Recent elections in Holland, Sweden, Italy and Argentina have given victories to a new type of conservative leader based on a faulty premise. Some Christians hold the only way to fight against godless and immoral times is with godless leaders who practice no established religion and follow no set rules.
Only these outside mavericks who know how to navigate in rough, godless waters can adequately represent desperate Christians.
The new leaders claim (quite rightly) that the system is broken and, therefore, conclude (quite wrongly) that all old rules can be broken abruptly to bring about radical change.
The powerful appeal of this shock politics has changed the discourse of many elections. Gone is the gravitas of civil debate. Enter political theater that is brutal, erratic and dramatic. These brash leaders accept few limitations; they respect no standards. They live in a postmodern narrative disconnected from tradition, where all is possible, but nothing is certain.
Personal Lives in Disorder
The personal lives of many of these disruptive public figures can be broadly termed godless because traditional morals or doctrines do not restrain them. Holding conservative views on a few major issues is enough to make them champions of the right or even the “far right.” They can hold liberal positions on vital moral issues like abortion or the LGBTQ agenda that are often judged secondary to economic and political matters.
For many of them, religion is much more of a cultural identity than a means of sanctification. Thus, they use Christian symbols and rhetoric to advance their cause. However, for the most part, these leaders do not profess the Christian Faith and tend to embrace agnostic, esoteric or even pagan beliefs.
Matthew Rose, in his book A World After Liberalism: Philosophers of the Radical Right, lists the five major thinkers that have impacted many of these leaders and their followers. None of these thinkers are Christians; most are pagan. Julius Evola was a “painter, occultist, mountaineer, sexologist, and unreliable scholar of Eastern religions.” Another thinker, William Francis Yockey, professed to be “a pagan and a polytheist.” Allain de Benoit even wrote a 1981 book titled On Being a Pagan.
With such thinkers influencing the movement, it is unsurprising that candidates present an eclectic moral profile. Indeed, a candidate can be labeled a pot-smoking, abortion tolerant, LGBTQ+ friendly cohabitating millennial who dabbles in the occult and still be considered a paladin of the Christian cause.
Sometimes Win Battles But Always Disappoint
What attracts people to the movement is its commitment to return to a stability that will allow everyone to live restrained or unrestrained lives. Thus, they oppose Socialism when it restricts liberty, private property and a national way of life.
This promise of material stability and freedom attracts all those Christians who rightly reject Socialism, illegal immigration, gender ideology and the woke agenda.
Thus, these godless leaders can often obtain some results favoring a Christian agenda. They can win battles that benefit the Christian causes they do not profess. In this, they are to be commended.
However, godless leaders will always disappoint Christians. Their focus is not oriented toward Christian virtue. They cannot be relied upon to defend the Christian ideas and morals they do not practice. Some of these figures may cause liberals to tremble, but they will be, at best, mercenaries for the godly cause.
A New Class of Leaders
Thus, a new class of godless populist leaders is rising that claims to represent the cause of many Christians. They can be found at all levels with varying degrees of passion and intensity. However, this new leadership on the right is increasingly post-Christian.
Tobias Cremer, in his expressive book The Godless Crusade: Religion, Populism and Right-Wind Identity Politics in the West, notes that this new right movement can be characterized as “a godless crusade in which Christianity is turned into a secular ‘Christianism.’” It is “increasingly independent of Christian practice, beliefs and the institutions of the church.”
The danger of such a political scene is that it hollows out the substance of the debate. All is reduced to simulacra—mere images and representations. The godless are entrusted with the mission of furthering a Christian cause without Christ or engaging in a moral crusade without the cross.
People are left with the shell of identity politics and national self-interest when there are no core beliefs. It favors a Nietzschean perspective where only power matters and defines.
This shallowness represents a refusal to address the root causes of the present crisis (like sin). It cannot address the profound problems that afflict the postmodern soul that searches for meaning and purpose. Such an arrangement is destined to fail in the long run.
The Advantages of the Ungodly
Implicit in the rule of the godless leaders is the insinuation that someone godly cannot represent well the Christian cause. Like Nietzsche, this view holds that Christian virtue, courtesy and charity represent weakness, not strength. It implies that only human, not divine, means count in a highly secular society. God’s aid is not to be asked or expected.
This view holds that the ungodly have all the advantages. An authentically Christian perspective is deemed a liability in a secular society. It is best expressed vaguely and discreetly jettisoned when necessary to accommodate that godless sector still favorable to the conservative cause.
Search for Wisdom
Such conclusions are completely false. Those who hold them betray an ignorance of the nature of Christian virtue and an inflation of the value of godless ambition.
Godly leaders are the best suited to deal with an ungodly world. They can be expected to pursue Christian wisdom, whereby they discern the first causes of things and can, therefore, take the proper actions and not stopgap measures. They will seek after the virtue of fortitude, stand firm in defense of moral principles, and not bend ficklely to public sentiments.
Godly leaders will put things in the perspective of right and wrong. They will exercise justice with mercy, understanding with charity, and authority with benevolence. They will have recourse to God and seek His grace, knowing that it makes souls capable of doing things beyond mere human nature.
Godly Leaders Are Better Suited to Govern
Thus, the best representatives of the Christian cause are godly leaders. They will not betray the good cause. Their wisdom far outmaneuvers all the wiles and guiles of the ungodly enemy. Working with God, all becomes possible and certain.
By all metrics, history records that the godly are better suited to govern than the ungodly. Their disinterested service makes them more likely to be remembered for their good deeds and benevolence.
However, being a godly leader is far more difficult than the easy path of ungodly ambition, especially in these times. It takes courage for candidates to step up to the plate and stand out by the practice of virtue and the profession of Faith. The public must also be convinced that the godly path, although difficult, is the best way to find true solutions.
One way to make this happen is to destroy the myth of the ungodly leader as the best possible representative of the godly. Like all ungodly paths, it cannot end well.