The clash of self-righteousness

Of all the things poisoning our public discourse these days, I think the one that irritates me the most is the assumption—by people on both sides of our political divide—that we and our side (whichever side we stand on) are morally superior because of the policy positions we take. This is of course accompanied by denigration (sometimes sliding to contemptuous mockery) of the other side’s claims to moral superiority. This is, I think, just one more example of the human desire to look down on other people; it’s the use of dogmatic self-righteousness as a justification for arrogance and pride (which is why it so often goeth before a fall). The truth is, if you select a group based on any normal human characteristic—by their job, college, age, gender, pick one—you’ll find saints and knaves both, and a lot of pretty mediocre people in between, in a typical distribution; selecting by political persuasion is no different. Confusing Republicans for Christians or Democrats for right-thinking people (or the flip side of that) is nothing more than wishful thinking.

Of course, I would like to be able to say that the church is an exception to that typical distribution. In some places, it no doubt is. In America, in far too many places, it isn’t. It ought to be, but it isn’t. We must grieve our Lord something fierce; and yet, in spite of everything, Jesus loves the church.

You say that you believe in us—at times, I wonder why . . .

Posted in Church and ministry, Culture and society, Politics, Religion and theology.

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