Only Two Choices

In a previous article (“Is There a Straw that Can Break the Camel’s Back?’), I referred to a billboard which featured a picture of #45 with the words “And the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). Such blasphemy and idolatry are nauseating and disgraceful. This past week a billboard in Georgia comparing Trump to Jesus continued that blasphemy and idolatry with a picture of #45 and a quotation from the Hebrew Scriptures: “UNTO US A SON IS GIVEN AND THE GOVERNMENT SHALL BE UPON HIS SHOULDERS.” These words come from a messianic passage found in Isaiah 9. We are witnessing increasing numbers of white Evangelicals joining the Trump cult, spewing lies, distorting the teachings and example of Jesus, and worshipping the Golden Calves of racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, and greedy individualism. There is nothing about Trump or these “Christians” which remotely resembles the justice, compassion, unconditional love, and self-giving of Jesus. Everything they are about is diametrically opposed to the Good News of Jesus Christ which is to be “to all people” (Luke 2:10 which is the pronouncement to shepherds at the birth of Jesus, the true Messiah). Totally missing are the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ command to love our enemies, the Golden Rule, the practice of compassion (the primary characteristic of God we are called to emulate), and Matthew 25 (which gives the only detailed account of the “Last Judgment” according to Jesus and is a judgment based on how we treat “the least of these” in our world—the very ones Trump and his toadies are trying their best to disenfranchise, oppress, and denigrate). Also missing is even a morsel of basic human decency. 

This idolatrous embrace, worship, and following of Trump by white Evangelicals are contributing to the tragic transformation of the Republican Party into a political and religious cult which bears no resemblance to the Founder of Christianity. The U.S. is a two-party system. One of those parties has chosen to embrace lies, disenfranchise people of color, promote hatred of Blacks, Hispanics, the lgbtq community, the impoverished, Jews, Moslems, and anyone who disagrees with its despicable agenda. Republican politicians continue to promote lies surrounding the 2020 election IN SPITE OF REPUBLICAN STATE SECRETARIES OF STATE CERTIFYING BIDEN’S WIN AND RECOUNTS DONE BY REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS AND COMPANIES CHOSEN BY REPUBLICANS which have demonstrated it was one of the fairest elections ever held in our history. There are even Republican members of Congress who claim that the January 6 insurrection was just a “routine tour of the Capital.” Some red states are rewriting history to suppress and obscure the evils of slavery and the genocide of the Indigenous Peoples of this nation.  And state legislatures controlled by Republicans are writing laws designed to make It increasingly difficult for people of color to vote because these Republicans know they cannot win in fair elections. The harsh truth is evident to all that can see: Republicans are willing to sacrifice our democracy to stay in power and to continue providing tax cuts and advantages to billionaires and corporations.

The above is the hard truth about today’s Republican Party. There is absolutely no defense anyone can provide to justify or exonerate the Republican Party. I despair of all those who even try to defend such nascent fascism. If you still support Trump and his Republican toadies, you will share in their guilt for the decline and fall of our democracy. And if you claim to be a Christian and support #45 and the current Republican agenda, you are woefully ignorant of the character, example, and teachings of the One you call Lord. These are harsh words, but I believe with all my heart that they are true words. 

There is absolutely no defense anyone can provide to justify or exonerate the Republican Party. I despair of all those who even try to defend such nascent fascism.

Years ago, the great Clarence Jordan preached a sermon on the sin of racism and segregation. After the service, an elderly woman marched down the aisle with grim determination. She said to Jordan, “My granddaddy fought in the War between the States, and I will never believe a word you said in your sermon!” Jordan’s reply was pointed: “Then ma’am, you have two choices. You can follow your granddaddy, or you can follow Jesus Christ.” 

To all my Republican friends, I believe you have only two choices if you have any integrity and especially if you claim to be a follower of Jesus: either do all you can to change the Republican Party or leave that party and join some movement committed to healing this society, saving our democracy, ending racism, and securing “liberty and justice for all.” I agree with one of my ministerial colleagues who said, “I would not be so arrogant to say that if Jesus were an American today, he would be a Democrat. But I’m absolutely sure of this–He damn well wouldn’t be a Republican.” Amen!

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