CNN recently published quite an interesting article about contemporary Christian music. As a pastor and long-time worship director, a secular news station turning its eye toward the Christian music industry like a woke Sauron had all the trappings of a read I enjoy. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
The article can be summarized as CNN’s lame attempt to use Christianity as a means to “blue pill” influential Christian musicians, while forcefully claiming to be doing nothing of the sort.
John the Baptist, CNN Correspondent
CNN cannot wrap its mind around the fact that influential contemporary Christian music (CCM) artists have no desire to use their platform to critique Trump and promote liberal presidential candidates. Thus, CNN is using its platform to manipulate CCM artists into doing so. However, John Blake, this article’s author, does not have the foresight to notice that what he sees as being the destination of this path he has taken is actually only a pit-stop. And the true destination circles back to him…
Singer Tauren Wells told Blake that he does not criticize Trump because he does not believe it is his place as a Christian to attack those in power. Rather, he wants to show respect to all political leaders. Blake tries to prod those who think this way into anti-Trump activism by (rightly) reminding them that many Christians have righteously criticized those in power. However, the examples Blake utilizes do not help his cause.
“The Bible is filled with examples of prophets who spoke truth to those in power. John the Baptist lost his head because he confronted an unjust ruler.”
John the Baptist, eh? Is he our example now? What exactly did John the Baptist lose his head over? Condemning Herod’s sexual promiscuity. Certainly, that applies to Donald Trump, and Christians who push his sexual sins aside glibly are confronted by John’s example. But here is the problem for CNN: would not John the Baptist also have something to say about democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg and his “husband?” Remember, John the Baptist went after a sexual relationship which was between “two loving, committed, consenting adults.” CNN would be giddy to cast Christians as bigots the moment they tried to go all John the Baptist on mayor Pete were he to become our first sodomite president. But he would be a fornicator of another kind, specifically a liberal kind, so CNN would respectfully demand Christians cease and desist from holding our magistrate to biblical values. But Buttigieg is a Christian, you say? He thinks his lifestyle is biblically approved, doesn’t he? One has to wonder if those over at CNN would allow Christians to distort and twist the Bible to make it justify any of Trump’s behavior. If Mayor Pete is allowed to twist Scripture to justify his homosexuality, why can’t the same textual aerobics class be open to Donald Trump?
Tauren Wells was singled out in this article for his refusal to ridicule Trump, but I have scoured the internet and cannot find even one CNN published article criticizing Lauren Daigle for not pulling a John the Baptist when asked about homosexuality. It appears only republican sins deserve to be castigated. Whether it be condemning unbiblical sexual standards like homosexuality, transgenderism, or sex outside of marriage, or whether it be political values like not stealing from the rich, or not murdering babies, the Left desires we keep our mouths and our Bibles closed the moment anyone but Donald Trump is the object of our criticism.
CNN does not care about biblical values. CNN cares about Trump. This is the same CNN that aired an anti-religion ad during the Democratic National Debate mind you. CNN has three rules for Christians in America:
- Keep your religion out of our politics!
- Separation of church and state!
- When Donald Trump is president, ignore rules 1&2.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Not only did the article ironically utilize John the Baptist, it dug the hole even deeper by appealing to Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK).
“And some of the 20th Century’s most revered Christian leaders — The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer — lost their lives because they refused to obey earthly authorities.”
Bonhoeffer certainly fits the bill. He is an example of Christians righteously opposing unjust political leaders. However, is MLK supposed to be our standard for sacrificing oneself in order to stand up to earthly authorities? His example might be noble, but the problem for CNN is that by his very standard, MLK would be one of those earthly authorities we are supposed to stand up against.
If there is any person in recent history that could make Donald Trump blush in a promiscuity contest, it was the sexual adulterer MLK. Martin Luther King Jr. assisted in raping a woman and cheated on his wife regularly. Again, where is CNN’s outrage over the silence in the Christian music industry? Would CNN give the green-light to Taurin Wells or Mandisa or Lauren Daigle to protest the celebration of a serial adulterer and rapist every MLK day? What would John the Baptist have to say about MLK?
Also, Martin Luther King was not even a Christian as he denied one of the most basic, foundational, historic Christian beliefs: the deity of Christ. It seems MLK and Donald Trump have much more in common than we thought. But CNN only cares about the sins of one of those men.
To the Left, to the Left
Trying to camouflage the propaganda in Christian neutrality, the article essentially identifies its thesis by quoting the liberal Jim Wallis (founder and editor of the radical left Sojourners),
“‘CCM stars don’t have to tell listeners to become Democrats,’ Wallis says. ‘Instead, he says, they should pin their message to the example of Jesus’ life. Don’t go left. Don’t go right,’ he says. ‘Go deeper.'”
Apparently Jesus was a rich white liberal like Jim Wallis…
The content of the article proves that while the secularists at CNN claim to be taking Christian musicians deeper, they are simply trying to push them-to quote a prophet of their own-“to the left, to the left.”
They are not telling them to be Democrats (wink wink, elbow nudge elbow nudge).
Political Issues are Moral Issues
While the 2×4 is smashed on all sides due to the many missed swings, there was one nail hit right on the head…
The article makes the point that Christianity cannot be entirely dislocated from the political arena. As Christian musicians (along with Christians of all vocations) are increasingly trying to “not be political,” the article attempts to dissuade them from the notion that all things political ought to be avoided by moral people, because after all,
“These issues aren’t just political, they’re moral.”
This is entirely true. In fact, it should actually be stated the other way around. Rather, we should be telling people “These issues aren’t just moral, they’re political.” The truth of the matter is that the Bible has been proclaiming morality long before there was an America to be polarized. The problem today is not so much with Christians being too political or not political enough, the problem is politicians and voters are not being moral enough. As Douglas Wilson so pointedly put it,
“Abortion and sodomy were sins long before they were constitutional rights. If a minister preached against them a thousand years ago, he was preaching against moral failings, and he was not being political. He was being public, but not political. When I do it, I am preaching against moral failings too, but I am also being political. What changed? It wasn’t the Decalogue. It wasn’t the history of the church or the history of preaching. It wasn’t the nature of the Gospel. It wasn’t me. Rather, it was the nature of the idol being challenged-and this idol aspires to omnipresence. We are told ad nauseam to keep our morality out of politics. It would be more appropriate to tell the idolmongers to keep their politics out of morality. Public morality need not be a matter of the legislator. But if the legislature concerns itself with everything, then any faithful Christian expression will immediately be concerned with the political” (Empires of Dirt, 208-209).
Christians, churches, and Christian musicians simply cannot avoid being political since Christianity is in fact naturally political. You cannot believe in the Jesus who claims to be the King of kings and Lord of lords, but then expect the kings and lords under Him to pretend His reign has no repercussions. If Jesus has authority over political leaders, then Christianity cannot be apolitical. CNN is hypocritical in application, but is right on this point. To quote Wilson again,
The message of Christ is about deliverance from sin and death. But do sin and death remain internally located in each individual soul, or do sin and death ever come out? Do sin and death ever shape the polis? When people sin in three dimensions, and they demand that the throne be established on unrighteousness, and they frame iniquity with a law, and they say that a woman can have her child dismembered in the womb as a constitutional right, does the church, with its message of sin and death, have anything to say about all this sin and death?” (Empires of Dirt, 119).
And since I have quoted his book twice, perhaps the best way to end this is to recommend his book in the topic of how Christianity interacts with the government. I encourage all to read Douglas Wilson’s Empires of Dirt.