The Conservative Evangelical War On Easter

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There has been no greater and deceptive evil wielded upon all the earth than right wing conservative Evangelical Christianity. For history tells the tragic tale of the countless lives that have been emotionally, spiritually, and physically destroyed and the good-hearted people who have been led astray and spiritually imprisoned by this diabolical system of faith.

Sadly, this toxic brand of demonic spiritual trickery is not without a past as throughout the Scriptures, the religious people who postured themselves as being full of the divine and uniquely centered on faithfulness were often revealed to be those who were furthest from truth and the sure enemies of God. In the presence of Jesus, so much of what appears to be sacred is revealed as scandal, and that which is condemned as scandalous is revealed of its true sacredness.

In the same way, across America, conservative Evangelicalism arrogantly trumpets an infallible understanding and exclusive authority on all things Christian. With a plastic white Republican Jesus as the hood ornament of their world bulldozer, they scan the cultural horizon eagerly waiting to demolish anything they deem to be sin or an enemy to the full fruition of their dominance. Yet tragically, with their assault-bibles in hand, like a mentally ill child-killer armed for destruction, they break down doors in pursuit of their adversary only to find it’s the Bethlehem-born, crucified, and resurrected Jesus of Nazareth and His pure Gospel of Grace. For in all of history, there has been no greater affront to the heart of God, the true person of Jesus, and the Easter He brings for all of humanity than right wing conservative Evangelical Christianity.

For Easter is the message that violence never wins. Not knives, not guns, not missiles, not crucifixions, nor even proof texts. In fact, the cross bears undeniable witness that the ultimate expression of divinely sanctioned power and favor is not aggression, bullying, revenge, greed, punishment, dominance, political gain, religious control, nor prosperity, but rather, service and sacrifice on behalf of the least of these.

Yet sadly, like the religious and political elite that murdered Jesus, conservative Evangelicalism is addicted to power and privilege with a willingness to harbor and exude nearly every form of spiritual, emotional, and physical violence and oppression in order to obtain and protect it. Through Easter, what Jesus resurrects as the ways of non-violence, sacrificial service, and the denouncement of every form of spiritual, emotional, physical, religious, and political greed, conservative Evangelicalism is quick to nail back upon the cross and crucify to death, lest the nationalization and globalization of their white, male, heterosexual, conservative Christian privilege be thwarted and dismantled.  

Easter is the declaration that all are equal and divinely affirmed. For Grace is the great equalizer, none of us are better, only different. That Jesus is “all and in all,” what could possibly be clearer? For Easter is God’s vehement decree on behalf of all humanity that condemnation from the divine is impossible and human equality is irrefutable. This is thy Kingdom come—white, black, brown, male, female, gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, transgender—all are equally beautiful God-adorned threads in the divine tapestry of humanity. For equality is what the Gospel looks like when manifested upon the earth.

Yet sadly, the very same religiously oppressive spirit that flogged Jesus beyond recognition, finds its returning demonic manifestation in a conservative Evangelicalism that whips, beats, and pulverizes anything and everything that breaks the mold and refuses to conform to their ideology of privilege. Leading the way in the influence of transgender suicides, the spiritual rationalization of sexism, the barbaric continuance of racism, the insatiable discrimination of minorities, and the ruthless condemnation of the LGBTQ community, conservative Evangelicalism pimps a full-court press towards the goal of firmly putting to death the human equality and divine affirmation of all humanity that Jesus so purposefully gave His life to resurrect.    

Easter is the revelation that heaven is all inclusive. To the temper tantrums, dismay, and sheer disgust of the religious, Easter reveals a God who is far greater than any one creed and devoid of the exclusiveness many so desperately desire Him to embrace. The evil religious lines that are drawn to distinguish the faithful from the faithless, the believers from the nonbelievers, and the heathens from the saints are all obliterated by the One whose resurrection erases all labels and undermines their religious application. For under Grace, there is no “in” or “out,” “saved” or “lost,” or “faithful” or “faithless,” there is only people created in His image and included in His Trinity from the foundations of eternity—period, full stop. Therefore, Easter is the certainty that Hell, wrath, and divine hatred are the propaganda of the religious who desire control and submission above all things. In fact, nothing disarms and renders impotent the power and legitimacy of a false gospel more than when its fiery hell of religious construct is shown of its blasphemy, and heaven is revealed of its all inclusive beauty. For Jesus didn’t die to save us from an angry God, but to save us from believing He is.

