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Is it I, Lord

Is it I, Lord

Miguel De La Torre, professor of social ethics and Latino/a studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO has an opinion piece up at Baptist News Global that is a response to the Republican National Convention and the evangelical embrace of Donald Trump.  This piece is well worth the time investment of reading it.

 

Asking who is the “whore of Babylon” in this place and at this time?

“So the question with which to wrestle is who today, in this particular historic period of time, best signifies the whore of Babylon? Sadly, I have to consider if we, who call ourselves Evangelicals, are filling this role. There was a time when Evangelicals had a disproportionate say in American politics, a constituency group that helped a divorced actor, more interested in astrology, win the presidency over and against a Sunday school Bible teacher. No doubt, the 1980s were the Evangelical heydays, influencing conservative social positions based on personal piety. But much has happened in the past 35 years: same-gender marriage, white births representing less than 50 percent in demographics. Affirmative action, that for centuries ensured job opportunities and college acceptances for white males, has been challenged. Police officers are scrutinized and held accountable for what once was the unchallenged norm: killing unarmed people of color.”

 

The loss of privilege undoubtedly feels like oppression to those used to wielding it, but De La Torre asks isn’t that what the Gospel commands?

“As I witness the Evangelical Religious Right rush to present a non-Christian as a God-faithful servant, I cannot help but wonder if we are pimping the Body to the highest political bidder? Let’s be clear, no political party, especially the Republicans or Democrats, are God-ordained. No president, emperor or prime minister is the Messiah. This does not mean Christians shouldn’t be engaged in the political process; it means their involvement is to be a conscience to those within their own party pointing to how the policies of their party fall short of the Good News — not to coronate the new emperor as medieval popes once did. And yet, as I have been watching the Republic National Convention this week, I cannot help but wonder if indeed we Evangelicals are prostituting ourselves.”

 

And finally asking us to look deeply at our own selves as we seek to live out the Good News in our lives and in our world

“And finally, maybe I am asking the wrong question, falling into the trap of naming the Other the “Whore of Babylon.” Maybe, what this biblical imagery is supposed to elicit is the same question that arose during the Last Supper when Jesus stated that one at the table was going to betray him. Like the disciples, when trying to figure out who is the “Whore of Babylon,” we might make more progress if we begin by asking: “Is it I, Lord?”

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Leslie Marshall

I’m a fundamentalist Christian, and I don’t care at all that Trump is (perhaps) quasi-Christian. That’s between him and God. I just want a President that supports the Constitution, and one that will appoint Conservative Supreme Court, and one that supports wealth-building in America.

I think (gay billionaire) Mr Peter Theil was correct, when he said at the RNC, ‘these fake culture wars are just distracting us from the real problem –economic decline.’

I like that Trump acknowledges our economic decline, and he knows that Economic Prosperity for the majority is the best possible chance for gays, transgender, illegal immigrants, immigrants, welfare families, disabled vets, blacks & Muslims to live free in USA.

I wish the Left would stop constantly focusing on ‘needy-minorities’. That is so condescending.

Gregory Orloff

Unfortunately, Mr. Trump has yet to propose to American voters any clear, cogent and cohesive plans and policies he has in mind to foster the “economic prosperity for all” of which you speak, Ms. Marshall.

He does, however, have a documented track record of forcing workers into bankruptcy by not paying them, bilking life-savings out of real estate investment students, and manufacturing his name-brand merchandise outside of the United States, which suggests no interest in economic prosperity for anyone but himself.

I am always puzzled by self-identified “Christians” who seem infatuated with wealth, power and celebrity.

Perhaps it is because Christ Jesus told us: “Life is not measured by how much you own” (Luke 12:15).

Perhaps it is because he declined wealth, power and celebrity when he was put to test in the desert by the devil (Luke 4:1-13).

That seems to be the point that Professor Miguel De La Torre was making: how in contemporary America, over the past few decades, the politically driven “religious right” has been bent on pursuing and embracing the very things Jesus refused to choose.

And while some “Christians” wring their hands and decry “unbelief” and “atheism” nowadays, that just might be why so many people don’t find a compelling vision of life in Christianity today.

As a wise bishop once noted:

“We who are disciples of Christ claim that our purpose on earth is to lay up treasures in heaven. But our actions often belie our words. Many Christians build for themselves fine houses, lay out splendid gardens, construct bathhouses and buy fields. It is small wonder, then, that many pagans refuse to believe what we say. ‘If their eyes are set on mansions in heaven,’ they ask, ‘why are they building mansions on earth? If they put their words into practice, they would give away their riches and live in simple huts.’ So these pagans conclude that we do not sincerely believe in the religion we profess; and as a result they refuse to take this religion seriously. You may say that the words of Christ on these matters are too hard for you to follow; and that while your spirit is willing, your flesh is weak. My answer is that the judgment of the pagans about you is more accurate than your judgment of yourself. When the pagans accuse us of hypocrisy, many of us should plead guilty.”

Those words were spoken by John Chrysostom of Constantinople in the fourth century.

They are no less true today.

Marshall Scott

It seems to me that the Professor de la Torre is not so concerned about person as about platform (all the excitement about persons notwithstanding); nor so much about the faith of a candidate as about the faith of individual Christians and how it is expressed in political participation. I have been aware of other writers who raise the same concerns about some highly visible Christian leaders (again, not political candidates) whose support for one or two “planks” in the platform has apparently outweighed other aspects of the same platform.

Rocco Miller

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? It is indisputable that Trump has made numerous questionable remarks, however just as it was wrong to question the President’s faith due to the heretical statements of his Pastor. I wholeheartedly believe the proper response is to pray for what is increasingly likely to be our next President, and trust. Inciting this questioning does not serve the purposes of God. In fact this turns off 50% of the country from the Episcopal brand. I myself come from the evangelical wing, but this pretentiousness is becoming more difficult to defend each day. Pray for our leaders.

David Allen

For every proof text you pull out, one of us can pull out another, besides your weird personal definition of heresy and made up statistics.

Moving on.

Gregory Orloff

Christ Jesus said it himself: “A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes.” (Luke 6:44) And if the tree of someone’s thoughts, words, deeds, behavior and way of life isn’t showing the fruits of God’s spirit — “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) — his or her claim to the label “Christian” is quite naturally and logically questionable. One’s claim to the name has to match what he or she brings to the game. With good reason Jesus cried: “Why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) Christian is as Christian does…

Rocco Miller

I would agree that a church with a senior Pastor that claims that, “We started the AIDS virus. We are only able to maintain our level of living by making sure that Third World people live in grinding poverty” is preaching hatred that is heretical to the word of our Lord. This is just one of his obtuse, ignorant, hateful claims that our President attended for near 20 years. And while I don’t speak for “Nogal”, I believe you are missing his point David. All I see is that in each instance the candidate had his religion question 3rd which is highly unfair. You may disagree with Trump’s policy or tone, but you should never attack his religion.

David Allen

And Donald Trump, pure as the driven slush, hasn’t made equally heretical statements? By their fruits shall they be known! He claims to be Christian, but by his long observed behavior to the present day, he doesn’t appear very Christian to me.

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