aside There Is A Strain Of Virulent Racism Within The White Evangelical Community

The following commentary provides an explanation for the enigma which has haunted me, that is how could the vast majority of White Evangelicals continue to support the republican President Donald Trump who falls short in every attribute that one would want to see exemplified by one who calls himself a Christian?

One of the insidious curses on our society is that of racism which still acts like a cancer to divide us. The author presents her case as to how this disease has has infected the White Evangelical community and her arguments ring true to me.

I was a registered republican until 2016 but the ugly strain of racism within the party had started to bother me around 2013 with the Trayvon Martin case. Too many older republican White  Evangelicals rushed to back and support the likes of a guy like George Zimmerman, a white neighborhood watch group member while demonizing a Black teenager who was an innocent just walking home from a store with some candies and tea, but who was unfairly profiled and fatally shot by Mr. Zimmerman.

Image result for trayvon martin cartoons

Here is the rest of the story….

On April 30, 2018, Nancy D. Wadworth of VOX penned the following report, “The racial demons that help explain evangelical support for Trump”

Excerpts:

“White evangelical Protestants continue to approve of President Donald Trump at about twice the rate of the general public, according to a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. Indeed, the figure is at an all-time high, with some 75 percent expressing a positive view as of March.”

“Debating the question of why white evangelicals hold so fast for Trump has become a pastime for commentators, given that the president’s values and behavior would appear to be anathema to conservative Christians.”

“Among political evangelicals, at one ideological pole stand those who purport to see a seamless connection between their agenda and that of the current chief executive. “I think evangelicals have found their dream president,” Jerry Falwell Jr. gushed last May. An oft-heard variation on this view is that Trump may be a sinner, but he’s one chosen by God for a providential mission.”

“But then there are the prominent hand-wringers. Veteran evangelical writers like Michael Gerson, David French, and Stephen Mansfield have been wrestling with the damage this strategic partnership may be doing to a once-great religious tradition.”

Sack cartoon: Evangelicals and Trump

“It is an abandonment of the evangelical path, these writers argue — to varying degrees and with different emphases — for believers who claim to care about the poor, the suffering, and the outcast, not to mention sexual morality and civic virtue, to line up behind a belligerent boor who bullies women, Mexicans, and Muslims and who has a manifestly feeble understanding of religious texts and history. “

But these sympathetic critics fail to grapple with the idea that Trump’s racism and misogyny might actually resonate with the evangelical base, which happens to constitute about 35 percent of the GOP coalition. In fact, racism and intolerance are more woven into the fabric of evangelicalism than these Christian critics care to accept.

I spent the first 15 years of my career as a scholar studying American evangelicals and race, and in my view the failure to consider motivations rooted in anxieties about race and gender as an explanation of evangelical Trump support represents a striking omission. The history of American evangelicalism is intensely racially charged. The persistent approval for Trump among white evangelicals ought to prompt far more critical self-reflection within the evangelical community than we’ve seen so far.”

“Evangelicals’ tenacious affection for Donald Trump is not a bug driven by expediency. Instead, it reflects defining features of American evangelicalism that become clearer when we examine the historical record. Doing so reveals that when white conservative evangelicals feel threatened by cultural change, the old demons of racism and misogyny, which lurk at the heart of the American evangelical tradition, return with a vengeance. Trump is just another chapter in that story.”

Image result for cartoons about evangelical support of trump

The contorted explanations for the evangelical support of Trump

“One version of a familiar defense of evangelicals goes like this: Evangelicals held their nose and voted for Trump despite his obvious flaws because they needed the deal he offered. They felt besieged by a swift-moving culture that, under Obama, insulted their faith and threatened to rob them of their religious liberties, forcing them to do things like bake cakes for gay couples and create gender-neutral bathrooms in public places.”

“In a fearful rage, evangelicals rebranded Trump for strategic purposes, seeing him as a champion in a nostalgic fight for a bygone America, and as a tool to achieve tactical wins, in particular the appointment of a pro-life Supreme Court justice.”

Image result for cartoons about evangelical support of trump

In this take, evangelical Trump support is purely transactional, not necessarily an endorsement of his values. Although they “vastly overdid it,” says Stephen Mansfield, the author of Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him, they moved toward Trump “mainly because they felt traumatized in the wake of the Obama years and terrified by the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency.” Trump did activate the (white, rural) “Bubba Vote,” Mansfield observes, and evangelicals’ tolerance of his racism is “all very questionable.”

National Review columnist David French also embraces the narrative that evangelicals were “gang-tackled” by political correctness under Obama, and Clinton would have continued that project. In 2016, “given the choice between a morally corrupt enemy [Clinton] and a morally corrupt ally (or at least someone who promised to be their ally), [evangelicals] chose the ally.” (Elsewhere, however, he notes that Clinton has attracted the ire of the religious right for four decades in part because of her “arrogant, condescending feminism”).

