What is the “Alt-Right”?

It has been said that Pastors should not talk about politics.  Except when Christians are being drawn into an ideology that is anti-GOSPEL.  Should Pastors in Nazi Germany have remained silent when Nazi ideology began to poison Christianity? Of course not.  But many Pastors and Christians remained silent as their neighbors were taken away never to be seen again.

Last Sunday I took my children and sister to the Museum of Flight.  In the WWII room the Museum had a section describing Hitler’s ideology and how different people groups were marked out for prison camps (see below, the key on the right explains the symbols).

Nazi racism.jpg

I explained that if we lived in Nazi Germany, my half-sister would have had to wear the Jewish star (my step father is Jewish) and she would have eventually been taken away and put in a camp unless courageous men and women would have hidden her and smuggled her out of the country.

Now, we look back and think, “How awful! What were the silent Christians thinking?” Many of them were fearful of speaking out.  But in the beginning, with the rise of Hitler and Nazism in the early 1930s, Christians could have done more to understand and identify the Social Darwinian ideology of Nazism as racism, and therefore spoken out against it instead of enthusiastically embracing White Nationalism.

There are similarities as we analyze the Alternative Right.  And if we are not careful, we are potentially doomed to repeat history.

For those unfamiliar with exactly what the “Alt-Right” is, let me explain.  When I am finished, you will understand that Christianity and the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ is incompatible with Alternative Right ideology.

Alternative Right Defined

The Alternative Right, commonly known as the Alt-Right, is a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that “white identity” is under attack by multicultural forces using “political correctness” and “social justice” to undermine white people and “their” civilization. Characterized by heavy use of social media and online memes, Alt-Righters eschew “establishment” conservatism, skew young, and embrace white ethno-nationalism as a fundamental value.

Background

The Alternative Right is a term coined in 2008 by Richard Bertrand Spencer, who heads the white nationalist think tank known as the National Policy Institute, to describe a loose set of far-right ideals centered on “white identity” and the preservation of “Western civilization.” In 2010, Spencer, who had done stints as an editor of The American Conservative and Taki’s Magazine, launched the Alternative Right blog, where he worked to refine the movement’s ideological tenets.

Spencer describes the Alt Right as a big-tent ideology that blends the ideas of neo-reactionaries (NRx-ers), who advocate a return to an antiquated, pseudo-libertarian government that supports “traditional western civilization”; “archeofuturists,” those who advocate for a return to “traditional values” without jettisoning the advances of society and technology; human biodiversity adherents (HBDers) and “race realists,” people who generally adhere to “scientific racism”; and other extreme-right ideologies. Alt-Right adherents stridently reject egalitarianism and universalism.

[For more, read the entire article here: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/alternative-right%5D

I don’t know if you caught the language used here, but it is essentially a White Nationalist, neo-Nazi, and racist ideology.

A year ago, the rhetoric I heard after the San Bernardino terrorist attack was, “Muslims are infiltrating our country and changing out culture,” and “We need to elect Trump, because he’ll deport them,” and “America is based on white European culture, and our way of life is being destroyed.”

At the time I thought is was completely implausible that Trump would be elected.  But hey look, now he is President-Elect Trump.  And the rhetoric since the election is amazingly divided:

After watching those videos I have three points to make:

First, everyone needs to calm down.  Take a breath.  Remove bias.  Be reasonable.  Look into all sides and don’t have a knee jerk reaction.  We need racial reconciliation, not rhetoric that induces bigotry and hatred, from the Left and the Right.

Second, for those on the Left painting people on the Right as racist, you need to stop.  There are some outlier groups that are racist, which supported Trump.  But this doesn’t mean everyone on the right is part of the “Alt-Right.”  Not everyone on the Right is White Nationalist.  In fact, I would argue that it is a small percentage.  But the Left is crying “racism” and trying to pin conservatives in a corner (this is why the Left lost the election, because this outlandish rhetoric is inflammatory).

