Elizabeth Lynn Cheney has been representing a Wyoming congressional district in the US House of Representatives since 2017. She has also been serving as the House Republican Conference chair, the third-highest position in House Republican leadership. She is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and one of the best-known figures in Washington, DC.
However, her repeated opposition to former President Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen has led to rising opposition within her party. Yesterday, in a much-anticipated move, House Republicans voted to remove her from her leadership role.
On the other side of the Republican spectrum, more than one hundred former party officials will release a letter today stating that they will back the creation of a third party if the Republican Party does not break with Mr. Trump and change course. Meanwhile, The Hill reports that “fissures within the Democratic Party are starting to open up.” Divisions are growing over tax issues, infrastructure spending, and the Biden administration’s response to the growing conflict in Israel.
Such political conflicts are themselves symptomatic of a larger cultural conflict. Republicans and Democrats are divided over whether expanding the government’s role makes our problems better or worse. Within their parties, members are divided over whether their party should work with its opponents or double down on its governing philosophy.
Why Hamas is attacking Israel
American politics illustrate the importance of seeking to understand the story behind the story. The tragic escalation of fighting in Israel is a second symptom of factors behind the headlines.
Iran is supporting Hamas with the materials it needs to wage war on Israel because Iranian leaders believe that attacking Israel and otherwise provoking global chaos is an essential step to the return of the Mahdi, their Messiah. As Shiites, they are also opposed to Israel’s recent peace initiative with Sunni Muslim nations and want to prevent the formation of a united Sunni front against Iranian expansion. And Hamas’ leaders are waging war against Israel because such conflict legitimizes their political position and distracts from their misgovernance of Gaza.
For their part, some in Israel support the removal of six Palestinian families from East Jerusalem (one of the issues sparking the current conflict) because they oppose a two-state solution and want to reclaim the biblical land of Israel.
Sarah Silverman opposes a Christian on her school board
A third example of the story behind the story: Shannon McGinley serves on the board of Derryfield School in Bedford, New Hampshire, where she is currently its secretary. She was co-chair of a capital campaign that raised $6.5 million in five years; the school has seen a steady increase in enrollment during her service.
However, she is also executive director of Cornerstone, a Christian organization. As a result, comedian/activist Sarah Silverman took to her podcast last week to declare McGinley the “executive director of a gay conversion center in New Hampshire” and to encourage her removal from the board.
Silverman was wrong. McGinley states that she and her organization have never promoted “unwanted therapy of any kind on a minor.” Nonetheless, a group ironically calling itself the Derryfield Inclusion Alliance is opposed to “someone with such outspoken homophobic and transphobic views to serve as a trustee and board officer.”
Here’s why: Many in our culture now see a person’s right to their “authentic” sexual orientation and gender identity as the path to their flourishing and therefore demand that society embrace such people with full dignity and affirmation. They view anything less (as they assume must be true for someone who directs a Christian organization) as dangerous to society and seek to expose, reject, and replace such now-aberrant ideology.
A perceptive email from a dear friend
The first step in engaging our culture is understanding our culture. It is asking the “why” behind the “what,” looking for the motives that lead to words and actions. It is emulating the “men of Issachar” who “had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).
How? Here is the foundational deception that motivates fallen humans: “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). The serpent persuaded the first humans that they could determine their own moral truth and thus be in charge of their own lives.
From then to today, our enemy seeks to do the same.
A dear friend sent me this perceptive response to my Daily Article on the conflict in Israel: “Palestinians and Jews, Hebrews and Muslims are equal in zeal and futility. Neither will persuade the other. And nothing either offers the other in the way of solution will solve the root problem—sin.”
He adds: “The decline of those who identify as Christians and the rise of political parties, followed by expected and inherent conflict, led me to this thought: political parties have become America’s denominations (or religions), and party platforms our Scripture.”
My friend advises: “We, as followers of Jesus, must be careful to follow the narrow path. We must hold fast to God for healing and to the Bible as his word and truth. Everything else, including party platforms, is merely human opinion and inherently in conflict. There is no peace or salvation to be found there.”
How to “have your will”
I will say more tomorrow about practical ways to “hold fast to the Bible.” For today, let’s decide to follow the “narrow path” my friend describes.
Ask yourself where you are being tempted to be your own God, to make others a means to your political or personal ends, to redefine morality on your terms. Look for the story behind your story.
Then recognize the fact that God’s thoughts are higher than yours (Isaiah 55:9) and that his plan is better than your plan (Jeremiah 29:11). Now identify biblical truth that speaks to your circumstance, challenges, or temptations. Ask for God’s strength to obey his word, then step into biblical obedience with courage and resolve.
You will experience your Father’s providential “story behind the story,” his eternally significant purpose for your life and day. Charles Spurgeon was right: “When your will is God’s will, you will have your will.”
Will you “have your will” today?