Yet sadly, the fear-mongering religious who love to draw lines and build separation, and ultimately sentenced Jesus to his death because he wouldn’t hate, exclude, and condemn all the right people, are the very same ones who today worship a god who conveniently drop kicks all their enemies into a hell of eternal torment and rescues all the “good” people for an eternal home of white picket fences, two story houses, leatherbound name engraved Bibles, and Kari Jobe worship cd’s. For nothing wages war against the resurrected Jesus who reveals the inclusivity of the divine like the contrived god of conservative Evangelicalism whose exclusivity and wrath seem to always bend and sway to every pretentious wish and pursuit of right-wing religious conservatism.

Easter is the finality that Grace alone is the Gospel. For there is no other message from the throne of heaven than Grace. There is no condemnation, divine reckoning, nor final examination. All are beloved and masterfully created with an irrevocable divine stamp of approval etched upon every molecule of their being. No one can out run, out rebel, out sin, out betray, out disbelieve, nor out deny the power of Grace nor undo its capacity to capture the most restless and resilient heart. For nothing else heals, repairs, and sets onto a path of goodness and victory other than the Gospel of pure Grace. Everything else is religious pretending, a hopeless fictitious game of God appeasement.

Yet sadly, the pure Grace that Jesus so powerfully resurrects and proclaims with every fiber of His divine being, is the very Grace that sends conservative Evangelical Christianity into full blown fits of rage and declarations of war upon His true Name and proclamation—Grace. For Easter beholds the most important revelation that splits the sides and send crashing to the ground the entire Evangelical empire—”it is finished, it finished, thank God almighty, it is finished.” All is grace, and grace is all. This is the Gospel that conservative Evangelicalism crucifies with blood dripping down. Why? Because everything about their religious system is in the balance. For if Grace is the Gospel (which it is), their faith understanding is most certainly not, having participated in and fostered nothing less than pure Easter-raping evil.          

Easter is the assurance that to believe is to rest. For as well intentioned and spiritual as it all may seem, there is no such thing as a “relationship” with God or “inviting Him into your heart.” These are deceptive religious constructs that forever place ones connection and closeness with Him as being within the reach and responsibility of human control and performance. This is a hopeless arrangement as even on our best day, our spiritual performance will always and eventually breakdown, placing our connection and closeness with God in sure uncertainty.

Thankfully, Easter is the divine reckoning that desires to awaken us all to the sure reality that God didn’t come to sell us a relationship or offer us a divine maintenance plan established by our personal performance and do-gooding. Instead, Easter declares that we are the relationship—living Trinities with skin, established from the foundations of eternity. The Christian life, therefore, is not a process where we feverishly seek to become something that we aren’t already through good behavior and spiritual striving. Rather, it is the awakening to the fullness of who we already are in Christ—whole, pure, secure, and fully redeemed. In simple terms, “there is nothing wrong with you”—this is the Gospel in six words. Belief, therefore, is simply resting in the full sufficiency of Grace alone, a Grace that completely and irrevocably finished its work in you on Easter morn–period, full stop.

Yet sadly, in stark defiance to our unconditional and irreversible communion with God through Jesus Christ, conservative Evangelicalism desperately asserts a religious system of personal faithfulness, rule-keeping, sin-management, behavior modification, compliance, and accountability in hopes of guaranteeing its necessity and capacity to control. This is a foundational pillar within the conservative Evangelical Borg and its quest to addict people to their neverending self-righteous system of Christian being and living.

With every effort to riddle the Christian life and faith with conditions, clauses, and fine print, conservative Evangelical Christianity declares war on the freedom, life, and joy Easter meant to declare and bring.      

Easter is the divine megaphone pronouncing that God is love—unconditionally. Through Jesus’ cosmos-altering resurrection, He puts to death every religious assertion that predicates God’s love with conditions. For God doesn’t, “hate the sin and love the sinner,” He simply loves. God doesn’t, “bless those who bless Him,” He simply loves. God doesn’t, “save those who say the right prayers,” He simply loves. The cross is where God forever removes the word “but” from the vocabulary of heaven. In fact, there was never, “God loves you… but.” There is only “God loves you… period.” To the pubescent protest of the religious, this love-revelation doesn’t reduce love into becoming soft and slippery, it resurrects love into becoming real and divine.

