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In response to the 'Hymn for the 81%'

February 03, 2020

Proverbs 15:1 contains some of the greatest wisdom written in the Bible.  It says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

I write this in response to the article written about South Bend, Indiana worship leader Daniel Deitrich's hymn, written about his anger toward Evangelicals who have supported Donald Trump.  More specifically, his objection and anger are aimed at "white evangelicals" referring to them as the "81%." 

On the one hand, the right to challenge and speak out for or against institutions, people groups, and the events of the day is one of the most foundational rights of being an American citizen and is the essence of the First Amendment to the Constitution.  Agreement on the issues of the day should never be a condition to gather under the same roof of a church, denomination, or segment of religious America. 

Where I do draw a line is when an individual chooses to paint an entire segment of faith with the same brush or in a light that simply isn't true.  And certainly, news agencies should be held to an even higher standard when printing accusations that have no factual basis.  From the article: "The lyrics accuse Trump evangelicals of 'putting kids in cages, ripping mothers from their babies and weaponiz[ing] religion.'"  This crosses the line between opinion or belief and what is factually true.  On this point I do take issue, first with this set of false accusations, all having been debunked and proven as "fake news."  Second, I am disappointed that the writer of the article did not challenge a single assertion. 

As believers, we are not going to agree on every issue or every candidate, and there is nothing wrong with that.  The congregations I pastor are diverse culturally and politically, and I have only four charges I give each election season: pray, fast, register to vote, and vote your faith.  That's a roof we can all worship under together as we lift up the name of Jesus and the message of salvation.  But I do challenge the entire Body of Christ with this: there will be those who write articles like this, not to define the different parts of the Body of Christ, but to divide us.  Let's agree to believe the best about each other, and not to assume or attach motives to another whose shoes we have not walked in and whose eyes we have not seen through.  Let's allow love to guard our speech, our actions, and our response to those who see the world differently from how we do.

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