Christian Hypocrisy: Travis Scott, Trump

Rapper Travis Scott held Astroworld during which the crowd surged forward and several people tragically lost their lives with hundreds of other injured.

As I was musing over how sad and meaningless this incident was, some Christian influencers I follow on the Gram (Hannah Lee Yoder, Brittany Dawn) predictably hopped on the opportunity to gain spiritual brownie points by bemoaning how demonic this event was, how it was idolatrous, evil, wicked and it was no surprise something like this happened.

Like, as a Christian myself I don’t even necessarily disagree the vibes were off but do Christians really think Jesus would have responded with, “Lol! Demon worshipping heathens – that’s what you get for messing around with evil spirits!” Cause last time I read the Bible, it’s the love of Christ that compel us, not hellfire and brimstone, and also God doesn’t delight when the wicked perish (Ezekiel 18:23). But I digress – American Christianity is being killed slowly by conservativism.

Hannah Lee Yoder was even parroting some Q-anon nonsense.

I’m not even against conspiracy theories, but for whatever reason Evangelicals have chosen to ignore blatant corruption, child abuse, and other depraved behavior among politicians/Hollywood in favor of literally the dumbest, most obscure conspiracy theories about blood drinking and sacrifice that make zero sense. Like there is no need for some illuminati, Deep State Satan ring to exist when you can look at either political party and see them involved in all sort of wicked stuff openly. Furthermore, in no multiverse would the families of hundreds of children remain silent if their kids died during a concert – they’d be lining up to sue because American lawyers would be all over that.

Of course Astroworld shouldn’t have happened at all. We’re still in the midst of a pandemic, kids hopped the barriers and blazed past overwhelmed security, which wasn’t a surprise given Travis appeared to encourage people who didn’t get tickets to come anyway. One needn’t be a prophet to predict something was probably going to go wrong. It’s not demons – it’s human error, lack of safety standards, and putting profit over people.

Still, the holier than thou attitude from these Christian influencers is ridiculous. Idolatry is listed as the very first of the Ten Commandments, Deuteronomy. 5: 7-8 says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth.”

Certainly, there was a lot of worship, narcissism, and idolatry at Astroworld. But idolatry isn’t limited to images of celebs, nor will it always be riddled with creepy, hellfire imagery and “dark energy”.

I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the tragedy as Astroworld and the Capitol riots. Sure, Travis is violent.

But so is Donald Trump, the idol of many an Evangelical.

Interestingly, I failed to find a Bible verse stating “knock the crap out of them” or “I’d like to punch ’em in the face”. I did however find one that says to turn the other cheek, pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5: 38-48), and to not be like the world (John 17:14-15). Travis Scott didn’t build a platform cosplaying as a Christian though, so I don’t expect him to adhere to the Bible – can’t say the same for Donald Trump.

The church doesn’t really have a leg to stand on when it comes to judging Hollywood after the last four years, yet their self-righteous attitude has blinded them to their own faults. There’s a reason Jesus said take the speck out of your own eye first, so you can see clearly before judging others.

Don’t get me wrong, Travis Scott is deplorable – he has a history of disturbing issues at his concerts, there’s no way he didn’t notice the ambulances, and there are clips of him appearing to stare directly at a lifeless body whilst wailing into a mic. Any person with a shred of decency would’ve halted everything and calmed the crowd down – you can literally Google other secular, rap artists stopping their concerts and telling their fans to chill out, or help those who were getting hurt. His apology was insincere and he deserves the backlash he’s getting.

As of now, 10 people lost their lives as a result of the concert. But 9 people lost their lives as a result of the capitol riots, 5 people and 4 officers committed suicide shortly after that. Idk but that sounds kinda demonic to me too. Christians have been quick to call Astroworld some weird ritual simply because there was organ music while slow to do so with Trump – some even justifying it despite both these events resulting in people needlessly losing their lives. Like what is the barometer for “demonic” here? John 10:10 say, “the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.” So anything that results in these things is demonic according to the Bible.

In Genesis, the snake didn’t come to Eve in the garden spewing fire out of it’s mouth and resembling the crypt keeper, it came to her as something she desired: to be like God. Genesis describes the snake as “crafty” not creepy and channeling dark energy. Ezekiel 28:13 describes Satan as covered in precious stones and “perfect”, not as the creature from the Black Lagoon.

