By Al Benson Jr.
You don’t tend to get what some call “right wing” preaching in most churches. I’ve been in some churches over the years where, in an attempt to stay “neutral” the preacher almost leans to the left. Of course the 501-C3 status of many churches only encourages that.
There seems to be a trend, in parts of the evangelical community, to want to embrace messages and personalities that lean left while looking down their noses and anything and anyone that is perceived leaning to the right. I recall, several years ago now, that Billy Graham made a statement that “the hard right has no interest in spiritual things” or something to that effect. Does Billy think the hard left has any interest in spiritual things? He never addressed that, and so, for many, the implication is there—distrust the right and leave the left alone.
I recall sitting in a church service several years ago where they had a guest student preacher who was attending Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His sermon consisted of a number of strung-together left of center assumptions and he concluded it by playing a tape of part of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech.” Not wanting to disrupt a church service I sat in my chair and gritted my teeth, but I would dearly have loved to have gotten up and walked out and taken my family with me. I thought “If this is what they teach their seminary students at Calvin College then I wouldn’t let my dog attend there.” This kid was slightly to the right of Ho Chi Minh, but not by much.
Yet the congregation tolerated his sermon. To her credit, one lady talked to the guest preacher afterward and attempted to straighten out his socialistic concepts, but she was the only one.
Sometime later, in this same church, they had a guest preacher who came from a different persuasion. I don’t recall at this point what his sermon was specifically about but he did deal with the political situation in the country at that time and at a certain point in his sermon he said “I could quit at this point and be safe.” He did not do that however. He went on to name names of both people and groups that were taking the country in the wrong direction, one of them being the Council on Foreign Relations, and as he went along you could feel the tension mounting in the congregation. They sat through his sermon, which I thought was quite informative, but barely. As I was on the way out I shook the preacher’s hand and said “I agree with everything you said, but you didn’t make any friends here today.” One of the other church members, when he got out the door, said “I don’t need to listen to this right wing stuff.” No, you don’t “have” to listen to it, but maybe you should. The preacher was not trying to present “right wing” material to the congregation. All he was trying to do was to let them know about certain people and groups that affected their lives adversely and that they, as Christians, should have been aware of, but weren’t, and apparently had no interest in being aware of.
This seems to be a major problem in some evangelical circles. Most evangelicals don’t seem to know their history and so when they go to deal with political issues they respond to the hot button issues promoted by liberals and socialists and they come down on the wrong side of most political questions and end up promoting a liberal, socialist line in the name of love and compassion. To a lesser degree they follow the rationale of the liberal National Council of Churches and end up supporting what can only be considered leftist causes because, somewhere along the line, they seem to have imbibed the “kool aid” that those on the left are really caring and compassionate while those on the right are all just fascists, and, not knowing history, they don’t even perceive how incorrect that is. Fascists are not on the right, they are over on the left along with the Communists. But don’t try to tell some of the evangelicals that—they ain’t buying it. They just know the fascists are part of the “hard right.” Hollywood says so!
There are definitely people on the “hard right” that have no interest in spiritual things, just like there are people on the hard left and in the middle that have no interest in spiritual things. So why do many evangelicals pick on those on the right and just ignore all the others? I’ve been privileged to know some preachers that don’t fit this mold and that don’t hesitate to call a spade a spade and to let the chips fall where they will. Unfortunately, such preachers are in the minority.
I fear, in some instances, there is a soft underbelly in parts of the evangelical community that leans to the left and leans quite hard in many cases. They don’t seem to grasp that the anti-Christ left is not their friend and that they ought to be opposed to the leftist agenda. Rather, they make common cause with much of it—in the name of “love.” Interesting though that their “love” seldom extends to those on the right. Maybe they ought to question why that is.
Evangelical “love” seldom extends to those that revere Southern history and Southern symbols such as Confederate flags. I once heard a well-intentioned evangelical say, regarding the Confederate flag “I hate that flag.” Why? Do you have any inclination whatever as to its real history? Probably not. You saw some KKK member or some skinhead with one sometime and that’s the only thing you associate it with. Evangelicals seldom bother to do the homework. Had they bothered, they would have found numerous photos of KKK rallies where the United States flag was carried in glorious abundance with nary a Confederate flag in sight. That’s if they bothered to do any looking. Many evangelicals don’t research, they respond to all the inflammatory rhetoric thrown in their faces by the anti-Christ theological and political left, and, having done no real homework, they come down on the wrong side of the issue.
Several years ago I went to a march in Washington where there were lots of Confederate flags along with other types of American flags (yes the Confederate flag IS an American flag) and, as we were living in New England at the time, some of the people on the bus I traveled on questioned whether Confederate flags were appropriate for such a gathering. I never forgot this. A little (short in stature but not in knowledge) lawyer from Uxbridge, Massachusetts stood up and told them flat out “That (Confederate) flag is a Christian flag” and he explained to them why. At that time I had not known anything about what he said. As time went on and I learned, I found that he was right on the money. It was and is, indeed, a Christian flag and it is seen in many places around the world, especially in Eastern Europe, as a symbol of resistance to oppression and tyranny. That’s not all that hard to figure out so why don’t more of the evangelicals get it? It has come to a pretty pass when Eastern Europeans know more about the history of the Confederate flag than Americans do.
Some evangelicals are concerned with racial prejudice in the South. Do they think that doesn’t exist in the North or never existed in the North? Come on folks, wake up. You are dreaming if you think that. You think the North never had Jim Crow laws? Do some homework! You’ve bought into the media lies about the South and its culture and you don’t have the wherewithal to look beyond that and find out for yourselves.
Most of those the revere Confederate symbols are not “racists.” That’s not where they are coming from. Many of them are Christians, just like you, only hopefully with a little more knowledge of history.
Until more evangelicals begin to learn how to do a little historical research and begin to learn some of the truth on their own this sad situation will continue and they will continue to look askance at those on the right while embracing the subtle anti-Christianity of many on the far left. Let us pray that the Lord will give them eyes to see and a willingness to exercise their vision.