Printed in the Herald-Times, January 13, 2020
To the Editor:
We will celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King on January 20, but the day before that we should remember those who have been left behind – babies who can be legally killed before birth. Therefore, Christian Citizens for Life will be holding the Rally for Life at 2:00 p.m. at the Monroe County Courthouse. Please bring diapers to donate to the Women’s Care Center and the Hannah Center.
David French again bemoans the rise of negative partisanship, and he has a really good point. I addressed this last week regarding divisions within Christendom, and many of the same principles apply. I am less troubled by general political divisions than divisions between Christians, but we do need to be able to live, work and shop with people despite profound political disagreements.
As is often my habit when making a general point, here is a caveat: Of course there are bad actors. Of course there are people who are dishonest, or hateful, or corrupt, and so forth. Nothing I say here means that such people should not be called out.
But it is troubling when significant numbers of people see those in the other party as lazy, immoral, closed minded or unpatriotic. We are all Americans. We have always had profound political disagreements, but we should be willing to look at the rank and file of the opposing party as people of good will who want the best for our nation, and do not want to subjugate the other side.
This kind of attitude is exactly what I predicted in 2015 and 2016, and I have been proven right once again. If Donald Trump was elected, there would not be any dissent allowed within the Republican Party, which is dangerous.
Now look – if you want to argue refugee resettlement is a bad idea, fine. There is certainly a policy case to be made for that position. But when a large portion of your argument is that disagreement with Trump on policy is a personal betrayal of him, that feeds into the cult mentality surrounding Trump. That is not healthy for the conservative movement. Trump is not the whole of the conservative movement, and disagreement with Trump on policy should not be seen as betrayal.
That is not principled conservatism. That is idolatry. Stop it.
We live in an age that embraces effeminacy and androgyny. This has led to many men rebelling against this culture and embracing masculinity. We have seen this on the secular Right, and it is good to see our culture recognizing this error. But as Christians we should not be tempted to go from one error to an opposite error. We need Biblical masculinity, not just masculinity.
Now, a necessary disclaimer: This is not saying femininity is bad. Femininity is good, in women. But men should not be effeminate, as women should not be masculine.
We have seen masculinity be abused. Radical Islam admires masculinity, but we as Christians should abhor that version of masculinity. Barbarians throughout history have been admirers of masculinity. But man as conqueror, pillaging and raping is a perversion of God’s good gift of masculinity. Toxic masculinity does exist, and masculinity becomes toxic when it is not constrained by the guardrails set in place by Holy Scripture.
We have been hearing a lot about the so-called “deep state” since President Donald Trump took office, and conservatives have been very disdainful of it. Some of that disdain is deserved, but we need to think about this and have some charity for these folks. First, a couple caveats:
- Of course there are some folks in the “deep state” who are corrupt, and people who act in bad faith. Those folks should be removed from their positions and, if appropriate, criminally prosecuted.
- Of course civil service employees in the federal government should obey lawful orders from the President. They do not set policy. They implement policy, even when they disagree with that policy.
With that said, is everyone in the deep state a bad person, even when they are thwarting lawful orders by the President? Or should we have a different assumption?
Beware those who talk of inclusion and tolerance, because these are often buzzwords that used to justify exclusion and intolerance. We see this no more clearly than with “social justice warriors” and political correctness.
A letter to the editor in the Herald-Times recently warned that the Bloomington Farmer’s Market “was not inclusive” and that there are “barriers to access.” What exactly is the source of this? Are blacks or Hispanics not being allowed to shop at the market? Are vendors refusing to sell to people of color? Are black shoppers and vendors assigned to “colored” sections of the market, like would have been done in the 1950’s in the Deep South?
Nope. None of this is happening, and none of this happened. What happened is that a vendor who has peacefully sold vegetables in past years was revealed to have posted some objectionable things on the Internet. Schooner Creek Farms has not discriminated against or refused to serve anyone. They have not threatened or harassed anyone at the market. They have not done one single thing to prevent anyone from shopping or selling at the market. If any of this was attempted, the Bloomington Police Department would quickly shut it down. What happened is that the SCF owners anonymously posted things online, and then were “doxxed” by busybody social justice warriors.
Barring something unexpected over the next ten months, most evangelical Christians will vote for Donald Trump in the general election. There are a few who will not. Since this debate has once again broken out among Christians, I will make this plea again: Please have a sense of proportion and do not judge each other for the choices we make. Look at each other with charity, and assume good will. This applies to both Christians who are pro-Trump and Christians who are anti-Trump.
I anticipate some objections, so let me offer this caveat: There are people who claim the name of Christ who support Trump in bad faith, and some who oppose him in bad faith. I do not believe the vast majority of Christians fall into either category, and we should assume good will and sincerity. And to be clear on something else: The next two paragraphs do not describe the majority of pro-Trump Christians or anti-Trump Christians. Finally, as a reminder of my own position: I did not vote for Trump in 2016 and I plan on voting for him in 2020.
I have made the following three New Years Resolutions:
- I resolve to lose more of my hair in 2020.
- I resolve to have the hair that remains go more gray in 2020.
- I resolve that my beard will be more gray in 2020.
I made these three resolutions in 2019, and was wildly successful in keeping them. I am pretty sure I can repeat that.