A number of folks on the right are waking up to the way much of our American system has been rigged at least since World War 2 and in various ways prior to that. And basically it has been rigged by a pile of disingenuous refs and a rule book that is hard distinguish from “Calvin Ball.” Conservatives, and Christian conservatives in particular, have long assumed that we were all playing by what used to be known as “rules.” You know equal weights and measures and that sort of thing, where the same standard applies to everybody. Turns out the Left was happy to pretend that and let us think that, but in reality, they only cared about the rules when it condemned the right and when some darling on the Left broke the rules, there was always some excuse, some explanation, and why are you being so judgmental, you bigot. And since it was believed that “being judgmental” was against one of the rules, the Right has generally tended to slink back into their corner, tail between their legs, feeling a bit sheepish. And the Leftists have generally carried themselves with such prodigious moral indignation, this has gone a long way toward covering up the fact that under those sanctimonious skirts is a foul, hypocritical rot.
But a number of folks on the squishy right have essentially bought the narrative that the Right really is cranky, judgmental, and divisive, and while the Left has their issues, they are elites, the gatekeepers, and the aristocracy, and therefore if we want to “engage” with our culture, they say, you have to cozy up to the Left. They may not always be right, but you have to (what did the apostle say?) become all things to all men in order to win some to Christ. And so the Russell Moores of the world express their deep appreciation for various Lefty causes that, if you squint, you might be able to get them to look vaguely like something you can find in the Bible (also, if you’re squinting and not looking too closely). Meanwhile, in order to really win their confidence and approval, these same squishy so-called conservatives believe they must also signal their disdain for the masses of benighted fundamentalists with their guns and Bibles and obsession with Donald Trump. So the modus operandi has been “coddle left; punch right,” “comfort left; kick down the stairs right,” “wash the feet of the left; throw into the path of a speeding train right.” And this has also included cancelling speakers, doxxing certain figures, and exerting pressure not to read, share, or endorse the writings of whoever-must-not-be-named.
No Enemies to the What?
Now a bunch of true blue conservatives have had it up to here with these games, and a bunch of them have determined to have “no enemies to the right” (NETTR) and have taken oaths to only punch left and never punch right. But if you’re paying attention at home, you should recognize this motto as a sort of inversion of exactly what the Left has been doing to us over the last 75 years. Turns out, they’ve been playing Calvin Ball with the unspoken rule of “no enemies to the left” (NETTL). Now, I have no problem with conservative shrewdness, choosing battles wisely, and I don’t even have any problem with tricking our enemies into doing what it is right.
But if the problem is partiality, putting your fingers on the scale for some folks, using a broken scale for others, then the answer is not another form of partiality. You can’t fight partiality with more partiality. That only encourages them. That is what Jesus would call returning evil for evil, cursing for cursing. And good guys do not have the option of using the evil tactics of bad guys as though we can do so and remain good guys. In a strange twist, it’s just another form of squishy conservatism, acting like leftists, only with more angst and foam. And it really doesn’t matter even if someone says that this is a temporary necessity in order to grow and consolidate “the movement,” and assuring you that they only do this with “bad guys” and people who don’t fight fair.
This was all addressed by God many centuries ago: “Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a case to decline after man to wrest judgment: neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause… thou shalt not wrest the judgment of the poor in his cause” (Ex. 23:1-3, 6).
It’s striking that these prohibitions all come together in this one place. Slander and spreading questionable reports are not acceptable whether the person is on the Left or the Right. Christians may not follow a multitude to do evil, not even if that particular “multitude” promises to overthrow the deep state. At the same time, Proverbs says not to grab a stray dog by the ear, and sometimes stray mobs may run by you on their way to burn down the FBI and you are not morally obligated to try to stop every stray rabid dog. But there’s a massive difference between getting out of the way and joining the mob. And when you get out of the way, you should be under no illusions that you are safe for very long. This is because rabid dogs are well trained in the DEI handbooks and are therefore equal opportunity attackers and because you have to realize that the deep state and all of its corrupt machinations *is* a mob in slow motion. The revolutionary fervor is like the two daughters of the horseleech, and they are never satisfied (Prov. 30:15).
