Jesus knew that was a bad deal. Apparently, four in five white evangelicals in America do not. They traded in the Gospel for earthly power. They took the bait that Jesus would not.
Jesus never said, “Go ye out and become ye top dogs; yea, rule ye the roost in my name.” In fact, Jesus promised us persecution. And I don’t think he meant the crèche being taken off the courthouse lawn.
When the Emperor Constantine saw that the Gospel faith—a way of life that had grown by leaps and bounds in spite of being actually persecuted--was the only thing unifying his disintegrating empire, he made Christianity the official state religion of Rome. And even at the time, there were lots of brave men and women who knew what a terrible idea that was, and fled into the Sinai desert in order to have no part of it. They were the Desert Fathers and Mothers, known today for their radical hospitality to pilgrims and travelers, and for their rejection of political power.
I’m not advocating flight into the desert (or Canada), or living as hermits, or founding monasteries. But I am urging that we, who remember that Evangelical Christianity brought us the civil rights movement, the abolitionist movement, the suffragists, child labor laws and most other progressive social movements in America before being hijacked by the Republican Party in the 1980s, need to regard ourselves as being in a desert exile of a different kind, far from the centers of worldly power.
“When they go low,” said Michelle Obama, “we go high.” When the powerful church attacks LGBTQ folks, the exiled church must welcome them. When the powerful church rejects refugees, the exiled church must embrace them. When the powerful church tries to silence women, the exiled church must make sure women continue to have a voice.
A dear friend of mine adopted four Mexican girls. This morning, the seven-year-old declared, “We need to open our home to everyone that Trump doesn't want. We can make the room. We will keep them all safe".