Some influential evangelicals and their followers have lost their souls.
According to an excellent piece Moral Majority was at its peak when this desire was ignited and fueled into the addictive delusion it has become. The current evangelical support for Trump reflects the extent to which they are entangled in this addiction to power.
Perhaps I showcase my own flawed humanity when I admit that I find such support amusingly pathetic and sad. If I loved these deeply flawed evangelicals with the love of Christ, I might feel some real empathy toward them and long for their redemption. But sadly amused is about the best I can do for now.
Their power has dwindled to little sections and corners of major cities where their mega churches or little universities stand, and to a smattering of people across the country who still listen to their television and radio broadcasts (mostly old white people, with some exceptions).
But evangelicals do not possess real power to effect change in the country. They never really had that power–and they never will. The Republican Party made use of them when it served their own purposes, but never intended to do anything they promised to their right-wing Christian supporters.
Now, though these evangelicals will never admit it, they know that their influence is waning–unless of course, they are even more deluded than I think. The current evangelical world is just as fractured as all the other organizations and entities that dominate the political and religious landscape.
How different is the authentic gospel of Jesus!
In a conversation between Jesus and a scribe in Luke’s Gospel, the point is made that the key to real life, eternal life, God’s life that God desires for the world, involves loving God with the totality of one’s being and loving one’s neighbor as one’s self.
The only way we can really love God is by loving our neighbor, who bears the image of God. And lest we try to define and limit who our neighbor is, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).
In our culture, it would be the story of the Good Muslim, and the two who pass by without helping the man in need would be Christian clergy, perhaps a pastor and a priest.
Jesus says, “Do this and you will live.” Do what? Love your neighbor as yourself.
Love those who are different from you by race, religion, sexual orientation, etc., as you love yourself.
Show them mercy.
Welcome them and shower them with grace.
Work for their good–for what is right and just and fair.
Treat them with the highest respect and human decency and dignity.
Identify with their plight, empathize with their hardship, and dispense compassion whenever and wherever you can.
Do this and you will live, says Jesus. Not believe this. Not confess this. Do this.
How have so many Christians missed it?
Such is the blindness and delusion when love of power takes hold.
Chuck Queen is a Baptist minister and the author of several books on progressive Christian faith, including his most recent, Being a Progressive Christian (is not) for Dummies (nor for know-it-alls): An Evolution of Faith. Chuck blogs at A Fresh Perspective, has contributed to the blog Faith Forward and is a monthly columnist for Baptist News Global.