The smugness of a “good” Christian

Hey everyone, thanks for all the feedback on my previous post. I hope you and yours had a wonderful Easter. This week, I read an article that my local paper published and it just really rubbed me the wrong way. Here’s the link so we can all be on the same page:

The Passion of Southern Christians-Margaret Renkl

This one is coming from Margaret Renkl of The New York Times. Now, this is an op-ed piece, so I won’t call it fake news, but I feel that an article like this does nothing to foster honest political debate in this country and reveals further ignorance from a member of the left.

Now I have to admit, Renkl drew me in to this article with her discussion of Judas and Peter’s actions in regards to the death of Jesus, but as soon as I hit the second paragraph, that’s when I really lost it and had an idea of the type of garbage that was I was about to digest. Once again, The New York Times and its writers can’t go one day without taking a shot at Trump voters. Referring to his supporters as “angry white voters in red hats,” Renkl does herself better and uses this description to bash any Christian person who voted for Trump. She makes sure to put quotes around the word Christian, just to hammer home her own condescending view of her fellow Christian brothers and sisters who have the audacity to disagree with her progressive ideals. What are those progressive ideals? According to Renkl, they are some of the values supported by the church: “…open immigration, welcoming refugees, opposing capital punishment, housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and the aged and the lonely…” Now, first off, I’m not sure where in the Bible it states that God and Jesus were in favor of open borders and letting in refugees with little to no vetting. If someone can find a passage that directly supports these policies, I am legitimately curious to read it. Renkl should not be twisting the word of the God to satisfy her own political philosophies. For me, capital punishment is a grey area that we may never really be able to outright justify or reject, so I won’t touch that teaching. For everything else, I fully agree with Renkl. Jesus did tell us to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and take care of the sick and the old and the lonely. And it is at this part of the article where I feel Renkl revealed her true ignorance.

A few paragraphs into her article, Renkl discusses southern hospitality. The southern¬† people welcome new neighbors with food and company and are the first to take care of their neighbors when disaster strikes. However, now that they voted for Trump, in Renkl’s mind, they are suddenly incapable of continuing this tradition. Because they chose to elect a man who promised to bring back jobs, enforce the nation’s laws, and bolster border security, they are now terrible people. Because they elected Trump, they will forego the sort of hospitable actions they once performed. Because they elected Trump, they will no longer help their neighbors. Hell, these people probably already stopped going to church and I’m sure they’re planning the next big bonfire where they can burn all of their bibles. Give me a break, Renkl. Putting your pencil mark next to the “R” rather than the “D” on the ballot doesn’t automatically get you a one-way ticket to damnation.

Renkl later states that her southern Christian Republicans placed Trump in the White House to turn America into a Christian nation. Now, I can’t really comment on whether this is an accurate statement because I’m a midwest Catholic. I really don’t know what kind of religious agenda southern Christians may hold, but I think Renkl is ignorant to the type of people who elected Trump. It wasn’t just the Christian base. In fact, in my mind, the Christian base was probably the hardest for Trump to attract because he never seemed to come out and say what kind of Christian he was. That was never a focus of his campaign. He won over the working class by promising to bring back jobs. He won over the jaded 20-30 somethings by promising to dismantle the establishment career politicians. He won over the swing states with his constant campaigning in those places. And as opposed to hanging with Jay-Z and Beyonce in the final days of the campaign, he did some cram campaigning. Maybe that’s why the people voted him into office. Crazy thought, but maybe the election of Donald Trump had nothing to do with how many times the guy has gone to church in his life.

Now I know that this is an opinion piece. Of course it’s meant to be controversial. It’s meant to get people talking. However, I don’t think a piece like this is beneficial to the conversation. As opposed to examining the true reasons why her fellow southern Christians helped to elect Donald Trump, Renkl instantly slams them as traitors to her view of Christianity and as traitors to the basic ideas of hospitality. She just ends up parroting the typical media view of Donald Trump and his supporters: they’re all terrible people and the nation will be ruined. Calling your neighbor a traitor and doubting his or her ability to do good in this world simply because he or she voted to Make America Great Again? Maybe it’s time for Renkl to reopen her own Bible.