As I sat at my office away from my office this morning, Starbucks, I pondered writing solely about the Mississippi senatorial race. But then Charlotte Vaughan Coyle, President of Coffee Party USA, posted an article titled “An Apology from an Embarrassed Christian to my non-Christian Friends.” to the organization’s Facebook page that caught my attention.
Why are Evangelical Christians some of the strongest supporters of Donald Trump and many racist and other deviant politicians? Charlotte’s article is not new. But re-posting it today allows me the latitude to express a truth more clearly.
I broadcast the Politics Done Right radio/media show Mondays through Fridays at 3:00 PM Central. I could not hold back myself on the night of the election when MSNBC announced the results. You see, my heart told me that out of share history, embarrassment, and morality Mississippi would do the right thing. My head said, fat chance. My head did not fail me predicting a Trump win nor did it fail to predict a Hyde-Smith win in Mississippi. Both hurt nonetheless.
I did not wait to do my show. I recorded one because I wanted to be in the moment with my frustration not tempered by my public facade of perpetual outward calm. Before deciding to do the show wrote the following on my Facebook wall.
It will be foolhardy to believe that a woman who overtly supported voter suppression, joked about sitting in the front row to a lynching, and takes a picture with Confederate objects claiming it was Mississippi at its best becoming U.S. Senator is a Southern or Mississippi phenomena and not a deeper national problem. We owe Donald Trump a huge thank you. He has forced the country to realize that beneath that smooth, healthy-looking skin this presumed melting pot had become, is an infected foul, diseased flesh. Let’s rip the skin/scab off completely, disinfect the wound, and get on a regiment of a potent broad-spectrum antibiotic.
A disgusted reader said the following.
I was following the race in MS and so disappointed that a person who said she’d be in the front row of a public hanging, is now elected
To which I replied.
It is more about the electors than the elected. Remember that most politicians are empty suits catering to what they believe people want to hear. I hope we concentrate on the masses and not the empty vessels.
Yes, there are some leaders like Trump who triggers, but it’s the people that have to be changed, given a sense of morality and more. We get some of the worst instincts of people who are zombied to the church. Having faith can be good but it can be detrimental, and indirectly that is what is happening. A continually immoral church gives standing to the behavior because the ill-informed pew believes they are justified for their vote.
Charlotte’s piece was about Trump’s election, but her message, as well, is impactful in the Hyde-Smith win in Mississippi.
We American Christians are not doing a very good job of “christianing” these days. Maybe you could say we haven’t done a good job for our entire history. That would be fair.
I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.
I say this with all sincerity to you, my non-Christian friends who look at us and roll your eyes or scratch your heads or even curse under your breath. You’re right. We Christians suck at this Christian thing.
You see the vote many of those who voted for Hyde-Smith cast are doing so through the implicit direction of the leaders of their Evangelical churches who have effectively commanded them not to vote for any Democrat. Many will talk about racism, white existentialism, and many other issues. Any practical person would have to see that as important but secondary. Tim Scott of South Carolina is probative.
Charlotte is brave, especially as a pastor and leader in the church to make such a statement but I think that has to be the start of reckoning for what Evangelical Christians have allowed the Plutocracy to affect through their blind allegiance to the Republican Party.
There is a passage in Charlotte’s prose that is all so important for every Christian Evangelical or otherwise to heed. I think that will allow minds to open.
With open minds, folks will see their follies, their sugar-coated evils, and their misguided machinations used to support those who hurt many.
Whether we Christians are from the Left or the Right or somewhere in between, we all struggle with arrogance and self-righteousness. We all have our blind spots. We all are human.
We all have consistently failed to act like the Christ whose name we wear. So again – I’m sorry. I’m very sorry.
In Christian parlance, there is another meaning for the word: “apology.” This kind of apology is a confession of our faith, an explanation of our beliefs, a description of how we are called to behave because of our faith and our beliefs.
And so – along with my heartfelt apology for all our failures – I also want to offer this apology, this explanation, this description for Christian faith: “God is Love.”
There. That’s pretty much it.
When you are talking to your Evangelical friends or family members about any of their theological or political positions, ask them how their beliefs align with this understanding of Christianity: “God is Love.”
When you are listening to your progressive friends or family members bash conservatives, ask them how their attitudes align with this understanding of Christianity: “God is Love.”
This kind of love is not a warm fuzzy feeling. This is a tough love, a stubborn grace, a bold humility. It’s a rubber-meets-the-road kindness, welcome, compassion.
An apology implies that one understand how they or the subject for which they are apologizing has done wrong with the intent to change course. That is what we need in the country now. Working to repair the damage created over the last two years will be excruciatingly difficult but it must be done.