Sandy Rios, the governmental affairs director for the hate group American Family Association, decided to join with pastor Robert Jeffress in beating the drums of war. Congressman Adam Kinzinger called out Jeffress for his war rhetoric, calling it “beyond repugnant,” and Sandy Rios jumped to Jeffress’ defense.
On her morning radio show, she said, “I would just say to Congressman Kinzinger, if I ever cared to interview him, which I don’t—this is not the first thing he’s done that has not won my approval, that’s for sure—if he has seen war-torn areas, then he, of all people, should be the watchman-on-the wall warning . . . Because I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to understand that the tensions are growing in this country so much so that there is a divide that’s setting in that is much like a precursor to any civil unrest.”
Did she follow it with a call for peace? Did she suggest patience? Did she quote Jesus and instruct her listeners to “Love their enemies?” No. She fed her listeners more hateful rhetoric.
When did Christians become warmongers? In the first century, Christians were considered bad citizens because they refused to serve in the Roman military. Quakers have a long-standing tradition of pacifism. However, when Paul Wyrech laid the foundation for the Religious Right political machine, he declared a culture war. Anyone who disagrees with the Fundagelical’s beliefs and political policies was the enemy. Fundagelicals like Jeffress and Rios want to make that war real instead of ideological. They use the threats of violence in an attempt to “argue” with their opponents.
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45) Threatening war certainly doesn’t sound like prayer.
Jesus as “the way” showed us how to overcome the violence in our world. He taught us to respond with non-violence and love. What happened to that message? Jeffress and Rios have turned their backs on the message of Jesus and now advocate using the methods of the world system they claim to be at war with. They have become the enemy they feared.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”(Matthew 5:9) Jesus taught that those who seek peace are the ones who resemble their Father God. Jesus didn’t say “Blessed are the warmongers who stir up civil unrest in pursuit of a political agenda.”
This country is experiencing a great divide. Politics and Religion have entered into an unholy marriage and torn our country apart. Congress used to be able to compromise and find solutions for the whole country. Political fringe elements have used Christianity to create division and destroy both discourse and compromise. Reason has been replaced with slogans.
Followers of Jesus will be calling for reason, discourse, and especially peace. They resemble their father. Those who continue to shout out talking points, dismiss those who disagree with them with propaganda labels, and warmongers look like their father. I wonder who that is?
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