Reflections on the Washington D.C. Insurrection
What we witnessed last Wednesday was an attack on the institutions of United States democracy by the cult of personality. A cult of personality arises when an individual or group of people use techniques through mass media, social media, and the promulgation of misinformation to create an idealized, heroic, and worshipful image of a leader. Those caught up in a cult of personality often believe their leader is a second Jesus or savior and will use the veneer of piety to excuse the real life and death consequences of violent rhetoric and actions.
In his book, The Subversion of Christianity, Jacques Ellul notes that among other colluding forces which subvert the faith is the process of political perversion in which the grace of God is relinquished for the purpose of political power, wealth, and the ability to control others by seeking to legislate "God's laws" into human laws. In this surrendering of God's grace to power, the compassion of God has been replaced with the punishment of the state, and Jesus Christ replaced by the leader which is adored by the cult of personality.
Our participation in the political life of the nation is a matter of personal choice. However, let us not make the mistake of believing one party is favored by God over another party. That one presidential candidate is preferred by God over another. That one nation is elected by God over all the others. These beliefs are the product of Christianity's subversion, not the teachings of Christ.
We have heard the calls for unity. The very first step to unity is repentance for our personal roles in the continuing subversion of Christianity to violent political whims. Repentance calls upon us to strip ourselves of our political identities and ideology in the presence of God and ask the most primal of all human questions: "Who am I when my personas and masks are laid aside?" The good news of the authentic gospel is that grace is always a part of God's answer.
David K. Popham