Eric Metaxas on why pastors need to address politics, Black Lives Matter, and 'woke' Christianity
Ahead of an election he believes is “crucial” for the future of the American Church, Eric Metaxas has made a case for why Christians have a moral obligation to vote Republican this November — and why pastors need to boldly address political issues from the pulpit “before it’s too late.”
In an interview with The Christian Post on Aug. 25, Metaxas argued that evangelicals who suggest there are biblical reasons to vote for either party this election are “wrong” and “misreading current events.” The conservative author and radio host clarified that while agrees with the basic principle of “refusing to make an idol out of politics,” to say “you could vote for either candidate and it's OK is another thing.’”
“We’re not in a position where we can play that game,” the 57-year-old New York native warned. The Democratic Party of the past, he said, is a “whole other story than the dramatically radically left party of today,” pointing out that both Bill Clinton and John F. Kenney were “centrists” who understood that “big government can be a problem.”
“The Democratic Party today is in bed with cultural Marxism, whether overtly or by not calling it out,” he said. “If I believed the Joe Biden of today would be the Joe Biden of 30 years ago, we could have a conversation about that. But the idea that a man who is a husk of his former self and who will effectively be a frontman for what has become a dramatically radically left party — I think people should understand what that means for religious liberty and every kind of liberty.”
Metaxas pointed out that from “day one,” Biden vowed to sign the Equality Act, a move the conservative author believes will effectively “cripple religious liberty across America.”
“People don't seem to think that that kind of bad thing can happen in America because we've been so blessed with religious liberty and prosperity,” he said. “It’s important to understand that religious liberty is not a small thing; when the government gets involved and starts telling us what we can and cannot do, that's no different than the Nazi Party infiltrating churches and saying, ‘We're not going to allow you to preach the Gospel anymore. You have to Nazi-fy your doctrine, we don’t want you talking about the Jewishness of Jesus.’”
When Americans begin kowtowing to the government on big issues like sexuality, marriage, and issues of life, they’re no longer free, Metaxas stressed.
“If Biden is elected, he will immediately put in place those kinds of things,” he said. “It’s going to harm churches in a way that we've never imagined in America. If the church is harmed, the whole country suffers because the church is supposed to be God's hands in the world. I really believe that that is so crucial.”
The Democratic party has also made a “common cause” with “openly Marxist organizations” like Black Lives Matter and Antifa, Metaxas said — a fact that should “scare people if they really understood what that means.”
While the Democratic Party of the past said abortion should be “safe, legal and rare,” today’s party is “staunchly advocating for late-term abortion,” Metaxas argued.
“I remember when the Democrats had something to offer and we could have a dialogue,” he said. “But things have gotten so divided and the Democratic Party has rather cynically decided to lurch as far left as possible. You now have an entire party that no longer has pro-life candidates. I think it's tragic.”
Metaxas also criticized professing Christians for participating in Black Lives Matter protests or supporting the organization. Those who “truly care about the urban poor” and “really believe black lives matter” must reject the organization called Black Lives Matter and Antifa “because they are explicitly Marxist,” he contended.
“Americans need to understand just how dark a vision they present. They offer us utopia, but it’s like offering Heaven without the cross,” he said. “The problem is, they’re singing a song we haven’t yet heard in this country, so some of us are lured by it.”
Many young Christians, in particular, buy into “woke ideologies” because they don’t understand the basics of civics, of what it means to be an American, and why the United States is great, according to the popular talk show host.
“This country is not great because the blood running in American veins is better than the blood running in somebody else's veins,” he stressed. “It's great because of the ideas that the founders gave us of self-government. If you don't teach young people, that even though our founders were flawed people, they did some great things; if you are unwilling to recognize the greatness of what they did, you're simply being foolish. You're throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”
The Republican Party, he said, “created a system that was able to abolish slavery, abolish Jim Crow, and could give us a black president and a hero like Martin Luther King who, based on Christian principles, called those founding documents ‘promissory notes.’ He understood that these notes were great and we needed to fulfill them.”
Unfortunately, according to Metaxas, many schools are taken over by people with an “anti-American narrative or teachers unions that have a certain bias,” which, he said, “harms the whole nation.”
To hold to the belief that the United States is immune from descending into chaos is "foolish," Metaxas said, pointing out that other great nations have “taken turns in the wrong direction” — Nazi-era Germany — with devastating effects.
“People have to pray hard that we don't take that wrong turn because there's no reason that we shouldn't,” he warned. “It has to be the perfect storm; things going just right or just wrong. If circumstances are a certain way, nations can lurch horribly to tragedy. It’s vital that those of us who understand these parallels and these object lessons from history communicate this as much as we can.
“All we can do is pray and do what we can and leave it in God's hands. But I do know that we haven't taught this stuff for generations. So we shouldn't be surprised that young people in the United States are attracted to these things. They’ve not seen how wicked certain governments can be and how little freedom people can have. If they see that, they get a different perspective.”
Metaxas is the author of popular books like Amazing Grace, Miracles, and Bonhoeffer, and most recently, a series of humorous children’s books that includes Donald Drains the Swamp, Donald and the Fake News and Donald Builds the Wall.
“The Donald series is political humor in the form of a kids' book,” Metaxas said. “Most people need to laugh at some of what's happening, maybe because it is so serious. You need to know you're not crazy. I thought that by putting it in the form of these humor books, we’re able to celebrate a little bit of what is happening in a good way in the country because not everybody thinks the country is falling apart or falling under the sway of an authoritarian leader.”
Though the books are “funny,” they give people “permission to say, ‘I'm not the only person seeing what is happening,’” Metaxas said. “I think people who have been pro-Trump need something to celebrate with; often it's the left that creates the culture and the stories and that do the satire, and it's important that you get that from both sides.”
Acknowledging that many Christians find Trump distasteful, Metaxas offered the reminder that a “vote for Donald Trump is not necessarily a vote for Donald Trump; it’s a vote for policies.”
“Christians need to realize that while it isn’t ‘woke’ to vote for Trump, they need to do so, not because they like the guy but because his policies and the people he puts in place have a basic American constitutional view, which will, in the end, be fairer and present more opportunities to everybody,” he said.
“If I care about the poor, which policies are going to bless the poor? Forget about me and my rights; God commands me to care for the poor. The policies of the left are going to harm the poor and black lives. The rhetoric not only is meaningless but it’s a smokescreen. The reality is, those policies for over 50 years have been taking the black vote for granted and have been destroying those communities.”
Churches must be “bolder in understanding they have a role to speak about politics,” he emphasized.
“You have to make a moral choice and you can't divide politics and your faith. If your faith is lived out, it's going to have to deal with policy and laws and morality. I think it is the job of pastors to know how far they can go with their congregations. If you're worried about losing parishioners, you're worried about the wrong things. You should fear God and fear not speaking when He calls you to speak. That’s the role of what it is to lead spiritually.”
Metaxas applauded the pastors that do address political issues and challenged those who do not to “get on your knees and ask God to give you the courage to say what He would have you say in this hour before it's too late.”
“Sometimes we don't get a second chance,” he said. “And I think, unfortunately, this election is one of those times.”