Painting all conservatives, or even a majority of conservatives as racist bigots is an overreach.  As Ben Shapiro put it (who is a Jew, a former editor Breitbart, and an energetic critic of Steve Bannon and President-Elect Trump), he said that to suggest White Nationalism will be brought to the White House by Trump and Bannon is “overstated, at the very least.” [http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/12/02/opinion/sunday/what-the-alt-right-really-means.html?_r=0&referer=]

[I highly recommend you listen to the Ben Shapiro podcast daily, as he has been anti-Trump from the get go, and he is pointing out the bias of the Left and the Leftist media, and he points out the hypocrisy of the “Alt-Right” and biased conservatives who have a double standard – click here: http://www.dailywire.com/podcasts%5D

The media and the Left need to chill.  They need to stop overstating their case.  And at the same time, Christians need to separate themselves from the “Alt-Right” and White Nationalism.

This is my third point.  For the “Alt-Right” to suggest that white people and white European culture is responsible for the “American idea” is a half truth at best.  The GOSPEL of Jesus Christ and Judeo-Christian values heavily influenced the writing of our constitution.  One point among many at which the Alternative Right goes wrong is they assume that White Nationalists came up with Judeo-Christian values.  As if Christianity and Judaism is the “white man’s race.”  And this is the narrative of the Left, a narrative that needs to be rejected by Christians [listen to this NPR piece confusing Christianity and the Alt-Right: http://www.npr.org/2016/11/29/503620409/in-montana-an-unease-over-extremist-views-moving-out-of-the-woods]

In summary of the NPR piece, Kirk Siegler makes some good points, and some not-so-good points, which we Christians need to shirk and work that much harder to overcome.

  • Good points: the woman being interviewed is shocked by how okay people are with racism.  In other words, this article is a rebuke of the “Alt-Right” and White Nationalism.  This is a good point because this rebuke I agree with.
  • Not-so-good points: the article paints the community as Christian (which is probably is), but it associates the positive aspects of being Christian with White Nationalism by pointing out billboards in that county have the Ten Commandments and that radio is dominated by Christian conservatism.  This is a not-so-good point in that the article is confusing Christianity with the Alternative right [pay special attention to Siegler’s tone as he talks about this, he makes the Commandments and Christian radio sound like a real downer, almost as if it is the basis of White Nationalism].

The first time I heard this article, I was angered.  It paints Christians with a broad brush, including them in a group to be rejected.

The devil has a plan, he has a strategy.  He wants to divide us.  He wants to make Christians look a fool.  He wants to make conservative Christians look like Right-Winged Nuts.  And sadly, it’s working.  Which means we need to work that much harder to overcome this perception.

How is Satan’s strategy working? I have relatives who think that because I am a Christian, because I am a conservative, and because I am a pastor, then-therefore I must be a racist bigot.  They hear NPR and watch CNN and hear the words of Jenifer Palmieri as she attacks the Trump Campaign and Kellyanne Conway for running a campaign supported by “White Supremacists,” and then the average viewer of that CNN program (or listener of NPR) forms an opinion about Christians and the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ.

Satan’s strategy has driven my family members to the far left, and they don’t listen to anything Christians have to say about the GOSPEL because their views have been shaped by the media.  And so when Christians and secularists (especially family) get together, or talk on the phone there is an explosion of vitriol against White Nationalism and Racism, and Christians become the Straw-man to knock down, unjustifiably so.

What can we Christians do about it? First, draw near to Jesus.  Second, separate yourself from the “Alt-Right” and White Nationalism.  It is one step short of Nazism.  It is not the vision of the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ.

The GOSPEL of Jesus: is “good news,” that Jesus is  KING of the Universe and He has come to save us.  Salvation in Jesus means two things: saved from the consequences of sin and hell; and saved to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ that is eternal in heaven.  And therefore Jesus Commissions Christians to, “Go make disciples of all nations…”

All Nations: the word in the Great Commission translated as “nations” is the word “ethnos” meaning “ethnic groups.”  The vision of Jesus is multi-ethnic, people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.  The Christian vision levels the playing field, gets rid of racism, and unifies people instead of dividing people (conversely, White Nationalism, the “Alt-Right” and the Left are dividing our nation).

The Christian vision was that of a Jewish man who walked on water, healed people, forgave people, died for the world, and raised from the dead.  And His vision is that His message would spread from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and the outermost ends of the earth.

The “Alt-Right” and White Nationalism is incompatible with Jesus’ vision.

May you separate yourself from anti-GOSPEL “Alt-Right” ideology and instead, draw near to Jesus.

