File Under Absurd Theology:
Introductory Remarks [Non-Stupid Part]
Let me begin, straightaway by saying in no uncertain terms that contrary to Wayne Grudem’s article, a vote for Donald J. Trump is a disastrous, grievous, biblically and morally unjustifiable error. If I were politically convinced by and inclined toward the right, I would have to vote for Gary Johnson. A Trump presidency would be an embarrassment to this country and a vote for Trump is incommensurable with the teachings and person of Jesus Christ. I don’t think Trump is even qualified to be the president of a middle school AV club, never mind the president of the United States of America. Trump—a man who thinks climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese, a man who joked about being given a purple heart by a soldier that receiving it as a gift was ‘much easier’ and that ‘he always wanted the purple heart’, and a man who builds his campaign on division, fear, and hate—a man like that, can never become president of the United States. My approach to Grudem’s post is to respond with a bit of absurdity. It is mostly tongue in cheek, meant to be slightly ridiculous while also semi-serious at some points.
The following is a piece of satire, so read it as such. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Grudem, I’m certainly not against him as a brother in Christ. We severely disagree on much theology and certainly on the political implications of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible. That is ok! I really do appreciate this element of his post:
“American citizens need patience with each other in this difficult political season. Close friends are inevitably going to make different decisions about the election. We still need to respect each other and thank God that we live in a democracy with freedom to differ about politics. And we need to keep talking with each other – because democracies function best when thoughtful citizens can calmly and patiently dialog about the reasons for their differences. This is my contribution to that discussion.”
Also, contra some of my good friends who I really respect and who lean in a more anabaptistic direction, I actually agree with Grudem that we ought to engage politically as Christians. Also, as a political progressive, I share his concerns about issue of the sanctity of human life. I’m one who thinks that progressives need to make much more progress in extending social justice to that realm of life and category of person. Deep down, I’m sure that Professor Grudem carefully distinguishes between political parties and the kingdom of God, even if his writing seems to suggest that only one political party or approach is morally and theologically justifiable—a point on which I greatly disagree with him. I think trying to form a biblical exegesis for any 21st century political view is anachronistic and an exercise in hermeneutically missing the point. The best we can do is gather some principles about the nature of the kingdom of God and how these principles can best be applied to contribute toward the common good.
Grudem is—obviously—not a liberal. The title of the post is playing on the main error that I see in his theologizing about politics in his post, namely: the liberality with which he calls on Scripture to justify his points while ignoring those texts which actually make a substantial contribution. I’m sure he would have real answers for all of those texts too. Yet, we must ask: of what use is an article from a theologian, on the basis of Christian ethics, if so much is left out and one particular political approach is assumed to be the ‘biblical’ position? To me such carelessness within evangelicalism is largely a thing of the past. I’m delighted to see that over 60% of millennials are favorably inclined toward a political disposition which works for all, and not just the 1%. Take this blog response for what it is: a stupid response to what I view as a kind of worthless article which itself claims to be serious, but in its many faults shows itself unwittingly to be kind of a joke.
Wayne Grudem is a Liberal (or, ‘A Discourse on Conservatives who use the Scriptures Liberally’)
I recently came across Wayne Grudem’s piece for Townhall entitled ‘Why Voting for Donald Trump is a Morally Good Choice’ and I can’t believe how liberal it is. He truly shows himself to be quite a progressive in his approach to Scripture, and I can only imagine that he must be a part of the emergent church.
In this piece, Grudem states that he believes that Trump is a “good candidate” albeit one who has certain “flaws.” He writes:
“He is egotistical, bombastic, and brash. He often lacks nuance in his statements. Sometimes he blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon. He insults people. He can be vindictive when people attack him. He has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters.”
In assessing these actions and character traits of Trump, Grudem comes to a conclusion: “These are certainly flaws.” I believe that this a brilliant statement and for it Grudem should be given an award of some sort. This award should be shiny, and it should have several jewels on it. Engraved on the award should be an assortment of words which indicate the reason for which the award is being given and the full name of the recipient. I believe he should then store the award on his desk where others can see it, and marvel at it, inviting questions of whence and for what reason the award was created and subsequently awarded to him thereby creating a means of conversation which can point back to the aforementioned award-worthy analysis of Donald J Trump. I could not have said it better myself, and Grudem shows himself to be a true conservative at this point. Yet, his conservative kudos ends at this point. For, the statement of brilliance is followed up by a statement of a very liberal nature, namely: “…but I don’t think they are disqualifying flaws in this election.” Grudem reveals that he is a liberal here. It is also possible that he is anti-Doritos which is what upsets me the most. I am not certain about his position on high fructose corn syrup or the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrials. But I digress…
The selection of Scriptures that Grudem calls upon are minimal (Jeremiah 29:7, 1 Peter 1:1, and a few others) and liberally chosen from the canon of Holy Scripture. Thus, he is a liberal. He ignores (in this post at least) any of the scriptures in which the early Church is sharing all of their possessions, or the OT prophets are ranting about social justice and the care of the orphan, widow and sojourner, or the various ethical teachings of Jesus and the NT that seem to obviously support a more progressive political approach. Instead, his concern is to avoid political liberalism, which he has already predetermined based on his exegesis of the bible, is the wrong approach to politics. The problem is that he avoids political liberalism by behaving liberally toward the biblical texts which speak to the issues at hand.
