Sunday, September 06, 2015

Greetings! I am a Christian and I Need You to Criminalize Me

It's one thing for an individual to go rogue, become delusional, with visions of grandeur and persecution for a righteous cause. That happens all the time.

But when the former governor of Arkansas and a senator from Texas, both presidential candidates, join the delusion, and announce unequivocally that they stand with her... well, Houston, we have a problem.

It's remarkably difficult to parse this problem. Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee seem to think that Kim Davis was arrested for living her Christian faith. That all by itself is an astounding, and ludicrous claim. It's hard enough to argue with a delusional person. How does one go about rationally discussing group delusion?

Following the persecution claim comes the apocalyptic warning, that after Kim Davis, pastors and florists and all kinds of Christians will be arrested for their faith.

So let's back up a bit. First, let's notice how racist this whole scenario is. If you don't believe me, let me show you two Christians who were arrested, one could claim, for their faith, neither of whom received any loving attention from these Christian politicians.

Bree Newsome, arrested for removing South Carolina Confederate Flag

Bree Newsome took the flag down because she is a Christian.

Immigrant child, incarcerated for seeking refuge in the wealthiest "Christian" nation on the planet
This immigrant child crossed a border and came to the United States because he is a Christian. He lived out his hope, like Abraham and Sarah and a long line of faithful folks prior to him, trusting the place he moved to was a place of hospitality and new life.

Who is visiting these kinds of incarcerated Christians? Why do we think Kim Davis is the crowning example of living faith in a way that runs up against our politics or culture?

Now, Mike Huckabee is following in a long line of faithful Christians who follow the biblical mandate to visit those in prison (Matthew 25). There's nothing wrong with visiting anyone in prison, even Kim Davis. She needs love as much as anyone.

But if the visits are politicized, in order to accomplish specific goals, there may be a sense in which the caring action is taken for the wrong reason.

In this case, not only is the visit calculated to legitimate Davis's illegal action, it is also calculated to assist fundamentalist evangelical Christianity in making a move it has to make right now to maintain some level of its cultural leverage.

This kind of Christianity, having in the last decade or so lost its place of supreme power in our culture, now has to play the next power card. If they aren't the establishment, then they have to be the victim. 

Those of us who are not the American Christian establishment deal with our own kinds of psychosis, not the least of which is sycophantic envy of the attention lavished on evangelical and fundie Christians. Notice my blog post is even an example of this sycophancy (or perhaps parasitisism).

But the Mike Huckabee's of the world, faced with a Supreme Court made up of all Roman Catholics and Jews, and a president who is decidedly Christian of the progressive persuasion, and in a country increasingly made up of Christians but not the white Christians who are his "kind," is going to need to play the victim card in order to maintain any kind of leverage.

If nothing else, we need to remember that the great martyrs of every era are identified as Christian martyrs precisely because they didn't use their martyrdom for power or leverage. Not all martyrs are martyrs. Self-proclaimed martyrs, self-inflicted martyrs, self-serving martyrs, none of these stand the test of time.

Long-term, our nation will be judged more by how we welcomed the little children than whether we protected a delusional county clerk abusing her power. That's my take. That many so-called Christians can't see this is at least some indication of how deeply our form of Christianity has been co-opted by racism and much more. Extricating ourselves from such systems is the work of a lifetime.


  1. Kim Davis is not delusional. For a so called compassionate and professing Christian like yourself to demonize a fellow Christian shows the hardness of your own heart. She is being faithful in her own way to God's law on marriage, which trumps SCOTUS and the perverted social engineers of our day. She has something you do not have....courage of convictions.

  2. John, if you'll notice, I indicate Kim deserves visits in jail out of Christian love. Naming someone as delusional is different than demonizing them. As to whether or not her courage of convictions matches mine, well, I have no idea. I'll leave that to God to judge.