I’ve just finished writing a series on White Evangelicals in an attempt to garner some basic understanding as to why these folks are so reliant and yet, protective of the authoritarian, morally corrupt, flawed leader, the republican President Donald Trump.
I’m convinced that this subject warrants more media scrutiny because of their out-sized influence that they’ve been exerting over the republican President Donald Trump and his Republican Party. Their high level of clout has resulted in the enactment of policies which may not be in the long term US national security interests but that comport with their belief systems which hits the high note of every conspiracy sci-fi aficionado. Their end-times, obsession with the Rapture, all revolve around topics like the Apocalypse, being selected to enter Heaven from earth in an instant, leaving others behind to face 7 years of tribulation, a period of great suffering. The key to these end-time scenarios revolve around Jerusalem and Israel being under the total control of the Jewish peoples.
These Evangelicals tout their disdain of anything having to do with their bogeyman, the New World Order which translates into their antipathy towards organizations like the United Nations and NATO. They’ve been fully backing the president’s anti-immigration sentiments especially when it comes to the Muslim community, as in the President’s Muslim travel ban, and they are infamous for their anti-LGBTQ rights which accounts for the president’s military transgender ban.
Does any of the above ring a bell?
The reason the White Evangelicals in the USA have been able to exert all this influence is because they comprise over 35% of the president’s Republican Party’s reliably loyal base of voters even though they are a minority population at 26%, who self-identify as Evangelicals. In 2016, its members voted for President Trump by a margin of 80%, plus, they continue to approve of his presidency at rates that exceed 70%. It only makes sense that the president and his crony GOP lawmakers would be motivated to cater to their interests in order to maintain their positions of power.
This White Evangelical community includes the president’s 2 team members, VP Mike Pence and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who are entrenched in the belief that the republican President Donald Trump has been sent by God to represent and champion their causes. For support, the president frequently relies on a group of Evangelical Christians within the White House for spiritual guidance. Secretary Pompeo even referred to the Rapture, in a speech that he delivered in Cairo.
As per a 5/15/2018 Quartz report, “Christian evangelicals “don’t like Trump because they think he is holy,” explains Ziegler. “They like him because they think he’s God’s tool.”
As per the 10/3 2018 Guardian report, “The chosen one? The new film that claims Trump’s election was an act of God” by Harriet Sherwood, “More than 1,000 US cinemas are screening The Trump Prophecy – which posits that God chose the philandering billionaire to restore America’s moral values.”
The current head of the (DOJ) US Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr is a practicing conservative Catholic and a member of the conservative Catholic organization, the Knights of Columbus. It’s a fact that 26% of the US population who self-identify as being Evangelical, about 11% are from more mainstream denominations like Catholicism and the various Protestant churches. Could this include the current AG William Barr who is a practicing Catholic? There are “evangelicalized” white Catholics.
This past week, I had been watching on TV, the US Attorney General William Barr self-destruct while he was testifying before the the US Congress. This is a man who used to enjoy a very decent reputation based on his prior stint as an attorney general and a reasonably good resume. Professionals who’ve known him for decades can’t explain this Dr. Henry Jekyll version of William Barr as they witness his break down. He’s throwing away his honor, any prestige he had, out the window.
It was the most dramatic and worrisome proof of Barr’s willingness to do Trump’s bidding came during his testimony before the Senate, when he suggested that he was launching an investigation into “spying” on the Trump campaign. There are the president’s apologists who have been working overtime to clean this up, but most of us, saw and heard him, loud and clear.
Why would he do this? It’s like the news cycle has gone psycho.
His actions make no sense. As the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, “He’s gone off the rails” because during the hearings he has acted as if he’s the president’s personal advocate instead of fulfilling his role as the head of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) which is supposed to represent the people’s interests.
But if he counts himself as a right wing conservative Christian, in sync with Evangelical thinkers, who are convinced that President Trump has been sent from God, as a tool to fight for their causes, then this could explain his outlandish actions, as he moves heaven and earth to protect his boss. His membership in the Catholic conservative organization, the Knights of Columbus, give him his bona fidas in this category.
