More thoughts on Barmen, the Confessing Church, the Election of Donald Trump, and Resistance Moving Forward
|Martin Niemöller and Karl Barth|
First, conservative evangelicals like Jerry Falwell Jr. and Franklin Graham who supported Donald Trump did so knowingly and with full awareness of his hateful rhetoric. They persuaded many of their followers to follow through and vote for this man, in spite of his obvious moral flaws, and language, rhetoric, and campaign promises that were the very antithesis of the gospel. In so doing, these hypocrites have finally demonstrated that they no longer represent Christ in the public sphere, but have become team-players for an anti-Christ. So, in the spirit of Barmen, it is time for us as Christians to proclaim that Christ taught love and not hate, included outcasts in his ministry, and broke boundaries to love those who differed in ethnicity, religious worldview, and gender. This is central not only to what we as progressive Christians believe, but all Christians.
We must stop calling those who do not hold these central convictions "evangelicals." They are not. Euaggelion means good news. For millions, there is nothing good about the news that a Donald Trump victory heralds. We must stop calling the right wing cultural and political movement that supported Trumpism "evangelical;" for it no longer has anything to do with the good news of the gospel. At best we can call such folks "cultural Christians," at worst, anti-Christs. In any case, we must call them to repent from their idolatrous adherence to Trumpism, and confess no other Lord than Jesus.
Second, one major critique that can be made against the confessing church movement in the 1930s was that it was so focused on internal issues related to German Protestantism, in that it did not go far enough to stand with full conviction in opposition to the violent Nazi oppression of Jews and other minorities. Progressive Christians cannot afford to make the same mistake! We must organize in solidarity with the 11 million immigrants who are fearing the violence of being forcefully deported, while seeing their homes and property taken away from them, while seeing their families ripped apart. This fear is real and realistic. In recent days Trump has said he his only going to focus at first on the three million or so "criminals" who do not have legal papers...THREE MILLION!!! Another American holocaust is about to commence. The church cannot, must not, should not remain silent in the face of such evil! Hate breeds hate. Given the violent misogyny of his campaign, we'll surely see policies enacted that will do violence upon women's bodies. Further his policies will endanger the safety and sanity of LGBTQ folks, and threaten the well being of minority and other faith communities. If the church is to be true to the gospel, it must stand in solidarity with all of these people and engage in active and nonviolent resistance to any policies that threaten to do our neighbors harm.
The time is now. Those of us who are Christians must now reexamine our core values and our core beliefs and realize that we cannot proceed in the haze of happy and lazy churchgoing, as we have in the past. More thoughts on what this may look like to come...
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