Yet sadly, like the religious people who mocked, ridiculed, bullied, slandered, spit at, and pierced the sides of Jesus, conservative Evangelicalism despises unconditional love and its expression. For nothing sends right wing conservative Christianity into fits of declared unfairness like the full fruition of unconditional Love. Surely, when we all get to heaven, in disgust, the religious will see those they once labeled as the wretched enemy and bury their faces in torment. With joy, the rest of us will see those we’ve always and only known as friends, and lift our hearts in praise. For God is love—always has been, always will be.

With every rationalization of violence and weaponizing of the Scriptures. With every politicization of Jesus and nationalization of conservative Evangelical Christianity. With every pursuit of power, elitism, and privilege at the expense and deterement of the least of these. With every demonization of God through a hell of eternal torment for those who think, believe, and live outside the lines drawn by right wing conservative Christianity. With every condition placed on Love and the giving of it. With every belittling of the Gospel of pure Grace and the burdening of humanity with rule-keeping and self-righteousness. With every condemnation of the LGBTQ community and the flogging of their inherent divine beauty. With every spiritual rationalization of bigotry, sexism, and racism, right wing conservative Evangelicalism declares war against the Jesus of Easter.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” -Matthew 23:37     

Grace is brave. Be brave.

21 Comments

  1. Thank you, refreshing read, needed this.

  2. Chris,
    Thanks for this gift. My Holy Week is now framed by these powerful words. I particularly like when you write: “The cross is where God forever removes the word “but” from the vocabulary of heaven.” THIS will be where my heart is anchored this coming Good Friday. THIS is where my mind will be focused as I experience Easter. You are such a blessing.
    Peace,
    Paul

  3. Greetings!

    I would not limit your polemic to evangelicals. (I use small ‘e’, because they really have not earned a capital ‘e’. In fact, years ago a capital ‘E’ evangelical informed me they had a more righteous understanding of Scripture than their lesser lower case ‘e’ brethren.)

    I would add to your polemic Southern Baptists, fundamentalist Christians, Pentecostals and some Roman Catholics. Many among the truly faithful Christians have either abandoned the church completely or stopped openly claiming their Christian faith because of the embarrassment and shame created from the above noted sects. Add to the population of the embarrassed those who have left the faith entirely, and we see what corruption and contamination can do to one’s faith.

  4. Hard-hitting, and well said. Crystallises all the thoughts I have been having about Right Wing Conservative christianity, that makes me want to discard the label ‘Christian’ for myself. Not that I will let the thief and Usurper deny me of my birthright, of course.

    I have to disagree on one point: There *is* such a thing as a ‘relationship’ with God, although I refer to it as the Relationship as it is the most important Relationship there is. I have that Relationship and so do many others, as no doubt do you. But perhaps that wasn’t what you meant anyway; maybe you meant that there is no Relationship in the context of the Evangelical Right. Maybe that’s correct; it’s not for me to judge.

    One lovely quotation I will be plagiarising for my blog, though: “For Jesus didn’t die to save us from an angry God, but to save us from believing He is”. I love that. Beautifully put 🙂

    • ckratzer

      March 26, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      Thanks Tony, I appreciate your thoughtful comments! For me, any “relationship” carries with it a sense of conditions and the possibility that there can be a distancing or even complete disconnect from the relationship. That’s why I prefer the sense of “communion” or “inclusion” with God. As far as your comment about plagiarizing my work, I sense that you were merely joking. Yet, if you weren’t, on behalf of writers everywhere, please give credit where credit is due. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

      • Hi Chris and thanks for that. Yes, the plagiarism reference is just me being funny. Your senses did not deceive you 😉 Yeah, I’ll definitely credit it to you.

        Good points about ‘Relationship’, ‘Communion’ and ‘Inclusion’; yes, all those descriptions would also describe what I feel, but I appreciate how ‘Relationship’ could be misunderstood as you suggest. Especially with conditional love and all that stuff that comes with the fundie baggage. What, do they really think we fall in and out of favour with God that easily? Sadly, I think they do.