“Nonetheless, French warns, evangelicals should avoid embracing the panoply of distasteful values and behaviors that Trump displays, and he thinks they’ve have failed at that, since the election: They’ve leaped to join Trump’s “tribe.” “The true tragedy of Evangelical support for Trump is that a group of Americans who have a higher call on their lives — and faith in a far greater power than any president — now behave (with notable exceptions) exactly like simply another American interest group,” he writes.”

“(Interestingly, French’s wife, fellow conservative writer Nancy French, emerged from the election with a much less ambivalent view, convinced that evangelicals’ posture of supporting “family values” and respect for women has “all been a façade.” The Republican Party, she says, referring to Trump, “now shelters an abuser.” The Roy Moore debacle, only underscored that, she later wrote.)”

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Defiling the evangelical legacy?

“Michael Gerson lays out a particularly condemnatory, yet nuanced, version of the Christian anti-Trump lament in a lengthy, elegant essay in the April issue of the Atlantic. Gerson frames Trump loyalty as “the last temptation” that could forfeit evangelicalism’s future and despoil a long legacy of positive contributions to American culture.”

Jerry Falwell Sr. offered a platform to arch-segregationist George Wallace, shown here blocking a door at the University of Alabama.
Jerry Falwell Sr. offered a platform to arch-segregationist George Wallace, blocking a door at the University of Alabama.   Bettmann Archive/Getty“Gerson attributes evangelicals’ failures on race matters today to their “relative ethnic and racial insularity”— as if that is accidental. But a real possibility is that more than 85 percent of evangelical congregations remain racially homogenous (that is, more than 90 are of a single racial group) because whites have refused to address the ongoing racial attachments in their theology and politics.”

“As the smartest evangelical critics of Trump recognize, younger generations of evangelicals are quickly distancing themselves from the blight of racism, misogyny, and homophobia in their tradition. Non-evangelical millennials recoil from these attributes.”

Image result for cartoons about evangelical support of trump

“And the liberal wing of Protestantism seems finally to be rising as a clear alternative, making concerted efforts to take stands against police violence, the scapegoating of immigrants, transgender rights, and protests against the racist right.”

“If American conservative evangelicals hope to avoid retreat to another period of insularity and irrelevance, they must face the possibility that Trump’s evangelical loyalists aren’t just turning a blind eye to his racial and gender politics. On the contrary: Many may well share those politics.”

Link to entire article: The racial demons that help explain evangelical support for Trump 

11 comments

  1. My mother was the daughter of a Methodist minister. She later joined the AME church. My dad was Baptist, (no the Southern Baptist type, however.) In other words,I was raised in a household with two different Christian denominations existed. My mom wanted my sister and I to visit other churches to make up our own minds, and that we did. During our teen years, we church hopped every weekend. It included a Pentecostal, Catholic, and Seventh Day Adventist Church.

    I church hopped most of my young adult life as well. That’s because being raised in a Bible reading home, I read the Bible. What I was hearing preached from the pulpits was not. It wasn’t until 1983 when I was invited to attend a non-denominational, teaching fellowship, that I felt I had found a church home.

    That introduction is why I say the following — it’s not the Evangelical believers, but the preachers who have led their congregations astray. They preach hate and condemnation from the pulpit. About the only scriptures that the members can find are those that have been interpreted to them by a pastor who is teaching according to his or her own fleshly desires.

    It amazes me when I talk with them and say something that I presume they know is scripture, to have them argue against it. When I say that is quote from scripture they ask, “Where is that in the Bible?” They don’t know. They depend on their pastors, and their pastors depend on them never reading the Bible for themselves beyond the “text” that he or she preaches from one day a week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Xena,

      I find that what you are saying from experience is so very true. I tell every young Christian to pray/ talk directly to God because that is how one forms a relationship with Him and for them to read their bibles. After awhile, this Christian can ferret out what’s of value and what is not.

      I take your point about the preachers but I also perceive a symbiotic relationship where the pastor preaches to please his congregation versus leading them. He tells them what they want to hear.

      I have been distressed by the strain of racism that permeates through the White Evangelical Church in too many instances. I do have Evangelical preachers that I do admire and follow like Joyce Meyers, Reverend Dr. William Barber, Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Bishop Joseph Garlington. I also follow Papa Francisco.

      I do have a question. I have about 14 Joyce Meyers following me on twitter. How is this possible?

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

      • Gronda,
        Regarding the 14 Joyce Meyers on Twitter, the one with a blue check by her name is the validated Joyce Meyers. The rest of the accounts are not the real Joyce Meyers.

        You mentioned Rev. Barber, and now I am confused as to what is meant by “Evangelicals.” Rev. Barber pastors a Disciples of Christ church. That denomination is congregationalist and each church is independent. Joyce Meyers is charismatic, which is somewhat of a watered down version of Pentecostal. T.D. Jakes is nondenominational.

        I don’t know if “Evangelical” is being used now as a description of all Protestant denominations and nondenominational churches or not. Each one might or might not have their own mission statement and doctrines. Those who adhere to doctrines of hate are universally known as self-righteous — or at least that was the descriptive term until lately. It’s rather confusing because the word Evangelical” was originally applied to Anglicans and Methodists. Today, those most vocal in doctrines of hate seem to be mostly Southern Baptist.

