I am a Christian.
I grew up in Sunday School memorizing Bible stories as the teacher illustrated and taught each one on an old green felt board.
I grew up going to Church not just on Sunday mornings, but Sunday evenings, too. And of course, there was the Wednesday night prayer meeting as well.
When I grew more and became a teenager, I did what good Christian kids do- I spent my summers on international mission trips overseas.
As an adult? Well, as an adult I became a pastor, went to seminary, and spent eight years of my life studying theology, the Bible, and all the things that good Christians do.
I am a Christian- as committed a Christian as I can imagine one being. I believe in the inspiration of Scripture, sin, the incarnation of Christ, the death and resurrection of Christ, the second coming, and the final judgement.
I am a committed Christian. I love Jesus.
But let me be honest about something else: I’m deeply concerned about the American Christian Taliban.
You see, while I am committed Christian, I am also well aware that there is a very, very dangerous movement happening in our religion right now. It is a movement that embodies everything they claim to hate– but does so cunningly, with an aura of righteousness and superiority– so much so that Christians across the nation are blindly participating.
While this movement is busy warning us on the dangers of radical Islam, they’re doing the very things they are denouncing– right under our noses.
What are they warning us of?
They’re warning us of radical religious extremists who want to take political power, turning democracies into functional theocracies. They’re warning us of people who look at the culture around them, and are concerned that the laws of the land are not the same as the way they interpret the laws in their holy book. They’re warning us of people who think “God’s ways” ought to be reflected in laws which nonbelievers or other religions are forced to live by. They’re warning us of people who seem to care little for religious freedom, other than freedom for themselves. They’re warning us of people who discriminate and treat others as second class citizens, simply for not sharing their own religious views.
They’re warning us of the one who knocks, not even realizing they are the one who knocks.
They warn us of groups like ISIS and the Taliban, not even realizing they are a group like the Taliban.
Case in point is cultural movements being led by people such as fundamentalist leader, Franklin Graham. Folks like Graham are issuing the rally cry of the Taliban– warning that culture is getting “too progressive”, warning folks that morality is under attack, and encouraging Christians of a very specific flavor to take control of the government at local, state, and national levels. There are frequent calls to “vote the Bible” or to return America to “biblical values.” (Except feeding the poor and welcoming immigrants- somehow that doesn’t count.) There’s a need to send the LGBTQ community back into the shadows of society, a need to enshrine in law the right to discriminate against others, the never-ending thirst for power, and the desire to shut down or punish those who have morals different from their own.
It’s not enough for them to live in a country where they are completely free to practice their own religious beliefs– they need power, and they need others to live under their religious code, too.
It’s not enough for them to say, “I don’t believe in X, and therefore I will not engage in X.” The Christian Taliban are the ones who say, “I don’t believe in X, and therefore I’m going to fight to make sure no one has it.”
Yes, there’s an American Christian Taliban, and we ought be concerned.
While they are busy working to achieve their vision through democratic means, the net-goal is not all that different than other religious extremist groups: taking control of culture and government to transform a nation into one where their rules are law.
Not via influence and by wining in the arena of ideas, but through power, control, and dominance.
Yes, there is a Christian Taliban in America, and they are actively working to take over the government at local, state, and national levels, and aim to force on the rest of us a weird, twisted version of Christianity that isn’t really Christianity at all– it’s the strange and wicked religion of TRUMPianity.
As freedom loving American Christians, we must stand against this movement.
We must stand for religious freedom instead of religious compulsion.
We must stand for equal rights that place liberals and conservatives, religious and non-religious, all on equal ground before the law.
We must ensure all Americans, no matter what stipe, have equal access to the whole of society, and that their dignity is maintained in the process.
We must stand for religious freedom, but must stand against religious rule.
We must stand against the American Christian Taliban.