It may seem like a bigger challenge for fundamentalist ‘Christians’ than many have found it to be: claiming to be a Christian while supporting daily political offensives to the basic human ideals of decency, justice, equality and mercy that Jesus taught by word and deed.
Apparently, however, all that is required is to disregard truth, set aside one’s soul and follow these simple steps (while hoping God doesn’t notice):
First: Deflect and generalize. For example, just hypothetically, suppose a national leader used very crude language to denigrate large numbers of people based on nationality and racial identity.
If so, quickly deflect attention from the more offensive and indefensible message to the crude language that conveyed the message. And then generalize about the wide use of harsh language.
Here’s a classic example: Former Southern Baptist Convention President Jerry Vines tweeted: “A whole lot of the Washington crowd needs to clean up its dirty mouth.” Sure! That’s the big concern facing our nation.
Did you follow that move? Generalize about the offensiveness of widespread potty mouths while ignoring the specifically offensive message conveyed.
Second: Quickly make false equivalencies and express alarm about persons who have nothing to do with this situation. “But what about so-and-so?”
This second-stage deflection is best served by expressing insincere mild disapproval while wholeheartedly embracing and affirming the person who actually caused the offense. At worse, in case a little conviction arises, refer to the adored offensive person as “the lesser of two evils.” This works well because Jesus so often said, “Choose your evils carefully.”
Oh wait, he really said, “ A good man says good things. These come from the good that is stored up inside him. An evil man says evil things. These come from the evil that is stored up inside him” (Matt. 12:35). But why get picky?
Third: Use universal human imperfection to excuse any particular offense. You know, respond with lines like: “We’re all sinners.” “God used imperfect people in the Bible.” “Everybody’s doing it, picking their noses and…” Yada, yada, yada.
But move on quickly in hopes no one takes your perspective to its logical conclusion that would excuse any misbehavior or even high crime as simple expressions of widespread human imperfection.
Fourth: Ignore the deep-rooted racism at the heart of the American experiment and how much of it has been fostered (and continues to be advanced) by fundamentalist Christianity. The history is long and clear.
Sure, some progress has been made, and hearts and minds do get changed. But public expressions often mask what remains behind the scenes.
There’s a reason why the KKK burned crosses rather than other symbols. And why modern American evangelicals are the most trusted voting bloc for candidates who oppose equal rights for all persons.
It is socially less acceptable to be racist now, so often hushed conversations (that sometimes get leaked out) and dog whistles are the preferred ways to convey the message.
Five: Keep “your” focus on “yourself,” “your people” and “your rights.” Play the victim at every turn. Claim persecuted status whenever you don’t get to dominate others.
Hail the chief for “doing more for the rights of Christians” than any leader ever before! This perspective is much more comforting and effective than any “Do unto others…” or “Whatever you did to the least of these…” nonsense.
Although a simple, proven approach, some may find this five-step trickery a little too tricky. If so, there are many mentors out there to guide the way including Robert Jeffress, Rick Santorum, Mike Pence, Franklin Graham, Tom Cotton and Jerry Falwell Jr.
Or, if you’re like me, any one of several of your Facebook friends will show you the way.
Just don’t confuse this way with the way, the truth and the life.