        In other words, there might be thousands of believers who hold to doctrines of hate, but because they are not members of an “evangelical” congregation, don’t believe that the word applies to them.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh Gronda, I certainly wasn’t fault finding with you. Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I am the person who is confused.

          Here’s an analogy;
          We pick up a can or box in the grocery store and there is a label. Beyond the general name on the label are also the ingredients. Each Brand might have different ingredients.

          The confusion arises when the labels are absent of ingredients.

          When I first heard “Evangelical Christians” used in political discussions, I thought it referred to the Evangelical denomination, or those churches that have “evangelical” in their name. The word “evangelical” originally identified those denominations that preach to convert beyond their brick and mortar walls. Many denominations that do that are not “conservative Christians.”

          Words and phrases do seem to get redefined. It can be difficult and confusing understanding what they mean when that happens.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Xena,

          I could never find fault with you. The truth is that I am confused. The question you poise is a good one.

          As per Wikipedia:

          he churches that are known as evangelical today are descended from the mainline Protestant churches of the 19th century. When a distinction is made between evangelical and mainline churches, it’s not a hard and fast distinction. There are many, many evangelical mainline Protestants.

          This explanation by John Green doesn’t help:

          But on many points, evangelicals and mainliners are sometimes hard to tell apart, because there are people in the evangelical tradition who are somewhat more modernist and tend towards the mainline. We often refer to them as liberal evangelicals. But then there are also people in the mainline churches who have a more traditional, or conservative perspective. They’re sometimes referred to as evangelical mainline Protestants.

          So this is a little bit confusing here, because the two communities are not as completely distinct as some might argue. But there are clear distinctions at the core of each tradition, which allows us to recognize them as different approaches to Protestantism.

          One (Evangelical) belief is that the Bible is inerrant. It was without error in all of its claims about the nature of the world and the nature of God. A second belief is that the only way to salvation is through belief in Jesus Christ. A third belief, and one that is most well known, is the idea that individuals must accept salvation for themselves. They must become converted. Sometimes that’s referred to as a born-again experience, sometimes a little different language. Then the fourth cardinal belief of evangelicals is the need to proselytize, or in their case, to spread the evangel, to evangelize.

          Now different members of the evangelical community have slightly different takes on those four cardinal beliefs. But what distinguishes the evangelicals from other Protestants and other Christians is these four central beliefs that set them apart.

          I stand confused.

          Hugs, Gronda

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        • Gronda, I apologized because you said you stand corrected. It was not my intent to correct or fault find with you. Now, I apologize for misunderstanding what you said. Explanations you find online are not going to help, because unless a congregation is part of a Synod with preplanned sermons and Sunday School lesson plans, they are independent congregations.

          That is one reason I previously said that I hold the pastors accountable for preaching hate. If they evangelize by preaching fear, even fear of hell, or by condemnation,that’s another reason I don’t return. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin — not condemn.

          Also, there are some congregations, even those thought of being evangelical congregations, that do not allow any mention of politics in the church — not during fellowship, or in sermons, or Sunday School.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Most interesting. Reaction based on fear. No doubt. But the Organized Christian Church has degenerated into a social club since the time of the industrial revolution and it is now happy to accommodate itself to the latest fashion. The Trump phenomenon is simply one aspect of the disappearance of the central message of Christianity that demands self-sacrifice in a world that is focused on self-interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Hugh Cutler,

      I’m afraid that you do have a point. I have advised my children to look at the church’s fruit/ their priorities. Does the church have a homeless ministry, does it sponsor a soup kitchen, does it have a prison ministry, does it minister to the poor. If the preacher puts down any group of peoples, walk out. I have personally heard hateful comments about the gay community or Catholics,for instance. This is when a decent person heads for the exit door. In addition, I do not want to attend any church which consists of almost all white folks.

      When I get critical, I do not want to take away from the ministries which do a lot of good works.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

  3. Gronda, as an imperfect Christian who tries to treat others like I want to be treated, my biggest pet peeve is bigotry from the pulpit. I find it a gross direliction of duty. Another concern is what a friend of mine calls “cafeteria Christians” who pick out selective passages from the bible overlooking the overarching message.

    Jesus’ words I offer in my first sentence do not have caveats – treat everyone like you want to be treated, not just the people who look like you do. Through my charity work for people in need, I have met some of the most wonderful ministers, rabbis, imams, priests and lay people. We should not let people who have let too much bigotry invade their faith give these other giving people a bad name.

    Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Keith,

      You demonstrate the fruit that I want to see in a Christian. None of us are perfect to where we all fall short. But we can all do something to lift others up.

      One of the practicing Christians who I admired immensely was the now deceased Mrs. Bush. When folks were acting out in fear with HIV patients, she went to a hospital with HIV patients to minister, hug, etc. When folks were decrying same sex marriages, she attended one. In both cases, she made sure that there was ample news coverage. She was certainly vocal about how she felt towards President Trump.

      To act out of fear with hate, which includes the sin of racism is a bar to lifting others up, providing comfort, encouragement, etc.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

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