I’m not sure I have the emotional fortitude to have these conversations, but I hope someone does. These questions demand answers.
This expectation will put many pro-democracy activists in an unusual position. Atheists, agnostics, Jews, liberal Catholics, mainstream protestants, and many thoughtful people with other beliefs aren’t exactly well practiced at proselytizing. Those who typically view religious faith as a personal and private endeavor, will find it difficult to do what I suggest here.
Yet many of us have family and friends who, within the chosen safety of their evangelical enclaves, are never held accountable or asked to explain the many ugly national sins that made their candidate’s rise possible — the mendacity, bigotry, xenophobia, misogyny, and language of violence that so clearly energized the Trump phenomenon. These unconfessed sins, as well as ongoing support from evangelicals, are precisely what will keep Trump in power or drive him from it. Given the circumstances, it’s appropriate to expect, if not demand, religious answers to questions we ourselves may not find particularly religious.
Our conscience, and the weight of this historical moment, should serve as a reminder that this strategy is more than an exercise in irony. We can now refuse the inevitable attempts by Trump evangelicals to revert to arguments no longer relevant under new dynamics of governance. We can also ask them to explain the connection they make between their chosen president and their own heartfelt religious convictions.