Meet Ryan Kelley. He seems nice enough. A family man, small business owner, and most recently a Michigan candidate for governor arrested on Jan. 6 riot-related charges. Among other things, he is accused of:
“… being an active participant in the riot, climbing onto portions of the Capitol, encouraging yelling, gesturing to participants and removing a covering from a temporary structure outside the Capitol… At approximately 2:20 p.m., Kelley continued to gesture to the crowd, consistently indicating that they should move towards the stairs that led to the entrance of the U.S. Capitol interior spaces.”
Video captures him (allegedly) encouraging the crowd with: “Come on, let’s go! This is it! This is, this is war baby!”
Oh, forgot to mention. He’s an evangelical Christian. “A lot of prayer went into where to specifically go. God’s number one in my life, as well as my relationship with my wife, and the Lord being the center of our marriage. So, lots of prayer, lots of talking between my wife and I, and there was a path that led this direction, so I’m following it as long as God keeps opening up those doors.” Ironically, Kelley was referring to his gubernatorial run, not the prayer-anointed white nationalist insurrection that ransacked the Capitol. Sadly, his arrest may just give his campaign the boost it needs among White Nationalists.
“It’s time for an American Revival”. God is number one in Marjorie Taylor Greene’s life, too. Marge, according to herself, “only wants us to share the Gospel.” She answers his call to follow Christ’s example: “That’s why I will continue to share my message of unity, family, and faith in our great nation to every corner and every group within America”. She loads her Twitter account up with Christianese Hallmark-isms:
- Jesus was a friend to sinners; we are called to follow his example.
- Our faith calls for charity & forgiveness.
- I’ll keep fighting against identity politics.
- No one is fooled by the name calling, and everyone is sick of the hypocrisy.
QAnon, Frazzledrip, “false flag” school massacres, Jewish space lasers, MTG is the Queen of crackpot theories and screwball beliefs that would have put her into an asylum a generation ago. And yet, today she is not alone, especially in church. She has a vast conservative following – predominantly white evangelical Christians. Or, as she calls herself, a Christian nationalist. “It’s the only thing that can stop school shootings, crime, and sexual immorality”, the gun-toting, (alleged) serial adulteress said. “Anyone who opposes it is a domestic terrorist.” They are the REAL Americun Christians, fueled by fear, deception and hatred of the Other.
Take Jake Lang for example, an arrested Jan. 6th rioter. An appellate court upheld his continued detention, noting “he also slammed a door against one officer’s head and struck other officers first with a stolen riot shield and later with a metal baseball bat.” Video shows him deep in the melee saying “I ain’t done yet.” Charisma News carried their version of his story: “From Washington, D.C., Jail, Patriot Jake Lang Gives All Glory to God”. It blissfully describes “how the peaceful crowd surrounded the Capitol… to pray and seek the face of God to save the stolen election, then walked down to the Capitol to provide moral courage and strength for the disputed counting of electoral votes.” In the aftermath, “over 800 godly men and women have been charged in a completely fraudulent series of arrests.” Among the falsehoods in Charisma article was the claim that Capitol Police invited people into the Capitol. It fails to mention that this Army of God left police bloodied and wounded. Like Officer Caroline Edwards, who was left with a TBI after one of these holy patriots threw a metal barricade at her, knocking the officer unconscious. She had been challenged by rioters, “Why are you standing in our way?” Faith has wrapped itself into a web of lies. It’s happened many times before… Writing on one well-known German context, Milton Mayer notes:
“Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God.”
Evangelicalism’s previous identity is being repeatedly destroyed; the Jesus of the Gospels – the Stone the builders have rejected – has lost all validity in a “biblical worldview” that screams, “JESUS, YOU’RE STANDING IN OUR WAY!”. THESE seeds of hate were planted within the church long ago. We’re already quite a ways down this road, and THESE are the result. THESE are what evangelical Christianity has to show for itself. THESE are the spoiled fruits of that rotten spirit. As Christ says through John the Revelator, ““I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you’re dead, stone-dead.” (MSG)
Evangelicals: Repent and do the things you did at first.
3 thoughts on “Jesus, Why Are You Standing In Our Way?”
We used to call it “civil religion.” A broader term, not necessarily of “Christian” trappings, but of course those were the trappings typical to it.
My own faith heritage is that of “the churches of Christ” one of the splinter groups of The American Restoration Movement led by Stone/Campbell. A version of “Christian” faith born practically on American soil (though technically that is not accurate) and so heavily influenced by the US Constitution that it is undeniable, and YET it never gave allegiance to the flag. Not in the early days.
The other main faith heritage born on American soil is the LDS church. Oh… and there is a quiet connection between Stone/Campbell’s movement and the Mormons. Most Mormon’s don’t know of it, but Sidney Rigdon was an influencer in the ARM before joining the Mormons.
Evangelicalism is a different breed of the same animal, I think. I have a lot less insight into it’s birth and expression, but a lot more experience with its impact. While not exclusive to Southern Baptists, that seems to be where the single biggest thrust is found today (as far as I can tell). “Evangelical” was a label my heritage used to avoid, but the influence there is so profound now that such denial, if it still functionally exists, is just a straight up lie now.
We created a “New World” out of the New World we found when those pilgrims landed here. We imported pagan idolatry and baptized it thinking it was okay as long as you put a Jesus bumper sticker on it. Americans are exceptionally bad about taking the Name in vain. We are in exceptional denial about it too.
I also recall a time when Southern Baptists would say they weren’t evangelicals. Then came Falwell out of the IFB and became a So. Baptist – and they became the evangelical whale. American flag worship has been overtaking evangelicalism ever since. Even in the Billy Graham days, there has been a marriage between American civil religion and American evangelicalism. Now, it seems the former is on steroids and has taken over the lead…
I was a just a kid in the days of Falwell’s rise. I remember his splash, but I was young enough that I didn’t realize he was new to the game. I just thought he was always kinda there.
Also, the heritage of my youth was so sectarian at the time that we wrote him off and his whole larger agenda (even if we had closet sympathies) as just one more misguided effort to be church. Well, it was, but not in the way we were thinking.
Anyway, I certainly appreciate any calling the bluff on it. I am so sad to find more than three quarters of my family and friends caught up in this mess. Both the Republican Party and the church appear hijacked.
I don’t really know how to resolve the problem, but I am sure that sticking up for the truth (which involves exposing the lie in some respects) has to play a part.