Should Christians Back Out of Politics and ‘Sing a Little Louder’?

An interview with Eric Metaxas

By John Zmirak Published on February 26, 2024

The Stream’s John Zmirak interviews author and broadcaster Eric Metaxas on the new film version of his recent book.

John Zmirak: You have a new documentary film that dramatizes the key points you made in your best-selling book Letter to the American Church. It features Charlie Kirk, James Lindsay, and other leaders who help draw out the parallels between the rise of totalitarianism in Nazi Germany, in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s time, and the suffocating intolerance of the Woke left today. You show how only a small fragment of Christians wanted to be “political” in opposing the Nazi crackdown and neopagan warmongering.

Instead, they wanted to “sing a little louder” in church to drown out the sounds of trains carrying innocent people to death camps. What are a few concrete examples of Christians “singing a little louder” today? What do the people I charitably call “Squish Christians” think is more important than abortion up through birth, the castration of kids, the censorship of the media, and the collapse of our nation’s borders? Maybe you could express their mauve priorities in hymn titles … .

Eric Metaxas: The point of my book and the point of this film is to give Christians a last chance to understand that THIS IS IT. That if they do NOT step up and take action now — including getting political — they will be guilty of precisely what the German Christians were guilty of during the rise of Hitler. I feel so strongly about this that we are making screenings of the film FREE to any church that wants to show it. Not kidding. No strings attached. All folks need to do is go to www.lettertotheamericanchurch.com to sign up.

Bonhoeffer famously said that if his fellow German Christians were not speaking out for the Jews, they had no right to “sing Gregorian chants.” What he meant, of course, is that to do something “religious” like singing in church while you are being silent about the monstrous evil happening around you is immoral and actually makes you complicit with the evil. What could be more offensive to God than to see those who claim to be His church acting as though they could fool Him, as though they could say “Look, we are doing good things! We are going to church! We are singing worship hymns!” God is not deceived by our religious activity.

Christians must awake to the idea that God calls them to be the loudest voices in speaking out and in knowing that using politics to bring about God’s purposes is the right thing to do. Wilberforce used politics to abolish the Slave Trade. Lincoln used politics to abolish Slavery. The Civil Rights movement was born in the churches and brought about political legislation to end Jim Crow laws. Donald Trump was elected and appointed three Supreme Court Justices who overturned Roe v. Wade. To pretend we should avoid politics is to play into the hands of the enemy of our souls, and to be the handmaidens of evil in our time. That’s the point, as I say, of this book and of this film. The hour is late.

The Christian Nationalist Dog Whistle

Even as your film comes out, by sheer, wacky coincidence, David French and Russell Moore appear in God & Country. It accuses people like you and Kirk of dangerous “Christian Nationalism.” We’ve learned that French and Moore’s civics curriculum for evangelical churches, called “The After Party,” was funded by pro-abortion leftists who usually give to Planned Parenthood. Have you seen Reiner’s film? Is it better or worse than Birth of a Nation, which wanted to keep black Christians (instead of white Christians) from voting? If you haven’t seen it, could you please please please get hold of it and write a sober, thoughtful response to it entirely in limericks?

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to see his unpleasant and deceitful film any more than I want to read Mein Kampf or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Philippians 4:8 tells us that we should think on “whatsoever things are true” and honest and just and pure and lovely and of good report. So clearly my own Christian faith does not permit me to watch this superlatively grotesque film. But the tiny bits of it that I’ve had the misfortune to see are probably enough to inspire me to come up with a single limerick. So this is just off the top of my head, but here goes:

There once was a “Polack” called “Meathead”
Who hoped to put God on His deathbed.
The film he made featuring Moore and French
Produced such an unpleasant stench.
That more than that’s best left unsaid.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. You’ve been a great audience.

Silence Is Complicity

What are some of the key surrenders and compromises the film shows many pastors and other public Christians making in the past eight years, since the American people disobeyed orders and voted for Orange Man, and their responsible leaders prudently decided to nullify that election, demonize the electorate, and rig the electoral system?

Literally last night I was at an event in Nashville with over a thousand evangelicals, where Donald Trump spoke. I’m going to write about it for The Stream, so stay tuned. Because what he said in his speech is part of the answer to this question. But the short answer — since I don’t want to spoil the film for folks — is that folks have GOT to watch the film. The website is www.LettertotheAmericanChurch.com and I would like to reiterate that it’s FREE to any churches that want to do a screening. And if your church isn’t interested in doing a screening, my question is “Why are you interested in attending that church?” Attending a church that turns a deaf ear to these things is ITSELF complicity with evil.