        I think Nicodemus had it right in John 3:4 when he said, ‘How can a man be born again?’, except that I would say, ‘How can a man be born again, again and again?’, because that’s what the in again, out again; forgiven/not forgiven system espoused by legalists means when you think about it. According to them, it’s perfectly possible to keep falling in and out of favour with God, and therefore our ‘salvation status’ (saved/unsaved; hellbound/heaven bound) keeps switching – which is plain daft when you think about it!

    • I have begun to identify more with and embrace the Native American’s “Great Spirit”. That “God” speaks more directly to my soul and the Spiritual aspect of my believing. Today’s more vocal “Christians” have somewhat ruined it for me.

  5. Nice article. But any evangelical is gonna ignore this whole thing. If not solely based on the fact that you keep using the word “Easter”. Educated (albeit misled and definitely fundamentalist) evangelicals have started calling it resurrection Sunday because of the Easter/Ishtar association. Good luck

  6. Chris! Hey man, I just caught your post on the Red Letter Christian. I went on to read a little more of your stuff here….
    I can’t say I don’t agree with some of your points. But seeing the way you address your audience, and your critics, it’s obvious that though you seemed well read, you must have skipped over verses like, “blessed are the peace makers.”

    * I’m not a Trump supporter
    * I’m not a member of the NRA

    • If you quote Holy Scripture, please quote the entire passage: “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for the shall be called the Children of God.” Thank you.

      • Quite right Rev. Vincent… point taken.
        Do you see where I am coming from though? I LOVE the way this guy writes – and it appears to me, to the best of my knowledge, his motives seem legit. However, it pains me to see the same theme repeated over and over, and with so much hate. It’s ironic, and heart breaking, to see Mr. Kratzer deliver a message meant to shed light on the hatred brewing in our country, all the while he is using hate speech and arrogance to fight hate speech and arrogance…. Seriously, I love the posts I see here – but at some point a little positivity would be nice. Don’t we get the point by now?
        Right Wing = bad
        Guns = evil
        Trump = Lucifer himself
        Conservative = dumb and out of touch

        I get it…. and I agree on some points. What I would love to see is Mr. Kratzer utilize his obvious gift of language in engaging the masses with the hope and positivity associated with the message of Jesus Christ. Like, what if feels like to help someone that doesn’t deserve it, or to sacrifice your time for someone who can’t pay you back…. This is the beauty of the Gospel.

        Trump obviously isn’t a good representation of a Christian. WOW. This is still a hot take? Who cares who Franklin Graham endorses?

        BTW – Incase anyone forgot, Jesus spilled his own blood for Trump, as well as Mr. Kratzer, Lady GaGa, myself, and anyone else reading this.

        • Exactly Seth! All these repetitive, hyperbolic (re-read the opening line to this post!) blog posts are just preaching to the converted. What’s the point? It just comes across as one giant bitch-fest. Some of it is on point and some of it’s just ridiculously over-the-top. Chris’ fans lap it up, but is anyone who isn’t on board already going to read this and think “wow, this guy has really changed my mind?” Of course not. It’s so inflammatory and so chock-full of broad generalizations about a group made up of millions of people. There is no attempt at persuasion going on at all.

          “What I would love to see is Mr. Kratzer utilize his obvious gift of language in engaging the masses with the hope and positivity associated with the message of Jesus Christ.”

          Yes! Where’s the love? Chris comes across as a very angry man banging away at a keyboard.

  7. Seth, first my apology for writing “the” when it should have been “they”.

    Now: Trump is not a Christian by any measure, so he cannot even approach being a representation thereof. Jesus did say, “Satan, get thee behind me”. I see that as a theological message to Trump.

    Jesus “spilled His blood” for the faithful.

    Who cares whom Franklin Graham endorses? Many people care. Graham does NOT represent the Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Graham represents the hypocrisy and false prophesy decried by Jesus of Nazareth. He falls conveniently and quite intentionally into cultic evangelicalism.

