[I edited the opening paragraph a month after I originally posted this to correct my faulty memory about the scriptures I quoted.]
Back in 2020, I started a social media thread about my voting choice in the upcoming 2020 election. I used several Biblical references to make a case about compromising with the devil. I made such a compromise in 2016 when I voted for Trump and hoped he would grow into the office, but by 2020, I realized I was wrong in 2016.
A Christian friend who loves Trump called me a heretic because I quoted the Bible to support a conclusion my friend didn’t like.
I’ve been vocal about Trump’s well-documented antics for a long time now, especially around his election 2020 lies, and I’ve drawn lots of criticism, including from more than one Christian friend. Some agree that Trump is morally repugnant, but they like his policies, so they accept the repugnance. Others say that Trump is no more flawed than anyone else, but the liberal press and deep state make up exaggerated charges against him because he challenges the status-quo. Many still say Trump won in 2020, but somehow, some way, liberals tainted the vote count. I had plenty to say about 2020 election myths shortly after the election. I was too polite. If I were writing it today, I would substitute “lies” for “myths.” I also have plenty more to say about a dangerous movement sweeping the United States called Christian Nationalism. I’ll work on that in a future blog post. For now, Jesus is my savior, not any politician, not even somebody claiming to be my voice and my retribution.
Some say I should avoid dialog about all this because God controls the universe and if I were a true Christian, I would stay away from politics. Let God take care of it – He’s bigger than me. They also remind me that dialog about politics and religion is bad for book marketing, because no matter what stand anyone takes on any issue, they’re bound to make people mad who hold a different opinion.
They might be right about book marketing. I’m the only fiction author I know who keeps a Politics and Religion blog category, and I have no doubt that influential people turn up their nose at me because I express opinions they don’t like.
The Biblical arguments cut deeper, starting with Romans chapter 13. Here are the first two verses:
13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.Romans, Chapter 13, verses 1-2, New International Version, from https://www.biblegateway.com
The first paragraph of Second Timothy, Chapter 2 also weighs in, especially verse 4.
2 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. (Emphasis added.) 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.Second Timothy, Chapter 2, verses 1-7, New International Version, from https://www.biblegateway.com
So, if engaging in public political dialog kills my book marketing and defies the Bible, what kind of death-wish nutcase am I?
I’ll tackle marketing first. As I write this, GOP candidate Nikki Haley is trying to recover from her Civil War gaffe. In a December, 2023 New Hampshire town hall meeting, a questioner asked her what caused the Civil War. Haley responded with a convoluted answer about disputes over the proper role of government. She should have just said, slavery. But as a former South Carolina governor and a professional politician, she had trained herself to not take such a stand because that would alienate a block of voters who apparently think the Confederacy is still alive. So, instead of a simple, direct answer, she offered convoluted nonsense. By not taking an unambiguous stand, she made all sides mad. That might destroy her campaign.
My very public dialog about Trump and our democracy might make some people mad, but at least everyone knows unambiguously what I believe. If I suppress my convictions to cater to influential people who only want to deal with Trump supporters, then sooner or later, the risk to my health will cost more than whatever money I might gain. One day, I’ll need to look God in the eye and justify my choices in this life. I don’t want to stand in front of God and try to explain how I ignored His call to engage in dialog in favor of worldly success.
Which leads to Biblical arguments. If I’m violating what God wants me to do, then I am probably in big trouble.
Romans 13 says I should accept governing authority. I pray that Trump will never again gain any authority, but if he wins in 2024, then I’ll accept the election results. But I must also heed the precedent in Acts 5:29, when Peter and other apostles responded to religious leaders of their day who wanted to stifle early Christianity:
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!…”Acts Chapter 5, verse 29, New International Version, from https://www.biblegateway.com
Over history, if caring Americans had not forced years of dialog against slavery, the United States might still allow that curse. In 1930s Germany, if more people had spoken up, maybe the world would not have endured the horrors of WWII. In my own church, if more people, including me, had asserted ourselves, maybe our church would not have endured a widely publicized sex scandal with the senior pastor.
Romans 13 might not even be about governmental authority. I recently read a commentary that suggests it might be about Jewish temple authority of that era.
Context is key when interpreting Biblical instruction. When Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, the Romans were about to execute Paul, and Timothy was also in big trouble. Paul’s message was not for Christians to ignore the world around us; his message was for Timothy to stick to his mission, despite the adversity he faced. For me in 2024, this means 2 Timothy Chapter 2 says I should stick to my mission, despite its adversity.
So, what’s my mission? Missions change over time, but for now, my mission is to educate the public about online threats, including public indoctrination, grooming, and bullying. I know more about online threats than most people and I’m a pretty good writer. So I will continue public dialog about politics and religion because unscrupulous people use the internet to distort Christian messaging to brainwash millions of Americans. Maybe God will bless what I do by using my writing to influence a few people. Or maybe nobody but me will ever see it. I know of only one way to find out.
If you want to express opinions contrary to mine, that’s fine with me. If you want dialog, I’ll meet you in a social media forum, in a physical public square, or anywhere else that makes sense. Write something good and I’ll even publish it right here. I might argue with you, and you’re free to argue with me. Respectful public dialog is a good thing.