Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Today Is the End of the Christian Right - Mike Farris Sees It Happening

As about 1,000 evangelical leaders met with Donald Trump today at Trump Tower (including Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, tweeting a picture of himself with Trump in front of Trump's wall of magazine covers that includes a framed cover of Playboy magazine), Michael Farris posted this essay declaring that today is the end of the Christian Right. Considering that Farris helped pioneer the Christian Right in the 1980s and beyond, his words carry some serious weight. Please read them. I quoted the main points below.
[In case you may think that Falwell, Jr., likely unaware of all the covers on the wall, would have been scandalized to find a Playboy magazine in the photo he shared: he has shrugged it off and said everyone criticizing him is a hypocrite, because he's proud to be seen with sinners and tax collectors. And, apparently, snap photos with them and their pornography.]

"I attended the very first meeting of the Moral Majority held in Indianapolis in February of 1980. I was the Washington state director of the MM and have been a leader of the "Christian right" ever since.
Today an estimated 1,000 evangelical leaders are making a pilgrimage to Trump Tower to "listen" to Donald Trump."
"This meeting marks the end of the Christian Right. The premise of the meeting in 1980 was that only candidates that reflected a biblical worldview and good character would gain our support."
"In 1980 I believed that Christians could dramatically influence politics. Today, we see politics fully influencing a thousand Christian leaders.
This is a day of mourning."
(Farris, Trump's Meeting with Evangelical Leaders Marks the End of the Christian Right)

He puts it very clearly: the religious right joined together in order to support candidates that would represent biblical values and worldview. Today we see Christian leaders on the right following after a candidate who reflects neither. They are not influencing politics for Christ. Politics is influencing them, so much so that they will not let go of clinging to political power and influence no matter what compromises they are required to make. If you cannot disentangle yourself and your faith from politics over a man like Trump, then politics owns you.

This is shameful for a Christian. Our crucified Lord told his disciples when He was being arrested, knowing torture and death awaited Him, that they should put away their swords. He asked them if they didn't realize He could immediately call upon the Father and have twelve legions of angels fighting for Him. But He did not, for the same reason he told Pilate: His kingdom is not of this world, otherwise his servants would be fighting for it now. And it still isn't. America is not Christ's kingdom. He does not need us to fight for control of America at all costs, no matter what we lose in the process. If America goes the way of Trump, or of Clinton, that is the world's business. Our business as Christians is to remain true to our Lord, put our hope in His coming kingdom, and be sure that we represent it rightly to people in the world. Making certain that the Church looks just like Christ is far more urgent and important than trying to make America look like the Church.

This means we can afford to let go of political power. We can afford to not be influential over immoral candidates. We can afford to have nothing to do with them. We do not have to run off a cliff with Republican candidates. They are not our only hope. In fact, our hope is completely set on something else. Peter, one of the disciples that Jesus had to rebuke in the garden for fighting as if His kingdom was of this world, says it plainly:
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:13-21).
That is where all of our hope is set. This is the kind of people we ought to be before the rest of the world. Mike Farris sees it. Do you?

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