I finally got around to listening to John MacArthur and Ben Shapiro’s discussion on Shapiro’s show from a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say that I am quite impressed. It is a discussion worth hearing, and I won’t rehash the entire thing, but you can go and listen to them here.
|Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash|
There are a couple of points upon which I differ slightly from MacArthur:
First, I applaud his willingness to raise the question of whether the American Revolution was something Christians ought to have supported. I think it is an important discussion to have if for no other reason but that it encourages the politically-obsessed religious right to reconsider its eagerness to endorse wars and rebellion. Clearly, Christians should not be involved in revolts against the government, but to remain submissive to civil authority which God has ordained.
However, the American Revolution wasn’t really a revolution. It was a war waged by local governments against the government of Great Britain, rather than citizens revolting against their own government. That is one reason that the American War for Independence (a preferable description, in my opinion), was not subject to the same upheaval and atrocities that, for example, typified the French Revolution. So, it seems to me that when evaluating the morality of the American War for Independence, we should consider it under that nuanced understanding.
Finally, I think that MacArthur’s observation that the president is not a position of moral authority is factually accurate, but practically hazy. That fact has been played out in the American evangelical community as staunch Trump supporters have defended so much of his bizarre, uncouth, and immoral behavior. (And that’s just what he’s done since being in office) If Trump had been elected for utilitarian reasons, and his defenders maintained that utilitarian mindset, then there would be no problem. However, the sad reality is that evangelical Christians have become ever more like Trump in their eagerness to defend him, and thereby defend their own decision to support him in the 2016 election. They have consistently spiritualized their choice, depicting Trump as a savior, and asserting that he is a born again Christian. Regardless of what it should be, the character of the President has always had a measurable effect upon the character of the people of the nation – a fact that no evangelical would have disputed during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal of the 90’s. For that reason, I think it is safe to say that while history will decide whether Trump’s presidency will be good for the nation, it has clearly been bad for the religious right up to this point. We should take note of this for future elections.