Month: October 2022

I Can’t Vote Republican, The Bible Tells Me So

I just can’t do it.

I refuse to do it.

My faith is grounded.

You can pressure me, guilt me, shame me, and lure me with gold.

Not locally, not nationally, not at all.

I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so.

Not just tells me, but screams it into my soul.

 

Starting with abortion. 

The Scripture writer declared, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” Jeremiah 6:14-16 

In this passage from the Bible, God is upset. The religious people of the day are exploiting harmful problems for personal, political gain and not addressing their true solutions. They act like they care, but intentionally allow the issues to remain unresolved. They outwardly insist that they desire a way forward, but inwardly they have no real desire at all. 

Sadly, Republicans treat “abortion” the same. They outwardly declare that they are “pro-life” and detest abortion. They feverishly rant against how many “babies” are being murdered. Many make abortion their defining issue as to the reason why they deserve our vote. They posture themselves as wanting to make it illegal, as if that was the cure. It all looks and sounds so spiritual to the casual observer. Yet, inwardly, they have little-to-no heart for a real solution. For if they did, they would be addressing, providing for, and adopting the proven remedies that positively impact abortion. But, they don’t. 

Instead, with deceit, they want to keep the abortion issue alive because it manipulates their voters. It’s a political false flag. The last card they have in their deck. Without it, they have no drum to beat and no provocative enemy upon which to summon their troops to fight. In fact, Dana Loeash vocalized the true mindset and heart Republicans have towards abortion…

“Keep in mind that I am concerned about one thing, and one thing only at this point. I don’t care if Herschel Walker paid to abort endangered baby eagles. I want control of the Senate.”

For them, it’s ultimately not about life, it’s ultimately about power. Republicans want to create the illusion that they lead the way against abortion while making sure it remains unresolved, that they might remain in power. In fact, perfectly credible and widely known statistics show that abortion rates have gone down significantly with the kind of Democratic leadership that approaches abortion wholistically and addresses the real issues that can bring real change. Yet sadly, these same statistics reveal that under Republican leadership, abortion significantly increases. I’m not siding with Democrats, that’s just the facts. Yet, Republicans “do not even know how to blush” at the truth about abortion, how they exploit it, and how they resist actual remedies. Instead, they declare “Pro-life, pro-life” where there is no pro-life among them. All in hopes of drowning the biblical voice crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the ways of the Lord to heal abortion and cure its causes.”  

Like most people, I detest abortion. I want to see it become a non-issue in our society. I want to see it remedied by real people who really care, who are willing to apply the difficult, but real solutions that work. I’m tired of people who are more interested in politics than life.

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so.

 

Or, how about their refusal to support meaningful gun reform.

With an epidemic of mass shootings that kill innocent people, including children, Republicans refuse to adopt meaningful gun restrictions. Instead, their sense of being a Christian involves owning and carrying, not just guns, but weapons of war. For them, their God embraces the ways of violence and the use of force to assert His will. And of course, somehow Republicans have the exclusive discernment to know exactly what God’s will is, and the special divine authority to use it.

Yet, while refusing to wear masks during a pandemic because, “God will protect us” and “my body, my choice,” they somehow feel the necessity and demand the right to carry an AR-15 into Walmart for, “self protection.” In fact, Republicans in Texas are now providing schools with DNA kits to identify children killed in mass shootings. So, instead of passing meaningful laws that will protect kids from guns, they want to make it easier to identify their unrecognizable bodies. So, this is pro-life, patriotic, and in concert with the ways of Jesus? This is the best we can do for America?

Ironically, the very Jesus most Republicans claim to serve and the Bible they love to quote have a lot to say about violence that, apparently, Republicans have developed a special gift for ignoring.

“He [Messiah] was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” Isaiah 53:9

In other words, if Jesus is the Messiah long foretold, as most Republicans believe, He didn’t commit violence nor condone it. That’s right, there is no such thing as an ass-kicking, gun carrying, Rambo flexing Jesus. Period. End of conversation.

In fact, when Peter misunderstood Jesus as being open to the use of swords for violence and therefore cut off the ear of a man sent to arrest Jesus, Jesus rebuked Peter saying, Put your sword back in its place. For all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Matthew 26: 51-52

Or, how about these words, among countless others…

“The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” Psalm 11:5

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:38-39

I want to live in an America where there are meaningful, effective gun laws that prevent mass shootings and protect children from murderous violence. I want my children and grandchildren to grow up in a nation where “pro-life” actually means embracing all of life—safeguarding it, and creating a society free from the fear of violence and those who would embrace it as a way of righteousness.  

