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So-called “evangelicals” supporting hatred and racism are hypocrites

Okay. Most of the time journalists function as gatherers and distributors of facts and information. I’ve known the routine since the 70s and practice diligently.

At a certain point, we move beyond that initial rim of informers, and position ourselves to assume the responsibility of analysts and responsible commentators.

Through radio, television, print, digital or social platforms, seasoned journalists are able to convey perspectives. Those who are given the privilege, those at the highest level of efficacy, do so with a great sense of responsibility.

No matter how strong you feel about a person, place or thing, no matter how persuaded you are about a particular point of view, those with pride in their craft are driven to substantiate their position with more than personal feelings.

It is with a great deal of consternation that I approach our subject today. I am constantly inundated with readers who share with me how much they enjoy this column. Their comments are professionally and personally gratifying.

What’s more important is, they do not hesitate to let me know that they frequently take issue with or flat out disagree with the opinions or perspectives that I convey in my writing. I appreciate their honesty and assure them it is not important to me that I have consensus.

What is more important to me is that I am able to ground my position in substance beyond personal prerogatives. I would rather be able to substantiate an argument and have no one express agreement, then to seek a popular stance that people cling to without reason.

I’m not a politician looking for votes. I’m not a fundraiser looking for contributions. I’m not a ministry looking to be a congregation. I offer no product for which I am seeking sales. I am simply a journalist, intending to explore avenues of truth no matter where they take me.

It was shocking to see polls this week that revealed in Iowa, where the first votes of every presidential campaign are cast, “45” holds a commanding 51-percent support base among those in that state who identify as “evangelicals.”

How can a campaign driven by hatred gain a foothold among those who claim to believe in a doctrine of love. Giving the greatest of the Commandments, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus identifies neighbors as virtually everyone, meaning prejudice and racism would be antithetical to His teachings. And yet this is the evil foundation on which the Republican frontrunner’s cult-like campaign is built. This is the height of hypocrisy. Such so-called evangelicals should be ashamed.

Allow me to conclude, borrowing the wisdom of Minister Tom Bastress of Grace Bible Church of Indianapolis:

“Believing in the Gospel should always lead to living out the Gospel. When our lives don’t reflect the realities of the Gospel, something is wrong. Based on what we read in Scripture, the Gospel has tremendous implications for how we as Christians love our neighbor and respond to prejudice, oppression, and racial reconciliation in our current cultural context.

“What this looks like will be different for each believer and congregation. There will be differences of opinion as to the strategies and tactics that each believer and church should employ to address these issues. In some cases, believers and churches should work to alleviate the hurt, that is, to treat the consequences of poverty, prejudice, racism and oppression.

“This may involve volunteering, donating, tutoring or leaning into hard conversations with our neighbor. In other cases, believers and churches should act to directly address poverty, prejudice, racism and oppression. This may involve peaceful protesting, contacting politicians, mentoring and confronting prejudice within our own circles. What we choose to do requires wisdom and discernment. But, do something we must.”

This is the gospel.

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].

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