I Stand With the Resistance

protestHistory is replete with times when horrible people did unconscionable things with power and were able to do such things with impunity, unleashing untold amounts of suffering into the world, because otherwise good people sat back and did nothing.

Our nation is entering into just such a time.

In the future, history will look back upon this and demand to know which side you were on.

So let the record reflect that I stand with the resistance.

I did not support our president when he was running for office, and I sure as hell do not support him now.  I refuse to get behind his vision of America as a barricaded, militarized state that feels like home to a rich white Christian male few and a segregated hell on earth to everyone else.

I do not support the pro-choice agenda.  I thought Obamacare was a bad idea, and still do.  I believe that most of the criticism of school vouchers and charter schools comes from unaccountable teacher unions and others who stand to gain way too much from our public education system remaining in its presently broken state.  I remain committed to the conservative position on a number of issues.  Of course, none of this counts for anything in the eyes of those who support Donald Trump:  because I will not shut up and get in line and support their Donald Trump, I belong in the same box with Hillary and Bernie and all the devils of hell.  Never mind that you, Trump supporters, forced me to this by robbing me of all other conservative options.  But all that is beside the point here.

This is bigger than politics.  This is bigger than abortion, Obamacare, school vouchers, gun control, or whatever your political issue du jour may be.

This is about basic humanity.  This is about the sheerest, basest, most virulent form of rank inhumanity now spewing forth on a daily basis from the highest office in the land.  In the name of basic humanity, this must be resisted.

This is about basic Christianity.  This is about 81 percent of American evangelicals supporting someone who is the complete opposite of the character of Christ, knowing full well that he is the complete opposite of the character of Christ, and saying that their Christian convictions compel them to do so.  (Mr. Grudem, your phone is ringing.)  In the name of basic Christianity, this must be resisted.

This is about love.  This is about those who insist that what love requires of us is to support a leader whose message is nothing more than anger and hatred.  This is about those who, speaking in the name of Jesus Christ and on behalf of American Christianity, insist that our relations with those who hail from foreign birthplaces, with those whose skin is darker than our own, be characterized by fear and anger and hatred.  This is about those who seek to remake Jesus Christ in the image of a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, Islamophobic bigot.  In the name of love, this must be resisted.

Every person you will ever come eyeball-to-eyeball with is a person for whom Jesus Christ died.  Yet our current president has made it abundantly clear that the vast majority of these people–at least those who are not rich white Christian males–count for absolutely nothing.  I cannot and will not support this.

So count me in with the resistance.

Those of you who don’t like the political posts on here and on Facebook:  tough.  This should have been over after a few weeks in the summer of 2015.  It wasn’t.  This should have been over when the election ended.  It wasn’t.  It still isn’t.  So you can expect to see plenty more of this in the months and years to come.  You can expect to see plenty more snide comments about Donald Trump on the Facebook feed.  I suspect that one thing this demon cannot endure is to be mocked, and I am more than happy to oblige.  It is not over yet, and I will not shut up until it is.

Because when Donald Trump enacts his racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, Islamophobic agenda, he does not act in my name.

When 81 percent of American evangelicals act as if they are perfectly OK with Donald Trump and his racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, Islamophobic agenda, with the fear and hatred that he relentlessly perpetuates toward those with foreign birthplaces and/or darker skin than their own–people for whom Christ died, I feel compelled to note–they do not act in my name.

History will look back on this and demand to know which side you were on.

So let the record reflect that I stand with the resistance.

I stand with those who oppose Donald Trump and his vision of America as a barricaded, militarized state that feels like home to a privileged white Christian male few and a segregated hell on earth to everyone else.

I stand with those who affirm the dignity of all those for whom Jesus Christ died, people whom Jesus Christ commands us to love, regardless of race, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation.

I stand with the resistance.

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Carrie Underwood Got Trolled by the AFA

underwoodICYMI:  Carrie Underwood put in a surprise appearance at Passion 2017 this past week, taking the stage with David Crowder to perform her 2014 country/gospel hit “Something In The Water”.  Never ones to let an opportunity to promote their culture war agenda and generate publicity for their pet causes go to waste, the American Family Association published an open letter to Passion founder Louie Giglio expressing their concerns over Underwood’s appearance.  Why?  Because Underwood has come out publicly in support of gay marriage.  AFA does not.  ‘Nuff said.

Some choice quotes:

I was very frustrated that you would allow her to help lead thousands of people in worship. My frustration quickly turned to disappointment and then to sadness. Carrie Underwood encourages and supports homosexual marriage which the Word of God does not…

With the many Christian artists who believe and teach the full counsel of God’s Word available to lead worship at Passion, why would you choose one who publicly states homosexuality is not a sin?…

The Word of God is not a preference, but principles God has spoken. God is right about marriage and Carrie Underwood is wrong.

As Christians it is our calling to show love and care for the real, flesh-and-blood people in our lives.  This is not that.  It is fixating upon a minor point of Scripture and making it suddenly the linchpin of faithfulness to God’s Word (The Bible is clearly against homosexual behavior yet devotes an astonishingly small percentage of text to it–priorities, people).  It is reducing the Word of God to a list of principles and the people around us to nothing more than right or wrong in relation to said principles.  Especially if said people are LGBTQ or have ever had a kind word to say regarding those who are LGBTQ.

For your viewing pleasure I have linked the video of Underwood’s performance below:

I am Not Ward Cleaver, And Will Probably Never Be

wardcleaverToday I direct your attention to a short video from Prager University, a conservative think tank, extolling the virtues of Ward Cleaver.

