I ask my non-Christian friends to bear with me on this column. As one will quickly see, this column is addressed to my fellow Christian conservatives.
Regular readers of this column know that one of my chief frustrations is the way Christian conservatives (otherwise known as the "Religious Right") are so easily deceived by Republican politicians. The all-time classic illustration of this foible is the way the Religious Right was (and is) so enamored with President George W. Bush. No matter what Bush did: no matter how egregiously unconstitutional, no matter how utterly stupid, no matter how blatantly evil his actions were, Christian conservatives (almost universally) either robotically accepted and approved what he did, or blindly looked the other way. It was maddening!
It was as if Christian conservatives lost all ability to reason; it was as if they lost all discernment and discretion. Because George W. Bush claimed to be a Christian, and because he was a Republican, he could do no wrong. To this very day, the only group of people who yet approves of Bush's Presidency is the Religious Right. Everyone else on the planet realizes that George W. Bush's Presidency will go down in history has one of the all-time worst.
George Bush took a prosperous and robust economy, and led America to the verge of a second Great Depression. He has taken a (relatively) free and independent republic to the brink of becoming a globalist Police State. He has pushed the envelope of executive power; he has trampled individual liberty; he has made a mockery of justice; and he has made America the laughingstock of the world. In addition, Bush has misused and abused our nation's bravest and finest by his illegal and inexcusable invasion of Iraq.
No matter. The Religious Right still loves him. Why? Because he is a "Christian" Republican.
Since 2000, James Dobson, Pensacola Christian College (PCC), and their peers around the country have had an eight-year lovefest with George W. Bush. Life-size cardboard posters of Bush have stood in their bookstores for eight long, laborious years. Grade school children in their Christian schools have been subjected to Bush propaganda for eight tedious, tiresome years. To them, G.W. Bush ranks somewhere between Moses and the Almighty. And nothing Bush said or did seemed to matter.
I said all of that to call attention to a recent interview [December 8, 2008] Cynthia McFadden had with President Bush on ABC's Nightline this past Monday. During the interview, McFadden asked Bush if the Bible was literally true.
Now, acceptance of the Bible's literalness is one of conservative Christianity's most sacred doctrines. There is not a professor at PCC (or any other conservative Christian college or university) that would keep his or her job for a nano-second, if he or she even questioned the veracity of the Scriptures.
Right? You know it's true! Most conservative Christians would even go so far as to say that one cannot be a born-again Christian who does not believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God.
Well, what was George Bush's response to McFadden's question? He said, "You know. Probably not. . . . No, I'm not a literalist." Notice, Bush twice denied the veracity of the Scriptures.
Now, Bush has no reason to "fudge" his answers, right? He has no more elections to face. No more, "He's got to say this to get elected," which was the flippant explanation given by the Religious Right to excuse Bush's numerous apostate positions during the past eight years.
So, George W. Bush clearly stated that he does not believe the Bible is God's Holy, inspired Word.
Will Dobson and PCC still say that Bush is "one of us"?
Then, as Bush attempted to give a Christian testimony, he told McFadden, "It is hard for me to justify or prove the mystery of the Almighty in my life. All I can just tell you is that I got back into religion and I quit drinking shortly thereafter . . . ."
What kind of Christian testimony is this: "I got back into religion"? I doubt that this kind of testimony would grant membership in the Campus Church (which is not even a genuine New Testament church, you understand) at PCC or in virtually any conservative Christian church.
I am confident, however, that Bush's statements will do nothing to diminish his god-like status with James Dobson and the rest of the Religious Right in America. For eight long and bloody years, Christian conservatives have been selling their convictions, doctrines, and even their consciences to George W. Bush.
I will even go so far as to say that, in many respects, millions of Christians have turned President Bush into an idol. Many of them would forsake their pastor, their friends, and even their own family before they would forsake George W. Bush and the Republican Party.
Of course, none of this would have happened had Christians—and especially Christian pastors—not lost touch with their American heritage. Had they maintained a studied understanding of constitutional government, and of the principles of Natural Law upon which it rests, they would not have become dupes for Bush and his fellow neocons.
I doubt very much whether Thomas Jefferson was a born-again Christian (after all, he, like Bush, expressed doubt regarding the Bible's literalness), but he fully understood—and embraced—the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" and was more than willing to inculcate those principles into our country's most sacred document: our Declaration of Independence. As such, Jefferson will be forever regarded as one of America's greatest Founding Fathers and Presidents.
Believe me, America was far better off with Thomas Jefferson than with George W. Bush!
So, where are Dobson and PCC now? Will any of them utter a word of rebuke to their "Christian" President for his apostasy?
No, they won't. (As a comparison, contemporary pastors most certainly did rebuke Jefferson for his public statements questioning Christ's divinity, even though he was a Founding Father and author of the Declaration of Independence.)
Of course, Barack Obama will not escape the public repudiation of Dobson and Company. Why? He is a Democrat. You see, it's not principle; it's partisan politics that matters, after all.
While we are asking questions, when will our fellow Christians and pastors finally open their history books? When will they read the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence? And when will they open their minds and hearts—even a crack—to the possibility that they might have been duped, and that there is more to being elected to the office of President besides being a "Christian" Republican?
In four more years, there will doubtless be another "Christian" Republican for the Religious Right to fawn over. Where he or she stands on the Constitution won't matter; neither will it matter whether this newest "Christian" Republican has any commitment to national sovereignty, the Bill of Rights, or to fundamental freedoms.
All that will matter is that he or she professes to be a Christian, and has an "R" behind their name.
And, quite frankly, this last election proved that even a Christian profession is not necessary. All that is required is the "R" behind the name.
Dr. Chuck Baldwin is the pastor of Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. He hosts a weekly radio show. His website is here.