It’s OK As Long As Our Guy Is In Office

The Christian Left in America is missing in action on the West’s imminent military strikes against the Syrian regime. As of this writing, Sojourners, a prominent face of the so-called evangelical left, has not posted a single item in response to President Obama’s decision this week to strike Syria. This is not surprising considering the broader movement the press calls the anti-war left has, for all intents and purposes, disappeared since the Obama Administration came to power.

This is a President who campaigned as the anti-war candidate and was celebrated by the evangelical left for it. I’m reminded of then-candidate-Obama’s words during the 2008 campaign: “I believed it [war in Iraq] was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.” Yesterday Obama was disturbed that we would allow ourselves to be distracted from fighting Al Qaeda yet today we prepare to enter a war allied with Al Qaeda against Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.

Jim Wallis of Sojourners was deeply engaged in the opposition to the war in Iraq. In an article entitled, “Iraq: It’s Finally Over–And It Was Wrong,” Wallis wrote, “From the outset, this war was fought on false pretenses, with false information, and for false purposes. And the official decisions to argue for this war and then to carry it out represented the height of political and moral irresponsibility—especially when we see the failed results and consider both the human and financial costs.” Will a similar standard be applied to President Obama’s wars? That question has already been answered: no.

In addition to his aggressive drone strike policy, President Obama has committed troops to several engagements during his presidency with almost no complaint from organizations such as Sojourners. In October of 2011, President Obama sent troops to Uganda and South Sudan to join the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army. Obama deployed anti-missile batteries to the Turkey-Syria border to protect against shelling from Syria in January of 2013. In February of this year the President deployed American personnel and drones to Niger to support French missions in Mali. Obama again deployed troops in April, this time to Jordan, in preparation for military action in Syria. Obama committed troops once again in June to deploy to Egypt as part of a “peace-keeping” mission. Add to these troop deployments the hundreds of missile strikes from the President’s weapon of choice, the drone, and it’s difficult to understand the disappearance of the anti-war left.

A possible explanation could be that these Christians are more “anti-GOP” than they are “anti-war” and they really don’t want to rock the boat while their guy is in office. He’s carrying out the Lord’s work, after all. Some unpleasantries must be overlooked on behalf of the greater good. Case in point: San Diego’s “Filthy Filner.”

“In a city where Democrats have been starved out of the mayor’s office for decades, many progressives in a position to stop or impede him were willing to overlook Filner’s reputation because he was a champion of liberal causes. ‘It’s a cost-benefit analysis,’ explained David Rolland, editor of San Diego City Beat. ‘He’s a jerk, but his politics, from our standpoint, were right on the money.'”

So those who accuse their opponents of waging a war on women were willing to overlook repeated unwanted sexual advances, to put it mildly, against women because the offender championed the right causes. This phenomenon seems to be the reason why the same Christians who put Obama in office over opposition to the war in Iraq are unwilling to speak out against his interventionist policies in Syria and elsewhere.

However, before the Christian Right becomes hoarse from yelling “hypocrites!,” we need to ask ourselves, are we doing the same thing? I mean, this war in Syria is a “bad war,” right? In a related discussion a friend of mine quipped, “It’s like 2003 again, except with the teams flipped.” I think he’s right but why? Have conservative Christians seen the error of their ways and adopted a pacifistic ideology? Or, is it simply because “our guy” isn’t in office? I believe that if Mitt Romney were in office proposing the same military interventions as Barack Obama, conservative Christians would largely support them.

If it is 2003 all over again except with the teams flipped, what does that mean for the state of politics and representative government in America? If we would support military strikes in Syria if Romney had won the election, what does that say about us? Was Iraq truly a good war while Syria is a bad one? If so, why? Was the war in Iraq immoral enough to protest in the streets but hundreds of drone strikes throughout the world and military intervention in Syria is not? If the answer is “no” then where are the anti-war protests? What exactly are the principles we would never compromise no matter which party is in power?

The debate over military intervention in Syria (or the lack thereof) is an excellent occasion for soul-searching by Christians of all political persuasions. We cannot change our principles each time a politician changes office. Let us take a stand based on our convictions rather than the priorities of any one political party.

This article originally appeared at ClashDaily.com and jeffwrightjr.com.

