In general, I find blame to be a pretty useless category. Assigning blame seldom moves a discussion or a relationship ahead. It simply closes doors.
When we think of responsibility, however, we can easily ask, Who is responsible for the next step in the right direction?
I’m afraid Trump and the Republicans have been making it very difficult for me to avoid thinking in terms of blame. Just when I think I cannot stand being so negative any longer, they do or say something which seems completely inexcusable and I get suckered back into blame.
A large part of the problem for me is that it seems to me they have worked themselves into an inescapable corner and I cannot see the way out for them. I cannot see who is responsible for doing what. The party and their leader, so far as I am able to see, are so hopelessly entangled in a huge series of falsehoods and perfectly terrible values that I simply see no hope for them.
Trapped as I am for the time being in blaming, I need to be very clear about one thing. I do not believe Trump or the Republicans bear the deepest share of the blame. I believe the church is to blame, especially the very conservative church which has lost the ability to distinguish between conservative theology and conservative politics. It is beyond my ability to comprehend how a person can claim to love Jesus yet approve of being led by a person who — to me — so very obviously exemplifies the spirit of the AntiChrist.
To point out just one example of the failure of the church, let me mention earthkeeping. In Genesis we are told that God created the heavens and the earth, then created us in his own image and entrusted the earth to our dominion or rule.
The obvious principle here is that we are to treat the earth as does the Lord because we are to be like him. What is the godly (shorthand for “God-like”) way to treat the earth? First lesson: In the beginning the earth was chaos and God brought order (Genesis 1). Second lesson: All was harmonious (Genesis 2) until the disruption brought by humankind (Genesis 3). Third lesson: God is moving us toward the day when the lion and the lamb will again be in harmony (Isaiah 11 and 65).
Biblical Christians, it seems, are most in harmony with God when they are participating in this movement from chaos to harmony and are quite out of tune with him when they are disruptive of earthly harmony. Denying climate change, burning more fossil fuels (especially coal), allowing the irresponsible dumping of toxic materials into our streams — all of these strike me as being directly opposed to our biblical responsibilities as caretakers on the planet which the Creator entrusted to our care without granting us permission to abuse it all we like in the name of greed and selfishness.
Let me say again what I’ve said often before: I believe Ronald Reagan was as bad as any president we have had since the Civil War. He deregulated our business/finance world and we’ve been in chaos ever since. And he almost completely stopped our progress toward renewable energy and we’ve been in chaos ever since. And the conservative Christians love his memory!
So I believe the greatest blame rests with us Christians for failing to be a biblical people. But — at last something positive! — I also believe that, because of the grace and the power of God, we can be and are responsible for calling humankind back to love and joy and peace, to good stewardship of the earth, and to choosing leaders who reflect Christlikeness of character, such as integrity, compassion, justice and equality.
Let’s get to work! Quickly!