Just when we thought the other side couldn’t be more inconsistent with their positions, the Lord goes and tosses us in the seat of inquisition. And like the American General when the German tank commanders urged him to surrender at Bastogne, we say, “Nuts!” Consistency is a pesky little devil.
The Lord considers hypocrisy and double-standards an abomination. Proverbs 20:23 says, “Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good.” In other words, don’t use one standard of judgment when it suits you, but then use a different standard of judgment when it doesn’t.
What’s Prompting this Post?
On Friday, July 17th, John Lewis died. Lewis was a member of Congress, representing Georgia’s 5th congressional district since 1987. Following his death, an outpouring of praise for his life and service flooded the news and social media feeds. Many Christians joined in the praise and showering of accolades for Lewis’ life and his faith.
Lewis was heavily involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960’s and spent his life in activism. He was also an ordained Baptist minister. Faith drove his convictions about the necessity and importance of fighting for civil rights and justice. On March 7th, 1965, known as Bloody Sunday, Lewis led 600 people across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. They were met with fierce resistance and state troopers launched tear gas and beat them with night sticks. Lewis suffered a fractured skull. He was only twenty-five-years-old. Many are petitioning for renaming the Edmund Pettus Bridge to the John Lewis Bridge.
I watched on social media as many Christians joined in the chorus. Others did not join in.
You may be reading this and thinking, “Okay, what are you getting at?”
John Lewis was an ardent supporter of abortion. Every opportunity he had to further abortion opportunties, he did. Every opportunity to limit abortion or restrict it in any way, he voted against it. He unquestionably supported the terminating of human lives, even the black ones his life was given to further the rights of.
Remember those scales?
I watched my social media feed fill with various responses regarding Lewis’ life and legacy. Many lauded him, some bemoaned his abortion track record.
Many Christians joined in praising him and throwing their support for the renaming of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in his honor. Ironically, these same Christians have defended the removal of statues, renaming of buildings, and canceling of historical politicians who professed faith in Christ, but owned a slave or allowed its further propagation.
They support the renaming of buildings, roads, and removing monuments in their name because of their position on slavery. But they are for the naming of a bridge of a politician who professed to be a Christian while supporting — full-throated I might add — abortion. If you’re a Christian, surely you believe abortion is a systemic injustice perpetuated in our day that rivals antebellum slavery in its ugliness and destructiveness?
Now before you get upset and stop reading, I want to remind you that Rep. Lewis encouraged people to get into some good trouble. I think this meets that request. So I’ll turn the table on the other side too, just ensure somebody gets their pitchfork out.
If you loathe the suggestion that historical figures have their names and likenesses removed from the public eye and vocabulary, because of their views on slavery, but you get riled up at the idea of John Lewis’ name donning a bridge because of his support of abortion, that’s hypocrisy.
I saw several people arguing with others on Twitter — because what else is Twitter for? — that any praise of Lewis was undeserved because he supported legislation that furthered abortion and voted against anything that restricted it. But these same people have weighed in passionately that it’s stupid to remove statues of the founding fathers and other historical figures over one of their flaws.
So… to everyone who loves the idea of John Lewis’ name replacing Edmund Pettus, but also defended the statue removals as a part of not celebrating people who got it wrong in one area of their life, I say this: Excuse me, sir, your bias is showing.
Or maybe you hate watching historical figures have their names removed and their statues destroyed, and your reasoning is that one error in a man’s life or thinking shouldn’t erase their positive contributions, but you are also against John Lewis’ name on a bridge because he supported the killing of babies in the womb. To that I say: Excuse me, sir, your bias is showing.
Consistency is a pesky little devil.
Clay Feet Figures
I expect the world to be inconsistent with their views. When your highest aim is the furthering of your side, whether its the political left or the political right, inconsistency is always the other guy’s flaw. But as Christians, whose highest authority is God’s Word, consistency, and not hypocrisy, is the goal. We should repent where we see inconsistency.
All men and women, even the greatest ones, have feet of clay (Daniel 2:31-32). Simply put: they’re human. They mess up and get it wrong. There are great Christians who have been very wrong on important issues. Men like George Washington and Robert E. Lee owned slaves. Men like Barak Obama and John Lewis supported abortion. Should we erase them from our history for their imperfections and wrong ideologies?
We should learn to support and affirm what is commendable. We should learn from their failures and short comings.
I believe the Edmund Pettus Bridge should be renamed to the John Lewis Bridge. Honor the man whose legacy of civil rights is legendary. Honor the man who professed faith in Christ and served the Lord in the public arena the best he thought how. But do so while recognizing he was human and erred. Do so while continuing to see other historical politicians through the same lenses.
As Christians, maybe we’re against any statues or monuments after people with blinding errors. Or perhaps we are for them because we understand nobody gets everything right. Either way, we should at least be consistent. YHWH hates it when we’re not.