The Emperor Has No Clothes
“…The Emperor sent several advisors to gauge their progress, and all the advisors reported the cloth magnificent, not wanting to appear unworthy for seeing nothing at all; the cloth didn't exist!
Finally, the clothes were "finished," the swindlers already having counted the gold and jewels they had received. A procession was arranged to show off the Emporer's new clothes, and the entire city gathered in the center to view them. Having been "dressed" by the swindlers, who remarked how wonderful he looked, and how light the cloth appeared on him, he appeared before his people.
The people, having heard of the weaver's abilities and the cloth's fictitious properties, were amazed and offered thunderous applause to the now beaming Emperor. None of them were willing to admit that they hadn't seen a thing; for if anyone did, then he was either stupid or unfit for the job he held. Never before had the Emperor's clothes been such a success.
While expressing admiration at their Emperor's new "invisible" clothes, a small boy cried out... "But the Emperor has no clothes!"
I originally titled this chapter to focus on the fact that in this fable, the Emperor didn’t know he didn’t have on any clothes. Then I had the revelation that the real people that I wanted to focus on were the people that told him that he did. No one but the “small boy” was willing to tell him the truth.
In my fable, President Trump is the Emperor, and the entire city that doesn’t tell him that “has no clothes” is the Church. In my fable, the president thinks he’s wearing this “fabulous” T-shirt and hat that says, “greatest president ever.” In my fable, no one in the Church wants to tell him that he is not wearing anything at all.
The president has gone beyond too far in recent months by expressing support for the McCloskey’s, who are from my hometown of St. Louis after they pointed weapons at peaceful protesters, not looters, who were on their way somewhere else. He then endorsed that type of behavior by having the McCloskey’s speak at the Republican National Convention. The president encouraged his civilian supporters as they went in caravans en mass to Portland. Only bad things can come of that. There was some debate of the president’s intent when he said that “there were some fine people on both sides” when a far-right counter-protester drove through a crowd in Charlottesville and killed a protestor.
There is no confusion about his support for Kyle Rittenhouse after he illegally brought an assault rifle to Kenosha, Wisconsin, and killed two people. The president has done and said some outlandish, cruel, divisive, false, crass things before, but his most recent actions will likely embolden the next Kyle Rittenhouse or even entire hate groups.
“‘The people who carry out these attacks are already violent and hateful people,’ said Nathan P. Kalmoe, an assistant professor at Louisiana State University who has studied hate speech. ‘But top political leaders and partisan media figures encourage extremism when they endorse white supremacist ideas and play with violent language. Having the most powerful person on Earth echo their hateful views may even give extremists a sense of impunity.’
This has come up repeatedly during Mr. Trump’s presidency, whether it be the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Va., or the bomber who sent explosives to Mr. Trump’s political adversaries and prominent news media figures or the gunman who stormed a Pittsburgh synagogue after ranting online about ‘invaders’ to the United States.
David Livingstone Smith, a philosophy professor at the University of New England and the author of a book on dehumanization of whole categories of people, said Mr. Trump had emboldened Americans whose views were seen as unacceptable in everyday society not long ago.
‘This has always been part of American life,’ he said. ‘But Trump has given people permission to say what they think. And that’s crack cocaine. That’s powerful. When someone allows you to be authentic, that’s a very, very potent thing. People have come out of the shadows.’”
I shared earlier in this book about the “staggering amount of violence directed at protesters by the far-right, including 64 cases of simple assault, 38 incidents of vigilantes driving cars into demonstrators, and nine times shots were fired at protesters.” Do you think if even half of this violence had happened to the counter-protesters instead of by them that the president wouldn’t have called in the FBI, National Guard, etc.?
We’ve heard so much about “Antifa” and the “radical left” but very little about the armed counter-protesters who are either not mentioned by the president or spoken of in conciliatory tones. The Church can’t, in the name of the Republican party, continue to look the other way while the president continues to push the country in armed conflict on its own soil. In MAGA (Vol I), I shared this quote from Timothy Dalrymple at Christianity Today:
“In his editorial, Timothy Dalrymple called ‘hyper-politicization of the American church,’ the great sickness that causes evangelical Christians to continue to be loyal to a president who is ‘extravagantly immoral.’ “(Dalrymple, 2019)
“Mr. Dalrymple goes on to say that ‘American evangelicalism is not a Republican PAC,’ and that ‘We are a diverse movement that should collaborate with political parties when prudent but always standing apart, at a prophetic distance, to be what Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the conscience of the state.’” (Dalrymple, 2019)
In MAGA (Vol I), I said, “The President of the United States has a box of matches, and our country is on fire,” I also talk about the president’s incendiary remarks about Latin Americans. When I thought of the president, the word foment came to mind.
“Fo·ment: instigate or stir up (an undesirable or violent sentiment or course of action). ‘they accused him of fomenting political unrest.’ In·sti·gate: 1) incite someone to do something, especially something bad. Incite: encourage or stir up (violent or unlawful behavior); 2) ‘the offense of inciting racial hatred,’ urge or persuade (someone) to act in a violent or unlawful way.”
In MAGA (Vol I), I ask if racism and division are sins: Here are some of the things that I said about division:
“I believe that in America, there may be no more important sermon or message in this hour than unity. Racism, discord, and division threaten to tear our nation apart. It is at such a time as this that the Church needs to speak…
At a time in America where racial tension and discord are higher than they have been in nearly a generation, we must let our light and example shine. We, as Christians, must not hide the truth of the Word of God as it pertains to race and division. We must not allow worldly, unbiblical views about race and division to be associated with, attributed to, or worse be endorsed by the Church…
Our gospel is not a white gospel, a black gospel, a Hispanic, Asian, or other gospel. If we let the enemy of our faith succeed in portraying it in this way, the ‘lost’ and the ‘blind’ that are not of our particular group will look on us and not see ‘light’ or anything different from what they practice. The result: they will remain lost and blind. This tragic result is the goal of Satan at this strategic hour in our nation; to leverage racism, discord, and division within the Church, to steal the Church’s witness and its harvest of souls…
How could he and I live in the same country and see things so differently? How could a person with a widely acclaimed “prophetic mantle” not see the division in our nation, the dangers related to it, and the spiritual forces behind it?
I found it profoundly ‘dishonoring’ for him to say the equivalent of ‘all is well in America’ at a time when division along racial lines is being stirred up by the president himself and remains virtually unchecked by the Church. For me, saying that ‘all is well in America’ flies in the face of the Scripture that says we should have equal concern for each other and suffer when others in the body suffer…
What I experienced on a local level is also true of the larger body of Christ in America. I believe the same blind spots exist in America’s national Christian leaders for the same reasons. Residing in these blind spots keeps these leaders from being revolted by divisive MAGA sentiments and from seeing, hearing, and feeling the racism in them. Instead, they see, hear, and feel other things that result in them valuing other things (as the research pointed out) as a higher priority than destroying racism and division along racial lines in the body of Christ…
I believe that hyper-politicization alone is not sufficient to account for the division we see in our nation today, both inside and outside the church. I believe the division in America has become heightened because the Republican Party has allowed itself to become associated with the white nationalism stirred up by the president and MAGA supporters.”
Perhaps the church is caught up in cognitive dissonance:
“This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance. For example, when people smoke (behavior) and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition), they are in a state of cognitive dissonance.”
The church knows that the president frequently engages in behavior that is not consistent with common decency, let alone Christianity, yet many have already anointed him “chosen by God.” Rather than be the “small boy” that says he has no clothes on, the Church continues to let him think he has on a T-shirt and hat that says, “best president ever.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish