Well, the Church cannot get out of secular politics.
The American Church should not get out of secular politics.
On the other hand, being eternally nuanced here, I argue that the American Church should just get out of secular politics. I will now say why.
- We stink at secular politics. As evidence of this, consider how long we have been down and dirty, involved, intertwined and intimate with the secular politics and politicos of our time. The American Church and secular politics got married when a few leaders started a thing called The Moral Majority. James Robinson, a Texas Baptist evangelist, sounded the call to start the Christian Right Organization in 1979. We are 37 years in now, nearly a Biblical generation (40 years, if taken literally). Are we closer to any goals set out by the Christian Right in its inception. I would argue that we are no closer. Why? We stink at secular politics.
- Here is one of the reasons we stink at secular politics. When anyone starts an organized movement bent on changing the saurian nature of a social issue, that issue must, by definition, remain an issue. Thus, if we ever actually change something, or align ourselves with a Party or Politician who might change things to suit us, we lose our galvanizing source. And, while we assault the Culture along Party lines, we harden the opposition against us, or, at least, against our one or two social issues.
- Here is another reason we stink at secular politics. We aligned mostly with one Party, without even trying much to see if the other Party would be tractable to our issues. Sadly, this alignment means we have to adopt all the policies of our chosen Party, as well as the nominees they bring us for various offices. I look at some Religious Right leaders today as they perform contorted vocal gymnastics to explain why you, my dear friend, should elect a scary, bumptious, scabrous life long Democrat to the highest office in the land, since he leads the GOP nomination circus now.
- The Culture moved away from us during the last 37 years. We mired ourselves in what used to be, while the Culture gathered steam and moved away from us. The Church voted on a harder and harder line, while the Millenials decided Hillary was too old-school and discovered their love of all things Bernie. Hillary will win the nomination and probably the election, unless Bernie decides to take his young voters out for a Third Party run. Then, our next President will be The Donald. AS recently as five years ago, Mr. Trump flatly insisted he disagreed with every social and economic issue important to the Religious Right, one by one. Apparently, he has since been converted, so much he believes what the Bible states in Two Corinthians. He even thinks the Bible is better than his book. I am deeply moved. No, I am cynically suspicious. Jaded, as it were, my friend.
- What is a cynic? A cynic is an idealist who has been hurt. When our youth culture looks at us with jaded, cynical gaze, they are telling us they believe they have been had in a bad way. They are over their heads in student loans, uninsured, unemployed and, frankly, they see nothing in the secular political stance of the Church that says we will make it better. We have next to nothing to say about the large gap between haves and have nots in this nation. If the Culture, as evidenced in the young, seems intent on socialism (old style Communism, actually), it has less to do with how they were coddled babies and more to do with their current fear they will always live with Mom and Dad because they cannot afford to eat if they leave.
So, the American Church cannot leave secular politics, should not leave secular politics, but, darn it, we ought to just get out because we are so bad at it all. Even the Party that will coddle us a bit calls us a “Nut Group,” which is the secular political designation for a one (or two) issue cabal of voters. We stink at secular politics, stink I say, and we ought to just get out, or grow up.