Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20
In an op ed for The New York Times By Katherine Stewart titled “The Religious Right’s Hostility to Science Is Crippling Our Coronavirus Response”, she wrote that
Donald Trump rose to power with the determined assistance of a movement that denies science, bashes government and prioritized loyalty over professional expertise. In the current crisis, we are all reaping what that movement has sown.
At least since the 19th century, when the proslavery theologian Robert Lewis Dabney attacked the physical sciences as “theories of unbelief,” hostility to science has characterized the more extreme forms of religious nationalism in the United States. Today, the hard core of climate deniers is concentrated among people who identify as religiously conservative Republicans. And some leaders of the Christian nationalist movement, like those allied with the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has denounced environmental science as a “Cult of the Green Dragon,” cast environmentalism as an alternative — and false — theology.
This denial of science and critical thinking among religious ultraconservatives now haunts the American response to the coronavirus crisis. On March 15, Guillermo Maldonado, who calls himself an “apostle” and hosted Mr. Trump earlier this year at a campaign event at his Miami megachurch, urged his congregants to show up for worship services in person. “Do you believe God would bring his people to his house to be contagious with the virus? Of course not,” he said.
Rodney Howard-Browne of The River at Tampa Bay Church in Florida mocked people concerned about the disease as “pansies” and insisted he would only shutter the doors to his packed church “when the rapture is taking place.” In a sermon that was live-streamed on Facebook, Tony Spell, a pastor in Louisiana, said, “We’re also going to pass out anointed handkerchiefs to people who may have a fear, who may have a sickness and we believe that when those anointed handkerchiefs go, that healing virtue is going to go on them as well.”
By all accounts, President Trump’s tendency to trust his gut over the experts on issues like vaccines and climate change does not come from any deep-seated religious conviction. But he is perfectly in tune with the religious nationalists who form the core of his base. In his daily briefings from the White House, Mr. Trump actively disdains and contradicts the messages coming from his own experts and touts as yet unproven cures.
Not every pastor is behaving recklessly, of course, and not every churchgoer in these uncertain times is showing up for services out of disregard for the scientific evidence. Far from it. Yet none of the benign uses of religion in this time of crisis have anything to do with Mr. Trump’s expressed hope that the country would be “opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” He could, of course, have said, “by mid-April.” But Mr. Trump did not invoke Easter by accident, and many of his evangelical allies were pleased by his vision of “packed churches all over our country.”
“I think it would be a beautiful time,” the president said.
Religious nationalism has brought to American politics the conviction that our political differences are a battle between absolute evil and absolute good. When you’re engaged in a struggle between the “party of life” and the “party of death,” as some religious nationalists now frame our political divisions, you don’t need to worry about crafting careful policy based on expert opinion and analysis. Only a heroic leader, free from the scruples of political correctness, can save the righteous from the damned. Fealty to the cause is everything; fidelity to the facts means nothing. Perhaps this is why many Christian nationalist leaders greeted the news of the coronavirus as an insult to their chosen leader.
…One of the first casualties of fact-free hyper-partisanship is competence in government. The incompetence of the Trump administration in grappling with this crisis is by now well known, at least among those who receive actual news. February 2020 will go down in history as the month in which the United States, in painful contrast with countries like South Korea and Germany, failed to develop the mass testing capability that might have saved many lives. Less well known is the contribution of the Christian nationalist movement in ensuring that our government is in the hands of people who appear to be incapable of running it well.
It is fair to point out that the failings of the Trump administration in the current pandemic are at least as attributable to its economic ideology as they are to its religious inclinations. When the so-called private sector is supposed to have the answer to every problem, it’s hard to deal effectively with the very public problem of a pandemic and its economic consequences. But if you examine the political roots of the life-threatening belief in the privatization of everything, you’ll see that Christian nationalism played a major role in creating and promoting the economic foundations of America’s incompetent response to the pandemic.
For decades, Christian nationalist leaders have lined up with the anti-government, anti-tax agenda not just as a matter of politics but also as a matter of theology. Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council, one of the Christian right’s major activist groups, has gone so far as to cast food stamps and other forms of government assistance for essential services as contrary to the “biblical model.” Limited government, according to this line of thinking, is “godly government.”
When a strong centralized response is needed from the federal government, it doesn’t help to have an administration that has never believed in a federal government serving the public good. Ordinarily, the consequences of this kind of behavior don’t show up for some time. In the case of a pandemic, the consequences are too obvious to ignore.
***Katherine Stewart (@kathsstewart) is the author of “The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.”***
Consider, if you will, a country in which its president is being attacked mercilessly by the opposition political party and their minions in the Main Stream Media for keeping his promise to protect his country’s citizens in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.
…a country where a black actor hires 2 extras from his television show to dress up like supporters of a sitting president, put a noose around his neck and rough him up, simply because the president happens to be from the opposite political party as the actor, and the actor is still upset over his candidate having been defeated in the last election.
…a country in which the Governor of New York proclaims to a national Audience that “every human life matters”, while supporting killing babies after they are born.
…a country in which the faith of 75% of its citizens is constantly attacked by the same people who constantly attack its President.
“You are traveling through a previously unknown country, a country whose population has politically been torn asunder, a country whose Democratic Leadership have forsworn its traditional faith and values to embrace those of its enemies. A country whose great promise is once again being realized, despite the best efforts of its enemies within. There’s a signpost up ahead. Next stop, America 2020.”
This country has been pulling apart at the seams since the night of November 8, 2016, which Donald J. Trump was elected as our 45th President.
