Fools for Socialism

[Roland D. Sawyer special ed. 1912], The Christian Socialist
The national newspaper The Christian Socialist produced a “Roland D. Sawyer Special” edition in conjunction with his 1912 Massachusetts gubernatorial run.

Socialism is for Fools

We all know this. If James Dobson didn’t tell you, John Hagee told you. If John Hagee didn’t tell you, some other Fundamentalist Baptist told you. If some other preacher didn’t tell you, you learned from the ‘Got Questions‘ guy, or from another book or resource.

The nonsense of Christian socialism is an heretical notion [of course] that we all hoped was long dead and gone. If it’s bad enough being a fool for Christ, why would you want to make things worse by being a Christian Socialist? So imagine the disappointment among the good folk at American Pastors Network when somebody made a post on their website defending Christian Socialism. WHO would DO such a thing!

As a Christian who is also a socialist, I grant freely am something of an anomaly. I believe that Marx’ assessment of Capitalist political economy and the kingdom of God share a reciprocal, hermeneutical function [think of James Cone’s cross and lynching tree analogy].

That aside, I’m astonished that so many accept as legitimate a ‘choice’ between one figure who incarnates corporate criminality, and another who is the epitome of corrupt Washington insider politics. Are there any compelling reasons for which we ought to consent to be retained as political hostages to the sadistic machinations of what is ostensibly our own system of governance?

I am also astonished that no one seems capable of offering even a token ‘kingdom-of-God’ critique of the powers of this age. I’m not one of those guys who can’t admit that Marx never got anything wrong. How is it that so many around me regard our institutions and national narrative [even in ‘pristine’ form] as sacrosanct? An admitted oddity, William Stringfellow is thoroughly exonerated.

I’m left wondering if many of our churches are untouched by the gospel, and great swathes of confessing Christians are in fact in a pre-converted condition.

Given its idolatrous devotion to and its perpetual justification of ill-gotten wealth secured by the world-wide extension of our military power, our crass consumerism, hedonism and materialism [this from a socialist, no less] at home, one can argue that the state is an whore. This election has NO lesser evil. As I see it, you can support evil, or you can exercise an higher responsibility to withdraw the consent to be governed. Since voting would leave me feeling morally slimmed for participating in an illicit act of political prostitution, I elect not to vote.

To be true to Jesus Christ, the church must at some point make the politically blasphemous affirmation that the Gospel is not Christ AND Caesar, but Christ, NOT Caesar. The problem is, whenever the church remembers who she is and to whom she belongs, the kakistocracy which in every land is called ‘our government’ will behold with a jaundiced eye that church with her new-found faithfulness. That is the church which will be subject to all the punishments of the evil one described in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

And THAT is why we push the theology of the revelation into the future. So long as kingdom is kept off the agenda, we can compromise with earthly powers all we want. We can buy into their nationalistic, militaristic and chauvinistic agendas all we want. We can support and elect any candidate we want.

We ask only for a few tokens of self-righteous civic religiosity from candidates to help us assuage our guilty consciences as we sing the praises of our state religion of selective, political piety. We then return to prosecute class war against our own people, bomb foreign lands into oblivion, and turn back refugees in their utterly un-seaworthy inflatables as they seek escape from death’s clutches. And we sing, ‘Now Thank We All our God, with Hearts and Hands and Voices …’

We don’t need to ‘take back our land’ or elect the right candidate. We need a generation of Christians who will blow the whistle on this utterly secular and blasphemous arrangement of accommodation with the powers and principalities of this age. This step is rather like the priests bearing the ark of the covenant, who first stepped a foot into the waters before the dry land revealed itself. Once we refuse to bow down to the idols of our time, God will make our way clear.

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PS: Here is the ‘Got Questions’ guy’s take on Capitalism.