Yesterday, in only the third time since the foundation of our republic, the President of the United States was impeached by the house of representatives. It became immediately apparent that this traumatic event has resulted in memory loss for thousands of conservative Christians across the internet.
As a public service to my Christian friends on the right, and in faithful execution of my duties as memory-refresher-in-chief, please allow me to remind you of five critical beliefs you hold that have fallen prey to mass amnesia:
You’ve always claimed you believe leaders should be held to a higher level of scrutiny and accountability.
As a child of the religious right, I certainly remember all the many warnings you gave me around any sort of aspiration of leadership or position of influence– because we believed those in positions of authority or influence should be held to a higher level of accountability and judged more strictly (James 3:1).
In fact, when it comes to serving in leadership positions you have often quoted the verse, “abstain from all appearance of evil” as a reminder leaders should go out of their way to avoid even being mistakenly accused of wrongdoing.
And you know what? Conceptually you were right about the need to hold leaders to a higher standard– leaders, teachers, and people of influence, should be judged more strictly, because of the power and influence they have over other people.
As I watch the impeachment unfold it is crystal clear that you’ve either forgotten this or just no longer believe in the principle of high-accountability for leaders. In fact, it almost seems as if you believe that once a leader is in power, they get a free pass from any scrutiny or accountability.
I suppose the good news is that my magic 8 ball says “it is certain” when I ask if you’ll be magically cured of this anomaly once a democrat gets elected again.
You’ve repeatedly told us you believe “but we are a nation of laws.”
Ahh, I didn’t expect you guys to flip on this one so fast because you just quoted it to me last week when we were talking about ripping kids out of the arms of their mothers and locking them in cages.
I remember the 500 times we’ve had that conversation– you insisted that “we are a nation of laws” and that the legal process should be carried out even if we think the consequence is unjust or harsh. In fact, what you’ve consistently articulated was that if someone wants to avoid the consequence, all they have to do is follow the law and be sure not to break it.
How times change… in a week.
Locking kids in cages? We’re a nation of laws.
Investigation and impeachment for obstruction and abuse of power? An unjust sham by people filled with hatred.
You love to quote Romans 13 to argue that God appoints the rulers of a nation.
Funny thing: in that same conversation about locking kids in cages you told me that, “God appoints the rulers of a nation,” and therefore there’s no law except that which is established by God. And you’ve taken extra care to quote the next verse that says when someone rebels against the established rulers they are rebelling against God.
Ahh, major bummer you overlooked that whole three equal branches of government thing. Because when that other, equal authority follows the legal process to an end you don’t like, all of a sudden there’s a switch from “There is no authority except that which God has established,” to, “These wicked and evil people are filled with hate and destroying the nation!!”
Kinda weird how Paul should have written that God established “some of the rulers.” Pesky Bible mistakes, you know?
You’ve also long claimed from Romans 13 that only lawbreakers need to fear those charged with enforcing the law.
Remember all those conversations we’ve had about unarmed black people getting shot by police? Seems the standard line you’ve always had was again from Romans 13, this time verse 2:
“For those in authority hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right..”
Here’s an inconvenient truth (throwback Thursday h/t to Al Gore): the US House of Representatives is, according to that verse you said you believe, one such “God-appointed law-enforcement authority.” To use your argument from just a few weeks ago would mean you can relax with no cause for fear or concern… because if he hasn’t done anything wrong, there’s nothing to get a wild hair about.
So why be so uptight about an investigation and trial?
You’ve consistently argued that Christians have a biblical obligation to respect and obey those appointed over us.
Because it’s right there at the beginning of your favorite chapter of the Bible: “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God… whoever rebells against those authorities is rebelling against God.”
I can’t count the times or even list the number of different contexts in which you’ve consistently said that resisting appointed rulers is a sin.
So riddle me this: If rebelling against established rulers is rebellion against God, and if the constitution establishes congress as the appointed rulers who hold the executive branch responsible, has not Trump rebelled against God for obstructing congress from fulfilling their appointed duties?
That question unfortunately leaves you with two choices: You can choose to continue to believe that verse like you did last week– and thus, admit Trump’s rebellion was rebellion against God; or, you can just be an inconsistent hypocrite who is willing to sacrifice their beliefs for partisan loyalty.
You have two choices… and there’s only two choices.
So, there you go my conservative friends. I know amnesia sucks, but I promise I’m here for the long run and will keep reminding you of all those things you taught me… but now seem to have forgotten.
In this era of impeachment, may you find freedom from this amnesia and remember that you believe we are a nation of laws, that leaders must be held to the most strict level of accountability; that you believe the appointed rulers are established by God and not to be feared by the righteous, and have always contended that rebellion against them is the sin of rebelling against God.
At least, it’s what you believed before your guy was impeached.