I tend to dislike major controversy and I also tend to avoid talking politics with most folks — in my experience and probably yours as well, its doubtful you’re going to change anyone’s mind.
However, there are times when we must confront controversy without hesitation and these days, its clear that is increasingly the case. Today, I want to talk about hypocrites and specifically, hypocritical Christians. Now before you read on, let me state right up front, that I, like a growing number of Christians, have a particular problem with many Christians who fall on the far right side of the political spectrum. That last sentence will either anger you and you’ll close this tab, or it will intrigue you and you’ll read on — if you believe in your heart and soul that you are a true Christian, I hope you’ll read on.
Today, we are being confronted with what has been termed “Christian Nationalism” and Paul Miller gives an excellent summation as to what that means:
Christian nationalism is the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way. Popularly, Christian nationalists assert that America is and must remain a “Christian nation”—not merely as an observation about American history, but as a prescriptive program for what America must continue to be in the future. Scholars like Samuel Huntington have made a similar argument: that America is defined by its “Anglo-Protestant” past and that we will lose our identity and our freedom if we do not preserve our cultural inheritance. – Paul D. Miller in Christianity Today
An American might conclude that being Christian and a patriotic American are good things — and they are, if you happen to be Christian and, if you happen to want a Theocracy. Speaking of which, haven’t countless people on the right raged that Muslims are trying to convert this country into a Muslim Theocracy? Haven’t they also raged that we are a Republic built on laws and not meant to be a theocracy? Yes, they have…at the time. Now however, their hypocrisy has come blasting out and they’re seeking to completely upend our nation, its history, purpose and constitution.
In the Grips of Hypocrisy
Like millions of Christians, I believe in God and I have committed my life to trying to live the way Jesus Christ taught. The Bible is the Word of God and in the Bible, He has communicated that Word — that Word, is that we are to learn the lessons that Christ came to teach, because Jesus Christ is the new Covenant with man. In other words, God has willed that we live as Christ showed us how to live. Sadly though, many on the right, and mostly its the far right, have hijacked the Christian faith and in many ways, have warped it — they’ve basically weaponized it and use it as a means to gain political power and influence over the American citizen, whether they be Christian or not. What, you may ask, is wrong with this? Well, an awful lot, if you are a true Christian.
Hypocrisy is basically saying one thing, but doing another or, its holding others to expectations and standards and then you yourself, violating those same standards. Many right-wing Christians have become so tainted by politics and confirmation bias, that they live in complete opposition to the will of God, as well as to their own “moral” standards. Its becoming common place to read about a Republican “Christian” judging and condemning others, only to later have it revealed that their sins and transgressions are actually far worse.
And the Bible is very clear on the attitudes towards hypocrites:
“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” – 1 John 4:20
“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:5
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:1
“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” – James 1:26
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5
I recently read an article online entitled A Letter to My Christian Conservative Aunt on the Moral Depravity of Today’s GOP. It is a brilliant piece and I want to share a few snippets:
“…When I was a boy in the 1980s, the Republican Party was the home of Ronald Reagan and Alex P. Keaton. We were the squares, while the left (it seemed) was full of hippies and weirdos. I was fine with this arrangement, as were most of our fellow conservative family members.
But today’s GOP is no longer your father’s (or my father’s) Republican Party. It’s more the party of Sodom and Gomorrah than the Party of Lincoln. You may not realize this because it is generally not talked about on Fox News. But trust me when I tell you that a lot of the people who claim to share your traditional conservative values are far different than you might expect.”
Matt Lewis, the author of the letter, goes on to highlight some eye-opening and shocking examples of the toxic hypocrisy of many well known right wingers and believe me, it’s worth the read — the very people judging and condemning, are themselves the ones committing the most heinous of transgressions. And not just as a Christian, but as an American of any faith, if you don’t take issue with their hypocrisy, you should.
When a Christian preaches a twisted and false doctrine dressed as a sheep to disguises the ravenous wolf that they really are, beware — God has been clear and we ignore this at our peril: we are here to follow the teachings of Jesus and while we should always strive to live according to God’s laws, we are, in no uncertain terms, in no position to judge or condemn our fellow man. To do so, is basically telling God that we know better than He…and let’s be frank, we do not.
As for these “Christian” Nationalists, they are in no position to judge harshly and condemn, as they themselves are far from without sin. I worry that what these charlatans are doing is putting Christianity in a bad light and through their deceit, causing people to abandon the faith. When we hear these false faithful spewing their anger and judgement, we should remind ourselves of these lessons taught by Jesus:
- Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength
- Do good things because you want to serve God and not to impress others
- Be humble
- Truly follow Jesus — don’t worship other people or earthly things
- Pray always and with sincerity
- Don’t worry, because God knows all of what we need
- Trust in God with all of your heart and not in any earthly treasures
- Love your neighbor as you do yourself, treat them as you want to be treated
- Love each other the same way Jesus loves His disciples
- Love all — our love for each other shows the world we are Jesus’ disciples
- Love your enemies
- Do good always, even to those who hate you.
- Don’t judge or condemn others — help them instead and always gently
- Forgive others
- Repent of your sins
- Be merciful, kind and generous
Any Christian preaching anger, cruelty or judgment, is not a Christian if they don’t try to change their misguided ways. Sadly, so many Christians on the far right have lost sight of their true faith and have placed their faith not in God, but in other men — their obsession with the raging sea of politics proves this, as does their fear and anxious behavior. It’s up to faithful Christians to defend our faith by promoting our core tenets and rejecting those false ones put forth by Christian Nationalists.