As the Episcopal Cafe highlighted, white Evangelical Protestant leaders are using fear and alarmism in an effort to drive people to faith. But the “faith” that results will inevitably be something twisted. Because if perfect love casts out fear, then if fear is not merely present but thriving, then it follows that love is being driven out.
This is the language of exorcism. And we see the implications of this reversal of what the New Testament calls for when loving one’s enemy, or simply loving, is treated as something demonic.
And since God is love, this fostering of fear is an attempt to drive God out.
In view of that, it seems far safer to take the risk of being too loving, than to take the risk of embracing, perpetuating, and fostering fear. Conservatives often ask liberals and progressives “What if you’re wrong?” in not condemning others. But the teaching of Jesus should lead us to think that the big risk is not that we will be insufficiently judgmental, but that we will be insufficiently inclusive and loving.
I wrote those last couple of sentences when Facebook reminded me of the post from a couple of years ago, “What If You’re Wrong?” These statistics about Evangelical persecution complexes (in which I once participated myself) reminded me that I had written a draft post and meant to revisit that topic.