I used to listen to conservative talk radio from 6 a.m. when Bill Bennett’s show cranked up through drive time heading home from work. I was never into Rush Limbaugh or Hannity as I always had issues with their tone, but people like Bennett, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, and Michael Medved were smart and articulate, and usually struck the right tone. That is, they didn’t yell and scream at their opponents or say awful things about their political foes, but always seemed to enjoy an honest debate.
I can’t remember when I stopped listening to political talk radio or when I finally let my Weekly Standard subscription lapse, but both of those things happened years ago. Outside of my college years in which I fancied myself both a “liberal” and “spiritual”, I’ve been a conservative republican. I’ve not wavered on the conviction that even if I really didn’t care for the Republican candidate, I could vote for him since he had to be the lesser of the two evils, right? I mean, he’s a Republican after all, could there be any doubt?
It’s with great interest that I am observing the Religious Right these days as many rationalize a vote for Trump on the basis that he’s a Republican. That’s literally all they’ve got since he’s also pro-gay marriage and pro-abortion while making Bill Clinton look like a faithful husband as it relates to his personal values. Sure, some folks in the RR are talking about abstaining from voting or voting for “an irrelevant” third party candidate, but I can see many when push comes to shove casting a vote for Donald Trump because he at least does a few things the right wing loves like talking trash about our enemies and saying he’s a Christian.
Back to my talk radio “heroes of yesteryear”: I read with some interest an article written by Dennis Prager today. After churning out statistic after statistic describing all that has made America a dark and scary place, he quotes Lincoln, lamenting the fact that voters’ choices have come to either Trump or Hilary which is basically the final proof we needed to doubt that America really is “the last best hope of earth.”
Bill Bennett used that Lincoln quote as a title of one of his books.
And I keep getting these articles sent to me by Christians who are seemingly quite troubled about our country and “where we’re headed.”
While I’m saddened that our options for the next president of the United States of America are shoddy as all get out, I do not hold the belief that America is the last best hope of earth. At least, if we are to be the last best hope of earth, it should be for reasons that cohere with Christ’s teachings, not our devotion to protectionism and/or capitalism. If that’s where you fall on the political spectrum, that’s fine but admit that it’s for those reasons and not your faith that you’ve arrived here.
American values are not the last best hope of earth because they change like a Donald Trump policy position. They are elusive.
As a Christian, I believe Jesus Christ is the last best hope of earth, and according to Revelation, he is.
The problem I’m having is that I’m seeing a lot of Christians saying “so what about Trump’s indiscretions and instability, I’m voting for a president, not a pastor.” To me this line of thinking is proof positive that, for people who hold this view, faith in Christ has no bearing on my life or my vote. It’s an admission that faith and the actions that faith should inspire are privately held and not for use in “the real world.” Jesus was a great teacher, but can you believe we are supposed to do the things he said we should do or particularly how he said we were to do them? Love your enemy? I’ll try to do that privately, but as policy that’ll NEVER work. Let’s get real.
I’m saddened by this abandonment of Christ by Christians. The one who died to save all rather than killing in order to save himself must be wondering at what point more of us will wake up to what we’re to be doing on earth. I’m far from perfect and I don’t know what all it might look like or the discomfort I might be trying to avoid by ignoring rather than following Christ’s ways, but I am reminded by these summons to vote for a leader in the mold of the great American hero instead of voting for the guy who exhibits faith in Christ by how he leads that we are to be about our Father’s business.