
Several hundred years later, the Romans picked up the gauntlet and did what they could to suppress and eradicate Christ’s followers. Then came The Crusades, in which Christians reversed the roles and became the aggressors.
And now, in 2018, Christianity is under attack again, but this time, the enemy isn’t from the outside.
Christianity is under attack from within.
Last week, as the public furor started over the separation of children from their parents at the border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions quoted scripture to justify the Trump administration’s actions, an assertion later repeated by press secretary Sarah Sanders.
Initially, I was disgusted at the bastardization of God’s word. Appropriately, Sessions was quoting the exact same verse used pre-Civil War to condemn abolitionists who helped free slaves under the Fugitive Slave Act. As he seemingly smirked while he quoted this text, I couldn’t help but wonder if the man named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis and CSA General P.G.T. Beauregard wasn’t fully aware of this coincidence.
Let me brutally clear on this point: In no way was the Trump administration’s policy of separating families from children supported by Christian theology. The Christian God is a God of love, compassion and forgiveness, not a God of cruelty.
What would Jesus do? I guarantee you he wouldn’t be putting children in cages.
And if I’m wrong on that front, if Sessions in fact is right and that God himself would command emotional torture of innocent children … sign me up for a different team.
Fortunately, most religious leaders and biblical scholars quickly renounced Sessions et al and their bogus, no, sacrilegious claims that this amoral activity was somehow supported by Scripture. Those leaders included members of Trump’s own spiritual advisory team (including Billy Graham’s son, Franklin), the Pope, and leaders of Sessions’ own Methodist church denomination who have accused him of child abuse, immorality and racial discrimination.
But I’ve gotten pretty used to being disgusted by Trump and his cronies. For me to expect anything Godly from a man who bragged about his adulterous affairs, admitted to sexually assaulting women, mocked a disabled man, disrespected war heroes, and has porn stars on his payroll would be unreasonable.
The man is what he is: A charlatan.
All of which is fine. Trump doesn’t really claim to be a man of faith. He doesn’t speak piously and he sure as heck doesn’t act like it.
The problem though is his supporters do, or at least, say they do.
As Sessions, Sanders, and the lot espoused their religious drivel, many Evangelical Christians who put the lying adulterer in office lapped up the explanation.
It saddens and infuriates me when I see people I know who typically embrace Christian theology and try to live by those principles follow this administration so blindly.
The collective narrative has been so effectively woven by Trump and his associates that facts no longer matter. He simply repeats the lies over and over and over and over and when he stops, his aides repeat those same lies over and over and over. Throw in a good dose of Fox News repeating the lies and the masses are satiated.
All the while, they are not only selling out truth, but their Christian identity.
Without Evangelical Christians, there is no President Trump. If it weren’t for the support of 75-percent self-identified Christians, Trump is just another really rich, obnoxious white guy who drives on the golf course’s greens.
Now though, as he and his compatriots twist Biblical scripture, the most holy of holy texts, to justify their amoral actions Christians are at a crossroads: follow Trump or follow Christ.
You can’t do both anymore. It is literally, theologically, and spiritually impossible.
I always used to scoff at the mention from conservatives that Christianity in America was under attack by liberal, or Muslim forces. But today, I scoff no more for Christianity is truly under siege, but not by Sharia law, or Hilary Clinton, or Nancy Pelosi, or a transgender male who wants to use a toilet in Target.
No, Christianity’s biggest enemy today is the rampant hypocrisy found within its own followers. People who will sing “Jesus Loves the Little Children” on Sunday and will defend caging them on Monday. People who will claim the “sanctity of life” when nobly advocating for anti-abortion legislation, while turning their backs on thousands of screaming children who want nothing more than their mother’s touch.
And ultimately, people who will faithfully follow a man who is leading them down a path littered with cruelty, inhumanity, hatred, and a blatant disregard for God’s word.
Today more than ever, may God bless America, even if we have never deserved it less.
Gregory Orear is the publisher of The Journal. His award-winning weekly column, “What’s Going On,” has been published in four newspapers in three states for more than 20 years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.