God, the Ultimate Advocate for the Powerful?

Susan K. Smith.2 22
Susan K. Smith

 

By SUSAN K. SMITH

Crazy Faith Ministries

 

In my book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America, I conclude that, given the way Whites and Black people claim to be Christian and practice Christianity, there cannot be just one God. There are at least two gods – one of those who believe in the Great Commandment – that we are supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves – and those who believe that Jesus’ words do not mandate that we do that.

The Rev. Dr. James Forbes says, in his introduction to the recent reprint of William Augustus Jones’ God in the Ghetto that “…conversations about racism and the power to overcome it are more fruitful if we are away that we are dealing with two different and opposing “gospels.” There is the “gospel of racial exceptionalism” and the “gospel of human equality of being.”

Clearly there is a disconnect, but one that we perhaps do not fully appreciate. The Christian “right,” i.e., those who call themselves Christian Nationalists, is a force the depth of which we do not understand, primarily because we are unaware of their theology.

The National Prayer Breakfast, held every year in Washington, D.C., is a gathering for those who believe, according to Jeff Sharlet, that “Jesus did not come to reach the poor or the outcast, but to help the powerful.” That was a basic teaching of the late Doug Coe, a teaching that very powerful men who became a part of “the Family” believe as the true gospel.

According to these men, Christianity is not about helping “the least of these.” It is about gathering together men who either have power or who are seeking it.  The Christ, they believe, cared for the powerful, and His message was about teaching that message.

These men wrestle with what they believe to be the “true” meaning of the Gospel. “What if Christ came not for the sheep but for the wolves,” Sharlet says the men ask. They believe in the “wolf king,” i.e., a strong man whose “ministry” is to seek money and power. They admire and respect dictators, they hate democracy, and they believe in “Christ without Christianity,” says Sharlet, because “religion is too complicated.”

The men who adhere to this ideology operate relatively in secret, yet their reach is wide. Their goal is to have a government which is run by the minority (them), a government which uses its belief in the Christ of money and power as the gospel to which the government adheres.

Those of us who read the gospel differently are at a loss in understanding and effectively challenging the situation in which we find ourselves. Those who believe that Matthew 25 pushes us to take care of “the least of these” are like clanging cymbals; the Christian Nationalists pay absolutely no attention to the words we lift and they have no respect for the democracy we say we are fighting to save.

They want it to die.

And they want a religion that honors the quest for money and power.

What they believe is what they say Jesus taught. Reading this reminds me of a member of a megachurch who, in response to a sermon I preached some time ago, said that Jesus did not care about us lifting up and helping the poor. She cited Jesus’ words, “The poor will always be with us.”

She also shared her belief that Jesus did not work for free, that Jesus was a businessman and that the disciples were paid. What she said was so ridiculous to me that I disregarded her.

But we should not. We are in the midst of a battle the likes of which we have not seen. These “Christian” nationalists have been on a quest to push and require adherence to a “gospel” that is as foreign to us as is the concept of “alternative facts.”

If we don’t get on board and understand what valley we are in, the concept of God/Christ the politicians who believe that the gospel is about getting and keeping money and power will shake the very foundations of our belief system in ways that many of us have not even begun to understand or conceptualize.

 

Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. And she is an award-winning author for her latest book, “With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America,” available through all booksellers. Contact her at revsuekim@sbcgloba.net.

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