1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” If the devil can quote scripture to literally Jesus, he can surely use something seemingly wholesome or “good” such as a desire to “Make American Garbage Great Again” for his purposes – friendship with the world is enmity with God, and politics, nationalism, traditionalism, marriage, etc. all of those are worldly matters. We should not be this comfortable equating conservatism with Christianity because it falls short of Biblical truths. Nor should we get deceived by those who pay lip service to Christianity while their actions tell a different story. Again, the enemy’s goal is to steal, kill, and destroy and he’ll use any means necessary, be it a suit, tie, and podium, or a drug-addled concert.

Sometimes idolatry looks like statutes of Travis Scott scattered across an amusement park and kids raging during a concert backlit by flames. But other times it looks like American flags, towers and golf courses named after Trump, and white, middle class adults storming Washington crying about election fraud.

People like Brittany Dawn and Hannah Lee Yoder really ought to do better having public, Christian platforms and realize just because something calls itself Christian doesn’t mean it is. Be willing to call a spade a spade every time it appears.

Both of them have openly supported Trump and are very conservative, which is disappointing. Jesus said they will know us by our fruits – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. These are not traits conservatives display at large. In fact, if you look at many popular, conservative commentors like Candace Owens, or Ben Shapiro, they are anything but Christ-like yet Evangelicals support them wholeheartedly. Our highest calling is to be like Christ and spread the gospel; we should not water down Biblical truths simply because we like some aspects of a person, or agree with some things they do because they benefit us. God is a holy, uncompromising God and it’s time the church start acting like it.

Christians ought to stop elevating and supporting attitudes that aren’t wholly aligned with Biblical values and read their Bible, so they’re not duped by “Christian” men and women sneaking in secular ideologies under the guise of “family values, traditionalism, slow-living, etc.” That is why Psalms mentions mediating on the word of God – when God’s word is in your heart and mind, you’ll be less likely to be swayed by secular talk, be it from conservatives or liberals.

James 1:27 says, “[r]eligion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep onself from being polluted by the world”. Micah 6:8 says, “He hath shown you, man, what is good, and what the Lord requireth of thee: surely, to do justly, and to love mercy, and to humble thyself, and to walk humbly with your God?” The greatest commander is to love the Lord God, and then to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our highest calling as Christians isn’t to ensure the Republican party wins the next election, refuse to wear masks and make-up theories about the vaccine being the mark of the beast (lol), but the preach the good news.

Sadly, the pandemic has only highlighted the issues American Christianity is struggling with – an unhealthy affection for conservativism over Biblical truth. Travis Scott’s concert may have certainly been demonic, but so are a lot of other things the church is unwilling to call out. Let’s not fall prey to Biblical clownery, instead let’s stand on the Word of God and be willing to call out sin every time we see it.

Walk The Line

The other day I was marveling at how far out some of my friends have become. People I grew up with and thought of as relatively normal, went to their weddings and baby showers, invited to my own birthday parties, have become wild conspiracy theorists, uber woke, cancel culture proponents, flat-Earthers, climate change and Holocaust deniers, the list goes on and on. I tend to think everyone on both sides of the political spectrum are full of ish and therefore don’t believe anything simply because someone I agree with in some regards says it. So I’ve found it generally baffling how easily people are swayed to take one man/woman/political party’s word as truth and everyone else is lying for… reasons?

I generally assumed everyone was just stupid, incapable of critical thinking or any thinking at all; it’s easy to take someone else’s words at face value and go. Far harder to examine the why, how, and where. But lately I’ve been convinced these people are thinking critically, or at least they think they are.

Picture this.

You (Titania) are standing in the middle of a large field divided into two sections, Field A and Field B, separated by a large Line. Various individuals stand on the line; however, most people are somewhere in fields A and B. Some are close, some far away, some you cannot even see. Off in the distance, you vaguely make out the Forests Beyond the Fields. Everyone around you is talking about whether or not the sky is blue. Field A believes ithe sky isn not blue, Field B believes the sky is blue.

Look at that “blue” sky…

You have one foot on the Line and one foot in Field A, because you suspect the sky isn’t really blue (your parents, neighbors, most everyone you’ve grown up around all believe the sky isn’t blue), but you have some doubts after encountering a Blue-Sky-Believer who switched fields. Previously, you hadn’t given much thought as to why you believe the sky isn’t blue (maybe you were simply too young; maybe you never had a reason to question your beliefs), you just accepted it was The Way. But this position on the Line allows you to hear what evidence people on both sides are presenting.

One day, Jose from Field A says something and you strike up a conversation with him about the color of the sky.

Jose presents his case: the sky really isn’t blue, it merely appears that way but he’s willing to stand close enough to the line to hear what Field B is saying, in case there exists some evidence he hasn’t heard or considered. While some of his evidence is sketch, you mostly agree with Jose. It’s enough that you move off the Line and closer to Jose in order to chat with him more easily, planting yourself in Field A.

