In the past year, Republican Christianity gained both its victory and its demise. It gained power across the government. And with that power, it did the following: It instituted bans against Muslims; it made inroads against gay rights; it started its attempt to gut women’s health. It turned away the stranger; it took medicine from the sick; it rebuffed those ravaged by natural disasters; it increased the debt of the poor; it opened more ways to degrade the earth; it ignored the cries of criminals’ victims; it threatened to destabilize the world by giving primacy to its own sacred site; and it sacrificed its children and children’s children for the sake of current wealth. You can see how the death creeps in. If there was ever anything Christian in Republicanism, their support of Trump has killed it. And those Christian Republicans who do retain a shred of conscience find they can ease it only by saying that the truth tellers of the world—the media, and the intelligence teams, and the scientists, and the victims themselves—are all lying. Christian Republicanism is dead.
Now I, for one, do mourn it, because however disagreeable its prejudices were to me, it at least tried, at one time, to take a stand against deceit, and sex crimes, and even some injury to the earth. All that’s gone now. Insofar as they support this administration, the most vocal—the most pious—Christians in this country have lost all credibility to anyone except to themselves. Whatever Christianity they think they stand for now serves to drive others from Christianity itself. Their allegiance to Trump has been their unmasking and their undoing. And their City on a Hill has become the unease of the world.
So now the question is where Christianity—I mean, true Christianity—might speak in their absence. If it doesn’t find a way to do that–and to speak so that it can be heard–then it will least wane, if not die too. For the most part, liberal Christians have been too timid. For the past half century, too many of us have contented ourselves with being the so-very-invisible church. But seeing that Christianity is about rejection, remnants, and resurrection, I think, even now, it could find its voice again. I hope it does. I pray. And if it does, I suspect that it will speak first from those the powerful have abandoned, and second from those who have endeavored to suffer alongside them. And from the compassion of these who have seen suffering, who knows? Christianity may return to its true self.
(Originally posted December 6, 2017)