Politics redux (I of II)

My post about politics and sg generated some thoughtful and thought-provoking responses from some of you that I’ve been mulling over for a few days. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the assumptions that underlie a performer or group’s decision to go political in a public way, especially for performers like Greater Vision who don’t generally make a habit of being overtly polemical on the stage or in their music (as opposed to, say, Jeff Steele). It’s interesting to me that performers and groups are willing and often eager to take hard and fast stands on political issues and candidates (usually on the grounds that matters of faith are inextricably tied to matters of politics and so fall under the category of things the bible is referring to when it says if you deny Christ before men, Christ will deny you before God). But performers and groups usually want nothing to do with the finer points of Protestant doctrine or any of the theological technicalities of which the most controversial disputes are made within inter-sectarian Protestant crowds like those at most sg concerts (as I noted a while back in a post about lyrics and theology). On the face of it, this is at least a little odd. After all, no matter how much moral and socio-cultural importance assigned to any particular election, a candidate for president seems at best to be no more important than, say, the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints or the distribution of communion to the body of believers. So why performers’ willingness to enter the contentious world of presidential politics while avoiding equally contentious (and, at least theoretically more important) issues of Protestant doctrine and theology? I imagine performers would say that while issues of doctrine and theology are important, such differences arise within the evangelical church broadly considered (that is, reaching across the several denominations that comprise the core of sg) while political contests strike at the heart of “the nation’s moral fiber” or something similarly phrased (hat tip, super-smart reader JG, who reminded me of this important point in a similar but unrelated discussion a while back). No doubt this may well be the working rationale, but it’s also the case that endorsing candidates for president and wearing political lapel pins and passing ’round petitions at your table all proceeds from an assumption about the political tendencies of sg audiences: namely, that the vast majority, if not all, of them are conservative Republicans (at least I’ve never seen anyone in sg publicly endorse a Democratic or progressive anything since I’ve been of voting age).

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