Darth Vader is Going to Kill Us Unless we Elect Trump (or, something like that…)
Grudem’s article is constantly making statements like “Can I in good conscience act in a way that helps a liberal like Hillary Clinton win the presidency?”, and “Under President Obama, a liberal federal government has seized more and more control over our lives”, or references to “big government liberalism that she [Hillary] champions.” Likewise, he is concerned about “the far left liberal agenda” and “Liberal Democrats” who want to impose “every liberal policy” by appointing “liberal justices” to the Supreme Court. Trump, on the other hand, is the safest moral choice, because he “continues to move in a more conservative direction.” We should be encouraged, says Grudem, because Mike Pence, the VP pick of Trump is a “conservative” who formally worked for “a conservative Christian lobbying group in Indiana.” Liberal bad; conservative good. Liberal = morally indefensible; Conservative = morally defensible.
But watch out! warns Grudem. Hillary has “liberal policy.” The key here is that her policies are not conservative, you see. If they were conservative; no problem. This would be biblical! This would be ethically defensible. But no. Hillary is liberal. And this is very, very bad. We will now likely be invaded by Russia, China, Isis, and probably also Darth Vader. We will have no recourse to light sabers or other intergalactic weapons since all of our wealth will have been redistributed and the 2nd amendment will have been messed with by this liberal woman. We will have to defend ourselves with obsolete, left-over “Feel the Bern” signs which will provide insufficient armor as the world turns against us. All of this—when if we just made the moral decision and chose Trump, everyone could be singing God bless America, building a wall, and keeping out the Islams and all those bad guys and stuff. All this—when we could have all had Trump trucker hats and free access to re-runs of The Apprentice. Yes, some of this is flawed, but it is morally and biblically the right choice…clearly. Conservative is the biblical one. That’s what we need, according to Grudem.
On the issue of the environment, Grudem provides no biblical support for his position, but liberally assumes that the “Keystone oil pipeline” which Trump supports is great while Hillary Clinton “will make fracking nearly impossible and essentially abolish the coal industry, causing energy prices to skyrocket.” What really matters is the cost of energy, thinks Grudem. He is much too liberal in his approach to the Bible here, ignoring the clear command to steward the environment in the Scriptures rather than to sacrifice it on the altar of the “free market.” But this makes much ethical sense, you see! For, Donald J. Trump has already announced that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. Thus, why waste our time like the liberal (=bad guy) Hillary Clinton when according to the conservative (=good guy) Donald Trump’s Twitter science everything is a-ok?
Lastly, Clinton would have the audacity, the gall, the utter recklessness to work toward universal healthcare coverage for all, while Donald J Trump would work “to repeal Obamacare” and to replace it with “an affordable free market system.” Yes, it is obvious to me as well that taking healthcare away from millions of people is the morally correct choice. Jesus would surely approve. Making folks buy private insurance products from corporations who will finally be able again (thank God!) to turn people away from coverage based on pre-existing conditions, while not regulating the pharmaceutical companies which thus causes America (still!) to have the highest drug prices of anywhere in the world, is the morally right and good and biblical thing to do, obviously.. GOP invented; Jesus approved. Yes, ok, I admit, the Bible seems to talk about caring for the poor and our neighbor. Yea, yea… And one could say that healthcare might contribute something to that working itself out in the world, and even cut abortion by 40%. But folks: the market! The free market is the Bible thing. Conservative, ok? Don’t be liberal because that is bad, bad, bad. Very unbible-ish of you to support ObamaCare. It is the exegetical choice to be pro-healthcare as a product rather than healthcare as a right. Just look at Canada where everyone is dying in the streets because of national healthcare. To get even a Tylenol you have to beg and sign paper work. Friends, far better to pay high deductibles to rich people. This is much more Jesusy and scriptural, and moral. None of this theology of hand-outs and liberalism. Liberalism is bad, very bad. One cannot be progressive politically and also faithful to capitalism Christ.
Conclusion, Summary, and Take-Aways:
Liberal bad; conservative good. Right wing good, left wing bad. Donald Trump could be God’s man for the hour. The man perspires Holy water and has wealth. His command of two Corinthians is stunning. He is conservative, and this means America will be safe. He is not liberal which would be bad. He is conservative, therefore he is morally better. All the bad guys will get bombs, and they go pow pow drop dead from America’s might, go away bad guy, kerplow! We will sleep tight with Donald as Commander in Chief. All the Muslims will have to just go away. No more foreigner, go away, build wall, best wall ever, special laser beams, build actual Robocop etc. All protected in America. Safe and sound. Problems solved all of them, yes. Foreign policy = drones and death by comb-over. ObamaCare done, no more medicine for the lazy. Conservative, yes. Liberal = bad, unbiblical.