Standing Up to Evil

I reminded my Bishop last June how during a service celebrating racial reconciliation that she had served my family Holy Communion (she was not a bishop then). I told her I was in favor of full inclusion in our Church and that she was stuck with me. She said it was fine with her. I take her at her word. But, it has not always been that way in our churches. We have congregations that will take issue with a pastor who is female or of another race. Yet, I must continue to teach and preach as I believe is right. Being inclusive does not mean you win popularity contests.

Standing against evil does the same thing. This era of American Christianity regards Old Testament prophets as merely end-times story tellers. Yet, the prophets were those courageous people who stood up to kings and the corrupt priesthood who feathered their own nests and regarded the people of God as sheep to be slaughtered. By the time of Jesus the long dead prophets were honored and memorialized. Yet, the people who spoke honors were as corrupt as their ancestors who killed the prophets.

It has been said courage is the root of all virtue. I argue that love bolsters courage. Therefore, we must continue fighting for what is right. Many white Christians voted for Donald Trump to be president. Pastors claimed it was a miracle. Lay people claimed God had spoken. One person in my congregations said, “Yes, He has spoken Judgment.” This person has been fighting disillusionment ever since.

No reflective person can deny that President Trump has given legitimacy to the so-called “alt-right” neo-nazi movement. There are fascists in the White House. There are some people who are conservatives who I am sure wrestle daily with their consciences. I understand. As a church leader I wrestle with mine.  The good news is that those who wrestle with their consciences are there.  That means there is still hope.

Fascism has brought about the destruction of every society that adopted it. Nazism was particularly demonic in that it infected everything in Germany, France, Austria and everywhere German soldiers went. The one lesson the West should have learned from the Nazi era is that Nazis mean what they say. They are genocidal racists. And Christians must stand up to them. The truth is the majority of the church will not stand up to racism and white nationalism. It is too convenient to decide to move on ignoring the problem.

St. John the Apostle reminds us that “perfect love casts out fear.” So then our courage to stand against the evil our country faces is based on love for God and neighbor. Do not let fascism and racial violence continue to be normalized. Oppose it at every step. Do not be afraid.