The Politics of Demonization
Jonathan Martin posted a blog this week that we wanted to share called the politics of demonization (demonic talk on immigration, & other things). Have you noticed the hateful ways that we characterize the “other” in public discourse? Jonathan suspects (and we agree) that there’s a powerful force driving this tendency in all of us. As he puts it “In the same way that love is not just something that God does, love is what God is; accusation is not what Satan does–it is what Satan is.”
Have you been falling for this trick of the enemy? Have you found yourself demonizing others?
We want to encourage you to read the entire piece by clicking on the link above, but here’s a portion of it we wanted to share here. And remember, if it has flesh and blood, it’s not the real enemy.
No wonder our rhetoric gets more and more forceful, the guiltier we feel about our own inability to affect positive change in the world. No wonder the language is so quickly inflated, when we find someone to crucify for our sins. We carry a profound amount of guilt, and the corporate exorcism that happens in the demonization of the other in our politics has real religious zeal, intoxicating moral energy behind it. The fact that it is fundamentally immoral energy doesn’t diminish its raw power. It’s a powerful thing to cleanse yourself on a Muslim, or a fundamentalist, a liberal, a conservative, a homosexual, an immigrant. It feels like it sanctifies us, even while it damns us. It is a powerful force in an individual, but much more so in a group or political party. Us vs. them, good guys vs. bad guys, white hats vs. black hats–it’s the collective madness that, when unleashed in a room turns a crowd into a mob. It’s the force of darkness that makes the people who a week prior cried “Hosanna” while Jesus walked one street, cry out “crucify him” a week later, as he walked down another.
Image by h.koppdelaney via Flickr.
A few readers have been asking us to repost the audio (sorry, no video is available) of Greg’s debate with Jim Wallis on Faith and Politics back in 2006. It’s an oldie but goodie. Enjoy!
Though Jesus dealt a final blow to Satan’s kingdom through the cross and resurrection, the New Testament makes it clear that Satan is still viewed as the “god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4), “the ruler of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2) who heads a rebel kingdom (Rev 9:9-11) and through whom he…
Is Satan just a copout for what humans should take responsibility for? http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0101.mp3
If you really want to defend the poor from Caesar, shouldn’t we use the political means that exist? It’s easy to make your argument when you are in a position of privilege.
Question: I’ve been reading your blogs for a while. I’ve read multiple texts written by you and it’s difficult to listen much longer as someone in poverty. It’s easy to make your argument when you are in a position of privilege. The Church doesn’t have the power and resources to help the poor everywhere. Christians…
This article, sent to us last week from a blog reader (thanks Beth!), discusses the problems that were created when Israel fused religion with politics. We aren’t endorsing all of the assumptions of the author, but it’s a fascinating look at the damage that results when political interests are joined with religious authority. From the article: “Israel…
Greg talks about evil and the goodness of creation, then considers some speculative inferences about the existence of creation for all eternity. http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0416.mp3