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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Left and Right Religious Narratives

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Double standards in the press are not surprising.  Most of us are well aware of how they cover religious conservatives.  We’re always battling to find just the right person.  That narrative is based in fact.  We do debate endlessly about exactly what we want in our candidates.  And, of course, as the left-leaning press presents it we have these debates with a certain air of oppressive superiority.

Well now the left has their very own religious narrative.  Bernie Sanders is rising and he is…wait for it...Jewish.  So now, as in 2008, we have the battling “oppressed” minorities.  In 2008 it was women and African-Americans.  In 2016 it’s women and the Jews.  How in the world former first ladies and senators and Secretaries of State can be cast as oppressed is beyond me, but I am not of the left.  Bernie is a very particular kind of Jew as Hillary is a very particular kind of woman, but they can’t let that get in the way of a good narrative.

There is all sorts of commentary one could make about this juxtaposition of religious coverage as it relates to the election cycle.  I do find it fascinating that Christians debate and work hard to gain office while the left treats it like some sort of award, but that is not really the point I want to make in this piece.  The point I want to make is that the difference in coverage is so stark and so obvious that we should be able to overcome it.  If the election is swayed by these narratives, and not in our favor, then it is our own cotton-picking fault.

Two things seems abundantly clear to me.  Firstly, the more we engage, on the campaign trail, in “Evango-speak,” the more it is used against us.  I am not saying we should abandon our faith here, I am just saying that being a committed Christian does not have to involve inventing our own language and sounding like we are from some strange land.

The second point is that Christianity is really the ultimate narrative about overcoming oppression, it’s just not oppression based in ethnicity, religion, or gender.  It is, of course, oppression based in sin.  It is at the heart of the Christian message that oppression based on ethnicity or gender is wrong.  Jesus surrounded himself with women in leading roles – no other teacher of His time did that.  The Apostle Paul said, “There is neither Jew no Greek….” This is another sign of the Christian roots of this nation and all the good things it has done.

I am often dumbstruck by how we have allowed our opponents not to set up counter message, but to pervert our message.  The advance of same-sex marriage has been based on a narrative about oppression.  We treat it like it is counter to Christian thought, but it is not – it is Christian thought warped.  But because we tend to treat it as counter we create enemies where we should be making friends.  Making enemies just marginalizes us.

I am no expert at political messaging – it is an art form.  But I think this problem runs deeper than just messaging, somehow I think that if we really truly grasped Christianity (or should I say allowed it to truly grasp us) that the messaging problem would sort itself out.  I wonder how aware we really are of the oppression of sin in our lives and I wonder if we really do allow God to help us overcome it.


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