This week has been the ultimate litmus test for Christians throughout the United States. If you continue to support president Trump after his UN and Alabama speech you are sending a message to the world that you value the advancement of the American Empire more than the Kingdom of God. To put it another way I'll paraphrase a quote from evangelist Jonathan Martin, “Try to imagine Paul writing an epistle insisting that Christians always participate in ceremonial acts that honor the empire.” It is unthinkable, yet men and women in ministry are supporting a man making those demands and more. The most pastoral thing I can do in this moment is encourage you to read Revelation 18, fast, and pray that people of faith "come out" from the trance this man has put them under. If you’re wondering why I feel so strongly about this issue now and haven't spoken out after many of the other inflammatory remarks he has made please let me explain.
I recently watched the documentary film Expo with my children. The movie included a ton of fascinating details about the planning and execution of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. What struck me the most was the reality that World War I would begin just a few short years after an event that breathtakingly displayed the possibility of so many different cultures peacefully coexisting in one global city. Unfortunately there was a “reawakening of nations, for the revival of their spirits, their pride, their people, and their patriotism.” This deadly cocktail of spirit, pride, and patriotism was manipulated by sadistic world leaders seeking their own power, fame, and fortune. That’s why it was so unnerving to hear President Trump call for this reawakening again in our own time. That's right, the quote I just mentioned about reawakening spirits, pride, and patriotism was from his speech to the United Nations earlier this week. He also stated that, “If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph.” I cannot possibly explain in words how dangerous this type of rhetoric is. A quote from pastor Brian Zahnd might help us understand, “The majority is almost always wrong. The crowd is untruth. Scapegoating is demonic.”
If calling on the righteous majority is not demonic enough, then calling for the “total destruction” of a nation certainly is. President Trump's threat to destroy North Korea embodies the Napoleonic and Narcissistic super human complex that Dostoevsky criticizes in Crime and Punishment. This mentality forms in every tyrant making him believe that he is above the law. That he could murder someone in broad daylight and get away with it. This is the same ego driven personality that prompted him to declare in Alabama that he would love to see team owners say, "get that son of a bitch of the field right now" to dozens of black professional athletes kneeling during the national anthem protesting injustice. As a combat veteran I can tell you that I didn’t risk my life for an image that men and women would be forced to honor. I did it for an idea that I thought our nation represented. I thought our nation was founded on a spirit of freedom and anti-imperialism. What I have come to believe however is that you cannot claim to be fighting for freedom while at the same time enslaving and oppressing others. If that is the case, then you’re not fighting for freedom you’re fighting for the right to be the master and the oppressor.
This highlights a key reality in changing the way Christians in our country view our country. Our country is an empire. We have been and are being formed in the image of Egypt, Babylon, and Rome. All of these nations brought a tremendous amount of peace and prosperity to their citizens and to the rest of the world. So much so that it convinced the people of those empires that the violence and greed necessary to maintain that peace and prosperity was justified. Their gods played a key role in this justification. Now this is a moment of truth. I want you to ask yourself, “Does your god look more like the pagan gods of Rome justifying greed and violence for the peace and prosperity of the empire, or does your God look more like Jesus Christ willing to give everything even his life for those deemed enemies of the state?”