There are two types of Christian movements and organizations. The first type prays so they can discern God’s will and God’s plan, and then get in step with that. The second type makes their own plans and asks God to bless them. In one case, God is at the center of their decisions and his direction and guidance is vital. In the other, God is incidental. He’s important and they really hope he likes their plans, but they’re going ahead with this in the name of God whether He comes along or not.
My experience with Christian political movements is we tend to be this second type. We seek God’s blessing for our wise, reasonable, and logical plans to achieve political power. I’ve been guilty of this myself. I’d pride myself on using the right arguments for the right audience, advocating the right strategies, making witty points. Wasn’t I so clever?
Weren’t we all? We organized campaigns, built donor lists and voter lists, and dropped voter guides on Election Day like the rains from Heaven. We wrote books on painting the map red and how to achieve cultural change and remain relevant. We knew exactly what to do, we followed all the rule books, and listened to all the gurus.
The result of decades of this is the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday. The Christian Right was a political movement that didn’t really need God to achieve victory. We were so clever, and we were so right, we thought we could overpower our political enemies. By doing so, we’ve managed to lose.
In the wake of this defeat at the court, all sorts of solutions are proposed. Some of them make sense, others far less. But I’d humbly suggest the first thing we need to do is to rethink our approach to politics and cultural engagement, and the degree to which we rely on our wisdom, comfort zones, and ideology to solve problems.
It begins with admitting some basic truths to ourselves. One, our nation is on the road to doom and destruction. The Republic is terminally ill, following the path of all historical great nations into cultural decline and ultimately, national collapse. We don’t have the intelligence, we don’t have the resources, and we don’t have the talent to save it. We have no hope or power within us. Our only hope is to turn to God and to rely on Him in the months and years ahead for guidance and wisdom.
I’m not calling for political disengagement but for us to change how we engage in politics. We’ve fought politically the way the left and secular right has and we’ve lost. Continuing to fight that way is insanity. Even prior to the Supreme Court ruling, some conservatives were urging Christians to follow or adapt Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, the same tactics that have been used so well by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Few Christians have embraced these tactics for a very simple reason.
They’re hateful, manipulative, and diametrically opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you think any good can be achieved by following them, that you can outfox the fox, you’re sadly mistaken. Instead, we must follow the Rules for the Righteous. No, it’s not a book on Amazon, and no one needs write it, for it’s already been written. Not to be trite, but the rules for the Righteous are laid out in the Bible and in the lives and witnesses of great people of Faith who have changed the world throughout history.
It begins with love for our country, for each other, and for our enemies.
Contrary to the progressive Christian meme of the day, love doesn’t mean telling people everything they want to do or believe is right. It does mean treating them with kindness and with respect. Some Christians have spent the last seven years spreading every rumor going around about President Obama no matter how flimsy the evidence, taking shots at the First Lady’s fashion sense, suggesting she’s a trashy person, and nit picking details of their travel and security that we would never complain about if a Republican were in the White House. All it has succeeded in is bringing out people’s nasty side.
Activism and standing for righteousness has a long history in the Church, dating back to Basil the Great in the fourth century. However, if your political activism is bitter, hateful, and spiteful, you’re doing it wrong and need to repent. Christians in politics should strive to walk in the Spirit even in the political sphere rather than thinking this is the one area of life where our tactics may be totally heathen.
We need to be people of prayer, not primarily to change the nation and our enemies, but so he will change us and make us the people he needs us to be, so we can be salt and light in a darkening nation and world.
However, our call to duty does not end at prayer. Throughout the marriage debate, we’ve been besieged by a veritable phalanx of conflicting advice. How should we deal with this going forward? I’ll discuss that in my next article.