The Religious Left’s Climate of Hate

In the wake of the terrible 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Jim Wallis of Sojourners was one of many progressive activists to quickly exploit the attack for their own political advantage. “This horrible tragedy must now become an important American moment.” Using his standard modus operandi of taking the Left’s narrative du jour and giving it a religious spin, Wallis wrote, “What are the situations and environments that allow this kind of hate and violence to grow?” Wallis’s “environment of hate” just so happened to nicely coincide with the “climate of hate” storyline that was immediately invented to blame the attack on conservatives, particularly the tea party and Sarah Palin.

 Merely two hours after the shooting occurred, the New York Times farcical opinion columnist, Paul Krugman, penned a piece entitled, Climate of Hate, in which he blamed everyone from Michele Bachmann to Bill O’Reilly and FoxNews to talk radio in general. Of course, as we all quickly learned, the man who shot Rep. Giffords and murdered six others had an alleged grudge against her that went back to 2007 and had nothing whatsoever to do with talk radio or the tea party. In fact, the murderer was described as a “left-wing pothead,” and a 9-11 truther who expressed frustration with the Bush Administration. No matter. The Left had already extracted their pound of flesh from their enemies and Jim Wallis was right there with them fanning the flames.

Even though their hopes of a talk-radio-listening tea partier didn’t pan out, we were reminded that progressives firmly believe “the situations and environments that allow this kind of hate and violence to grow” are crucial to understanding these acts of violence and, more importantly, placing blame where it belongs. Fast-forward to Saturday, July 27, 2013.

“A Bethesda man was beaten and robbed early Saturday morning in Adams Morgan by three men who yelled, ‘This is for Trayvon Martin,’ before attacking him, police said. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime and robbery, according to D.C. police spokesman Araz Alali. Three black men approached an adult white male from behind while he was walking in the 1700 block of Euclid Street NW at 1:26 a.m. Saturday, police said.”

I ask, what are the situations and environments that allowed this kind of hate and violence to grow?

In a particularly inflammatory piece entitled “The Zimmerman Verdict and the Resurrection of the Old Jim Crow,” Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners summed up today’s reemergence of Jim Crow this way: “The lives, souls, and livelihoods of white Americans are worthy of protection more than others.” Notice, as is common for Sojourners, that Harper perfectly follows the media-invented black vs. white race baiting storyline even though a “white American” was not involved in the case. Harper continues: “We are not as worthy of protection as that of white folk.” “And like me, many of the nearly 66 million people of African descent and many others of non-European descent in the U.S. woke up from a dream on Sunday morning and realized we were living in a nightmare. We are living in a pre-1964 world. We are no longer protected by the law.” Blacks are now living in a pre-1964 nightmare where they are no longer protected by the law, according to Harper.

Jim Wallis claimed that if his “white 14-year-old son Luke had walked out that same night, in that same neighborhood, just to get a snack he would have come back to his dad unharmed — and would still be with me and Joy today.” For Wallis, race was not injected enough into the trial. “It was a political, legal, and moral mistake to not put race at the center of this trial because it was at the center from the beginning of this terrible case.” Wallis goes on to tell of young black boys sleeping in bed with their parents out of fear after the verdict. Concealed carry laws and generous self-defense laws “will lead to the death of more black men in particular,” Wallis warns.

The emerging church’s Brian McLaren now touts an “Emerging America.” McLaren ironically informs us that his Emerging America “is disgusted by political parties that win by dividing America through wedge issues, and then can blame the other side when they have rendered the nation so polarized as to be ungovernable.” Yes, we’re all disgusted by those who are dividing America. Oh, the title of McLaren’s piece? “Trayvon and George: A Tale of Two Americas.” You cannot make this stuff up.

These members of the religious left took a divisive, emotionally raw, racially-charged instance and rushed forth to stoke fears and fan hatreds. The law no longer protects black people. More black men are going to die now. Blacks now live in a pre-1964 nightmare. America is hopelessly plagued by “systematic injustice — one that allows white boys to assume success, yet leads black boys to cower from the very institutions created to protect our own wellbeing.”

It looks to me like these could be the environments that allow hate and violence to grow. Perhaps even the kind of hate and violence that might lead some to stomp a man while shouting, “This is for Trayvon Martin.” Jim Wallis and his allies at Sojourners are pouring gasoline on the fire while acting like they’re the firefighters. After the shooting of Rep. Giffords, Wallis suggested we examine ourselves and ask, “How can I not only stop conflict, but also be a part of bringing about a just community that displays the positive presence of peace?” Perhaps one way would be to pull the plug on Sojourners. After all, one the most important steps in putting out a fire is removing the heat.

This article originally appeared at ClashDaily and jeffwrightjr.com.