GOSPEED

 

 

The Alt-Right is not Christian 

The leftist media is attacking Christians, wrongly. Case in point is the following article by NPR. It talks about White Nationalists coming out of the woods in Montana and moving to White Fish, MT. And the media wrongly associates White Nationalism with Christianity.
To explain the article, let me first define White Nationalism and the Alt-Right. White Nationalism is a step away from Neo-Nazism. The idea is European Culture is superior and is the basis of the founding principles of America. And more specifically that white culture can only be preserved by white people. It is essentially racism. And I STRONGLY CONDEM this perspective. White Nationalism and the Alt-Right is NOT Christian. If you associate yourself with the Alt-Right and White Nationalism, you do not understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You do not understand that it is God’s vision to bring together people from every tribe, tongue, nation, and ethnic group to make a new, united people under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Gospel does NOT exclude any race. The Gospel lifts up every race as equal. And the Gospel brings races together in unity.
Now, where the article goes wrong is the journalist Kirk Siegler says in a condescending tone, “Billboards are covered with the 10 Commandments instead of advertisements…and Christian radio floods the airwaves” as if Christians are associated with or responsible for the Alt-Right and White Nationalism.

Separate the two. Separate them. Christianity is not White Nationalism. This is the leftist media’s attempt to knock down Christians by confusing the matter, skewing truth, and associating (wrongly) Christians with evil.

[listen here – http://www.npr.org/2016/11/29/503620409/in-montana-an-unease-over-extremist-views-moving-out-of-the-woods ]

What is happening here? The Left and Media hates the morality of Christians and the Bible. And therefore the Left becomes fascistic in its attempt to condemn Christians along with outlier groups (I.e., the Alt-Right and White Nationalism is not a large percentage). So if you are a Christian who thought that it was good to be Alt-Right and now realize being Alt-Right is just short of Nazism and White Nationalism, I implore you to repent, live the Gospel, and become a unifying force by being Jesus to the world.

GODSPEED

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Feeling Trumped?

Well, it’s officially been called, it’s almost midnight.  But this election is a shocker, if you’ve listened to the media.

I was watching CBS the whole time, they seemed beside themselves, disappointed, shocked, exacerbated, but their analysis (in my humble opinion) of why Trump won is wrong.  They claimed racism and backwards people coming out of the woodwork from back country America.  I disagree.  It was not racist people, but people who feel the left has morally hijacked our media, education system, children, college students, and almost our whole nation.  I think the enthusiasm for Trump is he possibly will reverse the immoral decisions made by the Supreme Court by electing Justices who are conservative.  

What does the future hold? Who knows.

GODSPEED 

As a Christian, who should I vote for, 2016?

Who should we vote for?

In one sense, the answer is very complicated.  In another sense, the answer is straightforward.  I will begin with the straightforward answer and then get into the weeds if you choose to indulge.

The Straightforward Answer:

As Theologian Wayne Grudem has pointed out when both candidates are corrupt and morally reprehensible, then one needs to vote for the party platform he or she believes in.  Since ideas have consequences, and since the ideas of the left are largely not in agreement with Biblical Christianity, and since the ideas of the right and largely compatible with Biblical Christianity, then a Christian should vote for the party platform and candidate on the right (especially when justices are given so much power in this country to change the course of history).

The following is Wayne Grudem’s assessment:

“Once I put the choice in those stark terms, there is a good way to make a decision. Since I find both candidates morally objectionable, I am back to the old-fashioned basis on which I have usually decided how to vote for my entire life: Whose policies are better? Do I agree more with Trump’s policies or with Clinton’s?

“It isn’t even close. I overwhelmingly support Trump’s policies and believe that Clinton’s policies will seriously damage the nation, perhaps forever. On the Supreme Court, abortion, religious liberty, sexual orientation regulations, taxes, economic growth, the minimum wage, school choice, Obamacare, protection from terrorists, immigration, the military, energy, and safety in our cities, I think Trump is far better than Clinton (see below for details).” – Wayne Grudem 

Keep in mind, like Grudem I despise Trump.  I believe he is one of the worst candidates the Repiblicans have ever put forward.  But the Republican platform is one of th  best in decades.  I do not fully trust Trump, he has made racist remarks and has degraded women.  Does this mean he’s a racist? A chauvinist? From the heart the mouth speaks.  Can he be forgiven? Is he pliable? Sure.  Has he asked for forgiveness, not completely.  He asks forgiveness halfway or not at all and makes his supporters defend the indefensible.  Hence the #neverTrump movement.