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so. 

 

And then, their desperate pursuit to nationalize their brand of Christianity.

“Today Christianity stands at the head of this country. I pledge that I never will tie myself to those who want to destroy Christianity. In short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past few years.”

Most, if not all, Republicans would applaud these words and gladly adopt them as their own thoughts and feelings. Yet, these words were actually spoken by Hitler in pursuit of gaining power and ultimately the genocide of millions of Jewish humans—men, women, children, and babies.

Republicans don’t hide it, they want a Christian nation. Not just a Christian nation, but rather, a Christian nation based solely on their brand of Christianity. They believe America was founded as a Christian nation to espouse the beliefs and values of current Christian Republicans. They believe God uniquely created and blesses America above and beyond all other nations. In their minds, besides them, there is no other group, faith, or kind of person that is as knowing, equipped, divinely favored, and discerning to rule America towards what they believe God and the founders intended for our country. With their publicly stated desire and vision to do everything and anything to “own the libs” and when they refuse to support and approve good things for the country simply because they don’t want any success for the Democrats, Republicans don’t believe in a democracy equally for all, but rather a rulership calibrated towards their brand of faith, values, and beliefs. A rulership that demands compliance and allegiance by its citizens, and ultimately the rest of the world. 

Yet, there is no such thing as a Christian nation.

It doesn’t exist.

It can’t exist.

Not a chance.

Not with Christ.

For Christ cannot be nationalized. He refuses the platform. He rejects any and all power established through vote, people, government, or popularity. He seeks no political party, no people group, and no established system of organization.

He cannot be colonized, weaponized, militarized, bulldozed into existence, marched down the street, hammered by a gavel, or flown over a stadium.

He dwells outside of walls, structures, and human constructs. He tears down all that would cage Him, franchise Him, leverage Him, and hoist Him upon a flag.

For Jesus lives in the margins, the cracks, the undefined, and the unconstituted. He cannot be legislated, demarcated, or plotted on a map.

Far beyond theology, denominations, creeds, rules, religion, news networks, social media, speeches, conferences, prayer formulas, mission statements, worship centers, bibles, and books.

He blesses all. Lives in all. Claims all… equally.

He is all, in all, and for all, or He means nothing at all.

There is no budget that can commandeer him, no army that can assert Him, no democracy that can elect Him, no dictator that can enforce Him, and no office, house, branch, or anthem that can contain Him.

In fact, you can surely be sure that any person, group, or effort to nationalize Him is not of Him. Not even close.

“The first will be last and the last will be first.” Matthew 20:16

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourself.” Philippians 2:3

“Our citizenship is in heaven.” Philippians 3:20

“You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24

“These people worship me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Matthew 5:8

Within every call, drumbeat, and chorus of Republicans to nationalize Christianity is the screaming confession that, “we have not, believe not, and worship not Jesus.”

I want to live in a country where Republican Christians strive to actually live like Jesus instead of nationalizing their obvious hatred of His ways and their love of power and supremacy.

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so.

 

Enter the immigrant, refugee, and the foreigner.

No one wants illegal immigration or open borders as a national policy, regardless of how Republicans label the position of progressives. Once again, Republicans seem to relish in creating issues that aren’t real to deflect from addressing the ones that are.

Yet, If America becomes a “Christian” nation, what happens when immigration (illegal or not) happens? How, biblically, are we to treat the foreigners and immigrants among us, no matter how they arrive? What happens with refugees who come to our border? And, how are we to biblically treat those who seek asylum and new life within our country?

The Bible has crystal clear answers.

Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” Exodus 22:21

“When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as a citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.” Leviticus 19:9-10

“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.” (1 Kings 8:41-44)

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:5

“For the Lord your God…loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.  You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:18-19

“The Lord watches over the strangers…” Psalm 146

“The aliens shall be to you as citizens, and shall also be allotted an inheritance.” Ezekiel 47:21

“…I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:31 (Jesus speaking)

Notice, Jesus doesn’t say they, “caged me,” “abused me,” “neutered me,” “separated me from family,” “starved me,” “made immigration nearly impossible for me,” “mocked me,” “slandered me,” “deceived me,” “tricked me,” “flew me on airplanes as a political stunt, only to abandon me” or “murdered me.”  

