As the presidency of Donald Trump continues to spiral in troubling circles of bizarreness, some on the far religious right seem to be circling the wagons. As the President’s approval ratings linger around 40% and his behavior continues to keep much of the world scratching their heads in bewilderment, some of the most vocal of the ultraconservative Christians are becoming more aggressive in their support. Sadly, this can only serve to further divide an already greatly divided church. The ultimate poker chip in this high stakes game is control of the Christian narrative. At risk in the ante is the message of Christ.
A friend of mine sent me this link today. The story involved a far-right Christian pundit named Dave Daubenmire. This man claims to be a Christian and has a platform which he uses to call his fellow Christians to rise up and become more aggressive and even violent. He claims the only thing that can save America is white, heterosexual Christians. Daubenmire is a huge fan of President Trump. He was delighted to see our President shoving the Prime Minister of Montenegro out of his way in order to assume a more prominent place front and center before the cameras during his European trip last week. Those images that should have embarrassed most Americans thrilled Mr. Daubenmire who said, “Look at him. They’re all little puppies, ain’t nobody barking at him … He’s walking in authority. He walked to the front and center and they all know it, too, man. He just spanked them all.” Daubenmire went on to suggest that President Trump’s behavior should be an example for Christians and that we should begin being more violent and aggressive, saying, “the Lord is showing us a picture of the authority we should be walking in.”
Mr. Daubenmire went on to praise the Montana Republican congressional candidate who assaulted a reporter by physically body slamming him on the eve of the special election (which he went on to win, by the way), saying, “people are sick and tired of it. They’re saying, ‘Yes, a fighter! Go, dude, go!’ … Who won? The dude that took the other dude to the ground. That should be the heart cry of Christian men.”
That should be the heart cry of Christian men.
Men like Dave Daubenmire make my heart cry, alright.
How can such men claim to speak of the authority of God and spread such a message? How can their understanding of the Bible be so different from mine?
A Christian, by definition, seeks to follow the example of Christ. Where is the message of Christ in the words and actions of a far-right Conservative Christian like Dave Daubenmire or those who follow him?
When I think of Christ’s example, I picture Him humbling Himself by washing the feet of his disciples.
I recall His healing the sick and lame, those the religious leaders of the day had shunned.
I think of Him feeding the hungry.
I imagine him reaching out to and loving His society’s marginalized.
I remember His answer to the question, “what is the greatest commandment?”, when He said:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:36-40)
Nowhere in the teaching of Jesus did he call for a more violent brand of Christian.
Nowhere did he point to a leader who shoved someone out of his way to get more limelight or to a leader who body slammed someone for asking them a question and say, “be more like that.”
Yes, Jesus did get angry and became somewhat violent once. That was in reaction to people making a mockery of the church.