Does he believe the things he has said?  Or is he simply a fool without self-control of the tongue? This is where we begin to get into the weeds and realize the answer is not straightforward for the Christian voter.  Not to mention Hillary will actually undermine the constitution and our nation will spin further from the vision of our founders.  
The Weeds:

I have watched, read, and listened to everything I can get my hands on in the past year from CNN to Real Clear Politics, to Ben Shapiro and Michael Medved to Fareed Zakaria, to National Public Radio and the BBC.  And here is my conclusion: to vote for Clinton is to vote for someone who is likely a legitimate criminal.  

Here is the case against her:

She either made intentional decisions to put a server in her basement to hide correspondence with officials to sell secrets to communicate under the radar in a way so as to conspire and hide information from her political opponents and the American public; or she is plain stupid, ignorant, incompetent; or she could be both.  

Based on what FBI director Comey said in early July 2016, at minimum she was careless/reckless and should not be trusted with national secrets (based on that alone she should have had charges made against her).

Now, the evidence seems to suggest there was intent, on her part, to be deceptive and that there was a cover up involving more than Clinton, potentially POTUS (at minimum the DOJ). Why would she have her aides “wipe” 30,000 emails unless she had something to hide? Why did she claim to have 1 maybe 2 devices that she used in relation to her private server, and later it was discovered there were 13 devices, most of which she destroyed? (She lied) This points to intent.  Not to mention the new revelation of 650,000 email communications on Weiner’s laptop, a laptop that belonged to Hillary’s top aide, Huma Abedin.  Were they all from Hillary or about Hillary? No. But appetently FBI director Comey saw something of significance to cause him to write a letter to congress to inform them that he was re-opening the case concerning her emails (and as of today, update – sounds like July decision is upheld: careless but no evidence of intent – except “bleach bit” – look it up).

This is a big deal, even though not indicted.  Why? Because the evidence points in the direction that she should be.

From Ben Shapiro’s perspective, the election is the opportunity for American voters to play the role of holding authority accountable.  If we elect Clinton into office, there is a real chance that she could be pardoned by Obama or even pardon herself once she became president.  Read that line again.  It came from a prosecutor interviewed on Fox News yesterday.  (Listen to Shaperio here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ben-shapiro-show/id1047335260?mt=2&i=377470182 ).

Why do you think the White House and Democrats are putting pressure on the resignation of FBI director Comey? Could it be Obama is included in these emails? I had a personal conversation with a close friend who worked in the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s office.  I asked him 18 months ago about the emails.  He almost had a canned response, “Everyone in D.C.’s doing it.  If she goes down, 1/3 of D.C. Politicians could go down with her.” Interesting.  So curruption is widespread and condoned privately in D.C.? This doesn’t mean we should ignore what she did.  Instead, clean up Washington.

I have read that Obama wrote Hillary several emails under a pseudonym according to Wikileaks.  So the President seems to have a vested interest (as does Loretta Lynch, who just happened to have a 37 minute private meeting with Bill Clinton in July just a day or so before Comey dismissed the email charges in early July – Lynch’s meeting with Bill was on a private plane, indicating he went out of his was to intercept her at the airport.  Oh, he just happened to land at the same airport Lynch was at.  It just happened to happen.  Like they bumped into each other in the hall).  So the President and DOJ have a vested interest in making sure the email investigation gets buried.  What are they hiding?

This is not an America influenced by Judeo-Christian values.  If Obama or Clinton claim to be Christian, they have obviously not read the New Testament.  Or at least they don’t understand it.

What about Trump:

I don’t like how bombastic he is.  He definitely seems to not know the Bible either.  I dislike his rhetoric about minorities and women, especially the Hispanic community.  But I had a conversation with three of my Hispanic friends in the past 36 hours.  They are for Trump.  One said, “I like the party platform and I think Trump is pliable.”  The other said, “His speech about people from Mexico coming over to America is mostly true.  Trump is just telling it like it is.  As a Mexican American, I don’t want to offend people, but hey, Trump is telling the truth.”  The third is an independent who realizes how bad a Clinton presidency would be and wrote about the dangers of Clinton taking office:

This causes me to pause.  I don’t want my half-brother thinking I’m a racist for voting for Trump.  But I also don’t want a corrupt criminal in office who literally will forever change America away from Judeo-Christian values, which in the long run will take away my freedoms as a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Based on the above, especially considering my Hispanic friends’ perspective, there is a case you can be for Trump and not support his rhetoric and not yourself be considered a racist. 

