American Political Arena or Modern-Day Roman Colosseum?

Dec 9

CommodusIn today’s arena of ideas, character assassinations have become the quickest and most effective way to take out political opponents. Labeling their ideas “anti-American” is a good starting point in getting the public’s attention, but it will in no way satisfy their appetite for entertainment and manufactured need for retaliation. The job is not complete until the person has been labeled a Nazi, Fascist, evil, or phobic. They must be shamed until they submit, shut up, leave the arena, or their character is completely destroyed.

Forget that God equipped each and every one of us with a brain, capable of identifying a myriad of solutions to any problem. Nope, we either walk in lock step with what is popular or politically correct, or else we will suffer the consequences—every personal misstep, hypocritical action, or hiccup (imaginary or real) will be dissected and put on display for public comment. The outlier’s personhood will be beaten like a piñata until everyone achieves their desired political fall out.

Pollice Verso, by Jean-Léon GérômeLet’s look at the most recent example of public “outcry” that has taken the media by storm the media has whipped up into a storm. Donald Trump called for a temporary end to the immigration of Muslims into America until our leadership can figure out a more effective vetting process—his proposal coming on the heals of a terrorist attack that resulted in the death of 14 people, committed by a woman who came into our country on a visa. Sure, Trump leaves A LOT to be desired in terms of  his delivery of ideas—we know this about him and should not be surprised by his lack of couth. But many people, just waiting for the right opportunity to take him out, twisted his words around by removing the part of his statement that put his sentiments into context. What otherwise might have launched a public discussion on safe immigration practices turned into another political public spectacle.

It’s no wonder nothing gets done in this country to solve our problems. Who in their right mind would want to put themselves in the arena of ideas that more often than not resembles the ancient Roman colosseums where crowds use to jeer for someone’s complete destruction. Maybe it’s not free speech we American cherish, so much as being affirmed by those who agree with us and humiliating those with whom we disagree.

I somewhat expect this sort of behavior from someone who doesn’t know better. But what burdens me is how quickly Christians are embracing these tactics. Sadly, several Christians have jumped on the bandwagon of criticism aimed at their Christian counterparts who have differing opinions on how to best address America’s problems—going so far as to say that rejecting their opinion is a rejection of Jesus Himself.

Of course, without question, all Christians should desire to help any suffering person or nation. I believe #AllLivesMatter. But how we help is a whole different matter that should be up for debate without a person’s patriotism and faith being called into questioned. Yet these days, every much-needed debate tends to result in just that. How does this help in solving our country’s problems or fostering unity among countrymen?

Last I read; God doesn’t look at the deeds of man but rather the condition of his heart (1 John 3:21-23). And if we are all internally struggling with how to glorify God to the best of our ability on these issues, which includes securing the safety of those God has entrusted us to protect, then maybe we should give each other the benefit of the doubt and hear each other out.  With so much on the line, how can we not look under every rock for answers to our country’s problems? Our response to the issues facing our nation , if not well thought out, could have both physical and spiritual catastrophic consequences for our country and the rest of the world.

Christian Americans have a responsibility to be good stewards of the land, wealth, and freedom with which God has blessed us. Imagine how our ability to share the Gospel will be stifled if there is no place on earth where Christians are safe from violent persecution. And if you think that is an extreme concern, look up the word “caliphate” and consider recent world events.

While there certainly are Muslims capable of living lives compatible with the American way of life, we cannot ignore the millions that are at war with Western civilization because of their beliefs that are rooted in Islam. This is not islamaphobia; this is a fact. Christians are called to truth and thus should be able to acknowledge it, even when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient, and especially when addressing other Christians.

A kingdom that is divided is a kingdom that cannot stand (Mark 3:24). This principle not only applies to America, but more importantly the church. As we seek to put an end to the refugee crisis and the war on terror, let’s remember that differing opinions are not inherently evil, nor are those who espouse them. We can have opposing perspectives and still be of One Spirit. Loving our Muslim neighbors means nothing to God if we don’t continue to love our Christian brothers and sisters in the process (1 John 3:16).

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