Soon, you strike up a conversation with Karen, who’s deeper into Field A. Karen too believes the sky isn’t blue and the Other Side is wrong. However, she’s not interested in doing any more research by moving further down the field. Karen is content to agree to disagree with Field B; their beliefs don’t affect her ability to have a relationship with them, even if she thinks they’re wrong.

You soon find yourself next to Karen, agreeing to disagree but firmer in your belief the sky isn’t blue.  After all, you  approached this topic with an open-mind, willing to hear what the other side had to say, but everyone you’ve talked to thus far only affirms your suspicions, even bringing up evidence to support their case.

One day, you hear things further down the field. Things like the sky is actually green or yellow and, being naturally curious, you want to get as close to the truth as possible. So you move further down the field, talking to various Yellow/Green-Sky-Believers. Most of them are like you, not sure about the color of the sky, but sure it isn’t blue.

Evidence the sky is actually yellow – see that gold trying to break through?

Now, you may occasionally hear from Field B but at this distance their conversations are distorted, or unclear; you pick up a few words here and there from people who seem to be screaming, or you get information secondhand from people like Jose and Karen.

Eventually, you find yourself deeper into Field A, nearing The Forest Beyond A and you stumble across Sarai. Sarai not only believes the sky is green, but that Field B is intentionally withholding the truth about the color of the sky from everyone else. To Sarai, Field B must be exposed and silenced, so the truth can be revealed. Sarai also presents some compelling evidence: someone she knows has been up to the sky and personally seen that it’s green.

Look at that green sky…

Not long ago, this would’ve sounded like a reach. After all, you were close enough to Field B to hear they aren’t concealing anything, rather they genuinely believe the sky is blue based on the evidence and experiences around them, just as you genuinely believe the sky isn’t. However, now you find yourself agreeing with Sarai. You’ve done the research; you’ve talked to numerous people in Field A, and formed an unbiased opinion of your own about the color of the sky. Furthermore, Sarai has planted the seeds of a Them vs. Us situation. It’s not just that Field B is wrong and everyone can agree to disagree, Field B is now directly at odds with Field A because they’re purposefully concealing information others deserve to know. It’s no longer enough to merely prove Field B wrong, they must be silenced in order to prevent more lies from being spread. Or at least, that’s what Sarai tells you during an emotional rant about why she doesn’t trust anything coming from Field B. After all, if they’re willing to lie about something like this, what else will they lie about?

To top it off, the people down here are loud. You can’t really hear what folks like Jose and Karen are saying anymore. All you hear is from those around you.

Soon you hear Screaming Bob who has one foot in Field A, one foot in The Forest Beyond A.

The Forests Beyond the Fields AKA Lost River State Park

Screaming Bob is screaming to the heavens that the sky doesn’t exist at all. It’s an illusion, an image projected by those within The Forest Beyond B to hide the fact that the Jupiter is moving into Earth’s orbit and the end of humanity is at hand. Not only is Field B hiding the truth, they’re putting humanity in danger with their lies.

“It’s time to take up arms!” Screaming Bob says, his face growing red as spittle sails out his mouth. “And expose the truth by force before it’s too late. Humanity’s survival depends on it.”

Worried about the fate of humanity, you step closer to Screaming Bob who invites you inside the Forest to learn the truth. In the Forest, you can’t see Field B any longer, you can’t even see the Line or those like Jose and Karen, you can barely see Sarai.

This idea is nothing new, but thinking this way helped me realize it’s not that people are stupid or go from relatively normal to insane after listening to a single YouTube video, or sermon, or speech, or reading a single article. It’s a slow process of moving farther and farther away from opposing evidence until you find yourself in an echo chamber, where everything around you confirms what you already suspect. Folks genuinely believe they’re doing research and hearing correct, unbiased information but they’re merely seeking out information that confirms their beliefs, and people naturally seek out information that confirms what they already believe, hence the talking to Jose first.

Woke cancel culture doesn’t help either, because it essentially ostracizes those who express problematic, unpopular beliefs, forcing them to align with those who will accept them because it’s the only place their voice will be heard. And often those who accept them are overly radical and aggressive, like Bob.

Modern media only flames this divide, further pushing people towards one field or the other. Scrolling through Fox or CNN, we can see the language used to describe Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (or anything/anyone political).

