I am not one to shy away from religious or political discourse, even though in the South such matters are still considered impolite conversation at many a family or social gathering.
But I mostly held my tongue during the Mississippi US Senate Republican primary on the God-card some have played attempting to justify their actions on behalf of the Tea Party and Chris McDaniel.
To be honest, such use of this card by McDaniel himself and the Tea Party fringe is what raised the red flag for me as the campaign developed (that, and the obvious inability and questionable character of who the once highly esteemed state senator and potential conservative standard bearer surrounded himself with).
Tea Party leader Roy Nicholson’s prayer at a recent event featuring McDaniel stenographer and self righteous independent blogger Charles Johnson at a church in Flowood asked God to “be violent against” the GOP establishment. Another attendee reportedly said, “God gave us Charles Johnson,” as if to imply the Lord himself was on their side in this sideshow.
I refer to Johnson as “independent” since it was he who described himself in that manner instead of as conservative, the irony of which is lost on those who hold him up as a Tea Party hero. In reality, Johnson seems to be nothing more than a snake oil salesman looking for a quick buck selling his unproven wares amongst the charismatic, hard shell fringe. But I digress.
Such faux spirituality isn’t a new thing amidst the Tea Party elite or rabid McDaniel supporters, or in politics in general. What better way to divide Bible Belt conservatives than through appealing to them as if God had ordained their cause, as if their fight was for the heart and soul of the republic? Sound familiar?
Throughout history God’s name or His Word has been invoked to make the questionable appear reasonable, to justify hype and zealotry with little foundational Christianity at the core; it’s a pick and choose walk with Christ, whatever fits your fancy or cause today kind of spirituality.
This Mississippi primary was no different.
It was routine for self proclaimed Christians to on one tweet preach prayer and use the name of God or scripture to promote their cause while in the next say such vile things as “that’s what Kay screams with Thad” when called out for their distasteful, off color name calling over campaign spun allegations which ultimately led to the arrest of not one but four men. Such dribble was merely aimed at making McDaniel appear more moral despite similar rumors had the script been flipped.
Yet again the irony and hypocrisy is lost on them, or rather knowingly ignored since they believe, as Jake and Elwood, they are “on a mission from God,” doing the Lord’s work.
All have sinned, they would tell you, but your sins are worth exposing, exaggerating and publicizing if you don’t walk their ever winding straight and narrow path; fire and brimstone to those who point their sins out and question their motives. After all, they are the chosen ones, the pure ones; all others should be purged and damned for eternity.
You see, to hear some tell it, the Almighty himself has reached down from His heavenly throne to not only anoint Tea Party elites as the conservative thought police (as I’ve repeatedly noted) but also as His own political band of warriors, hence the rhetoric of “fight” mixed with the coopted talking points of truth, justice, liberty and the rallying cry, “take back our country.”
Truth is, God is not Democrat or Republican, establishment or Tea Party, a McDaniel supporter or a Cochran supporter. Using His name and His Word to justify actions that are altogether contrary to the Gospel shows a lack of understanding of scripture, a flippancy for its true measure and meaning, and proves Ghandi right when he noted that he would have become a Christian if not for the Christians he had known.
Scripture tells us all to be weary of and avoid those whose sole intent is to divide, using God’s name in ways that do not align with His Word (check Romans 16:17).
For Tea Party leaders to remain relevant there has to be a cause, a division, an imperfection they can exploit and stir dissent over, whether real, perceived, or created.
Those who knowingly and willfully use God as a political pawn or a card to play to make their political cause du jour sound more logical or moral or reasonable should give onlookers pause. It is reprehensible and against the Word they are so quick to quote, usually out of context, mind you.