Like many, my thoughts have lately been on the state of our country and more specifically on the events of January 6. For whatever reason, I happened to think about Edward Auchard. Rev. Auchard and his wife Elma came to Bryan in 1975 and he ministered at the Presbyterian church until his retirement in 1988. After his retirement, he wrote a weekly column for The Bryan Times starting in 1991. He passed away in 2014.
In his writings, Rev. Auchard addressed a variety of topics, from theology to international issues to personal observations. His interest in history helped him understand the present and warn about the future. I found his conclusions to be thoughtful and well presented.
Rev. Auchard would declare that by disposition and philosophy that he was a conservative. “I have been a lifelong Republican,” he would say. “I trace this allegiance back to my great-grandfather who according to cherished tradition, came to Kansas with a Bible under one arm and a gun in the other, determined that Kansas would enter the Union as a free state.”
Yet, Rev. Auchard often lamented over the ideologues who profess to be conservative — or neo-conservatives and the promotion of an agenda that imperils not only the Republican Party, but also the nature and future of our democratic government. He would write, “The neo-conservative movement is not conservative. It is revolutionary in the fascist sense. It is imperialistic with the potential for replacing the American republic with an American empire.” He would openly exclaim, “I find my allegiance to the Republican Party strained…I do not want to leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party seems to be leaving many of us.”
Rev. Auchard knew of people’s anger because of the sense of betrayal and distrust of corporate America and civil government. Within the civil body politic, Rev. Auchard was wary of the too far fearful left while at the same time declaring, “The ‘radical right’ and the ‘religious right’ in today’s politics resemble the “German Christians” of 80 (now 90) years ago. To Rev. Auchard, Pat Robertson (and I would add those like him) represent a piety that surrenders the Biblical message of justice and peace in favor of a militant imperialism that parades as patriotism. “We ignore the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth who was God Incarnate. Both a personal gospel and social gospel are rooted in Scripture. The quest for world peace and social justice and equal rights are rooted in the Bible. These are expressions of the nature and purpose of God our Creator and Redeemer. Rev. Auchard stated, “We need to recognize the necessity of a conservative-liberal alliance to transform the American dream into historic reality. The left-right cadence of history is the way of progress.”
To the Church, Rev. Auchard warns, “Evangelical Christians wait for the Second Coming of the Victor from heaven. Jesus taught us that before the ‘Son of Man comes in His glory,’ we must learn to recognize the Son of Man in every person we meet – the sick and sad, the hungry and the prisoner. Unless we recognize the Son of Man in others about us, we are not prepared to meet the Son of Man in His Glory.”
Yet, Rev. Auchard was always, always hopeful, saying, “The healing of this wounded nation is possible only by the faith that Abraham Lincoln expressed in his Second Inaugural address: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right; let us finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to do all that may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.”
“This spirit is necessary today to unite our nation with its radical right and fearful left.”
Thank you, Rev. Auchard.