Had a couple tweets queued up about how some people who supposedly affirm a faith predicated on the declaration of a marginalized people are now holding up Donald J. Trump as some sort of champion & defender of said faith, but that might need to be a blog post 🤔🤔🤔
— Trey Ferguson (@PastorTrey05) September 17, 2020
Oh yes. It’s time to have a conversation. How in the world did we get here? How does a group of people who claim the infallibility of an anthology of 66 writings from a marginalized people in the ancient Middle East & North Africa (documenting their history of oppression, subjugation, and the work of a supernatural God in liberating them from those circumstances) get here? How do people who believe that a supernatural God took on human flesh and decided to enter this world in one the most humble fashions imaginable get to a place of claiming that President Donald J. Trump is the instrument that God has chosen to use for the advancement of His Kingdom in this age?
The simplest explanation is drugs. Not weed. The hard stuff.
However, I’m inclined to believe that this case isn’t that simple. Stick with me for a minute.
Even a cursory reading of the Bible gives you the impression that God might kinda hate oppression. To be clear, there are certainly passages that (when we fail to read, engage, and exegete critically) seem to endorse the idea of a God who might be okay with *some* oppression. The Bible includes a book that contains rules governing the proper treatment of slaves. Some of the writings talk about the proper place of a woman in the life of the church. Depending on how you read the Bible, these could certainly present some obstacles for you in accepting my hypothesis. My argument here is that, despite the shortcomings of the people in the societies chronicled throughout the scriptures, the God they write about is One who intervenes on the behalf of those on the bottom.
In one of the seminal events of the whole Bible, God rescues the Hebrews from the grasp of Egyptian slavery. He then issues a new code for living as a society in which they are to make sure that everyone is fed among them, including those without the means to provide for themselves and the foreigners who have yet to establish themselves as contributors to the nation.
Leading to *the* climax of the Bible – the part where God puts on human flesh and redeems the world – He hangs around with the outcasts of society. He performs healings for people that society has left to die. He dines with undesirables. He feeds crowds of people who came to the revival but couldn’t afford the food at the snack stands during the break.
Regardless of your denomination or theological persuasion, if you’re even sort of familiar with those scriptures, there’s an inescapable theme that surfaces: God is distressed when people are oppressed. When the One who created us all in His image sees one of His image bearers being exploited by another, He moves in major ways.
That’s why, historically speaking, the most reliable justification for the enslavement of Africans was that they were subhuman. They were not made in the image of God. People had to make this argument, because they had just used God’s liberation as a part of their narrative for traveling half way around the world to flee tyranny. Many people have shown a peculiar talent for playing the victim while victimizing others. All that is required is insisting on the dignity of their own humanity while dehumanizing others.
But HOW DID WE GET HERE?! How did we get to the point where a man who has yet to even kind of quote a single Bible verse (and has struggled to read them), and who has never asked for forgiveness is viewed as a champion and defender of our faith?
The answer is in what I like to call “The Oppression Olympics.” Since the Bible has shown us that God hates oppression, and that He moves on behalf of the oppressed, the surest way to make sure He’s on our side is to make sure we’re oppressed. That’s a lot harder to pull off when you’re constantly boasting about being a citizen in the greatest country on earth (where if you just work hard enough you can make it to the top!). So, to pull off this feat of mental gymnastics, you invent an oppressor. “The Elite.” Who cares if the champion sent to take on that oppressor was born into wealth and is a self proclaimed billionaire? God is on your side. “The Mob.” Who cares if the champion sent to take on that oppressor is the same guy who spent $85,000 to try to convince us to have five young men executed for a crime they did not commit? “The Fake News Media.” Who cares if the champion sent to take on that oppressor built his entire brand off of trying to build his image through that media or if one of his last jobs before becoming President was as a reality TV star? “The Radical Left.” Who cares if the champion sent to take on that oppressor leads an administration that has confessed that the greatest terror threat in this country are white supremacists with typically far-right ideologies that are difficult to distinguish from his own rhetoric?
If God is for the oppressed, then oppressed is what we’ll be! And if we’re the land of the free, then we’ll find someone who can find some oppressors for us! Because looking for those on the margins of our own society and standing with them because of the God we serve would be too much like right and sounds like “Marxism” or something like that. Because “Critical Race Theory” is the greatest threat to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it’s certainly not possible that we pose a greater threat by claiming that the same God who sent His Son to save us also needed to send President Donald daggone Trump to protect His Son’s legacy.
We got here because we *know* oppression is a very real thing. The Bible we all (at least claim to) read makes that clear. That means we’re all either actively oppressing some people, we’re all complicit in someone’s oppression, or we’re being oppressed. If I’m actively oppressing someone, I need to repent. And that’s never fun. If I’m complicit, I need to take direct action, and that might cost me something.
But if I’m oppressed???? Then all I need is a savior. And that’s easy work. I can make him look like how I want him to look. I can make him rich like I want to be. I can make him as blunt as I’d like to be. I can make him the playboy I wished I was. I can put him in jobs he’s not qualified for, like I hope to do someday. I can make sure no one ever holds him accountable, because I hate it when people do that to me. I can create him just like how I want him to be.
Because the other Savior??? That One sounds too much like transformation. The last shall be first and the first last? No thanks. Actual discipleship? You mean following the dude who denied earthly riches and sought out the neglected and marginalized people and sought to bring love and justice to them? Yuck. I’d rather someone “oppress” me instead. Then we can pick a different savior.