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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|I am a huge fan of C.S. Lewis', as long-time readers of this blog know. Not only did he possess an amazing gift for story-telling, but his wit and wisdom in defense of Christianity are remarkable tools that every serious Christian should familiarize themselves with.|
In 1941 Lewis wrote a book called The Screwtape Letters, in which he "publishes" a mythical series of correspondences between Screwtape, a master demon, and his nephew Wormwood, who is a demon apprentice assigned to tempt one human into damnation. It is full of Lewis' trademark wit, healthily sprinkled with some remarkably spot-on observations of the human condition.
Tell me, does this excerpt from Letter #23 seem to have some relevance today:
About the general connection between Christianity and politics, our position is more delicate. Certainly we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow over into their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster. On the other hand we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything--even to social justice. [emphasis mine] The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice.
What was it that Barack Obama, the candidate, said about his church:
. . .you know, I think that the American people understand that when I joined Trinity United Church of Christ, I was committing not to Pastor Wright, I was committing to a church and I was committing to Christ. And it is a wonderful church. It's a member of the United Church of Christ, a denomination that dates back to the battles around abolition. It has lived out, I think the, the social gospel by dealing with poverty and providing shelter to the homeless and, and working on critical issues that make me very proud. . . .
But what I think he didn't recognize was that, that the very things that our church has advocated for--social justice, dealing effectively with issues like poverty--that those are the issues that are stake--at stake right now.
And so the gospel of "social justice" supplants the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And, despite Lewis' warning, the American Christian community bought into that message, at least a little bit:
On one key measure that has hurt Democrats before — the God or religion gap — Obama made up ground. He won 43% of weekly churchgoers to McCain's 55%. Not great, but an improvement over John Kerry taking 39% of that vote to George Bush's 61%.
Among voters who attend church more than once a week, Obama narrowed a 29-point Republican advantage in 2004 (64 percent to 35%) to a 12-point Republican advantage edge (55 percent to 43%).
I don't know if this reflects incredible naivete on the part of Americans, or if it is simply an inevitable, cyclical event like global warming and economic downturns. Lewis may have been writing about this because 1941 Britain was going through a cycle just like America is today.
I don't know the answer. What I do know is that, looking at the empty cathedrals all across Europe, it worries me--if we are just beginning a cycle they've already been through, the results could end up the same in America.
Or maybe Wormwood is just doing his job.
And that would bad. We would ALL need Lewis' sense of humor to survive.
But it is funny that Lewis