Why do political and/or theological rivals demonize each other with cartoonish characterizations?
I listened to Senator Tim Scott’s message this week about his exploratory committee regarding a run for the GOP nomination for President and it made me queasy. I like Tim Scott. He seems like a good person. And yet, when I heard his message it made me question his character. Does he intend to stoke division like a cynical politician? Or does he want to be the President of all US citizens? Among the things he said in that video:
- President Biden and his people are “the radical left.”
- Democrats promote “a culture of grievance” and “victimhood.”
- Democrats are “indoctrinating our children to believe we live in an evil country.”
We have a joke in our family that any one of us – no matter how wholesomely or beneficently we may have lived our lives – would be crucified in this political climate if we ever ran for public office. Someone would dig up dirt on how we treated a prom date or something. I’m sure someone would find that pastoral prayer in which I prayed for Saddam during the Gulf War and declare that I hate the military.
We have got to stop demonizing each other.
I even hear church people (aka Followers of Jesus?) make up stories about people with opposing theological views for the sake of promoting their own theological views. Theology and Politics often align along the same lines: I hear Christians say that “you can’t be a Christian if you’re gay” and I hear Christians say that “you can’t be a Christian if you own an assault rifle.” The truth is that life is more complicated than cartoons. Although I might not understand how my sibling in Christ wants to eliminate difficult but real American history from the classroom, it’s better to talk to that person rather than write them off.
Jesus was executed because of political demonization. Haven’t we learned anything?
I’m not interested in voting for someone who calls their opponents “creators of a culture of grievance” anymore than I’m interested in voting for someone who calls their opponents “gun-toting Nazis.” I know. I know. Some of you are reading this and thinking “some people are hooked on grievances” and “some people are gun-toting Nazis.” There are certainly extremists on every side.
Resurrection is for each of us. And we begin by trying to understand our enemies, by praying for and with them. Jesus conquered hate and death which makes me know that we can as well.
Image is from The Mission Resource Network to offer support to independent congregations. I probably disagree with them on some things.
It’s so easy to find yourself thinking or saying these things. I appreciate your reminder and totally agree with you. We are mere mortals, so we can leave the judging to God in God’s mercy.