Astute observers realize that this is more about being properly positioned and seen as against manufactured evils – how “moral” and “religious” they look to other like-minded people choosing ‘love’ over ‘hate’ – rather than genuine concern for the people/groups these “evils,” it’s claimed, negatively effect. It’s self-congratulatory virtue vanity, it’s empty, and it violates Jesus’ admonition against practicing one’s righteousness before men instead of calling those they claim to represent to a higher standard of living as disciples of Christ.
A week after the election, the Huffington Post published a blog entry in which Progressive Christians suggested what like-minded Christians should do in order to “take back their faith.”
Still reeling from the election in which Donald Trump was elected president, several progressive Christians pondered the necessary steps to draw a stronger contrast between their brand of kindhearted progressive Christianity, and the kind of conservative, evangelical Christianity that helped elect Donald Trump.
The responses were predictably representative of left-wing Christianity, which centered on re-emphasizing social justice issues and identity politics as the “loving,” compassionate, anti-Trumpian counterpart to the hate-filled Christianity of the right. Also predictably representative was the tone of unearned moral superiority in the responses of the progressive Christians interviewed – and progressive Christians in general.
For example, Rachel Held Evans said,
We’re about to witness firsthand what happens when the established Church compromises its moral authority and sells out the marginalized ― refugees, immigrants, religious and ethnic minorities, sexual assault survivors, the sick and those with disabilities, and LGBT people ― for the promise of power. It won’t be pretty.”
Rev. Jacqueline Lewis, a New York-based pastor and activist added,
“I’m going to fight for people to have jobs, for everyone to have enough. I’m going to fight against racism and xenophobia. I’m going to fight for black lives. I’m going to fight for LGBT rights… I’m going to fight for love.”
“Maybe what’s happening is progressive people of faith are finding ways to connect around our shared beliefs that all people are children of God … All of those people are joining together right now, we’re… plotting and planning how to resist together… to me is the new religion, the new Christianity.”
Benjamin Corey suggested that, “This election revealed that a far larger branch of Christianity has been married off to political power than we previously thought,” emphasizing that the religious right is more concerned with political power than the actual gospel of Christ.
Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and author of America’s Original Sin, claimed, “White Christians voted just like white people in America did, and being Christian didn’t matter much. So how do we teach white Christians, white evangelicals to be more Christian than white? That’s the issue going forward.”
Wallis – reflecting on Jesus’ counsel regarding the relationship between treating a ‘stranger’ and treating Jesus – suggested that pastors allow their churches to become sanctuaries to protect illegal aliens from deportation.
To an extent, there’s some truth about the concerns of progressive Christians. Corey’s observation regarding evangelicals having become too cozy with political power, which has muted the volume, consistency, and effectiveness of their prophetic political witness, is a legitimate concern.
But where’s the moral balance and condemnation of progressive Christians for having done the same?