I know I shouldn’t post this—every pastoral reservation in my bones is rebuking me as I write—because there’s a good chance I am simply wrong (I hope I am) and / or that I will be misunderstood. But I would be coward not to say what I truly think, and, at any rate, it would be unamerican for me not to exercise my freedom of speech. I’m hoping someone out there can convince me I am indeed wrong. Please, persuade me.
This campaign season seems to have demonstrated the degree to which we have made an idol of our politics as a nation, and indeed our elected officials. The rhetoric and behavior and attitudes that fill this land from sea to shining sea wreaks of the worst kind of religious fundamentalism. This campaign has verged on a holy war, each side so convinced they are fighting the good fight against a faceless mob of evil ‘others’. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think people have been fighting for their respective gods to take up their “rightful” throne on high. The presidential office is simply the highest of our “high places” where the shape-shifting idol of power is most eagerly sought in our democratic republic (cf., Deut. 12).
To the degree *the office* of president has indeed become the seat of our highest idol, the spirit of whoever fills that office will inevitably possess all those who worship at *that* altar, regardless of who is enthroned there. Reps and Dems seem to have both been equally possessed by the same spirit of hate-of-the-other President Trump has poured out on all flesh. Some love their god and hate his detractors, some hate their god and hate his devotees, but his hatred is the bipartisan denominator. And thus all are doing his bidding and being conformed to his image.
Hopefully sleepy Joe Biden will possess our nation with a little of his tranquilizing spirit and we can all just have a nice long nap, so that when we wake up, we can fall on our face, repent, and put our faith the Man God himself has given us to be our God, and so be possessed by his Spirit, take up our cross, love our enemies, and be “conformed to the image of God’s [only] Son” (Rom. 8:29–and the rest of the Bible).
“To the extent antagonism becomes embittered, a paradox occurs: the antagonists resemble one another more and more…Their conflict dissolves the real differences that formerly separated them. Envy, jealousy, and hate render alike those they possess.”~ Rene Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning