Before changing the station in disgust, I meditated on what he had said. It dawned on me that it was this very type of attitude that ruined my faith some years back when I was a part of the Evangelical church. We are the winners and that means that everyone else loses. And by loses, I mean they lose everything. They go away into the outer darkness, to cry out for their mommies and daddies, wives and husbands, and sons and daughters, only to have them never come. And we, the ones who never go to their aid—either because we don’t want to or can’t—are supposed to think of our salvation as a victory.
And this gives us hope? Hope for what? Hope that when our loved ones are lost from us for all eternity that the best heaven God could come up with would require either a hardening of our hearts or a full frontal lobotomy?
Mine, too. And it’s still shaking in search of some kind of foundation.
As we enter the era of Donald Trump, I have to confess that I only now understand how purely cruel my fellow Christians are. I find it hard to pray as a result.
White American evangelicals, who produced me, and among whom I must count myself, have thoroughly demonstrated how little we care about our representation of Christ to the world, how gleefully willing we are to put our own interests and grievances above the teachings of Jesus. And we have done that where we always do it: in the voting booth.
I can understand some of the reasons evangelical leaders voted for Trump, and I know many have their own moral framework that would make it difficult to vote Democrat, but what stunned me to silence was the unashamed belief and assertion that Trump’s victory in the US elections was undoubtedly all in God’s plan. No ‘flawed candidate’ rhetoric, no language of tough choices and imperfections on both sides, but unapologetic endorsement backed up with pick-and-mix theology.
I fail to understand how leaders who so often call for a return to morality, truth, purity, and faithful marriages can so publicly endorse a man who boasts of sexually harassing women, displays racist attitudes in front of crowds of thousands and so blatantly lies. At best it comes across as unbearably naive. At worst, arrogant and hypocritical.
“Evangelical” used to be a word that I could stomach as a term of identity. It sounded respectable — a heck of a lot better than “holy roller,” “fundamentalist” or “religious.”
I now view it as an epithet. I haven’t abandoned my faith, but I feel like the people I thought were something akin to family have left me.
With their embrace of Donald Trump, white evangelicals have lost all credibility, every last shred of it. Jesus said that the world at large would know his disciples by their love, but I see judgmental attitudes and hate where there should be empathy and compassion. I see little resemblance to the Savior we purport to serve.
The Christian Scriptures tell us: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” This has not been followed.
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.
Understandably, many evangelicals—perhaps even some who voted for Trump—want to distance their faith from its association with the president-elect. Trump is a tyrant and a demagogue who demonstrates no Christian principles, evangelical or otherwise. Evangelical critics of Trump are right to worry about how their fellow believers’ strong support for him will damage their faith’s reputation and public witness.
But advancing historically indefensible claims and naïve predictions that white American evangelicalism has ever been or will ever be anything other than steadfastly conservative in its politics and public influence is no way to handle the fallout from its linkage to Trump. That relationship represents neither a historical anomaly nor a minority position. To suggest otherwise only magnifies the lie.
Another day, another disastrous appointment from the perspective of those of us concerned with facts and reality.
“The nomination of Congressman Mick Mulvaney to lead OMB, like many of Trump’s other cabinet level nominations, raises alarm about the direction in which our country is headed. The White House Office of Management and Budget is central to good government—including its role overseeing science-based public health, safety and environmental protections. Rep. Mulvaney has a long record of supporting legislation that would roll back and undermine those protections. He has backed legislation to change the regulatory process in ways that would give an even stronger influence to industry, increase political interference and undermine science-based decision-making. This is directly contrary to public health and safety, and the public interest generally. Real people’s lives will be at stake in the decisions Mulvaney will make at OMB.
Yeah, appointing a guy who questions whether the government has a role to play with respect to researching issues like the Zika virus is disastrous. There’s no other word for it. Other than catastrophic, maybe.