Metaxas on Saving America [Again]

Meeting Eric Metaxas

Socrates in the City founder, Eric Metaxas, isn’t a typical Christian fundamentalist. Socrates in the City certainly includes a curious range of past speakers. But then, Metaxas himself makes some odd statements:

‘I am a conservative Christian … even more important, I’m an American…’
‘Being a Christian always comes first…’
[explains the above comment].
‘America exists for the world.’
[No national chauvinism there, people]!
‘A beacon of liberty to the whole world…’
[See preceding comment]!
‘If Hillary Clinton is elected, I do not believe we’ll get a second chance.’

The brave can play the video.

Weighing Metaxas’ Screed

From my perspective, one of the most irritating features of ‘Christian’ political discussion is its assumption of false premises. Since the premises are false, discourse cannot help even if the logic is impeccable [which it seldom is]. As I see it, such ‘Christian’ political discourse/action is sub-christian in nature as well as effect. It certainly is devastating to Christian witness to anyone who is actually aware of public issues.

For example: the Democrats — working hard at achieving open borders? How does one begin to square this with highest ever deportation figures which occurred under the Obama administration? The church I frequent has a member who is an immigration lawyer [maybe soon, a judge]. This woman is highly intelligent and very well informed on refugee issues and immigration issues. She is also a deeply, committed Christian. Knowing what she does, how is she supposed to reply to the ‘open borders’ line?

Discussing his assertion is impossible since the premise is incorrect. And while my friend would set him very straight very quickly, not all believers have her intellectual capacity or experience in this area.

Also, am I the only one to sense that to support Donald Trump, you must invariably talk like Donald Trump? Suddenly, misogyny, bigotry, racism, swindling or corruption either become politically fabricated lies, or else they simply don’t matter for election purposes.

I must ask whether Eric’s politicized religion prostitutes Jesus’ body by making it a mirror reflection of the world. The apocalypse has multiple calls to repent for worldly behavior. Are there any grounds for exempting current behavior from those calls, together with the attending warnings?

‘“…repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth”’ [Re 2:16].

Whatever Metaxas’ church or sectarian affiliation, he speaks a political line that would resonate very effectively with many IFBs.

Eric Metaxas doesn’t mention that beside any Christians, some founders were deists. Nor does he consider that his faith and public order idea might support Marx’ dictum that religion is the opiate of the people [in the sense that the church served to direct the proletariat [working class] to support the state [politics] in God’s sacred Name as their Christian duty.

Balanced Coverage, Right?

For any Fundie lurkers about, this in no wise constitutes an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, who explains why the rich should rule. Also note the corruption revealed by Senator Clinton’s emails, and the baseness of this campaign as a whole. That these critiques come from the far left show that Senator Clinton is in no wise a ‘socialist’ or ‘Marxist’ or communist.

Where is Christ in This?

In fact a critical point not mentioned by anyone is that this entire campaign displays the utter bankruptcy of our US political parties and the entire political class. Why confessing Christians of all people endow the powers and principalities of this age with redemptive import, and then insist that we buy into them is beyond me.

Suspending the Rules on Compromise

Compromise? Compromise? Who said anything about compromise?
Donald Trump with Jerry Falwell Jr. — or is it Trump with a fundamentalist sTRUMPet?

Political Alliances, not Compromise

Strange political alliances are nothing new. Even if only a matter of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ pragmatism produces some odd relationships. This is doubly so when one party is sworn to shun foreign covenants [alliances] as the very epitome of worldly compromise.

Addressing the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Jerry Falwell Jr. made several statements which some might regard as both odd and ‘foreign.’ Consider these two:

‘We have never met such a genuine and loving family; I truly believe Mr. Trump is America’s blue caller billionaire’ [2:57].

‘…we are at a crossroads were our first priority must be saving our nation’ [4:20].

The video suggests Falwell’s support for repealing the restriction of non-partisan speech for non-profits and churches. He seems to think that this is a ‘free speech’ issue. In reality, he can go political already. But if he does, that tax exempt status is forfeited. Mr. Falwell gave no indication of whether he wanted tax exemption revoked along with the prohibition.

The July 21, ’16 NPR ‘Morning Edition’ featured Steve Inskeep’s interview with Falwell. There, he offered this insight:

‘…if you poll that group and you look for where the traditional social issues fall, they used to be near the top. And now, they’re the last ones on the list  … Many pastors tell me that what difference does it make what happens with social issues if we lose our country? We’ve got to save our country first.’

Pragmatism at all Costs

It is certainly true that abortion and marriage rights no longer command the attention they once did. But Falwell’s statement tempts us to think that in times of crisis, we can suspend the rules.

But again, a host of issues never captured the evangelical/fundamentalist imagination. Yet these also suggest a nation undergoing collapse:

  • A 7.9% increase in deaths by police in 2015 over 2014.
  • US maternal death rate up 27% since 2000.
  • Food insecurity/poverty rampant in US cities.
  • Opioid epidemic [heroin deaths triple in 4 years].
  • Prison deaths — nearly 7,000 since ’05 in Texas alone.
  • 500,000 homeless [nearly 1/4th being children].
  • Militarized police and community occupations.

It is sad that the logic some would bring to the table would be to argue that the very conditions of social misery warrant ongoing attacks on civil liberties and enhanced police/political crime.

The Steve Inskeep interview with Falwell continues…

INSKEEP: In the “60 Minutes” interview the other day, Lesley Stahl said, in passing, you’re not the most humble person. And he broke in and said, I’m very humble. I’m humble in ways you’ll never understand.
FALWELL, JR.: Yeah. I’ve never seen any arrogance. I do think he is…
INSKEEP: Do you think he’s humble?
FALWELL, JR.: I do. I do. I think he’s very outspoken, and I think he is – what’s the old saying? If it’s true, it ain’t bragging.

In addition to the nation, something else is lost–a churchly witness to Christ. It is being lost because in the face of social disintegration and the rise of fascistic extremism and unbridled militarism, such alliances Trump and Falwell force upon our minds one, very simple question:

Is that the best Christians can do?


Evangelicals for the New Jesus

When Idolatry Fails Us…

But Does God Feel abandoned by Christians for Trump

But Does This Go Both Ways?

Does Jesus feel abandoned by evangelicals who endorse Trump? Or Cruz for that matter. Does Jesus’ perspective on all this actually matter?

Remind me again who Christians supposed to support all along. What does this imply for evangelicals who get this so consistently wrong?