Why the World Hates “Christers”

September 14, 2003

WHY THE WORLD HATES “CHRISTERS” by Ray Pritchard William F. Buckley has just published a column with the provocative title, “Bush is Evil.” It begins this way: “In a private forum the question arose, Why do they hate Bush so? And what will they do with that hatred? How far can they carry it? How will it affect the next presidential election?” He goes on to say that “they” (the Left, many political liberals, etc) truly hate President Bush. They hate him, Buckley says, with a hatred that resembles the animosity against Richard Nixon in the Watergate era. The bulk of the column consists of six reasons why “they” hate George W. Bush. Five of them are political and do not concern us here. But reason #2 sticks in the mind: “Bush is a Christer. He takes every opportunity to inform the American people that he is in touch with the Lord and therefore that, by deduction, what he does is the Lord’s work.” Note the unusual term “Christer.” It is an odd word, and in a way a stronger term because of it. It means more than “Christian.” It means something like, “an outspoken follower of Jesus.” That much is certainly true. Whatever else may be said, George Bush may be the most openly evangelical president in American history. One gets the feeling that his faith is both very real and very personal and that he truly means it when he talks about how Jesus Christ has changed his life. I was going to say, “Naturally, this makes some people nervous,” and that’s true. The greater point is that it is his naturalness in talking about his faith that makes some people nervous. “I think he really believes that Jesus nonsense,” they say to each other while sipping cocktails at the country club. Most Americans are religious in a vague, general sense, but many people are uncomfortable with a leader who is an outspoken Christian. So the president is hated and maligned and viciously attacked. It’s not just his Christian faith, but Buckley is right, that’s a big part of it. As I thought about it, my mind drifted to Paul’s explanation for the world’s hostility to Christianity in I Corinthians 2. The wisdom of God in salvation is hidden from the rulers of the world (v. 7). “None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (v. 8). They crucified Christ because they didn’t know who he was. They thought he was a troublemaker. They didn’t know he was the “Lord of glory.” Because the world doesn’t understand the Lord or the Lord’s followers, they crucified him and they try to crucify them. This is nothing new. We must not be surprised or angry when “Christers” are attacked. This has happened from the beginning. If we are attacked for our faith, at least we are in good company.

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