The New Christian Front

Published: July 12, 2022

By Jim Lichtman
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Photograph: José Luis Magaña/AP

Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, The New York Times reported, told supporters at a recent rally. “My campaign has no place for hate, bigotry and intolerance. . . .”

“Intolerance towards men is always reprehensible. But often times intolerance is provoked by injudicious and erroneous policies.”

While the first statement was made by Mastriano, the second statement comes from Father Charles Coughlin, the Catholic priest from Michigan who appealed to tens of millions in the 1930s suffering from the depression. Coughlin’s particular brand of fire and brimstone was less about the Bible and more about politics, and his social media weapon of choice was radio.

“This is a Christian country,” Coughlin intoned,” and I look forward to the day. . . when there would be five million marching under the banner of a Christian Front. . . .

Coughlin’s “ecumenism of discontent” is on the rise again, as extremists tightly clutch to any conspiracy, any disinformation that validates their fear of losing their place in America.

The far-right Christian base is the new Christian Front, and today’s go-to prophet resides in Mar-a-Lago whose Svengali-like hold over political acolytes is growing.

Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert recently spoke to a crowd at a Christian center saying, “The church is supposed to direct the government, the government is not supposed to direct the church. I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.” She received a standing ovation.

While I don’t claim to be an expert on the Bible, I frequently consult it enough to recognize that Boebert is not sufficiently up on the word of God to know His stance on church and state.

“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17).

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.” (Romans 13:1-7)

Jesus was never around when the AR-15 was invented but he said, “All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matt. 26:52)

He wasn’t around when Donald Trump became a reckless political force, but he did speak of those like him.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s. clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7:15) “…by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:11-14).

He spoke of disinformation.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:19).

Proverbs 12:22 — “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy” — and in Proverbs 25:1: “Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow,” He counseled.

He warned of those who betray.

“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:3-8). “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

In The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus clearly laid out to his followers the fundamentals and what all of us should observe.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Those are the words that transcend conspiracies, disinformation, and political party. Those are the precepts we need to hold in our hearts and heads. If we are ever to get past division in this country we must be willing to have an open mind to facts and truth.

“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32).

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