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Riding the Tiger

August 20, 2017

Scene from Gazi Scrolls of Bengal depicting legend of Pir Gazi and his tiger (18th or 19th Century) (PD-Art l Old-100)

“He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.”

-Chinese proverb

A torch-bearing mob chants rhythmically “Blood and Soil” and “Jews Will Not Replace Us” as it winds its way through the dark.  The scene is not from Nazi Germany.  But it bodes ill for those who believe in justice, equality, and the rule of law.

New Lows

Nearly 10 months have passed since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.  We have sunk to new lows in that time [1].

  • Pres. Trump has placed unqualified family members and acquaintances in positions of power, regardless of racist leanings, and has waived relevant conflicts of interest.  He continues to resist disclosing his own income tax returns, despite earlier promises.
  • Pres. Trump has dismissed the advice of America’s intelligence agencies, trivializing the probe into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election at every turn [2].
  • Pres. Trump regularly vilifies the mainstream media, challenging the trustworthiness of its reporting, in an effort to undermine any criticism of himself.  Every unfavorable fact is labeled “fake news”.  Meanwhile, Pres. Trump baselessly claims that his phone was illegally tapped by former Pres. Barack Obama, and that millions of immigrants voted illegally.
  • Pres. Trump submitted a budget slashing medical research, education, public housing, and aid to the poor.
  • Pres. Trump issued a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day that did not mention Jews, and most recently threatened North Korea with nuclear war, while the world held its breath [3].

And these are just a few of the highlights.

Pres. Trump has now added to the list a defense of the white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and Ku Klux Klansmen who marched in Charlottesville, VA [4].  However, a demonstration in favor of bigotry is not the moral equivalent of a demonstration against it [5].

Why?

Which begs the question:  Why have Christians failed to take notice of the unethical behavior, constant dissembling, and worse?  Why has evangelical support for this president not wavered?

Left v. Right

Part of the answer is that there is a gaping divide between the cultural left and right.

Those on the left are more likely to be urban.  They view themselves as intelligent, sophisticated, and forward thinking.  They tend to view the right as ignorant, backward, superstitious, and bigoted.

Those on the right are more likely to be rural.  They view themselves as patriotic and God-fearing traditionalists, daily losing ground to the godless left.

These, of course, are stereotypes.  But cultural differences have contributed to, if not governed, political allegiance.  Betraying one has been seen as betraying the other.

Rendering to Caesar

And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’ ” (Mark 12: 17).

Christians should know better.  We are not wedded to a political party when we are “born again”.   We are supposed to be the conscience of the nation.

Christ instructed us to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.  We must not confuse the two.  We are bound by the laws of morality first.

Bias and Anti-Semitism

Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ ” (John 18: 36).

Anti-Semitism and racial prejudice are not Christian values, irrespective of the political party with which they may be affiliated at any given moment.  To tolerate them is to compromise our beliefs.  Whatever we presume to be the greater good, the end does not justify the means.

If by standing with the weak we lose political power, then so be it.  The Christian goal was never meant to be political power.  Christ told Pilate His kingdom was not of this world.  In fact, He warned us not to pursue the world, and lose our souls in the process (Mark 8: 36).

Christians can continue to ride this tiger, if we want.  But getting off will become increasingly difficult and dangerous.  The taint of the association will linger.  And the forces being unleashed will not be readily again restrained.

That, at any rate, is the opinion of one Christian.

[1]  New York Magazine, Daily Intelligencer, “All the Terrifying Things that Donald Trump Did Lately” by Eric Levitz, 6/9/17, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/every-terrifying-thing-that-donald-trump-has-done.html.

[2] Readers will recall that Pres. Trump fired FBI Dir. James Comey for failing to terminate the investigation into former NSA Dir. Michael Flynn, then threatened to fire Robert Mueller whose credentials and objectivity were hailed as exemplary by both parties when he was first appointed as Special Counsel.

[3]  Pres. Trump has prompted tensions with long-time allies including Israel, the United Kingdom, and Australia, while consistently praising Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin.

[4]  Reuters, “Trump, again, casts blame on both sides for deadly violence in Virginia” by Jeff Mason, 8/15/17,  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-virginia-protests-idUSKCN1AV0WT.

[5]  Washington Post, “One dead as car strikes crowds amid protests of white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville; two police die in helicopter crash” by Joe Helm, Ellie Silverman, T. Rees Shapiro, and Emma Brown,  8/13/17, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/fights-in-advance-of-saturday-protest-in-charlottesville/2017/08/12/155fb636-7f13-11e7-83c7-5bd5460f0d7e_story.html.

