Monday, May 22, 2017

'Evangelical' Trump supporters are gutting, destroying Christianity

 Tony Perkins is abandoning Christian integrity to shill for Trump. He's not the only one.

At least once a week, I can find an item on the Family Research Council's Washington Update worth using to demonstrate the group's distortions and hypocrisy.

Today, I have two and they speak to a larger problem regarding the evangelical right's support of Trump and how this support is debasing the Christian religion in general.

The first item has to do with Trump's Saudi Arabia speech. It's not so much of how FRC praised Trump,  but how the group lies about Obama's Middle East outreach:

The best part of President Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia may have been what was missing: an apology. After eight years of Obama-sponsored groveling, Americans probably forgot what leading from a position of strength looks like. And while a 34-minute speech can't undo almost a decade of servility, it was a good start to reasserting our place as the unapologetic leader of the free world.

Unlike President Obama, who offered reparations for every American act since the Revolutionary War, Donald Trump made it clear that the only thing he's sorry about is that the legacy of political correctness has gotten in the way of true problem-solving.

As it has been pointed out consistently, Obama never groveled in any of his speeches. Of course the truth never stopped FRC from repeating a juicy lie.

 The second item has to do with the recent walkout of Notre Dame students from their own graduation in protest of commencement speaker VP Mike Pence. Notice how FRC proceeds to smear the students, who had every right to protest Pence's past actions and support of anti-lgbtq policies

The Class of 2017's choice of a commencement speaker wasn't without its share of controversy, but Mike handled the situation with the kind of poise people have come to expect from the Hoosier. In fact, he used the opportunity to point people back to the problem -- political correctness on college campuses. That much was evidence when a few dozen LGBT activists walked out of the auditorium in protest. (Once again we see that all the talk about "tolerance" is just that. Talk.) "This university is a vanguard of freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas at a time, sadly, when free speech and civility are waning on campuses across America," the vice president argued. "I would submit that the increasing intolerance and suppression of the time-honored tradition of free expression on our campuses jeopardizes the liberty of every American," he warned. 
Unfortunately, it was a message some students never heard. A group of liberal graduates and their families stood up and left at the beginning of Pence's remarks, giving the media a juicy distraction that was fanned by far-Left groups like GLAAD, who applauded the students' supposed "leadership." To many Notre Dame alums, it was a sad commentary on the church's compromise on the cultural issues of the day. After all, this is a religious institution that was once rooted in biblical morality. Like a number of faith-based institutions, they've surrendered important ground on the question of sexuality, which history tells us is just a harbinger of further moral compromise.

FRC's items, coupled with a few things I saw on twitter last weekend, has come to make me realize that Christianity in America is changing. But not for the better.

Last weekend, I undertook a very loose experiment. I looked at quite a number of pro-Trump profiles on Twitter and found several  alarming similarities:

1. They all voiced extreme support for Trump
2. The vast majority of them identified themselves as Christians and conservative
3. And out of those identifying themselves as Christian and conservative, all of them had either tweeted a most un-Christian comment or picture about either Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, or Hillary Clinton.

Granted, this "experiment" is not meant to be a reasonable representation of Christians by any means. But it still troubled me.  It made me realize that apart from their attempts to shut down lgbtq equality, members of the evangelical right are shutting themselves down. But they don't seem to know or care about it.

I've heard a lot of them claim that Trump's election was the sign of how God is supposedly giving America one last chance. They claim that Trump's election is ushering in a huge revival with them leading the charge.

If this is the case, I don't necessarily see it as something good or noble.  To  me it's akin to one of those sci-fi movies in which the supposedly benevolent aliens reveal themselves as scaly, serpentine predators who are kidnapping and storing Earthlings as foodstuff.

It's an extreme comparison but it's very apropo because  now that Trump has been elected, religious right groups  and spokespeople are slowly dropping  pretenses of morals and values in pursuit of their fondest desires for power. Whether it be the Family Research Council attempting to make Trump sound like the second coming of George Washington or even Franklin Graham commenting on almost every political issue as if he were appointed as America's Pastor, the evangelical right is becoming more obnoxious than usual.

I never thought that was possible.

And,as noted by the twitter profiles I've read, supposed conservative Christians seem to be pushing a harder edge of their religion; an edge defined by less humility and more entitlement.

It's as if they've decided that the story of Jesus' Crucifixion as told by the Bible is fake news and the real story entails Jesus ripping  himself from the cross and spraying all of his tormentors with an AK47 he created out of loaves and fishes.

Perhaps they've gotten their hands on a new type of Bible which says rude behavior, lies, slanderous comments about the Obamas' genitals or cartoons of the Clintons assaulting an unconscious woman go hand-in-hand with verses talking about loving your neighbor or treating others as you want to be treated.

The calm rationale of trusting the will and love of God in your life has been replaced with a narrative of manic paranoia and labeling the gay couple knocking on your door as  jealous creatures seeking to persecute you because they "hate" your faith.

It's a sad way to live and it's even sadder to reduce any religion to these ignorant platitudes. But the road of hypocrisy and self-righteousness wrapped around the idea that Jesus said "pick up your cross and follow me and I will give you a Republican in the White House and dominion over the nation" is the road so many evangelical  and conservative Christian supporters of Trump are now traveling.

Too bad they are too bullheaded to know that the road is a dead end. That is, until it's too late.


Frank said...

I was dismayed to learn that Pence had been invited by Notre Dame. Having grown up Catholic during the 50s, 60s and 70s our Catholic role models were John XXIII, Thomas Merton, Daniel Berrigan, Dorothy Day, and others of the social justice and liberation theology movements within the Roman Church. I no longer recognize the almost evangelical, conservative Catholic Church which has found itself painted into a corner with its anti-lgbt rhetoric, sex-abusive priests, and a clergy that is easily 50% gay. I'd call it a schizophrenic (or heretical) church at this point.

Scott Fetterman said...

Go ahead. Let them destroy themselves. Let them be blind to reality until it's too late. The rest of us will just shake our heads and say, "We told you."

n2dep2care said...

Excellent essay and vision!