The MAGA Problem
We want a secular government! Wait, what?
You know there’s a problem when an elected official tells you they will govern based on the rules of the Bible, and it makes your knees tremble. That happened to me this week when Mike Johnson appeared on Fox News and said an easy way to understand his manner of governance is to “go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. … That’s my worldview.”
This gave me pause. Why would I have a fearful knee-jerk reaction to someone saying they would run the country according to the Bible, the very book I try to base my life on? Because so many far-right political pundits, those who believe whites are superior, Jews should be exterminated, and Democrats are incarnates of Satan loudly proclaim their beliefs are based on the Bible. The coupling of their political affiliation to the Bible has overpowered Christianity’s true message. The highjacking of Christianity by the far-right is catastrophic for our religion.
The MAGA Mike Johnson problem
Mike Johnson who?
Mike Johnson’s election as the Speaker of the House alarmed me. All I knew about him was a snippet of news about his attempt to overturn the 2020 election and his subtle support for the Jan 6 rioters. The Jan 6 Capitol attack – the raid of the nation’s Capitol to overturn a legitimate election – was treasonous and a threat to our democracy. I was concerned Mike Johnson could be a MAGA far-right nut job.
As it turns out, my feelings have begun to sway in the other direction. I agree with most things he wants to support. But his claim to be a Christian contradicts his reluctance to speak out against the far-right. This has placed him squarely in the radical-right camp – and now he has to claw his way out.
Love one another unless they’re black, Jews, gay, Democrat, socialist, immigrant, globalist, Muslim, environmentalist, welfare recipients, Native American, Palestinian, CNN viewers, or “other”. Those we hate with passion.
Republicans – both leaders and party members – refuse to speak out against far-right extremists for fear of losing a portion of their base. While silently supporting secular views, they claim our religion as the backbone of their philosophy, corrupting it, causing many to question the Bible’s message and worse, to denounce Christianity altogether.
How can anyone denounce a religion whose single most important tenet is to “love one another?” It turns out it’s pretty easy when the ones you think are the religion’s staunchest supporters say one thing but do something completely antithetical to their purported beliefs.
A country based on secular law, not the Bible?
All you have to do is look at history
Our religion should have never been aligned with politics or a political party in the first place. But to find someone to represent our Christian beliefs, we short-sightedly threw all our weight behind a single secular political party. And when that party’s views skewed far to the radical right, we said nothing.
History has shown us that civilizations that seek to operate under religious law will bend the meaning of that religious law to fit their purposes. We see it with Islam and saw it with Christianity during the Crusades. You can’t hand the reigns of your religion to politicians and expect them to steer things down the path of righteousness. It’s just not in their character.
More importantly, Jesus taught us that members of a society must live within their own moral boundaries and not just by compliance with the national law. He routinely denounced Jewish leaders and their scribal laws that the Chief Priests truly believed were based on the Old Testament biblical teachings. Jesus however, taught us that the essence of Christianity was not religious law, but love.
Proclaim the Bible’s true message – LOUDLY!
Silence is not noble
Republican politicians have highly visible platforms that elevate their voices across the nation and right now, their voices lend subtle support to right-wing extremists. Their affiliation with Christianity causes many to see their support as a representation of our beliefs. Thus, outsiders believe Christians are MAGA far-right fanatics because that’s what they see on TV. They don’t see Christians protesting, “Not in our name!” They see evangelicals supporting a President who openly harasses, intimidates, and belittles other people. They see a Speaker of the House who openly condoned an attack on our democracy.
We can’t allow politicians to be the voice of our religion. It’s up to us to speak out – loudly. Jesus and the disciples dedicated their entire lives to NOT being quiet. Silence is not noble. It’s cowardly.