Let me get some things out on the table right from the start. I am an Evangelical. I am conservative. I believe in small government, low taxes, and liberty. I am a one-exception (life of the mother) pro-lifer.
I think Ronald Reagan was one of greatest presidents we have ever had, and I supported Pat Robertson in the 1988 presidential primary. Except Nos. 7 and 8, I previously held all the views I criticize below.
What changed my mind was (1) deciding I was no longer going to get my political opinions from a political party or television network and (2) attempting to carry out Biblical and kingdom presuppositions to their logical conclusions. So, you can call me wrong, but don’t call me a liberal. What I hope I am is a Christian whose politics are rooted not in Fox News or MSNBC, the Republicans or the Democrats, but the Bible.
With that in mind, here are 10 things American Evangelicals are wrong about:
1. Guns– I get that some see guns as necessary for one’s protection. I own two guns. So, I am not condemning gun ownership. What is out of whack is the American Evangelicals’ love of guns. It doesn’t come from the Bible.
2. Violent Movies-Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Do we really think the Holy Spirit gets a kick out of the violent movies we watch?
3. Prosperity-Prosperity is a good thing. Poverty is not. But the Prosperity Gospel is primarily an American phenomenon. That should tell us something. If the country with the tallest people decided God wanted everyone to be tall, we would have reason to be suspicious.
4. The Death Penalty (as currently practiced)-Note the disclaimer. Biblical law provided for capital punishment, but it required two witnesses to convict, and the witness could not be guilty of the same offense. Deuteronomy 17:6-7; 19:15. It is too easy under the American judicial system to convict defendants of capital crimes. People can be sent to death row based on circumstantial evidence or a jailhouse snitch looking for a lighter sentence. It is not Biblical.
5. The Environment-Christians will inherit the earth, but American Evangelicals seem unconcerned about preserving it. I think global warming is probably real, but I acknowledge it is not clear. At the same time, I don’t think anyone can claim with certainty it is not real. The absence of certainty counsels caution, just as it should on the issue of abortion, as I have argued here.
6. Racism-I was embarrassed about how many of my Caucasian Evangelical friends were tone deaf last summer in the wake of the George Floyd killing, quick to cite statistics on Black-on-Black crime instead of listening to the legitimate concerns of their Black brothers and sisters. Racism is still a problem; Caucasians still benefit from it, and it won’t end until Caucasians get proactive about ending it.
7. The Pandemic-More than 617,000 Americans have died from COVID in the last 18 months. If you don’t believe that, I bet you are a Fox News or Newsmax viewer. What does that have to do with it? It should have nothing to do with it. It’s a medical issue, not a political one, but when people are ready to believe Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson rather than the WHO, the CDC and the medical community, it is only because they decided to make a medical issue a political issue.
8. Masks–I’ve already blogged on the vaccine and won’t repeat those arguments here, except to say those arguments apply equally with regard masks. This is not an issue of liberty; for the Christian, it is an issue of loving one’s neighbor, regardless of what you believe about the pandemic.
9. Nationalism – Where is it in the Bible? That has always been my question. I love my country. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I believe God’s hand was involved in the founding of this country, but “America first” means others must be second, and third, and I don’t see that attitude endorsed by the Bible.
10. The Vaccine-See my previous blog post on this. I was reluctant about the vaccine at first but ultimately decided (1) the chances of COVID killing me were much higher than the vaccine doing so; and (2) it is the way to put an end to the pandemic. In addition, 96% of American doctors have been vaccinated. That should tell you whether they think it is safe.
What do you think? GS