Forgive the sloppy writing, not much time, but I wanted to make sure I touched on this today. I might post some more thoughts another time, but I think it’s important we have this conversation.
I remember her. I had known her for perhaps five minutes the day before she left to go dedicate her life to ministry. She would set up camp at a building dedicated to prayer and would join thousands of others in crying out to God on high. For justice, for peace, for the love of Jesus to wrap around our world. And I remember being so deeply moved by it. This nonviolent approach to changing the world. No, she isn’t out there feeding babies and passing out mosquito nets, but she is putting all of her time into communicating with God. Begging him on behalf of world collapsing in pain. Like the way saints used to. And that’s a beautiful kind of work.
And I thought of this smart, passionate girl chasing God, changing the world, when I discovered that the place she was going to was involved with the Uganda kill the gays bill.
International House of Prayer.
After I watched the trailer for “God Loves Uganda” I began combing the internet for all the possible answers, all the maybe-it’s-not-trues. Based on what i’ve gathered, IHOP has in fact done a lot of good. Fed the poor. Clothed the naked. Fought sex trafficking. Prayed to God for justice and peace and love to flood the earth. For Kingdom Come.
But I also found the seedy underbelly of a group that unabashedly seeks to institute Biblical Law in vulnerable countries. Invading villages, twisting a filthy finger in the old wounds of imperialism, telling folks of the recent LGBT victories in the US, the signs of the end times and how Americans would begin enforcing their laws on Africa once again. Best solution?: Figure out how to stop it. We’ll look this way, you go about your business.
Last week, the head of National Organization for Marriage was exposed for traveling to Russia and assisting the Kremlin in passing their extreme anti-lgbt laws- imprisoning gay people and barring adoptions for gay couples, and now, heartbreakingly, potentially taking away children of LGBT couples that were conceived biologically.
I never felt the coldness of the heart of the right wing extremist. But I always sensed that there was something still beating there, deep beneath the dogma and delusion, something redemptive. Something human.
But now, I see them bringing about this darkness. this evil. this direction toward a new Dark Ages. And I’m reminded of how Jesus warned us:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.” – Matthew 7:15-23
I used to think that this current schism occurring in the church would allow for a kind of live and let live Christian culture. Fundies could do their thing as it eventually withers out into the past. Since their influence in American politics has now reached a point of utter irrelevancy that we needn’t pay them any mind. I thought these culture wars didn’t really matter anymore.
Turns out. I’m wrong. They’ve simply set their sights on the developing world.
And I’m beginning to think that instead of having a conversation, a culture war truce, with Fundamentalists and right wing Evangelicals, our work would be better focused on protecting the world from the wrath of these people. Despite the lament from many progressive evangelicals, the right wing is hardly fighting here anymore. They’ve moved on. They’re going after the rest of the world.
How do we stop this?