I propose an echo fast. What I mean is that I would like for my conservative Christian friends to step out of the political echo chamber and step back into the unmitigated Word of God. Can we go for one month with no Limbaugh, no Hannity, no Coulter? Can we go for 30 days without the predictable insights from World Net Daily? It shouldn’t be that hard, now that the elections are over.
Before we go further, let’s dispense with a predictable response, which goes something like this: “How come you’re telling us to get out of the echo chamber instead of the liberals?” It’s a too-common refrain from some conservative Christians, when they are criticized, to say, “What about those bad people over there?” Even my 4-year-old knows better than to excuse his muddy shoes by pointing at his brother’s muddier footwear.
The reason I propose a fast is because the echo chamber simultaneously heightens one’s sense of grievance, one’s sense of rightness, and one’s willingness to be ugly, none of which is becoming to a Christian—or anyone else, for that matter. The grievance comes out alternately as whining or paranoia: “The mainstream media worked to help Obama win.” “Sarah Palin was ambushed.” “Black people are the ones who are being racist toward us white people.”
The insufferable rightness, meanwhile, has Christians repeating scandalous rumors as truths: “Obama didn’t go back to Hawaii to visit his dying grandmother, he went back to doctor his phony birth record.” “He’s really an Islamic Marxist who hates America.”
The ugliness can be found whenever a Christian sounds more like Ann Coulter than Jesus Christ. On the day after the election I saw a thread on this site turn ugly, with self-professing Christians accusing an African-American brother in Christ of taking certain positions because he is black, questioning whether he considers Barack Obama a fellow black man because he isn’t a mass murderer, and even trading in hopelessly racist nonsense about “black” genes and “white” genes. And I wondered to myself: Would you speak this way to him over dinner? Or would you even suffer his presence at your table?
All this is no better, really, than the people who spent four years insisting the last two elections were “stolen,” and replacing the “s” in “Bush” with one of those Nazi SS-looking symbols. The only difference is that Christians ought to have some sense of shame about it.
So here is your penance, and mine, because there have been plenty of times in my life when I have behaved no better: Turn off the talk radio, turn off the cable talk shows, and pick up the Bible—not as a cudgel to wield against opponents, but as the God-breathed Word spoken to you and me. Perhaps we could begin with Matthew 7:12.