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Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock, and Who Catholic Integralists Blame Liberalism On

Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock, and Who Catholic Integralists Blame Liberalism On The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show

Which party controls the U.S. Senate will likely be decided in the Georgia run-off next month, between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker. Curious to know more about how that could go, and not wanting to wait several weeks for the do-over, I watched the debate between Warnock and Walker, and was struck by one exchange in particular.

At one point in the debate, the Reverend Warnock, who pastors at Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King, Jr. also co-pastored back in the day, said women should have the right to choose abortion because “even God gave Adam and Eve the ability to choose.” And to that, Walker replied that we need to read the rest of the book to learn that God told us to choose life. And while both of these remarks are technically true, I suppose, the one from Walker is more entirely correct given the context of the conversation being murder.

But then a legitimate Christian minister should know that without being told, and it’s really everyone else who needs to hear it. Some may say we should say nothing, lest we give the wrong idea about what Christians are most concerned about. I say we have to say something here lest people get the wrong idea of what Christians can affirm and legitimate.

Where will it stop, after all, if a professing pastor goes around counseling the nation nothing more about the question of legalized murder than that God made it to where we can all make choices?

Yes, we can all make choices. But not all choices are equally valid, godly, just, or wise. Cain also was free to choose when he killed his own righteous brother.

David, too. God gave him the ability to make decisions, employed in part when he impregnated another man’s wife who was off to war. Then David made still more choices he was free to when he conspired to have that same man, Uriah, a loyal subject of David’s, murdered on the front lines where the fighting was fiercest.

To say only that God gives us choices, and nothing more, is irresponsible, ungodly, unjust, and unwise. It tells us practically nothing, even while it implies a legitimacy which the shedding of innocent blood can never be thought to possess.

For starters, God giving us the ability to choose doesn’t mean we shouldn’t choose to outlaw abortion. There is no necessity whatsoever to presuppose everyone should be free from any legal constraint or penalty whatsoever to do whatever they please to whomever they want.

This, however, brings us back again to the question of what “Christian nationalism” actually is. So you can check out this CT article from last year by Paul D. Miller for more on why I can’t quite take either said article or Christianity Today seriously.

Or, for contrast, read also this piece by William Galston from November 4th, about Roman Catholic Integralism, a view which actually sounds very similar in its conclusions to the sorts of things many folks say about Christian nationalism in their attempts to drive it from the public square. Namely, Integralists hold that the civil authorities should be subject to the authority of the Church. By this they mean the Roman Catholic Church, with all other denominations and religions being outlawed.

But besides that, or even partially in light of it, in considering “Christian Nationalism,” and surveying briefly Roman Catholic Integralism, I find in relation to these two variations on Christian political philosophy that, whatever you want to call it, all folks like me really want is the freedom to not be shouted down or pilloried when we counter the likes of Raphael Warnock with “it is written,” or “there’s more that needs to be said,” or “you’re more an imposter than pastor.”

If we can be allowed to speak, and be heard, without being called Nazis for doing so, all the better. And if it’s possible to have our faith in Christ, and obedience to the Word, inform and shape our stances on social and political questions, and therefore our voting for or against representatives or laws which are downstream of some one or another’s theology, however good or bad it is, without being accused of trying to usher in another Spanish Inquisition, that too would be grand.

As the recent exchange between Warnock and Walker on a Georgia debate stage makes clear, there’s no getting around connecting someone’s statement of faith, or lack thereof, to how we govern ourselves. The only question is whether we care enough about truth and goodness to think deeply and reason carefully with one another about what constitutes a legitimate position before God and man.

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