Ideas have consequences.  Progressivism is destroying our country.  It is time to conserve the principles our nation was founded on. 

I would vote third party, but realistically that is a vote for Clinton and progressivism. 

What to do!?! 

Pray, hold my breath, and vote for the Repiblican Party Platform? It is a risk either way, but a Clinton presidency will continue to drift us from Judeo-Christian values into progressive relativism and the social ills that follow.  As Ben Shapiro put it you, the voter, can play a role to hold the DOJ and justice system accountable by your vote.  For me, I will vote for the RNC party platform as much as my conscience will allow.  Regarding Trump, I still need to pray on it. 

GODSPEED 

America, learn from Israel

Is this a message for America?

Deuteronomy 8:11-20 “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.”
Don’t forget God who created you and who created your ability to work hard and reap the rewards.  May we worship Him weekly in community, worship Him daily by our lifestyle. 

GODSPEED

The “Alt- Right” and Conservativism 

The “Alt-Right” is not Right Wing Conservativism.  For clarity listen to this pod-cast by Ben Shapiro.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ben-shapiro-show/id1047335260?mt=2
The Left, lead by Clinton, is framing the debate to make true conservatives look racist and bigoted (read these two CNN articles).

Clinton aims to reframe 2016 debate

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/26/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-alt-right/index.html 

Clinton: Trump campaign built on ‘prejudice and paranoia’

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/25/politics/hillary-clinton-alt-right-speech-donald-trump-kkk/index.html
My conclusion, we have a Democrat running as a Democrat, we have a Democrat running as a Republican.  The Liberatarian and Green Party candidates are also Democrats.   So really the “Alt-Right” should be labeled “Alt-Left”.  So our nation has been sacked no matter what happens.

Effective Evangelism: Reaching to the Past- Joel Comiskey Group

The following is a great blog I received from Joel Comiskey:

Effective Evangelism: Reaching to the Past- Joel Comiskey Group
Effective Evangelism: Reaching to the Past
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By Pastor Rob Campbell, http://www.cypresscreekchurch.com
In 2000, George Hunter wrote The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West…Again. This epic book on evangelism is known for its Celtic Model that is contrasted with the all familiar Roman Model. In brief, the Roman Model of Evangelism entails three steps: Presentation, Decision, and Fellowship. The Celtic Model of Evangelism is as follows: Fellowship; Ministry and Conversations, Belief, Invitation to Commitment. Regarding new converts to the faith, Hunter reflects upon John Finney’s research which states “belonging comes before believing” (Hunter, 2000, p. 54). “Evangelism is now about helping people to belong so that they can believe” (Hunter, p. 55).
Notice the vast difference from the “Roman” model expressed in this evangelism methodology. The first goal of the Celtic Christians was to establish a “common-union” with others. This meant bringing the “barbarians” or pagans into the community of faith. Next, in the context of this fellowship, conversations would evolve. These conversations were dialogical in nature. The not-yet believing individual witnessed how believers would pray and worship. They would be exposed to the love within the Christian community and the vivacious, life-giving flow of ministry to and with one another. He or she would experience “God showing up” through actual miracles. In God’s time, they were ready to wholeheartedly commit to Jesus Christ.
An emphasis on Colossians 4:2-6 is at hand. These verses teach that evangelism and prayer are intertwined. The Apostle Paul is encouraging the church in Colossae to pray. “Don’t forget to pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to preach about his secret plan—that Christ is also for you Gentiles” (Colossians 4:3, New Living Testament). I see a connection between the mission of St. Patrick and Paul in this plea for prayer. A Christ-follower’s witness depends on prayer, the Holy Spirit, and becoming an available vessel for the Lord to use. Jesus modeled prayerful dependence upon the Father during His earthly ministry.
Reaching to the past, author George Hunter shows how people might come to know Jesus Christ. He encourages the reader to shed the Roman Model of Evangelism and embrace the methodology of St. Patrick. He encourages Christ-followers to let honest seekers come, see, and experience the community of faith with no qualifiers. History proclaims that this manner of evangelism changed the world. It can happen again.