There are times when silence is taking a position of neutrality. And then there are times when silence speaks as loud and clear as any voice coming through a megaphone. This is one of those times. Silence is dangerous.
The great theologian, pastor and German patriot, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hung for his assassination attempt on Hitler wrote,
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
This is my time. I can no longer be silent. The events in Charlottesville have me all stirred up, but this post was already writing itself earlier this week as a “new Cuban missile crisis” was unfolding between Trump and North Korea. I wonder if a Charlottesville post may find its way out of my consciousness too later in the week.
This post, however, is intended to challenge the Rev. Dr. Robert Jeffress, one of Trump’s spiritual advisors, for his Biblical endorsement that God has placed Trump in a position where killing North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, is not only okay but expected. Don’t get me wrong. Kim Jong Un scares the bejeebies out of me. The way this 33-year old male flexes his international muscles and displays his flaccid masculinity through the threat of nuclear weapons and war makes me very nervous.
There are definitely reasons that our own government should be monitoring (at the very least) or addressing how to neutralize this person and his rogue nation. In fact, if, after careful analysis, sanctions, attempts at diplomacy, etc., etc., etc., that a determination was made to take him out I might even be tempted to support such an extreme measure (despite my immediate revulsion at resorting to such primitive actions).
Where I draw the line is hearing a pastor who holds sway with not only a 13,000-member church, tens of millions of Americans as a Fox contributor, and the President’s ear as an advisor that GOD HIMSELF has pre-ordained Trump, by virtue of his office, to use any means necessary to eradicate evil from this world–especially if it looks like an overweight 5′ 7″ eternally boyish-like man named Kim Jong Un.
This is really dangerous territory. There may be political reasons that Kim Jong Un may need to be neutralized at some point. But to claim that you know the mind of God so well or that you understand the Bible so perfectly as to give the thumbs up to your president to orchestrate an assassination is completely absurd and an absolute abuse of a pastor’s moral authority.
You see, “Rev.” Jeffress, you aren’t the only one who relies on such divine permission when it comes to killing in God’s name. You might recall that radical Islamic terrorism is also based on the premise that God wills the punishment and the death of people referred to as infidels. You might recall that Hitler felt justified in his genocidal plan against Jews for their “rejection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” You might recall that Jim Jones, the founder of the People’s Church, was so convinced that he was doing God’s work that he brainwashed and ordered the deaths of hundreds of followers who “drank the Kool-Aid.”
It’s amazing how much God gets around, isn’t it Dr. Jeffress?! And it’s dizzying how little consistency God seems to have with regard to who is truly evil and who is truly good. It makes me very nervous that you seem to know inner workings of God’s mind when so many have gotten it wrong before. Are you that arrogant or naive, seriously?
Dr. Jeffress, I am a Christian pastor of a church filled with both Democrats and Republicans. I have to be very careful when I am preaching and praying that I don’t say anything that appears to endorse one party or one candidate over another. I have no problem preaching the Christian gospel and letting the chips fall where they may after that, but I won’t ever come out in favor of one party or candidate from the pulpit (I reserve that for my blog!).
But you, Dr. Jeffress, are fair game. Despite your role as a spiritual advisor to President Trump you are also a Christian minister. And as a Christian minister anytime you speak you also represent me and my profession. And I have no problem telling you, Dr. Jeffress, that you are completely out of line and that your selective quoting of the Bible in order to sanction our president’s whims is an abomination to our profession.
You are aware, of course, Dr. Jeffress, as a Biblical scholar that Deuteronomy 21: 18-21 also commands that children who continue to be rebellious should be stoned to death by the “men of the village” in order to eradicate evil from their midst. But I would guess that you are sane enough not to sanction the killing of our own children for simple rebelliousness despite the fact that the Bible is as clear about that as it is about giving kings the divine right to eradicate evil by any means necessary. How can you be so smugly self-assured about one Biblical text and so dismissive of another one? Or do you read one Bible for foreigners and another Bible for your friends and family?
Dr. Jeffress, I am no fan of this man you serve as a spiritual advisor. I have been harsh and outspoken on his absent moral character, his lack of integrity, and his inability to understand the role of the President. I am a citizen of these United States and I expect something more from my President. But I am also a pastor like you. I am in the same profession as are you. I hold the same title of Christian minister like you.
But I have come to the conclusion that you are me are not alike. You think you know God’s mind well enough to tell the adolescent-minded and impulsive Trump that God gives him the right to neutralize Kim Jong Un.
I read the same Bible as you and I don’t think God wants anyone annihilated. You are a lot more sure about what God wants than I am.
But I am 100% sure that God wants one thing–that you quit being God’s overconfident agent of U.S. nationalism and supremacy.
Trump doesn’t need more reasons to flex his muscles and coax other insecure men into an international nuclear cock fight.
And, quite honestly, I don’t need people like you making the Christian ministry look bad. This work is hard enough without you telling people who God wants dead and who should kill them.
Shoot, Dr. Jeffress, despite my disdain for you, I don’t even want to see you dead. I just want you to shut that poisonous pie hole of yours.