“Your religion should inform your politics. If your politics informs your religion, your politics is your religion.”
— Joseph Osborne Johnson
For several years, I admired that quotation without applying it to my own life. After all, I was the product of mainstream American Protestantism, a religious tradition that held to no absolutes and blew in whatever cultural winds came across the national landscape. Later, by the early 2000’s, I had decided that my politics was my religion, and so there was no conflict.
While not in the top three conservative radio talk show hosts, Mike Church has certainly earned his title of “American Badass of Talk Radio” since 2001. he has a wide national audience, airing during the morning “drive-time” from 6 – 9AM on weekdays. But Mike is a conservative with a twist – his religion (hardcore conservative Roman Catholic) actually does inform his politics. When traditional orthodox teachings of Christianity come to loggerheads with generally-accepted capital C Conservative positions, those positions wither.
Mike Church has made me very angry many, many times.
What Mike reminded me was:
- Jesus of Nazareth was not an American. There was no evidence that he cared about any nation or governmental entity (he worked in at least two of them).
- While a Jew, according to the gospels, he never referred to his heritage at all, simply referring to himself as the “Son of Man”.
- When reading the teachings of Christ, I’ve never read “except“. There is no except after “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” [Matthew 22:39]. There is no except after “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” [Matthew 15.3]. There is no except after “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money” [Luke 9:2].
We hear the Gospel read in church, nod wisely, and pass out into the world doing exactly the opposite. There is always an except in our minds. Except for me, Lord. Except this is national security, Lord. Except these people have broken your law and need to be punished, Lord. Except these are different times, Lord.
Every time is a “different” time. If the Gospels were only for first-century Palestine, why are Bibles still being printed?
As I have said, Mike Church has made me so angry at times that I’ve wanted to rip the radio right out of the dashboard. No drone strikes??? Are you crazy??? What do you mean get out of the Middle East??? Are you %#^&^%& NUTS???
Mike Church loves Jesus Christ. I’m sure there must be someone who knows the writings of the church fathers better than Mike Church, but I can’t name one.
Mike Church loves America. More than that, he loves the idea of America. I’m sure there must be someone who knows more about the founding fathers of our nation that Mike Church, but I can’t name one.
Mike Church used to have me in mouth foaming fits every weekday morning. But then I started to listen.
What I heard Mike say about the Middle east is what our intelligence analysts have said for a couple of decades now.
What I heard Mike say about our culture and the way we all (Democrats, Republicans, Other) treat “the least of these” is exactly the admonishment I read in the Gospels.
This nation is at a crossroads like it hasn’t seen since 1860. One side is telling us that our future lies in Euro-style social-democracy. One side is telling us that our future lies in the National Security Corporate state.
Something better is meant for us.
One day, about two weeks ago, I arrived at work without a vein-bulging, screaming fit along the way. The fits have not returned.
I’m with you, Mike.