No, he said of His true followers, they “welcomed” me. 

Sadly, this is not the policy of Republicans, even the ones who claim their faithfulness to the Bible and its “infallible inerrancy.” Instead, what God clearly admonishes, they vehemently resist.  

For if you take the Scriptures seriously, the immigrant, the refugee, and the foreigner should not just be “welcomed” with sacrificial hospitality, but “wanted” as God’s own favored blessing. They should be lifted high among all others. They should be loved, protected, and provided for with the same passion we love, protect, and provide for ourselves. They are not to be objects of resentment, oppression, rejection, exploitation, or inconvenience. Rather, they should be honored as angels sent from above. They are us, and we are them. For in Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile.”

I want a country in sync with God’s heart for the immigrant, the foreigner, the alien, and refugee. I want a country in step with God’s biblical, unconditional “welcome,” “want,” and generous care for those outside of our borders who desire to come, live, and find new life within us.  

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so. 

 

But perhaps, most of all, loving your neighbor as yourself.

“‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:31

“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Matthew 5:44

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

As a former white, Republican, conservative Evangelical pastor of 20 years, I know deeply how the system works. I’m not trying to slam the faith or the people within it, but the unbiblical evils must be chased out of the shadows, especially the hate of love that is so rampant among so many.

For most everything within the Republican vision and mission isn’t focused on having a neighbor to love, but rather based upon having an enemy that must be hated. Fear of these enemies is the ultimate motivator, not love. They will create it, fabricate it, and inflame it. 

For Republicans are nothing without fear and the hate it awakens…

…if we love minorities as ourselves, they’ll take over the country and all of society, and we’ll lose our white way of life, and white power. 

…if we love black people as ourselves with true equality, true police accountability, true legal fairness, true economic justice, and true opportunity, we’ll have to admit our racism and white privilege, lose our white way of life, and surrender our white power.

…if we love our wives as ourselves and remove the requirement that they must submit to us unquestionably, they’ll take over the family, usurp male power, and run America and society into the ground.

…if we love the LGBTQ community as ourselves, our Republican patriarchal power will be dismantled, God will punish our life, and all of white, male-driven, conservative Christianity will be flushed down the drain.

…if we love special needs people as ourselves, we’ll have to make an honored and equal place for them in society, overpowering our “normal” lives with inconvenience.

…if we love the least-of-these as ourselves with economic equality, free health care, free college, a living wage, social security, long-term care, and the removal of poverty, we won’t be able to fund our industrial military complex and foster our diabolical economic system of socialism for top and capitalism for the bottom.  

…if we love the environment as ourselves with significant building and development restrictions, environmental controls, and clean energy standards and investments, we won’t be able to feed our insatiable appetites for economic and personal greed. 

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.‘” -Matthew 25:41-45

“He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty.” -Proverbs 22:16

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” -Ezekiel 16:49

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:8-9

See, where God admonishes that our highest motivation should be the unconditional love and care for all of humanity equally, in contrast, there is truly no other fuel that drives the Republican Death Star more than having enemies to fear, hate, marginalize, fight, and treat unequally.

This is why Republicans have the addictive support and allegiance of most conservative Evangelicals and Trump supporters. For the only thing they understand is fear, and Republicans speak their language like no other. They mock special needs people, bully perceived enemies, embrace racism, foster white supremacy, mistreat women, ignite division, worship greed, and love themselves above all things.

Biblically, this is the ultimate blaspheme of the Spirit.

To see love as the enemy.

To see fear as the friend.

To see enemies as the goal.

To fight at all cost, with lies, violence, duplicity, and sin.

To see a white, conservative, Republican, American Jesus as the way, truth, and life.

To see white, conservative Evangelicalism as the Kingdom.

I want leaders with whom love is greater than fear. I want a country where to love all people equally is a friend and not an enemy. I want the character of a great person, a great society, a great economy, and a great nation to be defined by their love for all people equally, not fear nor hate. 

That’s why I can’t vote Republican—

not locally, not nationally, not at all

—the Bible tells me so.

.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

 

Conservative Evangelicals, What Are You Afraid Of?

You want me to believe that your brand of faith is centered on love. That you love Jesus, love people, and love truth above all else. Yet, if I’m honest, so much of what I see in you is fear. Fear here, fear there, fear everywhere. Which makes it all the more confusing, given that your own Bible insists, “there is no fear in love.”

