Were I to recreate this site, I think it would have no comments section. Disqus is just horrible. I do not recommend it to anyone. And it just helps further what I see on so much social media these days. As much as the internet can bring people together of like mind, it also can help shrill minorities of people think their views are more mainstream than they are. That then emboldens them further.
In the past several months there have been three incidents that have solidified for me that my faith and my politics are starting to collide. While I am a firm believer in the idea of a conservative populism, I see a dangerous trend within the mix of unfortunate shrillness and hostility. That trend is playing out in the comments here at RedState and on social media.
To start, Christian conservatives were roundly assailed by other conservatives for daring to provide aid and comfort to children whose parents had shipped them across the border. Some could not distinguish between giving a child a teddy bear and supporting Mexican drug cartels. It was all one or all the other. In fact, many Christians, myself included, want expedited deportations and a secure border. But we also want to make sure the children, some victims of human trafficking, were taken care of, fed, and comforted.
But to some on the right, that is aiding law breakers. The anger and hysteria directed at conservatives engaged in private charity had all the makings of a leftist police state making us care about how we choose to spend our own money.
The second was bringing Dr. Brantly and his co-worker back to the United States. The number of angry calls into my radio program from well meaning conservatives, comments across social media, opinion columns, agreement thereto, etc. really boggled my mind. Here are two Americans risking their lives to help others and we are supposed to turn our back on them, leave them there, or criticize their decision to go in the first place? That’s not the America I know or love. The level of outright anger, fear, and bitterness over the decision to take care of American citizens and the lack of knowledge and understanding that formed the foundation for the anger, fear, and bitterness really left me wondering what is going on.
The last is the present situation in Ferguson, MO. The rush to win a fight and lay blame instead of mourning a loss and praying for a situation just leaves me perplexed. The rush to “change the narrative” with bad facts to replace bad facts by some folks who keep the ichthys on their car unsettles me.
I’m a conservative before I’m a Republican. I was once even an elected Republican. But before I’m a father or husband, I am a Christian. My politics have to be balanced by my faith. That faith requires me to put faith, hope, mercy, and grace ahead of much, including a lot of short term political gain. And sometimes that requires me to rely on Christ for justice, not the government.
Eschatology is the study of end times. It is the one area of biblical study people often view in their own time. In the 1800’s with the rise of the Great Awakening, students of eschatology viewed the end times rather favorably. The whole world would come to Christ, many of them thought. I view the ends times more pessimistically. I think there’ll be many more through the pearly gates than I want, but a whole lot less than I expect. And I think as we descend into more cultural and societal chaos on the road to the last day, it will be more and more important for those of us in politics to decide which comes first, faith or politics. They can be balanced. I try, sometimes fail, but keep trying. A growing number of people on the right are no longer trying to balance. They are either going completely out of the public square, or all in without Christ in their heart or on their tongue thinking they can just visit him on Sunday.
We should find balance. We may fail, but we should keep trying. We should not recede from the public square and a growing number of conservatives are showing more willingness to drive from the public square those who urge greater measures of Christian grace and charity than they prefer.
On the last day there will be a narrow gate. That makes me pessimistic about my future in politics and the future voices on the right when cultural and social issues come to the forefront. But for those here and elsewhere, though I may fall short because I’m a sinner, I’m with Jesus first and all the rest comes after.