 

The film has a section on the COVID vaccine and the coercive means used to impose it on Americans — while highlighting the health risks and violation of personal autonomy. But I noticed the film doesn’t address the vaccine’s dependence on organs vivisected from unborn babies. That, and not any health concerns (which we didn’t yet know about) was decisive for many Christians in refusing the vaccine. Not for the Vatican or most of Big Eva of course. Was the Dead Baby Vax too large a red pill for your audience to choke down?

I certainly don’t think so. But of course it is always a challenge to say everything you want to say. It would have been nice to touch on that, because it’s a very important point. If not for you bringing this up over the last couple of years I would not have even known about it. I’m afraid the evangelical world has been especially silent in the face of THIS particular evil. God bless you for reminding us of it.

Nuremburg Trials for Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins?

In that same section, the film includes what we as cynical New Yorkers could only consider comic relief: Public figures who’d taken the vax suddenly collapsing on camera, always with really grotesque expressions on their faces. Why did such footage suddenly vanish, and never get talked about again? Why are there not massive trials of men like Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins who forced this experimental gene therapy on Americans in violation of the Nuremburg Principles? Oh, there we go playing the Hitler card again … .

What you are pointing out only shows how far evil has infiltrated our institutions of government and media. The silence of the churches in these things is what has allowed them to happen. Every Christian leader should be speaking about these things from the pulpit. Once again, that’s the point of the book and the film, which people can find at www.LettertotheAmericanChurch.com. Have I shared the website enough? There’s a lot there, including a LIST of all the free screenings at churches around America, in case someone doesn’t want to pay the five dollars to see the film.

 

A serious issue which I think you owe to your admirers to address: Every time in the film there’s a newspaper headline, to illustrate a point, the rest of the newsprint surrounding it is all from spring 1914, and reports of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which sparked World War I. Were you engaging in subliminal persuasion, trying to frighten viewers that if your message isn’t heeded, it could lead to the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire? Because as a Croat, that’s one of my biggest pet peeves … .

Only YOU would notice that! I am quite convinced it was unintentional.

Can We Just Play Church Instead?

What’s the kind of person who least wants to see this film, who most needs to see it?

Anyone who still isn’t persuaded that it’s time to act. Anyone who thinks these things will settle themselves and they don’t need to get involved. There are many MANY serious Christians who still aren’t persuaded that they need to step up and speak up and do all they can. They still think it’s okay to keep “playing church.” I absolutely dare these folks to read my book, which was written for them, to try to persuade them. And I dare them to view the film. I am convinced that if they read my book or see the film they will understand that they have an obligation to God to speak out and to act.

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Don’t you realize that it’s all fine and dandy to praise Bonhoeffer’s resistance to long ago, dead totalitarians, but kicking back against the ones taking over today will cost you, professionally? Those NPR slots and invitations to the White House have probably dried up by now.

Again, that’s precisely the point of this film. And of my book. If you aren’t willing to pay a price now, it is proof you would not have paid a price when Bonhoeffer was paying a price. It’s proof that you would have been aiding and abetting the monstrous evils of the Holocaust and so much else. Can we face that? And can we repent of our inaction and silence NOW? That’s the point, as I say. To get those people who might see this to see this, and to speak out and do all they can.

Have you lost friends over what you’ve said about the Trump election, and in Letter to the American Church? How do you feel about that?  

I have lost many friends, and there can be no doubt that it has been heartbreaking. There are many people I loved — and still love — who refuse to talk to me. Who obviously think of me as someone who has gone crazy. But that’s part of the price I must myself pay at this time. If I am asking others to pay a price I must be willing to pay a price myself. I always wondered what it would have been like to live during the dark period of Nazi Germany, when speaking out had a real price. Now I have some idea. But I am genuinely hopeful that some who have gotten these things wrong will through this film and through the evils that are happening wake up and see that they still have a short time to do the right thing and be a part of the solution. It’s very freeing to know that whatever price we pay, God has paid the ultimate price — for us. It’s the only way to live, and in a way this book and film mean simply to exhort my fellow Christians to join me in living genuinely freely, in submission to God’s will, just as He intends for us to live.

 

John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. His upcoming book is No Second Amendment, No First.

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