How Should Christians Think About “Let’s Go, Brandon?”
Let’s Go, Brandon?
The whole event that kicked everything off happened back in the fall. It happened in early October at the Talladega Super Speedway in Alabama, and Brandon Brown, a NASCAR racer, had just won the race. He was being interviewed on ESPN, I believe, and as the crowd was jubilant there in the post-race euphoria, they began chanting something that could be heard in the microphones on the interview as Brandon Brown was speaking to the reporter. The reporter said, as the camera panned across the crowd, she suggested that the crowd was chanting, “let’s go, Brandon.” The strange thing about it was that anybody who was watching the broadcast knew the crowd was not chanting, “let’s go, Brandon.”
In fact, the crowd was not talking about Brandon at all. They were talking about Joe Biden, the 46th President of the United States. And they were not saying let’s go. They were saying something much more sinister. They were using adult language. They were using foul language. And not just any piece of foul language. They were using the grand poobah of foul language. They were using the nuclear option of swear words. They were using what is sometimes called the F-bomb. So they were not saying, “let’s go, Brandon.” They were saying to Joe Biden to do something much worse, much more coarse, and much more sinister. Now, that is all old news. What is not old is the phrase that seems to keep gaining momentum, “let’s go, Brandon,” which now has been deployed as a code word for everybody who does not like the president. And you see it in memes. You see it on T-shirts. You see it on hats. In these times that we’re living in, you see it on face masks. What I want to do is address what a Christian’s response to using the phrase “let’s go, Brandon” would be.
A Christian’s Response
What should Christians think about this? And what I want to do is give you three ways to think about the phrase “let’s go, Brandon.” Here’s the first thing.
1. There is something funny about this.
I don’t know what you think about that, but I just want to say straightforwardly there is something funny about this whole thing. I’ve tried to articulate what it is that is legitimately funny here. There is just the general misunderstanding. There is the cluelessness. I don’t know what was behind the cluelessness of the reporter in diagnosing such a coarse phrase as “let’s go, Brandon.” But there’s some level of cluelessness, whether intentional or innocent, of trying to paper over such a crude and ugly phrase with something that’s a little bit more G-rated. There is this humorous sort of wink-wink between people who are frustrated with the president and the reality that we’re living in that is just humorous and funny about the whole thing. It’s funny in a way that I don’t think is wrong. I don’t think it’s wrong to chuckle or to smile at this in a certain way, but you got to stick with me because I’m going to say more. So there is something funny about this.
2. There is also something very serious about this whole thing.
The reason the phrase has caught hold, the reason it has caught fire, the reason this is not going away, is because there are real problems with this president. First of all, the problems of his policies. Those are the most serious problems. We could talk about a lot of things. The one I’ll mention, just to start off with, is he is turning out to be one of the most, if not the most pro-abortion presidents in the entire history of the American Republic. And if you are a Christian, you cannot support that.
You cannot support the ongoing massacre, the slaughter of unborn children, that this president seems to embrace without any kind of reservation at all. There are other policies that are problematic. I just want to help you understand that there are real serious policies, policy problems with this president. Another problem with the president is it is becoming increasingly clear to fair-minded people that the president does not have the sort of grasp on reality that most people want the President of the United States to have. He just doesn’t seem to be with it. He seems to be out of it, in fact.
So when you put those two things together with the fact that this president, in the last election, the incumbent had over 70 million votes, I believe he won more votes for reelection than any sitting president in history. This means, at a minimum, that you have tens of millions of people that have a president that they did not want.
There is something very serious about this. There’s something very serious about the culture that we’re living in that doesn’t trust the media. There is a strong suggestion out there that the reporter actually was not innocently misunderstanding the crowd but was deploying media bias and was trying to cover for the president. I quite frankly don’t know what the intentions of that reporter were, but the point is that this phrase “let’s go, Brandon” has tapped into very serious upset with a massive amount of people about the policies of the president, about the state of mind of the president, and about the culture that we’re living in that some people just say can’t seem to tell the truth. We can’t seem to get a straight story out of the media, in particular, of what’s going on. So there’s something very serious here.