Like, I see you banning books. What are you afraid of? 

Is your truth so fragile, your parenting so ineffectual, and the power of your God so impotent that you can’t trust them to withstand the words, thoughts, perspectives, and experiences of others? What kind of love is that? With all due respect, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you standing against true human equality. What are you afraid of? 

Is your identity, faith, and sense of self-worth so brittle that you can’t love yourself without lowering others–lording and demanding your privilege and superiority above all. Do you not trust God to care for your needs while equally meeting the needs of others? Is your identity in Christ not enough for your security, satisfaction, peace of mind, and self-assurance when you compare yourself and your life to others? What kind of love is that? I gotta tell you, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you condemning, shaming, and marginalizing the LGBTQ community. I mean, really, what are you afraid of?

Is your own sexuality so in question that you fear your own truth? Is your faith so thin and your ignorance so thick that you actually believe that being LGBTQ is a kind of virus one can catch? Does the silence of Jesus on the subject and the false translations of Scriptures used to condemn the LGBTQ community scare you so much that you have to condemn the LGBTQ community yourself because you don’t want people to find out that the Holy Spirit doesn’t? What kind of love is that? In all honesty, my friend, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you pushing to nationalize your faith and force it upon society. What are you afraid of?

Is your Gospel, reputation, and “love” for others so unappealing and your Holy Spirit so uncompelling that you need to mandate your faith into the lives of others in order to preserve its existence and give you power? What kind of love is that? No doubt about it, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you resisting and abusing immigrants. You gotta be kidding me, what are you afraid of? 

Is your faith so dependent upon and protected by your brutal selfishness that to share space, blessings, dignity, respect, and existence with anyone different threatens the downfall of all of it? What kind of love is that? It looks a lot like fear.

I see you rejecting meaningful gun reform. My God, what are you afraid of? 

That your toxic version of masculinity, upon which your brand of faith was founded, won’t survive without guns and the ability to kill? That without the capacity to threaten, intimidate, use violence, and force yourself and your beliefs, you and your faith system have no defense or power? That your God is so impotent and feeble that He needs aggression, weapons of war, and male domination to do His will? What kind of love is that? No mistake, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you denying women’s rights. What are you afraid of? 

Is your faith so male-created, male-driven, male-codependent, male-insecure, male-immature, and male-fabricated that embracing the equal value, gifts, abilities, rights, respect, and dignity of women would send it crashing to the ground? Is your God so intimidated by females and insecure with His own divinity that He has to subdue and hide their true value, capacity, and power from the universe? What kind of love is that? There’s no denying, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you demonizing the poor and vulnerable. I mean, come on, what are you afraid of? 

That people will see that poverty is your creation, not the poor’s? That you could solve it, but choose not to? That you worship socialism for the top and harsh capitalism for everyone else? That you benefit from keeping the poor and vulnerable remaining poor and vulnerable? That your “success” and their “failure” comes from a rigged system that benefits you and unfairly burdens them? That your ultimate attraction to helping the poor and the less fortunate is in colonizing them into your faith Empire? What kind of love is that? It looks a lot like fear, and lots of it.

And then I see you embracing sin and spiritually justifying immorality when it serves your purposes. What are you afraid of?

Is your faith so impotent that it needs to cheat, steal, lie, bully, and deceive in order to get its way? Are righteousness, humbleness, holiness, kindness, and goodness not good enough for you? Is your God so weak, frail, and inferior that, at times, He needs to conspire with darkness and partner with evil in order to survive and achieve His will? What kind of love is that? Because it walks, talks, and looks a lot like fear.

For Jesus says nothing to condemn the LGBTQ community, nothing to ban books, nothing to stand against true human equality, nothing to nationalize your faith, nothing to resist and abuse immigrants, nothing to reject non-violence, nothing to deny women’s rights, nothing to demonize the poor and vulnerable, nothing to embrace sin and spiritually justify immorality. But instead, He demands in endless litany “do not fear.” 365 times. Over and over again.

Yet still, you choose to condemn the LGBTQ community, ban books, stand against true human equality, nationalize your faith, resist and abuse immigrants, reject meaningful gun laws, deny women’s rights, demonize the poor and vulnerable, and embrace sin and spiritually justify immorality.

There is no fear in love, but apparently, there is certainly fear in you.

.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

 

 

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