And the thing is, it is not his fault.
The direction which the Modern Democratic Party has taken to the Far Left of the Political Spectrum has put them at odds with the majority of Americans who still hold dear the Traditional Faith and Values System upon which our Sovereign Nation was founded.
In an article written for Decision Magazine dated February 12, 2012, America’s Pastor, Rev. Billy Graham, wrote on the subject of “Confusing Evil With Good”. Here are some excerpts…
Humanity has always been dexterous at confusing evil with good. That was Adam and Eve’s problem, and it is our problem today. If evil were not made to appear good, there would be no such thing as temptation. It is in their close similarity that the danger lies.
Modern social righteousness often differs from the righteousness of the Bible. Someone has said: “A wrong deed is right if the majority of people declare it not to be wrong.” By this principle we can see our standards shifting from year to year according to the popular vote! Divorce was once frowned upon by society, and laws against fornication and adultery were strictly enforced. But now divorce is accepted by society, and fornication is glorified in our literature and films.
The Bible says: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.” God has not changed. His standards have not been lowered. God still calls immorality a sin, and the Bible says God is going to judge it.
Honesty was once the hallmark of character. But it has been set aside with an “It’s all right if you don’t get caught” philosophy. Only when we are in court are we required to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
…How do we get our values so mixed up? How do we fall into this trap of Satan? For one thing, we’re shortsighted. We look for shortcuts to happiness. Our lust for immediate pleasure prompts us to think of evil as good.
In one of novelist John Steinbeck’s books he has a character saying: “If it succeeds, they will be thought not crooked but clever.” In our desire to achieve success quickly, it is easy to get our values mixed up and call evil good and good evil.
Another way to call evil good is to say that morals are relative. Someone has said: “As the occasion, so the behavior.” We have changed our moral code to fit our behavior instead of changing our behavior to harmonize with our moral code. Nothing is firm today. We are not on solid ground. Young people are shifting from one side to the other. Morally, they are drifting aimlessly without compass or guide.
Still another way that evil is called good is for the conscience to be perverted, and certainly our consciences today are perverted. But right is right even if nobody is right, and wrong is wrong even if everybody is wrong. God does not change the moral law to suit our behavior.
…The modern conscience has been twisted and distorted so badly that it is difficult to tell what is genuine and what is false.
Self-centeredness is another reason we are so inclined to call evil good. When something brings profit or pleasure to us we are inclined to call evil good, even though we know it is dead wrong. “But it’s what I’ve always wanted,” or, “It’s good for me, although I know it’s wrong” are the alibis we have manufactured to justify evil and call it good.
It is very apparent that there is something that is literally tearing apart the fabric of our country.
The only conclusion that I, as a Christian American can reach, is the fact that our Sovereign Nation is in the midst of SPIRITUAL WARFARE for its very soul.
Make no mistake about it, boys and girls, EVIL EXISTS.
My friends, I believe that we are fighting a war not just against the Chinese Coronavirus, but also against “princes and principalities”. Evil is still alive and well and flourishing in a world in which relative morality and situational ethics are increasingly being accepted as normal behavior.
We see it everyday around us.
It inundates the cable news channels and our country’s failing Liberal Newspapers like the New York Times. Heck, you can even see it on Facebook.
Since Cain slew Able with a rock, mankind, because we are all fallen creatures, has had to deal with the presence of evil in our lives.
From the legendary massacres, perpetrated by Vlad the Impaler, to the horrific scenes of Hitler’s Concentration Camps, to the killing fields of Pol Pot, to the massacre of innocent Middle Eastern Christians by Islamic State, to the murders by Chicago Street Gangs every night, the Forces of Evil continue to flourish across the globe.
Who we as a nation are struggling with are those forces who want to turn our country into not just an immoral society, but, an amoral one, whose concept of right and wrong is “Whatever Gets You Through the Night (It’s Alright. It’s Alright.)”, and whose ultimate authority is not the God of Abraham, but a Godless All-Powerful Central Government, whose credo is
From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. (Karl Marx)
Just as Marxism has failed wherever it has been tried before, so, if allowed to do so, it would lead to America’s downfall.
The galling thing is the fact that, even though American Christians remain 75% of the population, we are propagandized and suppressed by the Liberals in both the Old and New Media, to make it seem as if WE are the Minority, when, in fact, WE are the overwhelming Majority.
It is this New Generation of Amoral Socialists, who have taken over the Democratic Party, who are in fact, just a tiny, albeit vocal, Minority of America’s population.
So, what can an average Christian American, like you and me, do about this “Tyranny of the Minority”?
Christians have to make a choice in these tough times whether to allow those who are attempting to “radically change” our Sovereign Nation, given to us by God into a Democratic Socialist Paradise or…
As the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians, we can STAND.
However, you cannot stand without “the full armor of God”. I have found, as have my family and friends, that the better that you are doing, in terms of your Christian Walk, the harder that you will be attacked.
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.…- Ephesians 6:10-12
Now, more than ever, in the midst of this pandemic, our Christianity as Americans does not and can not end at Noon on Sunday as we finish watching church services on the internet via our Smart TVs.
“Onward, Christian Soldiers, marching as to war.”
Because believe me, Americans…we are in one with three enemies. Two enemies are invisible and one is political.
Pray for those who are out “on the front line” fighting the Chinese Coronavirus every day and caring for those who are sick with it,
Pray for our President.
Pray for our country.
God Bless America.
Until He Comes,