    From my perspective, “conservative” does not equal dumb and out of touch. I also do not believe many of Trump’s followers are “conservative” in the traditional sense of the word; a word adulterated, corrupted and contaminated by Trump and congressional Republicans. Point in fact: Over this last weekend I had an informing discussion with my brother and Godson (his son). They are Trump supporters. (Yeah, I know.) I educated them on two facts about guns,
    facts they were wholly unaware of until we talked about gun control. Fact #1: The (a) president cannot repeal the 2nd Amendment. That requires 2/3 of both Houses of the Legislative Branch to support the repeal. THEN, 75% of the states in the Union (38 states) must affirm that repeal — which will never happen; period. Fact #2: There is NO practical way to take 300 MILLION+ guns from their owners. The “myth” the government will come to take your guns is just that. In that context, self-described conservatives who are one-issue (gun rights) voters ARE dumb, out of touch and gleefully misinformed.

    Guns are not evil. However, the talking heads at the NRA are evil insofar as they perpetuate the fears and myths held by the NRA members. The NRA is funded mostly by the guns and ammo industries.

    Trump IS evil. He is massively destructive, totally self-serving, blatantly and dangerously narcissistic. Trump also is not totally literate, despite his claims. Being a billionaire does not make him literate or intelligent. It makes him shrewd and dishonest. He has cheated numerous contractors out of millions owed them by Trump.

    Right wing = bad only when that segment of the “right wing” refuses to listen to facts and reason. My brother and Godson are perfect examples. Once the reality of the 2nd Amendment and the total inability to collect 300 MILLION+ guns was explained, they “got it”. But, they “got it” because they were willing to listen. There is a sector of right wingers that will decry reason as “Fake news”. When the mind has shut down or embraced a myopic social monolith, the Donald Trumps of our world succeed.

    • Very well said. Very, very, well said.
      I think you might agree that what we have is not a “gun” issue, but a “people” issue. Mental health, that is.

      Again, I ask – do you not see where I am coming from? All of this ani right rhetoric is a hopeless way of in acting change. The left is as far hopeless as the right…. they just aren’t in the spot light.

      In the words of Tony Campolo, “the true Christian response to the question on political loyalty should be, that ‘it depends on the issue'”

      The anti right stance reinforces the right in their beliefs, thus it only serves to feed tye bellies the left, already currently full in their firm beliefs.

      • I like Peggy Campolo better! 😀 LOL.

        I see where you are coming from, yes. The HUGE challenge for out nation at this time is to find consensus and to promote reasoned, fact-based dialog.

        I have been a gun ownership advocate for years. But: NOT for AR-15s or armor piercing ammunition. When the NRA posited that each citizen has a right to own one or both of those, I terminated my NRA membership.

        I would not describe the “hopelessness” of either side as being out of the spotlight. Both, to some degree or the other, are in the spotlight. The problem with the right is how often they are wrong. The “close my eyes, cover my ears” approach to the world gets us nowhere. It certainly does not get us even close to consensus or reasoned dialog.

        The more vocal and visible Christians today really are not authentic or orthodox. They use Jesus and Scripture as a bludgeon to beat people down. They do not use Jesus or Scripture to lift up people. Sadly, with Trump in office the “anti” rhetoric has heated up dramatically. He is dangerously unhealthy for our nation; and, the world. He HATES. Just look at his frequent tweets. As a person, Trump is hollow, shallow and fallow. If he is not reined in, and reined in soon, we can kiss America, at least as I have known it, goodbye.

        • Again, well said.
          You and I have much common ground to stand on. Never been an NRA member, although here in KY I do have a few guns and use them for hunting from time to time. No AR’s….. I like my deer meat to be intact when I eat it.

          Trump is Trump. I think the best way to advocate for change is found in the way in which we treat each other. Character bashing gets us no where, and I think MLK showed us that in order to incite change, we must be love the people we come in contact with.

          Trump needs prayer, not another article shinning light on his already spotlighted twitter account. Does it make me mad to see evangelical leaders backing him? Of course. But it makes me just as sad to see evangelicals bashing their neighbors for having different views. Is it not narrow minded to say someone is narrow minded? Is it not belittling to stereo type every republican Christian as evil, or unChrist like? Where does this get us? It’s not about the right or the left – it’s about Christ, and from what I’ve seen from American politics, neither party reflects the teachings of Christ any more than their counterpart.

          I do enjoy this back and forth with you – if our leaders could do this, I believe we would live in a better place.

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