Ward Cleaver, the father in the 1950s sitcom Leave It To Beaver, is an iconic figure; a man of his time, yet timeless in some respects.  He takes care of business without making excuses, whining or brooding in defeat.  He knows that hard work and persistence will win the day, even if it is not this day.  He has no interest in perpetuating his own adolescence, but instead has long accepted marriage and fatherhood as part and parcel of adult life.

The Ward Cleaver archetype is all over the place in TV shows and movies of that era:  Ozzie Nelson of Ozzie and Harriet, Jim Anderson of Father Knows Best, and George Bailey of It’s A Wonderful Life.  These were individuals who survived the Great Depression, fought in WWII and/or the Korean War.  The archetype transcends that era with Steve Douglas of My Three Sons, Mike Brady of The Brady Bunch, Harold Cunningham of Happy Days, and Heathcliff Huxtable of The Cosby Show (that last one might not be such a great example).  All of these characters are flawed, yet solid and dependable; in a word, responsible.

According to the video, what women want in a man (at least those women who have outgrown their adolescent preoccupation with “bad boys”) is, while they would not say Ward Cleaver, someone who shares Ward Cleaver’s character traits:  reliable, trustworthy, smart, confident but not smug, funny and capable of laughing at himself, successful at work but not a workaholic, one who loves children but is not a child himself, and devoted to his family.  In other words, a masculine figure:  this is what women want and what children need.

In Ward Cleaver’s era, men were expected to work hard, be good husbands/neighbors/friends, raise children, and act as role models for the next generation.  Getting married, becoming a father, and working toward owning a home were the best things that the vast majority of men could expect to happen to them in their lives.  Men don’t regret attachments and commitments to other people, as if these things tie them down.  What they regret is the lack thereof.

The closing observation of the video is that if all the adolescent slackers of the world were to disappear tomorrow, the video game industry would collapse.  But if all the Ward Cleavers of the world were to disappear tomorrow, civilization would collapse.

Okay.  Couple of things here.

First, the video’s analysis of Ward Cleaver as a studly figure relies on a number of horses that have long since left the barn.  For one thing, it is no longer possible for the vast majority of people to attend college without incurring massive amounts of debt.  And the jobs that are available nowadays generally do not pay as well or offer as much potential for advancement as jobs that were available in Ward Cleaver’s era, except for a fortunate few.  Plus the average cost of a home relative to average income nowadays has risen to a point where homeownership is all but inaccessible to all but a fortunate few, at least in the early postcollegiate years.  For these reasons, many young people find themselves having to postpone marriage, family and homeownership until much later in life.  In Ward Cleaver’s day it was possible for a high school dropout to score a well-paying union job with the factory or the railroad and parlay that into a respectable middle-class existence.  Good luck with that nowadays.

Also, the video seems to operate on the assumption that the sexual revolution, the rise of feminism, and the other cultural shifts of the sixties and seventies never happened.  In Ward Cleaver’s era a man could count on eventually marrying at or near his own level; economic/cultural reality which necessitated the dependence of women upon men was on his side, and persistence and patience would win the day.  Nowadays, not so much.  The rise of feminism has all but shattered any sense of dependence upon men which women once felt.  In this day and age women are free to drop all pretense of economic necessity, making their own way economically while holding our for the most attractive man they can find, or no man at all.  Meaning that for someone like me, persistence and patience will not necessarily win the day.

The video also assumes an order in which the man is, well, the man of the house and the woman is perfectly pleased to go along with that.  This plays right into complementarian notions of how the world ought to be ordered; you can see these notions for yourself in John Piper’s diatribe against women in combat and Owen Strachan’s diatribe against that “Dad Mom” Tide commercial a few years back.  I argue now as I have previously that these notions amount to an absurd legalism that reduces masculinity and femininity to a set of prescribed rules and roles and behaviors.  Besides, that is yet another horse which has already left the barn.  The new reality of our era is that in some marriages the man will never in a million years equal the earning power of his spouse and some men are passionate about serving the family by staying at home and raising the children.  What are we to do with that?

Next, are these the only two options on the table here?  Ward Cleaver, or the terminal slacker in his parents’ basement who does nothing but play video games all day?  This is typical of conservative discourse on a number of issues:  Reduce all the options down to only two and demonize all who do not go along with the preferred alternative.  The election of Donald Trump was an example of this par excellence.  We also see it in young-earth creationist handling of Scripture, where it is either us or godless, nihilistic, atheistic evolution.  The Neo-Reformed make a living at this on virtually any issue they engage with:  us or [insert name of favorite liberal theologian here] and all the devils of hell.

So are these the only two options on the table here?  Are there not other expressions of responsible adulthood that don’t necessarily fit the Ward Cleaver mold?  Or are marriage, family, children, and homeownership so inextricably tied to responsible adulthood that without these things it is impossible to be anything other than a terminally adolescent slacker?

I am not Ward Cleaver.  I don’t think I would want to be Ward Cleaver even if I could.  The suburban American dream of the big house and the family and kids does not appeal to me.  Any marriage I enter into would likely be an arrangement where roles and responsibilities are determined by gifting and personality and not by prescribed notions of gender roles, much to the complementarians’ chagrin.

I am not a slacker and don’t plan on being one.  Working for a living, being a productive and contributing member of society and using such influence as one has to make one’s community and the world a better place beats the alternative.  But I am not Ward Cleaver and will probably never be, and even if I could I probably wouldn’t want to.