Progressive Christians: Chaplains for Nero?

From the inestimable Mike Bird:

Perhaps the most negative criticism I could make about contemporary liberal or progressive Christians, is that they are little more than “chaplains for Nero”. Imagine if me and some progressive Christian got in a time machine and went back into Nero’s court around 63 AD. I stand up and in rough Latin I explain to Nero who I am, which religious community I belong to, and read portions of Phil 2:5-11, 1 Thess 4-5, and Rom 10:9-10 as examples of what I believe.  I reckon I’d end up food for the lions in the arena faster than you can say “Nero is a Greek drag queen”. As I’m led away, up steps a progressive Christian, who reads out some of the UN millennium goal, gives a manifesto on LGBTQ rights, talks about their acceptance of gay marriage (Nero was involved in two gay marriages!), flaps their gums about being pro-abortion (Nero had no objections here), and discourses on the tolerance of religious pluralism over and against the “orthodox” Christians who recognize Jesus as the only Lord and Savior. For the progressive Christian, when it comes to religion, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, or Isis, it’s pretty much all the same thing if you are a religious pluralist. So calling Nero “Lord” or worshiping him would not be a problem for anyone who is open minded or sincerely “inter-religious” (when in Rome eat spaghetti and offer incense to Nero’s genius!). Nero is not alarmed at anything this progressive Christian says, in fact, he’s even impressed. He asks the progressive Christian to be his own personal chaplain and become his adviser on how to deal with those pesky Roman Christians who go around secretly chanting “Jesus is Lord” and implying that Nero is not!

That’s why I’m not a liberal! Not that evangelicalism doesn’ have its own problems either, it can easily turn into folk religion, descend into little more than a baptizer of right wing values, and becomes a chaplain to conservative politics. But liberalism as a theological position divorces me from the God who saves me and refuses to believe in a God who speaks. I see no attraction. If you wrap up the values of the left in some religious wrapping paper and hand it onto them, they’ll thank you for affirming all of their values, but give you back your religious wrapping paper.