Objectively, I can acknowledge that Lauren Boebert’s behavior over the weekend was inappropriate. It wasn’t a good look for a self-professed and extremely vocal Christian, it wasn’t becoming of an elected official, and it probably embarrassed her family. It also probably doesn’t help that she went public with her divorce a short 6 months ago. With her fame, power and profile, she should have known better. I get it, really, I do.
But if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t think what she did was that egregious or unforgivable.
And it prompted me to think about the evolving standards of the political right, and whether or not I think they can be productive long term.
I’ve been active in right of center politics for a literal decade now. And while there has always been a religious element, and Republican candidates have always had to cater to Christian voters if they wanted any shot at winning, something has changed in the last 5 or so years.
Politicians that didn’t mention God in their speeches 3 years ago are giving miniature sermons every time they step in front of a microphone now. And there would be nothing wrong with that if I thought it was coming from a genuine, organic place. But I don’t think it is.
Paleoconservatives have been extremely successful in shifting the right’s priorities and emphasis, and politicians and public figures are responding to that.
I credit paleocons for bringing social and cultural issues to the forefront, because for too long, the right has completely abandoned them, and I think that’s how we ended up in the mess we’re in today. While Republicans were arguing about taxes, the Left was laying the foundation for Critical Race Theory and drag queen story hour.
But as usual, I feel like there’s never a middleground. We overcorrect, and end up neglecting another set of critical and consequential debates.
And now, we’ve reached a point where devout Christianity has become an implicit prerequisite of the political right.
When that happens, it forces politicians that may be on unconventional spiritual journeys but have the right intentions and the will to lead to put on airs in the name of electability.
I’m not saying that’s what happened to Boebert, but I do think it’s happening to a lot of people, and that any version of Christianity that comes from external coercion or peer pressure is ultimately meaningless.
I don’t think Christianity should ever be apologized for, or downplayed to appease anyone. But I don’t think it should act as an admittance test for our movement either.
It’s important to speak honestly about what God demands of His followers. I understand that no one is done any favors by liberal interpretations of the Bible that only focus on “loving your neighbor” and “not judging.”
But I see so much discussion of degeneracy and modernity by prominent “Conservative Christians” and so little discussion of repentance and redemption.
I read that Boebert’s speaking engagement at the Texas Youth Summit was cancelled, and again, I get it. But Christianity and “conservatism” don’t change the nature of adolescence. They don’t make teenagers less hormonal or impulsive than they already are.
I don’t know who made the call, but I feel like Boebert could have easily turned this public relations nightmare into a teachable moment for young Texans, addressing a temptation that most of them are all too familiar with, apologizing, sharing her regrets and the importance of chastity – but also testifying that no matter how disappointed we think God is in us, or how much shame we feel after a transgression, Christ will never reject us. I feel like she could have given impressionable teens invaluable insight on the importance of clinging to Jesus – especially after falling short.
All that said, am I allowed to be real?
I know that as a Christian, what she did was wrong.
But I also think there was something normal, healthy and human about the way she behaved.
I feel like as hypersexualized as our current culture is, romance and eroticism are on the decline.
It feels like I’m either reading Facebook posts from Christian fundamentalists that treat sleeping with their husbands like doing the dishes or cleaning the kitchen, seeing some podcast clip of Only Fans prostitutes that need electric chairs and military grade weaponry to feel even faint arousal, or reading an article about obese polyamorous transvestites complaining that they can’t get any matches on Grindr.
While I obviously understand the criticisms, I think it’s normal, healthy and human for a man and a woman on a date to be attracted to each other and get a little wrapped up in the moment.
I might even go so far as saying that kind of passion is preferable in a political leader.
I’d rather have someone like Boebert on my side, fighting for my interests than these low energy, effete fossils that are one missed stair away from hospice.
I understand this may sound surprising as the last blog post I published was scolding our senators for their abandonment of standards and how much I’ve been writing about my faith as of late. Maybe I’m a hypocrite; you be the judge. Lauren Boebert should be held accountable for what she did, and I think what she did reflected poorly on her as a Christian. But I don’t think the qualities that make a perfect Christian necessarily make an effective leader, and if this is the greatest controversy of her career, she’s probably still an asset.