Culture of Revenge

[[image:bushcross-thumb.jpg::right:0]]As Jesus tells us we are to love our enemies, I try to do my best. It’s not always with 100% success rate that I do so….ok maybe it’s more like 15% but I’m doing everything I can to up that average. For whatever reason the person who is hardest for me to love is George W. Bush. I realize that may be silly and I’m ok with that. Some of you may ask me why is HE the hardest. Why Dubya and not the insurgents in Iraq or the hijackers of 9/11? Why not Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden? I guess those are fair examples to bring up, but for some reason I don’t hate those individuals as much as I pity them.

As I’ve thought about this quite a lot, I think it has to do with the fact that this man, George Bush, is our president AND he’s a self professed Christian. He is representing not only our fine citizens to the rest of the world, but he’s also representing followers of Christ. Granted, this is a lofty position to put one’s self in. To represent Christ and be the presider over our great nation all at once is by no means an easy task. I would never dream that I could or would ever want his burden. Maybe it simply is impossible to survive in our american political culture at all and still maintain an honest, holistic journey of giving yourself up and following Jesus. Maybe it’s impossible if you are simply a westernized american citizen. Who knows? For now I’m up for trying my best in faith as I hope we all are.

With all that said, it doesn’t change the fact that George is where he is. He is our president who has the ability to lay out this country’s agenda for making our country stronger and safer as well as setting the tone for our relationships around the globe. In light of these responsibilities, I can’t help but feel cheated by this president and his administration. I also can’t help feeling cheated by the way in which he blatantly fails to represent the love of Christ. He fails to do so in a majority of his policies and, more importantly, his treatment of those who have opposed him.

Obviously the recent investigation of the source of a leak that outed the secret identity of a C.I.A. agent is becoming the most recent example of the kind of “my way or the highway” behavior of the current administration. There is this amazing trend over the time of Bush’s political career where his opponents or any one who discredits his position is immediately attacked. This OP-ED piece by Frank Rich of the New York Times is a very thorough account of the recent events that have led up to what is becoming a very heated investigation. As I read this article I was just so amazed at the apparent willingness by this administration to change it’s story and discredit others with personal attacks (although they left the personal attacks to another self proclaimed man of god, robert novak) in order to clear themselves of any wrongdoing. As Frank Rich put’s it, there is a “culture of revenge” that seeps from the highest levels of this administration. It’s a posture that I find is very troubling in light of the type of “christian” language and religious political leverage used by this president when backing the “hot sins” issues like homosexuality and abortion. Does giving support to George Bush with regards to abortion and gay marriage constitute turning a blind eye to the blatant dishonesty that has come out of this administration? Why are we evangelicals AND post-evangelics content to let this kind of behavior slide? Why do we not hold Bush accountable like any church eldership would hold their pastors accountable?

Maybe I’m just a flaming liberal sissy boy and I’m all worked up over nothing. For those of you who disagree with me, you’ll be so glad to know that I’m just a drummer in a rock band that rarely shaves and wears flip flops a lot. I drive a volvo on which absolutely no christian paraphernalia can be seen. I hated AWANA. I think most contemporary worship music is pretty much garbage. Maybe those facts will put you at ease. I hope so.

I am not looking to pick a fight here. I am just wondering why Bush seems to get a free ride from a vast majority of Christians in this country. If it IS a fight you are looking for, let me quote Bush’s message to the insurgents in Iraq…..”bring it on!”

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8 thoughts on “Culture of Revenge

  1. got your link from doug… good words. i just found out a few years ago what awana is, but are you telling me i can’t be a christian unless i have some stupid fish on my car? i’m screwed! i’m such a coward. or a sissy boy?

  2. what you posted about joel osteen’s ‘church’ the other day is probably the best tangible evidence i can point to for why George gets the ‘get out of jail card free’ from modern day christians. joel osteen’s church is not a beacon of Christ and neither is George W., which is sad, b/c both men could be doing some truly great things for Jesus but choose not to. they choose to focus on their own mess without regards for others, doing their best pharisee impressions.

  3. Hey Zach,

    You really need to pick up the latest issue of Harper’s Magazine. There’s an article in there called “How a Christian Nation Gets Jesus Wrong”. I think you will find it as incredible as I did – the writer put into words what I’ve been thinking about for a long time now.

    Adam Young

  4. I was trying to explain this to a friend the other day…. I am *more* frustrated with GWB than I would be if he weren’t so “out there” about being a Christian. It all seems so manipulative and so many in the church are so glad to have a president who says he prays that they don’t seem to have any interest in really examining what he’s praying about or for.

    Anyway, thanks for these words. Peace to you.

  5. zach,

    reading (and loving) a lot of your old stuff. it seems weird to be reading this from 2005 and yet it seems just as relevant in even the last six months.

    i guess my thoughts on this post that could only come from 2008 and later:

    i understand and agree with a lot of your frustration. have you read _Jesus for president_ by shane claiborne and chris haw?

    one of my big take-aways from that book is that as xians, we should
    a) be unconcerned with governmement (which needs qualifying)
    b) obey as needed (taxes, laws, etc…)
    c) but as for change, don’t look to them or expect it. be happy if they do something right, but, if anything, expect disappointment.

    that’s it, i think. or at least for now. love to hear your thoughts.

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