5 things Christians need to be wary of in the Trump era
March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) - As the mainstream media implodes and our political paradigms radically shift, Christians face a media landscape that is evolving nearly daily and littered with new outfits clamoring for our attention. This comes with opportunities and perils alike—when the old institutions start to crumble, they are not necessarily replaced with anything more desirable.
Amid all of the shouting, I’d like to make five brief points and observations, all of which I plan to write full columns on in the coming months.
1. We need to stop getting sucked in by fake news stories. I see these getting posted in my Facebook newsfeed, and it makes me cringe. Christians have a responsibility to truth, and posting fictitious conspiracy theories makes us look both deceitful and gullible. It’s pretty easy to tell if something is fake news or not—just look at the URL. If it’s something like screaminglibertyfreedomeagle.com, it’s probably run by some kid in Ukraine. If you need to check further, a quick poke around the Internet will let you know if anyone else is reporting the same story.
2. In addition to truth, goodness and beauty also seem to be getting lost in the noise. Much of the political debate now seems fueled by rage—which has its place—to the exclusion of all other sentiments. The enemy must be destroyed, not persuaded. The opposition must be crushed, not convinced. Yes, the progressive Left created this climate. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t responsible to remain true to our principles and our beliefs. Relativism is their thing, not ours.
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3. We have to remember that while there are many different factions on the right-wing of the political spectrum that may be co-belligerents in the fight against secular progressivism, we need to be discerning. Anti-Semitic alt-righters, for example, can have no place within any movement identifying as Christian. The vicious meme trolls, cyber lynch mobs, and other online commentators passing off objectively racist remarks as mischievousness and trying to hijack conservatism with their libertine nihilism should not be defended, much less humored or courted by those who make the mistake of seeing them as edgy.
4. Some conservative outlets must get over their instinctive compulsion to defend each and every thing Donald Trump says or does. To view any politician as uncritically as much of conservative media (with many notable exceptions) is doing is dangerous, much less a man as unpredictable as Trump is. Nothing in his past dealings or in his campaign gave any indication that he was the sort of solid, dependable, and principled man deserving of such trust. Gleeful celebration each time Trump smashes the media may feel cathartic, but it’s eliminating the ability to see things clearly and objectively.
5. The same goes for celebrity culture. The “enemy of my enemy is my friend” mentality is beginning to create ridiculous scenarios, such as Catholic bloggers describing flamboyant provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos as one of the best representatives of Catholicism today. This is a man who brags about his promiscuous behavior with scores of men, regularly dresses in drag, refers to women as the c-word, and represents Catholics by posting pictures on his Instagram page featuring men kissing in front of a Bible with the slogan “Gay 4 God.” But because Milo can really take it to the lefties and drive them insane, Christians strain themselves to find ways of defending his behavior. The obvious hypocrisy must have previous generations spinning in their graves.
In the clash of the culture war and the din of the frenetic political chaos, Christians need to remember that our responsibilities transcend petty political loyalties and the corresponding destruction of political opponents. The enemy of our enemy is not always our friend—sometimes they merely threaten the moral fabric of society from a different angle or on a different front.
Goodness, truth, and beauty cannot be ignored, our principles cannot be ignored, and our responsibility to represent what we believe in fraught times only grows.
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