You Have No Power Here

You Have No Power Here April 5, 2019

There is a scene in the Wizard of Oz, at the beginning, when Dorothy has been transported to Oz and after her house has landed on the Wicked Witch of the East.  As we know, her sister shows up.  She puts on a big show and tries to intimidate Dorothy.  But Glinda, the good witch of the North, with laughter summarily dismisses and rebukes her:

“You have no power here.  Now, begone, before someone drops a house on you!”

Apparently, the Wicked Witch of the West forgot where she was.  Her power was conditioned upon geography, longitude and latitude.

There are different types of power/authority.  For instance, there is moral power and authority.  It’s not based upon geography, or longitude and latitude.  It’s based upon, first, one’s actual lived life–but secondarily, upon being consistent in one’s applications.

For churches, pastors, priests, denominations, and religion in general they normally try and be consistent in how they apply morality and ethics, generally and specifically.  For instance, if they’ve consistently said it was morally and ethically wrong for businesses to take advantage of poor people, but then begin taking advantage of them themselves, they lose their moral power and authority.

Or, if they consistently told us they would only support political leaders who were people of good character, who were decent and honest, people of integrity, but then decided to support someone who lacked all those markers, they lose their moral power and authority.

Or, if they consistently told us they would only support political leaders who maintain a strong ethical and moral character when it comes to traditional marriage and sexuality, but then decided to support someone who has no such ethical character, they lose their moral power and authority.

What will certainly hasten this loss of moral power and authority is if it is learned their decision to no longer be consistent was because by changing their view, they would benefit.

If something is morally and ethically true, then it should be applied fairly and consistently if we are going to point out any supposed failures on the part of others.  Otherwise, we are shown to be hypocrites.  We lose our moral power and authority.  No one cares what we think now.  “Oh, you don’t like such-and-such?  Who gives a damn—you gave your boy a pass on that, a “mulligan,” remember?”

As we gear up for the 2020 presidential race, we are going to hear and read a lot of things regarding the ethical and moral choices of the candidates in the areas of marriage and sexuality.  Skeletons will no doubt emerge, unbidden, from closets everywhere.

We may learn of affairs, or non-traditional family and partner arrangements.  Who knows what we may learn.  And some of it may be admitted to, denied, or found to be merely gossip or innuendo.

Here is the point: The first time a white evangelical is critical of any candidate because of their marriage, divorces, relationship choices, sexual ethics, lies, or basic character/decency, who either supported Trump, defended him, or were silent in the face of his deficits in all those areas, needs to be told:

“You have no power here.  Now, begone, before someone drops a house on you!”

Or, better: “Be quiet—who cares what you think about those things. You lost any moral power or authority to criticize anyone running for office the moment you supported, defended, or remained silent in the face of Trump’s absolute failures in those same areas.  Hypocrite.”

Every evangelical who supported Trump, defended him, or remained silent during his first three years in office, has made one thing abundantly clear.  The only thing that now matters to them is a candidate’s political views and not their character, decency, honesty, or ethics.  Fine.  Good to know.

We can now completely dismiss everything they told us about the ethical/character qualifications candidates running for office needed to have prior to 2016.  That was before Trump.  White evangelicals will now have, forever, on their political time-line: Before Trump (BT) and After Trump (AT).  Everything changed on November 8, 2016.

Thus, in this new and dark era, 2019 AT, they have no right (moral power or authority) to criticize or call into question any candidate whose character, decency, honesty, or ethics they find wanting.  Will some do it anyway?  Of course.  But that is why we have the word, hypocrite.  Put it on a ring and wrap it around their necks.

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  • Perry Shields

    This is a great article…I have many Evangelical friends whom I can no longer respect, or look at in the same way, because of their support of Trump. I think they have serious ethical problems, and poor judgement in these matters. The 81% support (in my circle, it’s more like 99%) sealed the doom of the Evangelical church for me. Being a Trump supporter at this point is akin to being a Flat Earther, Holocaust denier, or Moon-Landing-Was-Faked conspiracy theorist.

  • Darrell

    Thank you. As to the loss of respect, I tend to agree.

  • Jan Westbury

    I couldn’t agree more. I left my Southern Baptist church the Sunday after the ‘16 election when I realized that most likely 99% of the members/attendees either voted for Trump or didn’t vote at all because they disliked Clinton so much. However, I want to point out that Trump supporters DO help themselves to moral superiority over us non-Trumpites, and that’s because of his stance on abortion. Some evangelicals outright love him, some hold their noses and support him, but all believe he is God-annointed “for such a time as this.” He’s Queen Esther, King David and King Cyrus all rolled into one in their eyes. They cannot be dissuaded (I’ve tried). What can we do with that? We’re being blackmailed. Any suggestions?

  • Darrell

    No, I think you’ve done quite a bit by leaving that church and moving on. Beyond that, vote, continue to speak out, and continue to explore this new direction you’ve taken.

  • Aniston’s Revenge

    On Franklin Graham’s Facebook page, he slammed Pete Buttigieg for being gay and running for President, and he had the nerve to quote Leviticus 20:13. Of course, Franklin Graham has been so busy campaigning for Trump and kissing his butt, he’s failed to notice Leviticus 20:10 – “If a man commits adultery, both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.” And don’t get me started on what Jesus had to say about adultery. I tell you, these evangelicals make me so sick I don’t think I’ll ever look at any of them the same again. Dropping houses on them is nowhere near enough.