Not Even For the Poor
But the other point worth making from Exodus 23 is the fact that immediately after that general prohibition against joining mobs to do evil, it specifically prohibits doing injustice on behalf of the poor. Conservatives have rightly decried socialistic and statist policies levered off the backs of the poor for decades. The Left has run this play so many times and has slowly but surely coerced America into the harsh shackles of a semi-welfare state, all in the name of helping the poor, the elderly, and minorities. And of course this has all resulted in the enslavement, mistreatment, and abuse of the poor, the elderly, and minorities. God established the government of the family as the central institution for caring for the health, welfare, and education of individuals and churches and private charities as the fallback safety net (Eph. 5-6, 1 Tim. 5). Civil government was never intended by God to provide for the poor and needy, apart from guaranteeing them the same principles of justice that apply to the rich and powerful. Civil magistrates deliver the poor and needy when they refuse to allow the rich and powerful to take advantage of them.
But now that we live in what Aaron Renn calls “negative world,” a world in which Christians and white evangelical Christians in particular are something of the hated, despised, poor, and minority class, the temptation is to “countenance a poor man in his cause.” And the Bible prohibits that. Of course Moses comes right back a couple verses later and insists that the poor man’s cause not be perverted. But this is what is called impartiality. Good people, God’s people, are required by God to be impartial. God hates unequal weights and measures. He hates all perversion of justice, whether the perversion that favors the poor white evangelicals and gives them a pass because they’re poor white evangelicals or the perversion that despises the poor white evangelicals because they’re poor white evangelicals. And participating in either form of perversion is just joining the socialistic statists.
No Respect for Persons
Elsewhere Moses puts it like this: “Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s” (Dt. 1:17). The temptation is often to prefer the “great,” but when the great are in power and oppressing the “small,” it is the temptation of the “small” to prefer whoever else they perceive as being “small” like them. The temptation in other words is to have “no enemies below” or an unjust commitment to never “punching down.” But justice means not respecting persons in judgment. Justice means punching all partiality. And I’m happy to make a distinction here between natural affections, knee-jerk loyalties, and friends on the one hand, and our natural enemies, opponents, and adversaries on the other. But those natural loyalties may not be the basis for our dealings in the public square as we fight for true biblical justice. Again, this is something that God specifically prohibits: “If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers… thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him” (Dt. 13:6, 8, see also Dt. 19:15-21).
Notice that litany of prohibitions: you shall not consent, you shall not listen, you shall not pity, you shall not spare, and you shall not conceal. Now wisdom certainly requires us to understand the difference between the multitude of sins that Christian love covers routinely (nickel and dime infelicities) and the kinds of sins that must be addressed (deep seated hatred, deception, theft, infidelity).
None of this is meant as playing anything remotely coy about what we are aiming for. We want a Christian Republic that publicly acknowledges Jesus as Lord. We want His law clearly reflected in the laws of our land. It is a great blessing when Godly Christian men are in power. But if we want true justice in the public square and in the laws of our land, we must be men of integrity now. We must be like David whose conscience smote him when he cut the edge of the wicked king’s robe. No doubt there were some sons of Belial gathered at the cave of Adullam who thought David was just trying to cozy up to the king, appease the elites, and maneuver his way back into the good graces of the palace. But David cared about true justice, and he knew that it was possible for him to turn into a Saul if he was not determined to play by God’s rules.
If Jesus is Lord, and we are seeking to honor Him as a nation, then we must honor Him now and we must honor Him in how we take this nation back. Jesus was no respecter of persons, and He is still no respecter of persons. And all the governments are upon His shoulders. He is establishing true justice in the world, and you cannot win if you find yourself fighting against Him, even if you’re on the right. This is because the judgment is God’s.