I’ve seen a pattern develop across the board among conservative political commentators over the past several years, and that pattern is to condemn the moral decay of our society, which they usually blame on liberals, while ignoring the greed and violence that caused the moral decay in the first place. Take Phil Robertson for example, after seeing the Robertson family photos where all the boys were clean shaven, I had pretty much written them off as opportunists trying to make money by selling the rural lifestyle. But then a friend recommended Phil’s book The Theft of America’s Soul and I was struck by the heart felt and genuine nature of his story. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for his new book Jesus Politics.
I listened to them both on audible, so I know that for me Phil narrating TTAS himself added to its authenticity, and while Milton Bagby does a good job narrating Jesus Politics it still feels off. You see I love stories where a street-smart person from the city thinks they’re going to fool a bunch of gullible rednecks, just to find out that the country folks aren’t easy targets. Julia Garner plays this part perfectly as Ruth Langmore in the Netflix series Ozark. She lives in a trailer on the lake, but is constantly outsmarting the fast-talking mob accountant Marty Byrde played by Jason Bateman. Phil on the other hand seems to have fallen for the scam.
I can’t blame him though, thousands of Christians across the country have been fooled by a fast talking New Yorker who, although he spent his life in the swamp, convinced them he was going to clean it up. Donald Trump built his career on sweetheart tax deals from politicians, massive loans from big banks, and non-stop news coverage from the mainstream media. It should be clear to anyone and everyone that, he is the swamp. Yet he somehow convinced people that he was an “outsider,” but even worse than that is the fact that he rose to prominence by demonizing the Democratic party for causing the moral decay in our society, yet continued to back the policies that actually created the corruption.
Men like Donald Trump, Phil Robertson, Sean Hannity, and countless conservative preachers across the country frequently blame Democrats for things like abortion, same sex marriage, and “socialism,” all things which they claim to be evidence of America’s downfall. What you’re not likely to hear from them is the truth that America’s greed and violence, promoted equally by the Republican and Democratic parties, are the real causes of our nation’s undoing. All throughout history empires have followed the exact same path. Economic wealth or military power leads to regional or global domination. Then years of regional or global domination leads to rampant societal corruption.
Conservative commentators point out what they believe are examples of moral decay caused by liberals, but they often downplay the sins of their own party, and outright ignore the root issues of obscene wealth accumulation and the terrorism that our own nation perpetrated to protect that wealth. I am a conservative, but I am ashamed of the way that many of us have treated our liberal brothers and sisters. The scriptures say that we are supposed to “remove the plank from our own eyes, so then we will be able to see clearly and help our neighbors remove the specks from their eyes.” I hope that over the next few weeks we can all take some time to examine ourselves, especially our political beliefs, and ask whether our politics are helping us love our neighbors.