“Did you really expect social transformation to be anything other than a murderous process? It’s a war, E.G., and we gotta fight it like we fight a war, with discipline, with terror, with firing squads, or we just give it up.”
– Socialist John Reed, from the film Reds
Our undeclared civil war is well underway, with one side fully committed to social transformation, the other fairly committed to social stability. As always, the side most committed will eventually win.
That’s bad news for America, because the commitment level of the Radical Left, next to that of Moderates and Conservatives, looks like a smoking-hot Pentecostal tent revival being held next door to an Anglican high tea.
When Bullies Get Badges
We’ve all seen the recent videos of anarchists on parade –screamers blocking traffic, prohibiting opponents from speaking, ambushing people in restaurants – highlighting our basest elements. We may also have comforted ourselves with the “Oh, that’s just the extremists, most people would never do that” line, hoping it’s true.
But when a former First Lady and presidential contender says civility’s impossible so long as her party is out of power, and when a prominent congresswoman calls for public shaming and intimidation of her ideological opponents, and when police forces and city mayors stay impotent while bullies take over the streets and randomly threaten citizens, then we’re no longer heading towards a cliff. We’re heading over it.
Not all recent developments are bad, for sure. But Conservatives celebrating the Kavanaugh appointment should also note that in its wake, mob rule has been officially sanctioned. It’s now the age of Uncivil Rights, the entitlement to ignore any semblance of fair play, and to abuse for a just cause. (The justice of which is determined, of course, by the Abuser.)
If that’s bad news for the country, it can hardly be music to the ears of the Church. Our ability to preach the gospel and make disciples is directly impacted by our freedom to communicate, and nowhere is the heavy hand of social intolerance more evident than in the realm of communication.
That’s why the contrast between tent revival and high tea isn’t so funny. Americans valuing freedom of religion, speech, trade, and conscience tend to get less agitated than their counterparts who champion social transformation. So yes, we’ve got our spokespersons doing terrific podcasts and blogs, and sure, we’re expressing outrage to each other. But the question is, will our moderately expressed convictions translate into action at the ballot box come November?
While You Were Sleeping
That’s where I worry. Some Christian influencers are telling us not to, chiding Evangelicals for investing too much reliance on the government (Psalm 146:3) reminding us that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and that Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36) and neither defined by, nor limited to, a political party.
Fair enough. The right candidate or party never saved anyone’s soul, and how many times have Conservative leaders promised one thing then done another? So yeah, I get it when folks say the right Congress isn’t the ultimate answer.
Likewise, though I’m an unapologetic Republican who voted for Trump and explained why here I also know full well that plenty of devout, committed Christians vote the other ticket. I fellowship with, love, and respect some of them, and their integrity reminds me that nothing in scripture compels us to go Red or Blue.
That said, too many voices from the Hard Left (not to be unfairly confused with the average Democrat) have a vision of a New America, which is no America at all. In their brave new world, the Constitution is a nuisance, and freedom of speech, religion, and free trade are evils to be abolished. Already, scores of mindless agitators have been recruited to create chaos, a social nightmare of crazed thugs terrorizing resisters in public, and civilized thugs suing them in court.
The Meek Shall Inherit the Scorched Earth
Their strategy’s evil, but smart. They know people, especially the young, are vulnerable to causes, making them easy to recruit and radicalize. Turning them loose on the rest of us to throw public tantrums, they can then shake their heads and say of the mess they orchestrated, “Oh, my, this is awful. Elect us and we’ll clean it up.”
They will, by enacting legislation choking all dissent, then assuming levels of government power and citizen dependency unprecedented in US history.
So let’s ask ourselves three relevant questions: Did God establish, then bless, America? If so, did He not then entrust its preservation into the hands of each American generation? If so, then can we afford to simply “trust God” to take care of our national crisis while staying unengaged in the very process which could solve it?
Some say persecution’s good for the Church, and that early Christianity was birthed and flourished in a hostile environment. Their point is, we shouldn’t concern ourselves with politics because they have little to do with the eternal Kingdom.
But if the American church has existed for centuries in an environment allowing us to freely spread the gospel and build disciples, is there any honor in our own persecution if it comes because modern American believers refused to preserve what we’d been entrusted with?
Warren Wiersbe, who’s fast becoming one of my favorite authors, provides an answer:
“The Bible teaches both divine sovereignty and human responsibility, and when you accept both, there is no contradiction or conflict. To ignore God’s sovereignty is to exalt human responsibility and make man his own savior, but to deny responsibility is to make man a robot without accountability.”
Come November, will we accept the privilege of voting, and the responsibility to elect leaders who’ll respect the Constitution, preserve individual freedoms, limit government reach, insure law and order, and encourage citizens to become all they’re capable of being?
In these upcoming and crucial midterms, we’ll witness either a renewal of civility, or a nail in its coffin. All of us will have had a hand in either outcome.