There’s something really wrong with our culture when everybody is this upset. As a matter of fact, we won’t be able to stay this upset forever. Something is going to have to give. So even though there’s something funny about this, there’s also something very serious about this. And here is the third response. And this is where we’re going to get into really the eye of the tornado in terms of a Christian response.
3. There is something sinful about this.
There is something really sinful about deploying the phrase “let’s go, Brandon” as a wink-wink statement to undermine and mock the President of the United States. “Let’s go, Brandon” is a euphemism. A euphemism happens when you take an innocent word, and you replace it for a harsh word. The word “darn” or something like that, or “gosh darn” can be a euphemism to replace a much more ugly and a much more sinful phrase. A euphemism is an effort to clean up foul language.
Here’s the issue with this euphemism. The issue with this euphemism is when people use this phrase, when they use this phrase, you’re using clean words to mean the bad words. And that is a real problem. It’s a real problem for Christians, to be sure.
Standard for Christian Speech
In Ephesians 4:29, we have actually a really clear command to Christians. It says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” This is a much higher standard than the language standards that we usually deploy in our conversations. This is, let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths. It doesn’t mean, it doesn’t say don’t say bad words. It doesn’t say just don’t say the worst bad word, and it doesn’t say don’t use bad words, but you can use nice little clean words as a wink-wink to know what you really mean.
The fact of the matter is, when people say, “let’s go, Brandon”, in the euphemistic sense, they’ve just cleaned up their language, and they mean something corrupting. They mean something bad. And those kinds of things are not supposed to be used by Christians. We are supposed to use language that is good for building up and that fits the occasion so that it may give grace to those who hear.
The standard for Christian speech is gracious talk, not code words for bad words. Another sinful reality here is actually we’re really engaging in some pretty dishonorable use of language about the President of the United States. In 1 Peter 2:17, the Bible says, “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”
Honor the King
Now, I want to be really clear about something. I want to say something very carefully. I did not vote for Joe Biden. I do not support Joe Biden’s policies. I think Joe Biden is actually a dangerous and destructive force in American society. That is a strong statement that will upset some people. But here’s the point. That is an argument. Those are words. I actually say it with respect. I say it from the bottom of my heart. Your responsibility is to then ask me why I think that. And my responsibility is to give you a response as to why I think that. That is another topic for another day. We are allowed to disagree with the king, with the president. We are allowed to not support the president’s policies in terms of being in favor of those policies and longing for different policies. What we’re not allowed to do in the Bible is to dishonor the resident.
We’re not allowed to dishonor the king. It is a fundamentally unchristian thing to work to undermine the king, to work to undermine the president. As a matter of fact, I think you guys know this. Our culture is coarsening. This is becoming a hard and unkind and terrible culture to live in, with everybody being cruel and harsh and vindictive and saying the worst possible things. A culture can’t make it long like that. I was watching at Christmastime a conversation that the president and First Lady were having with a family about Santa Claus and NORAD. And as the interview came to an end, as the conversation came to an end, the dad and the family said, “let’s go, Brandon.” And I just have to tell you, I winced.
I probably have a lot in common with that dad in terms of how we think about politics and our assessment of the president. But I do not have much in common, I don’t believe, with how we should speak to the president and how we should speak to the President of the United States in public. We can disagree. We should disagree when the policies of a president undermine biblical reality, but we should not speak in code in a way that is harsh, in a way that is dishonorable, or in a way that undermines the very fabric of our society. We don’t want our kids talking this way. You don’t want anybody talking this way to you, and so we ought to not speak in this kind of code.
And for Christians, if you are going to use the phrase “let’s go, Brandon,” it should only be because you know somebody named Brandon, and you’re trying to get him to come with you someplace.