“Nikki Haley rips AOC’s dangerous idea”
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks brutal truth”

Language evokes a certain feelings. The word dangerous used by Fox forces the reader to approach the article with a certain opinion. The reader automatically assumes whatever she’s saying is harmful, probably confirming their own beliefs about her. Likewise, using the phrase “brutal truth” as CNN does implies whatever she’s saying is true, even if harsh, and thereby something we need to hear. Again, this likely only confirms whatever that reader already believes about her (if you read Fox or CNN, it’s pretty obvious where you stand on the political scale lol). At this point, what AOC said or didn’t say doesn’t matter. Based on the headline alone, you will automatically assume her words are harmful or worthwhile, and be unable to unbiasedly determine if what AOC says has any merit at all because her words have already been filtered through a certain lens, that views her either favorably or unfavorably without allowing us to judge her words for what they actually are.

Truth filtered through a lens is still distorted.  Better to listen to one another, rather than form opinions using research that confirms what we think the other side believes. The best research is to learn what contradicts your own beliefs and how evidence that supports your beliefs stand up to it. If your beliefs hold firm in the face of factual evidence that contradicts it, it may be time to acknowledge those views aren’t based on anything besides personal feelings.

To end this post of meaningless ramblings no one will read, we would all benefit from not allowing the media, or anyone, to bias us against those who hold vastly different views from us, but to listen and hear what they’re saying and why they feel the way they do. If we stand on the line and talk with those on both sides, we’ll likely find we all have a lot more in common than we think we do.

Biblical Hypocrisy: Christians Supporting Trump

If you call a spade a spade in January, then call that same spade a diamond in October simply because you need to play a diamond, people are going to view you as untrustworthy. They can look at that spade and clearly see it’s a spade. Not a diamond.

Politics isn’t a game of cards (though it sometimes feels that way). Nevertheless, it seems the Church has decided following Trump’s cult of personality is more important than following Jesus and adhering to Biblical values; anything else apparently makes you a heathen liberal out to take away their rights (much like President Trump is trying to strip away the rights of those who elected Biden).

To be clear, this isn’t a pro anyone post. But Christians strange worship of Trump and the Republican party, even when that party is blatantly doing and saying things that go directly against the Bible, is baffling (but also a good reminder to keep our eyes on Jesus and not one another). The Church has always been happy to call out liberals over their perceived sins, but where is this same energy for conservativism and theirs? How can we as a church dismiss racism, white supremacy, sexual abuse, and the oppressions of the poor while in the same breath bemoaning liberals over abortion and the sanctity of marriage, yet not see the hypocrisy in this?

You cannot claim to be the party of good morals when you’re just as flawed as the opposing party. Being a single issue voter isn’t good either, especially when doing so comes at the expense of other, equally important Biblical values. Claiming that God cares more about some issues over others is frankly not true. You may personally care about one issue more than another and cast a vote that way, but you are not God. He may have destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah over sexual indiscretion, but He was just as angry over Israel/Judah exploiting and oppressing the poor; profiting off the work of their neighbors while not paying them fairly, much like the Republican party does today with it’s promotion of capitalism as the end all, be all.

“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness,
and his upper rooms by injustice,
who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing
and does not give him his wages,
who says, ‘I will build myself a great house
with spacious upper rooms,’
who cuts out windows for it,
paneling it with cedar
and painting it with vermilion.
Do you think you are a king
because you compete in cedar?
Did not your father eat and drink
and do justice and righteousness?
Then it was well with him.  He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
then it was well.
Is not this to know me?
declares the Lord.
But you have eyes and heart
only for your dishonest gain,
for shedding innocent blood,
and for practicing oppression and violence.” (Jeremiah 22:13-17)

That’s not to say the answer lies in the Democratic party, quite the opposite. Christians should not subscribe wholeheartedly to either party or any ideology as neither represents Jesus Christ and Basilica values well. One can vote for someone for one reason or another and still call those they vote for out on their injustice. Choosing the “lesser” of two evils doesn’t mean subscribing wholeheartedly to their ideology, particularly when that ideology generally is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. We can and should point out injustice and sin on both sides, regardless of whom we voted for. But the Church’s refusal to do so is making us look hypocritical to the “secular” world and turning people away from Jesus.

We are His hands and feet, after all, and it’s up to us to represent Him. Does the Church truly believe Trump and the Republican party represents the teachings of Jesus Christ and Biblical values well? If your answer is yes, you might want to crack open your Bible.

I often wonder if we, as the Church, have done a good job representing Jesus over the past four years, or if one day we’ll have to answer to God as to why we wasted so much energy whining about masks and curfews, getting upset about some dude facetiously saying awoman, and trying to keep a political party in power, instead of feeding the poor, caring for those who are hurting, and preaching the gospel to those who need Jesus.