Here is the rest of the story…
As per the 2/14/2019 Catholic World Report ( CNA Daily News), “William Barr was confirmed as United States attorney general on Thursday by a 54-45 vote in the Senate.”
“Barr, a practicing Catholic, previously served as attorney general under President George H. W. Bush from November of 1991 until January of 1993. He has since been employed in private legal practice.”
“A practicing Catholic and a member of the Knights of Columbus, Barr said in his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he didn’t believe his faith would hinder his ability to serve.”
“Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked Barr about his religious faith, and questioned whether or not he thought this “disqualified” him from the position. Kennedy said that “some of (his) colleagues think it might,” referencing questioning by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) attacking a Catholic judicial nominee for his membership in the Knights of Columbus.”
“Barr told Kennedy that he planned to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” if he were to be confirmed as attorney general.” (HE LIED.)
On 5/16/ 2017, Mark Silk of the religiousnews.com penned the following report, “Knights of Columbus, cash cow of the Catholic right.”
“(A) must-read religion story is Tom Roberts’ report in the National Catholic Reporter on the Knights of Columbus. Focusing on its IRS filings from the last 3 years, Roberts shows how the church’s pre-eminent fraternal organization has become a cash cow of the Catholic right.”
“Founded by a New Haven, Conn., priest 135 years ago to help the widows and orphans of Catholic immigrants with direct aid and insurance, the Knights is now a multibillion-dollar philanthropy-cum-insurance company.”
“The organization hasn’t turned its back on good works. But the Knights’ policy agenda cannot be missed. Opposition to abortion is the overriding concern, followed by religious liberty — which, pursued largely as resistance to the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act, is intimately related to the former.”
“It hardly comes as a surprise to learn that the Knights organization is no pillar of progressive Catholicism. And during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, a case could be made that it was just going with the church’s conservative flow. But that’s no longer the case.”
“To say that the organization has not adjusted to the new agenda of Pope Francis would be an understatement. Under the 17-year leadership of Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, a former aide to Sen. Jesse Helms and a leading social conservative inside the Reagan administration, the Knights could care less about climate change or immigration, undocumented or otherwise.”
“But the Knights do take care of their friends in high places. In 2015, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia got $1.5 million in “general support,” and the Archdiocese of Baltimore got $435,000 for “various programs.” The archbishops in question, Charles Chaput and William Lori, are leading recusants from Pope Francis’ program in the American hierarchy.”
“That program, by the way, takes a dim view of overpaid Catholic leaders. In 2014, Carl Anderson pulled down $2.29 million — a figure that dropped by nearly $1 million in 2015, but still a pretty cool sum for the Supreme Knight. Meanwhile, 5 other group officials have been earning well north of $500,000 a year.”
“Responding to the NCR by email, Knights spokesman Joseph Cullen said that outside consultants had determined that “75 percent of CEOs within a market comparative group are compensated overall at a higher rate than (Anderson) is. Our CEO is responsible not only for overseeing the operations of a charitable organization but the operations of a Fortune 1000 life insurance company as well.”
“Well, sure, the old political operative isn’t making what the CEO of Aetna is. But what about a nonmarket comparative group?”
“Catholic Charities USA is also a multibillion-dollar operation, and the salaries of its top two executives, as of 2013, were between $300,000 and $400,000. That strikes me as the appropriate comparable.”
“Catholic Charities, by the way, is all about helping needy immigrants. Across the country, its local organizations are involved in environmental programs.”
“The fact of the matter is that supporting the Knights these days means supporting the (more or less) loyal opposition to Pope Francis. You wonder how many of the 2 million members understand that. You wonder how many bishops do.”
See must read Tom Roberts’article about the extreme right conservative wing of the Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus organization, which was published on 5/15/2017 by National Catholic Reporter: Knights of Columbus’ financial forms show wealth, influence