The first presidential portrait of Joe Biden (Source: White House).

Please Don't Go Brandon

By Timothy R. Butler | Posted at 5:54 PM

The phrase kept showing up in my social media feed, probably as it has for you. I’ve been busy, so I kept putting off finding out the reason for the latest social media fad, but finally bit: just who is “Brandon” and why is everyone cheering him on? It seemed like everyone was having lighthearted fun… at first.

Clearly it had to do with our president, that much was clear from context. It seemed innocent enough, sort of like the countless “Thanks, Obama” quips or using one of President Bush’s malapropisms. Given President Biden’s tendencies, I figured he must have referred to someone by the wrong name or something. A Presidential verbal blunder gone viral can be a harmless chuckle regardless of the Oval Office occupant.

I wish that were all it were.

Instead, it is a euphemism for a vulgar curse towards President Biden. If you haven’t kept up with this viral sensation, it is a phrase that came out of a NASCAR event where the reporter thought that was what the crowd was saying, but the chant was actually “F—- Joe Biden.”

So much for “lighthearted.”

Our culture has gotten pretty coarse with language, so is it notable that people are using one of the few words still considered “harsh” towards a politician they dislike? Sadly, no.

What is notable to me as a pastor is that many of the people doing so are Christians.

I know someone is already saying, “But, people were f-bombing President Trump like mad.” True. So, if you supported President Trump, did you like when people did that? Better yet, did God like when people did that?

Here’s the thing: God feels the same way about this when the White House is on Team Red and when it is on Team Blue.

We ought to note what Jesus considered bad before someone responds, “I think the president is doing such horrible things, he deserves it, unlike presidents I like!”

The Pharisees were greatly concerned about signs of righteousness and were — note this — right on a lot of them. But Jesus pointed out what they were missing: the defiling of their hearts revealed by their mouths. “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person” (Matt. 15:10-11 ESV).

Jesus goes on a few verses later to begin a list of what comes out of the heart. First item? “Evil thoughts” (v. 19). Thoughts and intention matter to Him. Earlier, Jesus preached that “whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matt. 5:22).

Scripture calls us to pray for our leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-2) and the early Christians received that instruction while facing leaders worse than any American president we’ve known. Is cursing a leader — someone God tells us to offer “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving” for — with a vulgar phrase maybe, just maybe an “evil thought”? Is f-bombing a person we are called to “honor” (1 Pet. 2:17) perhaps worse than saying “you fool”?

“But, ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ isn’t vulgar,” someone might say.

True again, but that’s a loophole. What it means can’t even be uttered on the radio. Jesus is concerned with what is happening in our thoughts, in our heart, not just if we can find less bleepable ways to decorate those thoughts.

Do presidents do things deeply displeasing to God? Oh, yes, and there’s a way to stand for His truth in those times. Breaking His commands will never be that way. We cannot correct those things by adding another deeply displeasing to God act to our own pile of sins.

Vulgarities against our leaders reveals our hearts, not our “target’s” heart. Ignoring God’s call to pray for the same shows our rebellion towards Him, not theirs.

For our sakes, I hope we can show a different heart. A heart of prayer that earnestly desires each president’s heart to be turned towards the Lord. Let’s start heeding Jesus’s warning and checking not just our mouths, but its source: our hearts.

If we really care about our nation and seeing God’s will being done here, it starts by us doing it.

Timothy R. Butler is Editor-in-Chief of Open for Business. He also serves as a pastor at Little Hills Church and FaithTree Christian Fellowship.

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