Please, pray for the victims of terrorism in Spain and their families

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed

 

17 Comments
  1. a very thoughtful post

  2. Amen!

    I especially love your comment blow:
    “Christians should know better. We are not wedded to a political party when we are “born again”. We are supposed to be the conscience of the nation.
    Christ instructed us to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. We must not confuse the two. We are bound by the laws of morality first.
    Bias and Anti-Semitism”

    • Thank you, Marques. I very much appreciate the feedback, especially from someone like you. I find your own posts at Overcoming the Times htts://overcomingthetimes.wordpress.com consistently biblical — a rare thing these days.

  3. As bad as Trump is, he is a better president than Hillary Clinton would have been because he is prolife. I am hoping that he will somehow be removed from office so Mike Pence can become president.

    • Yes, we were faced with a terrible choice. I was never a fan of Hillary Clinton’s. All the more reason to remain vigilant.

  4. I am beyond thankful that God is in charge.

  5. Wise words for this hour, Anna and I was both encouraged and reminded of something I should never forget.

    As citizens of heaven, my heart and thinking needs always be aligned with His.

    We often forget the mandate from the Holy Spirit through Paul to minister to those who so desperately need our prayers; who so poorly reflect His nature, and that those without His heart and Spirit need the church to speak into and over them the true Life that flows from God.

    I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Tim 2:1-2

    Many of us may have forgotten that the ability to “live peaceful and quiet lives” allows us to freely share Father’s heart that He loves us dearly and without measure and provided a way to experience that reality thru His Son.

    You remind me that my allegiance is to the only ONE who ever truly deserves it, in all my ways at all times. Not a person, or party or ideal… but Christ alone and His heart.

    Thank you as always, Anna.

    D

    • Thank you for the encouragement, David. These are difficult times. Somehow though we must find a way to keep our eyes on the Lord.

      Your sister,

      A.

  6. Religion and politics are not always friendly…

  7. Excellent! We need more Christians to speak out like this. Thank you Anna. I’ ve noticed some of your readers of the past are not joining in the conversation, but I so appreciate your courage, including speaking up for the poor.

    I really like how you have described the two cultures of left and right. And also “The Christian goal was never meant to be political power.”

    • Thank you, Nicodemas. I’m glad to know you’re out there in the world. That makes two of us, at least (LOL).

  8. “Part of the answer is that there is a gaping divide between the cultural left and right.”

    This is a profoundly accurate statement Anna. Having grown up in small town America, I can attest to the existence of this great divide. The prevailing sentiment of the mostly rural communities I frequented was typically one of distrust of anyone from the larger cities. Such cities were viewed as liberal,which also meant they were inherently evil.

    Back in the 70’s I worked for a firm whose owner used to walk around the work shop in the days preceding an election and remind us all to vote Republican. Can you imagine what would happen if that were done today?

    Getting back to the cultural divide in America, it isn’t just the politicians who are responsible for this. The church must share in the blame as well, for it is the Church who is responsible to remind us that this life is a vapor, that we are citizens of Heaven merely passing through this earthly realm.

    When the Church remains silent in the face of moral decay, man will do what comes natural to him, which is to exploit the weak by exerting power over them in the name of government. Given the obscenely pathetic choices this nation was forced to choose a new leader from,is it any wonder we are in the predicament we are in?

    Now more than ever, we need a strong voice emanating from the Church to call attention to the immorality raging within our country. My great fear however, is that what we will get instead is silence.

    • I wholeheartedly agree, Ron. We cannot expect much from the institutional church. In an effort to “fit in” and “modernize”, the church has lost its way. Was it any better during the Inquisition, or under corrupt and licentious Pope Alexander VI of Borgia fame? What about King Henry VIII and the church of England?

      But individual Christians are the Body of Christ. That flame has not yet been extinguished. It burns brightly in our persecuted brothers and sisters. And it burns brightly in you. You know, I follow your blog A Front Row View of the Church https://ronwhited.wordpress.com/ for many reasons, not least of which is your biblical outlook. You, my friend, have been on fire since you retired! Your anguish for the condition of the nation and the church is palpable.

      These are the times into which we have been born, troubled though they may be. But the Spirit of God can find (and use) us whatever the condition of the world around us — institutional church included.

      Blessings,

      A.

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