For years, Mike Pence has described himself thusly: “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican–in that order.” There is unending material in those few words, and one could, if one was so inclined, do an entire series of articles on them. For now, however, just a short post.
I’m convinced that “Christian First” is code for “I’m part of the no-abort/anti-LGBT portion of the tiny part of post-modern Christianity that exists primarily in American evangelical and fundamentalist churches, without any regard for the larger mainline American faith or the global community of those who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.”
Because, frankly, it can’t mean anything else.
“Christian first” ought to mean (but it doesn’t here) that you give to the poor, spread the Gospel among the needy, feed the homeless, and do all you can to alleviate the suffering of others while proffering the Good News of eternal life through the atonement of Jesus for the sins of the world.
“Christian first” ought to mean that in all your works, you show compassion, kindness, and love. In fact, on this Jesus was clear: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples–if you have love for one another.”
No one thinks that Donald Trump is a Christian. His entire life up to this very moment mitigates against any such thought. But Mike Pence has stated that he is a Christian first, and this blog is about Mike Pence. And so we ask, “In what way, Mr. Pence, are you a Christian first other than that you are opposed to all abortion and are against normalizing the civil rights of the LGBT community?”
Can we see your piety in your good works? Your church attendance? Your Bible study efforts? Do we see mission work? Self-sacrificial giving? Or do we hear words about the evils of abortion and same-sex marriage while you gleefully grasp the hand of a man unfit to hold any political office of any kind?
To be clear “Christian first” means and only means anti-abortion and anti-LGBT.
I am further convinced that “Conservative second,” as Mr. Pence calls himself, means and only means, “After the abortion and LGBT thing, I’m down with Republican fiscal policies, as in free trade, the minimum wage, and so forth, to be further explained by Donald Trump at his leisure.”
Of course, I can’t see into Mr. Pence’s brain. I can only surmise based on what we are all seeing day to day. This whole schtick about “Christian first, then conservative, then Republian,” is obviously code for What It Really Means, and what this part Really Means is:
“Third, I’m a Reagan Militarist.” Except it’s not Reagan anymore. It’s Trump. He’s taking Ronald Reagan’s tough-guy-pull-down-that-wall song and dance and singing the new Donald Trump tough-guy-put-up-that-wall stanza.
Same song, second verse. Little bit louder, little bit worse.
Reagan posited SDI. Trump posits nuclear war. Out loud. In public.
In the old days of the 1980’s, I got scare-messages in the snail-mail from Beverly LaHaye, attempting to terrify me into giving to “Concerned Women for America” (the girl-arm of Moral Majority) by telling me the Russians were going to nuke us and leave little piles of ashes where our babies had been playing if we didn’t put up SDI satellites to knock the nukes out of their fatal trajectories.
Now, “Republican third” Mike Pence has joined hands with the incoming POTUS who talks big about nuclear war, and wants lots of countries to be able to play along.
Whence his Americanism?
A Patriot would say, “American first, last, and only.” Can you, for example, even imagine Winston Churchill saying, “I’m agnostic first, a compassionate socialist second, and a Tory third”? You cannot. You can imagine only one thing: “I’m an Englishman first, an Englishman second and an Englishman third.” His half-Americanism notwithstanding, the Lion of England, the bulldog, the VOICE of Britain . . . oh, who am I kidding. Pence is no Churchill.
To be fair, no one is Churchill. But one should try, if one is going to be Vice President of these United States of America, to ditch the silly rhetoric of one’s radio talk-show days and put on AMERICANISM, first, last, and only.