Dear Conservative Christian Friends,
We need to talk about Charlottesville, Virginia. You need to hear what I have to say, even though I highly doubt you’ll agree with me, you need to hear it. Whether I am right or wrong, you need to know that I’m not the only one who thinks these things. It won’t be easy or pleasant for me to write these words and I’m sure it won’t be comfortable for you to read them.
Let me start by assuring you that I don’t blame you for what I saw happening in the Charlottesville–certainly not in any direct way. I know that you were as disgusted by it all as I was–I believe that, please understand. But here is what I don’t think you recognize or own up to–those people who were doing the protesting, those men and women in white hoods waving Confederate flags and jabbering about heritage, those men and women praising Hitler, sporting swastikas, and chanting their dreadful 14 word slogan–“We must secure the existence of our people and the future for white children”–those people spreading so much vile hate– they are on the same political team as you.
God help us, it’s true.
Can you not see that, Conservative Christian friends? Does it not bother you?
It bothers me.
Those people demonstrating in such disgusting ways in Charlottesville were comforted by the same presidential candidate that you were.
When you saw candidate Trump, you saw someone who would defend the things you believe in–someone who would put God back in schools, preserve the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, and protect the lives of the unborn. You were somehow able to overlook the fact that Trump’s track record showed that he wasn’t really interested in any of that, but he said what he knew you wanted to hear. You believed that he had changed from the quite contradictory stances he’d held most of his life. You believed your fundamentalist evangelical leaders who propped up Donald Trump as an instrument of God.
But when those Charlottesville protestors saw candidate Trump and heard his mantra, “Make America Great Again”, they heard his dog whistle and they were emboldened to take up their crosses and rekindle their fires. They heard a different message than you, but they rallied under the same leader.
Yes, these are your teammates.
But I wonder if you were as disturbed as I was, watching the events unfold in Charlottesville. I wonder if you made the connection that those hateful people were on your team? Did you sit and think, as I did, that those people were emboldened by the ideas and policies of that man you believed was sent by God to “make America great again?” Were you as profoundly sickened as me to think that the president of our country has awakened a terrible sleeping beast we’d hoped we’d left for dead–the same president the likes of Franklin Graham and many other right wing Christian leaders hitched their wagons to–the same president you supported?
Like it or not–and I’m sure you don’t like it–those people are your teammates. That thought should give you great pause. It should make you realize that this is what is possible when we allow politics to strangle our faith.
If Charlottesville teaches us nothing else, I hope we all learn that mingling politics and Christianity almost always blots out the message of Christ.
Where is love in Charlottesville?
Where is the love in the White House?
Conservative Christian brothers and sisters, can you see it?
Will this finally give you pause?
Photo: Los Angeles Times