The least controversial thing in the world should be a major Christian magazine calling for the removal of a president who has been impeached for abusing his office by attempting to extort a world leader for personal gain and then obstructing Congress by trying to cover up his actions, right? Well, not so fast, my friend.
When Christianty Today’s outgoing editor-in-chief, Mark Galli, published his editorial calling for President Donald Trump’s removal by the Senate, the response was swift and hysterical. Trump tweeted that the magazine, founded by Billy Graham in 1956, was a “far left magazine.” Two-hundred conservative evangelicals tripped over themselves to add their names to a letter published by rival magazine, Christian Post, attacking Mr. Galli’s op-ed and defending the president, which prompted the Christian Post’s editor-in-chief, Napp Nazworth, to resign in protest.
Well, then – controversy, we have.
All of which got me thinking about mammon.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says, “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Merriam-Webster defines mammon as “material wealth or possessions especially as having a debasing influence,” and the context in which Jesus used the word was a warning against the sin of greed – greed of money, greed of influence, greed of power.
Trump has a different take on greed. He’s a big fan. During the GOP primary in 2016, at a rally in Iowa, he famously bragged, “My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy. I’ve grabbed all the money I could get. I’m so greedy. But now I want to be greedy for the United States. I want to grab all that money. I’m going to be greedy for the United States.” And this is the deception that conservative evangelicals use to justify aligning themselves with a false prophet. He will be greedy for us. He will give us what we want. We can serve two masters.
Power is the mammon that conservative evangelicals have fallen victim to, and when they serve their greed for power, they are not serving God. Jerry Falwell founded his Moral Majority in 1979, and, in doing so, conservative evangelicals decided to sell out the Beatitudes for a culture war. They began raging about abortion, homosexuality and secular schools and abandoned the plight of the poor, the sick and the stranger.
In fact, they have done much worse than abandon those that Christ commanded us to serve. For 40 years, they have actively worked against them, seeking power and influence within a Republican Party that blames the poor for their poverty, champions a health care system that profits off of the sick and is now led by a president that, at best, turns strangers away, and, at worst, imprisons them for daring to seek refuge in our country.
Jesus never said a word about abortion, gay rights or public education, but he had plenty to say about how we should treat the most vulnerable among us. Trading the welfare of “the least of these” for the appointment of a Supreme Court justice who would vote to overturn Roe V. Wade is not a trade Jesus would make.
In Romans 16:17, the apostle Paul writes, “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.”
Thank you, Mark Galli and Napp Nazworth, for speaking truth to power to the Pharisees who have forsaken the teachings of Christ to serve Donald J. Mammon.Steve Smith is a husband, father, artist, and progressive. He serves on the Executive Board of the Forsyth County Democratic Committee, www.forsythdems.org. Follow Steve on Twitter @FoCoSteve.