….sometimes they swarm!
So John Fea (who is increasingly becoming one of my favorite public commentators) published a piece yesterday on Christianity Today about the theology of Ted Cruz. It is worth the read, especially if you aren’t familiar with Fea and his (steady) critique of the Cruz/Barton worldview/”historical” view.
What was interesting to me was less the piece itself, I’ve been reading Fea say virtually identical things for years it seems like. No, what interested me the most was the public response. Fea made a post of that himself, which you can read here. In fact, he’s published two.
The second set of responses is far less troubling, after all they are only responses on twitter and apart from some people not understanding that carpet bombing is an air warfare doctrine with a set definition, it is what you would expect from the twitter-sphere.
What bothers me the most is the response from Stan Guthrie, an editor at large for CT. You can read his response in full here. Read it, it is only a few lines long.
What bothers me the most about this is the attempt to de-legitimize Fea’s opinion and analysis through taint of association. Somehow, even though his analysis is “inside the bounds of evangelical discussion” (how kind of Guthrie to keep the gate for us), the implication is that readers should disregard Fea because he has supposedly advocated on behalf of the current president (he links to two articles were Fea has the tenacity to say that Obama might actually be a Christian. The horror) and once wrote a piece that was run on the Sojourners website.
As a Cooperative Baptist whose denominational home is still wounded from the SBC wars of the 80s and 90s, this tactic is all too common to me. If you don’t like what someone has to say but can’t actually refute the facts, attack them by proxy. Delegitimize them and then no one need listen to them. It is a shoddy way to carry on public discourse.
Also, I, and many evangelicals of my generation, are tired of the same old “you have to be a conservative republican to be a ‘serious’ Christian” canard. This simply isn’t true. I would posit that none of the political parties (because, after all, there are more than two) are accurate reflections of the Kingdom of God, and never will be. I firmly believe that Christians can share values and worldview and disagree strongly on the public policy solutions to address the very real problems that face us. By simply pounding the “you have to vote Republican if you are a Christian” drum, Guthrie is doing a disservice to not only a long tradition of faithful, biblical Left politics in this country, but more importantly to the Gospel itself.
The Gospel of my savior is far to inclusive to fit USAmerican political categories.