A Pyrrhic Victory

“If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.”–King Pyrrhus, quoted in Plutarch’s Lives

A letter to the editor appeared in today’s issue of our city’s newspaper. (No, I did not write it.) It seems to encapsulate the disillusionment of a growing segment of our culture that increasingly identifies itself as religiously unaffiliated, secular, or even atheist.

If you read it with compassion, you might catch a tone of wistfulness and disappointment, as if the author once had higher expectations for evangelicals and perhaps still does. He may even be an admirer of Jesus, but certainly not of the church.

While the letter did not surprise me, it still filled me with sadness and not a little anger. As an evangelical,  I do not share all of the author’s opinions, but  I do understand his feelings– not because I support either candidate in this election or either party’s agenda, but because I, too, hope for much better from my fellow Christians.

If evangelicals claim victory in this week’s election, it may just be a Pyrrhic one, a case of winning the battle and losing the war.

Here is the letter:

The altar of politics

There’s no telling who will win the presidential election, but during the election process, I’ve learned quite a bit about evangelicals, who largely seem to be embracing Mitt Romney.

They do so despite the fact that Romney has based his campaign on unrepentantly telling lies. They do so even though Romney follows a religion that many of them, like the Rev. Billy Graham, have long claimed to be a cult. They do so despite the fact that his opponent spent his adult life in a Christian church and says he has been saved by Jesus Christ.

They have made abortion and same-sex marriage issues of their highest concern, rather than teaching salvation and caring for the poor. They seek to impose their beliefs on people who don’t share them, all the while ranting about liberals who seek to impose their beliefs of people who don’t share them. In doing so, they’ve turned their main issues of concern into idols and placed them above the love their God teaches and the free will that they claim to be our birthright.

They’ve abrogated women to the role of breeding cattle. They care more about a clump of unfeeling, unthinking cells, smaller than a pinpoint, than living, suffering people.

No matter which way the election goes, I’ll remember what I’ve learned about evangelicals, who have compromised their faith to become idolaters at the altar of politics.

“Evangelical” is no longer a religious description. It’s a political description.

PHIL RONALD TURNER

Winston-Salem

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