The other day I put out a post where Marco Rubio was asked if he was running for “Pastor in Chief.” His response was perfect. He said, not only that yes, he is, but that you should want that.
Well it got me thinking, and I’ve to the conclusion that Conservative Christians are way off base on this. It seems that Conservative Christians want a “purity test” for anyone in power. We know that here in Georgia, to run as a Republican you have to agree to a “purity test.” (http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/elections/2014_qualifying_information_packet)
There are any number of Conservative Christians that have weighed in on this. Jerry Falwell said of Trump,
“Look at the fruits of his life and…people he’s provided jobs…that’s the true test of somebody’s Christianity.”
I wonder whether Jerry Falwell is so intent on finding a path different than Liberals, that he’s brainwashed himself to simply worship a flag waving “America Jesus,” rather than the actual Jesus who carries a banner for truth.
I have a huge problem with this “purity test” that Falwell so easily throws around. And I have a problem with any kind of a notion around an “America Jesus.” But I also have a problem with the double standards Christian conservatives are applying when it comes to their religious purity tests for all political candidates and particularly presidential candidates.
Let me give you another example where Ted Cruz, made a severe theological faux pas in New Hampshire. According to The Dallas Morning News,
At every point on his tour, Cruz asked voters to pray for him and the country, using one of Ronald Reagan’s favorite Bible verses, 2 Chronicles 7:14, as inspiration.
“If my people, which are called by my name, would humble themselves and pray, and seek my faith and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear their prayers and will forgive their sins and I will heal their land,” he said.
So Ted Cruz just equated biblical Israel with America.* Talk about a flag-waving America Jesus!
You have to be kidding me. As the Rubio was asked, is Cruz running for Pastor-in-Chief.
This little quote from Cruz begs a lot of questions like, “Who is ‘my people’ in this verse?” “What is ‘their land’?” If the answer is “Americans” and “the United States” its time to put in a little more work. If America Jesus is no good for Donald Trump, its no good for Ted Cruz either.
Russell Moore of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) continues to be highly disturbed by the candidacy of Donald Trump. Trump is twice-divorced. He “destroys families” with his casinos, Moore knows that Trump is “lost.”
Portraying this lost soul as a brother in Christ is not only doing wrong to Trump himself, it preaches an anti-gospel to all who hear.
However, Mr. Moore is no stranger to lowering his theological standards when it suits him. During the 2012 presidential election, Moore explained why it was acceptable for evangelicals for vote for Mitt Romney, a Mormon. Moore said:
The question is not John 3:16 in terms of reading the regeneration of the person’s heart. The question is Romans 13: Does this person have the kind of wisdom to bear the sword on behalf of God’s authority that He has granted to the state? And can I trust that person to protect society? That’s the fundamental question.
Apparently things have changed a bit since 2012. For Romney the “fundamental question” was wisdom in bearing the sword and assurance of protection. Now regeneration of the person’s heart is back on the table and Moore knows Trump’s heart is not regenerated.
In a panel discussion, Moore went on to make other declarations that would presumably apply, not only to Mitt Romney in 2012, but also to Donald Trump in 2016:
Moore added, “We are going to have to give up — on both sides — the idea of president as religious mascot.” An Obama-Romney campaign, Moore said, is a “good thing for American evangelicals.”
“It enables us to simultaneously honor the king,” he said, alluding to 1 Peter 2:17, “and to boldly proclaim the Gospel — in a way that we see happening all through the Book of Acts. We are able to love and pray for President Obama while we disagree with him on life and religious liberty and marriage and some really important things. …
“And if a President Romney is elected, we’re the people who ought to be able to say, ‘We respect and honor this man as president. We’re able to … serve with this man as president, and we’re the people who are willing to — if we’re invited into the Oval Office — say, ‘President Romney, here’s where we agree with you; here’s what we like about what you’re doing. And we sincerely want to plead with you to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Is the President to be a “Pastor-in-Chief?
It appears that Christian conservatives want to move the goal posts depending upon which players are out on the field. Are we simply looking for character? A defender of religious liberty? A wise leader to skillfully bear the sword? What’s good for one election ought to be good for the next, or so one would think.
If Conservative Christians are supposed to look for people of character, will they look to the character of the valiant leader who will carpet bomb enemies into oblivion until the sand glows, or of the intrepid executive who can eloquently describe civilians killed in the line of fire as “collateral damage.”