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Friday, December 28, 2012

A New Year's Resolution For the American Conservative Christian

The following is an effortless attempt to use alliterations to illustrate the biggest flaw I see in my fellow American Conservative Christians. When it comes to authority and authority figures, Conservative Christians prefer to cowardly cower rather than to be courageously combative.

What do I mean here? What I mean is that American Conservative Christians refuse to stand up to those with authority when they abuse others. Such Christians neither resist nor encourage others to do so. Why? It is because they cop out of their Gospel given responsibility to confront sin.

Of course these Christians have an excuse or an apologetic. Romans 13, such Christians say, tells us obey all who are in authority. So though some might wish to do otherwise, they are bound by the Scriptures to uncritically do what authority figures command. Of course there is a caveat in this command to submit to all in authority. Here, we are allowed disobey the authorities if they forbid us from preaching the Gospel or if they command us to do something immoral. However, if the authorities are treating others unjustly, according to American Christian Conservatives, we are not to say a word to the authorities while we are to tell the oppressed to take a lap and suck it up.

What could be more cowardly than to be silent in the face of evil? And indeed, Christians are told to preach against being evil. But Conservative Christians are told to do that only if the evil being confronted is a personal sin, like sex outside of a heterogeneous, monogamous marriage. According to  Conservative Christians, when the authorities pillage, rob, and kill, we are to be good little boys and girls and look the other way. And if we do that, the authorities will leave us alone and we get to keep of our possessions that we hold so dear. It is here we see the real reason why Conservative Christians submit to unrighteous authorities; it is for selfishness rather than selflessness.

Of course, only Conservative Christians are blind to their own cowardice and lack of love here. Such practices show both an utter failure to represent the Gospel and a fearful desire of failing the god of mammon. And as they distort the infinitely rich Gospel they claim to serve, they cause those outside of their small circle to view that Gospel with scorn as is described in Romans 2:23-24.

So there can only be one resolution American Conservative Christians should make for this New Year's. That resolution is to grow some faith in order to muster the courage it takes to confront the evil practiced by those in authority. Of course courage is needed because those in authority, whether they be from the private or public sector, can seek revenge.

Now since Conservative Christians have been spending all of their time obeying authorities, how would they know how to act on any newfound courage to resist authorities who practice evil? After all, even if they did not use parts of the Bible like Romans 13 as a shield for their selfishness and faintheartedness when it comes to failing to preach repentance to those with authority, Romans 13 does install limits on how we are to regard those in authority who practice evil.

So how should the Conservative Christian be faithful to both biblical duties of challenging abusive authorities to repent while respecting their source of authority? Martin Luther King faced this question when determining what would be the Biblical response to the unjust discrimination laws in the South during his time. His solution was that certain laws had to be broken either because they were unjust or in order to draw attention to other unjust laws. And when those in authority came to enforce those laws, King directed those with him to peacefully submit to arrest and the legal penalties. When King referred to "peacefully submitting," he was telling those with him to void themselves of both external and internal violence. Internal violence referred to attitudes that desired to lash out at those making arrests. To King, such resistance showed more respect for the law and those in authority than not showing any resistance because one was to obey the authorities.

And it isn't that Christians needed to wait until Martin Luther King formulated this response to know what to do, we see Biblical heros confronting evil rulers from Moses vs Pharaoh all of the way to John the Baptist vs Herod and beyond. In the Bible, God's spokespeople constantly preach against ALL who practiced evil. And since they did, it is time for those who claim to follow the Bible more literally than all others to do the same.

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