01/19/2006 02:34 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What Would It Take? Part 2

Some time ago, I posted a piece by the same basic title (here for the long version, here for the shorter). In it, I asked what it would take for my evangelical brothers and sisters to awaken from their slumbers and see the extent to which the current administration had wandered from anything that could reasonably be called a consistent Christian position. In short, just how far from the Christian faith must the administratioin wander and on how many issues before they will start to hold the administration accountable for, minimally, false advertising.

Sadly, I concluded that piece by opining that as long as the administration continued to give lip service to its opposition to abortion and homosexuality, the administration would be allowed to engage in whatever other perversity it chose. More unfortunately, it seems that events since that earlier post have only further demonstrated the correctness of that conclusion.

Nothing has improved since that August post, but let us consider some of what we have learned since.

On the war front:

+We are now beginning to become increasingly aware of why this president thought it "so cool" to be a "war president" as he uses it as an excuse to try to operate above the law.
+The numbers of killed and wounded are now considerably up from August, and we were recently advised of the percentage of soldiers killed who would likely have survived with adequate armor.
+The promise of "better things around the corner" that was supposed to be realized as a consequence of the Iraqi elections certainly looks like another case of rose-colored glasses. Think about this for a minute-we supported Saddam because we didn't like the Iranian leadership, but now we are spending a ton in life, limb, and resources in order to throw out Saddam and end up with a closer Iraqi-Iranian alignment.
+While Iraq was not a haven for terrorists before our invasion, it is now.
+Finally, and perhaps most dismal of all from a Christian perspective, evangelical leaders have remained far too quiet in the face of the administration's attempt to defend its practice of torturing suspects.

On the issue of domestic priorities:

+Budget cuts to programs aimed to protect what Jesus called "the least of these" passed, while tax cuts for the wealthiest followed closely. Think about this-budget cuts for programs feeding the poor put back to back with tax cuts for the well-to-do and all of this done in the Christmas season.
+The administration and its enablers cannot understand why folks are not excited by economic growth that has benefitted the wealthy while leaving the poor and middle class further behind.
+The disaster of Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the sheer incompetence and cynicism of this administration and its appointees.

On the environment:

+In the midst of pretty much irrefutable evidence of global warming, a group of evangelical leaders recently issued a statement indicating they will take no position on it. I guess we err on the side of life except when we don't.

On the scandal front:

+There has been hardly a peep out of evangelicals over the Abramoff, Delay, Ney, etc. scandal. And, if anything, more defense that critique of Libby.
+In the midst of growing rhetoric from the administration that it is both above the law and above criticism, there has been a deafening silence from too much of the church.

In the midst of this, the so-called "Christian" Coalition recently stated that its number one priority was not address of one of the many things listed above, not something that one could draw from Jesus' own admonitions, not care for the poor. No, in the current climate, the best the CC could do for a "number one priority" for 2006 was getting Alito onto the Supreme Court. Could there be any clearer indication of how badly these folks have lost their way?

Throughout church history, the temptation has always been to cozy up to political power. The ease and comfort of sitting before the emperor's fire is always more attractive than challenging his power. Yet, the biblical call has been consistently to defend the poor, the marginalized, the weak. It has been to give voice to the voiceless and to warn the powers that be that, in Bishop Storey's words, a day of reckoning will come. It is a sad and pitiable thing to see so many Christians allowing themselves to be placed into the role of enabler of empire. And, so, as the slide into deeper and deeper perversity occurs within the current administration, I continue to wonder: When will my fellow Christians shake off their bewitchment? Some suggest there are signs that this is happening....we'll see.

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