Sunday, July 07, 2019

White Evangelicals Are Embracing Concentration Camps As Revenge For Their Petty Grievances And Resentments And Because They Feel Mocked And Scorned


Babies in Cages by Nancy Ohanian

Death camps are different from concentration camps; they're worse. But concentration camps are bad enough. If Trump was setting up concentration camps what would you do about it? What are you doing about the concentration camps? Silence, beloved brothers and sisters, is not golden... it's complicity. Our country is complicit in his crimes against humanity, his crimes against these women and children.

What about Trump's evangelical supporters? They may bear more responsibility than other Americans. Do the concentration camps make them uncomfortable? From what I'm reading... not at all, not at all. Yesterday The Atlantic published The Deepening Crisis in Evangelical Christianity-- Support for Trump comes at a high cost for Christian witness by Peter Wehner. Their leaders are reveling in Trumpism. Wehner began with a quote from noted evangelical huckster Ralph Reed: "There has never been anyone who has defended us and who has fought for us, who we have loved more than Donald J. Trump. No one!" And evangelicals are fighting for him too. They believe the concentration camp regime "is spiritually driven" and that "God’s hand is on Trump, this moment and at the election... Donald Trump is God’s man." He's kidnapping children and putting them up for adoption. "God has chosen him and is protecting him." These people want an authoritarian asshole. They welcome fascism and the end to democracy. "Jerry Falwell Jr.: "Conservatives & Christians need to stop electing ‘nice guys.’ They might make great Christian leaders but the United States needs street fighters like @realDonaldTrump at every level of government b/c the liberal fascists Dems are playing for keeps & many Repub leaders are a bunch of wimps!"

Late last night, writing for the NY Times, Thomas Edsall pointed out how the "give-us-our-orders" evangelicals fit into Trump's plans for reelection. "Alex Gage, head of TargetPoint Consulting, a Republican firm specializing in voter mobilization, found that 'anger is a much stronger motivation' than recounting the beneficial things a politician has done. Trump has aligned himself with two overlapping, declining constituencies that are clearly motivated by a combination of anger, resentment and anxiety-- white evangelical Christians and whites without college degrees. If Trump is to win re-election next year, he must raise the stakes for these two sets of voters so that they turn out in unprecedented numbers. Demonizing immigrants and other minorities is crucial to this strategy."

Between 65 and 70% of white evangelicals approve of him-- 25 points higher than the national average. "The enthusiastic, uncritical embrace of President Trump," wrote Wehner, "by white evangelicals is among the most mind-blowing developments of the Trump era. How can a group that for decades-- and especially during the Bill Clinton presidency-- insisted that character counts and that personal integrity is an essential component of presidential leadership not only turn a blind eye to the ethical and moral transgressions of Donald Trump, but also constantly defend him? Why are those who have been on the vanguard of “family values” so eager to give a man with a sordid personal and sexual history a mulligan?"
Part of the answer is their belief that they are engaged in an existential struggle against a wicked enemy-- not Russia, not North Korea, not Iran, but rather American liberals and the left. If you listen to Trump supporters who are evangelical (and non-evangelicals, like the radio talk-show host Mark Levin), you will hear adjectives applied to those on the left that could easily be used to describe a Stalinist regime. (Ask yourself how many evangelicals have publicly criticized Trump for his lavish praise of Kim Jong Un, the leader of perhaps the most savage regime in the world and the worst persecutor of Christians in the world.)

Many white evangelical Christians, then, are deeply fearful of what a Trump loss would mean for America, American culture, and American Christianity. If a Democrat is elected president, they believe, it might all come crashing down around us. During the 2016 election, for example, the influential evangelical author and radio talk-show host Eric Metaxas said, “In all of our years, we faced all kinds of struggles. The only time we faced an existential struggle like this was in the Civil War and in the Revolution when the nation began … We are on the verge of losing it as we could have lost it in the Civil War.” A friend of mine described that outlook to me this way: “It’s the Flight 93 election. FOREVER.”

Many evangelical Christians are also filled with grievances and resentments because they feel they have been mocked, scorned, and dishonored by the elite culture over the years. (Some of those feelings are understandable and warranted.) For them, Trump is a man who will not only push their agenda on issues such as the courts and abortion; he will be ruthless against those they view as threats to all they know and love. For a growing number of evangelicals, Trump’s dehumanizing tactics and cruelty aren’t a bug; they are a feature. Trump “owns the libs,” and they love it. He’ll bring a Glock to a cultural knife fight, and they relish that.

... There's a very high cost to our politics for celebrating the Trump style, but what is most personally painful to me as a person of the Christian faith is the cost to the Christian witness. Nonchalantly jettisoning the ethic of Jesus in favor of a political leader who embraces the ethic of Thrasymachus and Nietzsche-- might makes right, the strong should rule over the weak, justice has no intrinsic worth, moral values are socially constructed and subjective-- is troubling enough.

But there is also the undeniable hypocrisy of people who once made moral character, and especially sexual fidelity, central to their political calculus and who are now embracing a man of boundless corruptions. Don’t forget: Trump was essentially named an unindicted co-conspirator (“Individual 1”) in a scheme to make hush-money payments to a porn star who alleged she’d had an affair with him while he was married to his third wife, who had just given birth to their son.

While on the Pacific Coast last week, I had lunch with Karel Coppock, whom I have known for many years and who has played an important role in my Christian pilgrimage. In speaking about the widespread, reflexive evangelical support for the president, Coppock-- who is theologically orthodox and generally sympathetic to conservatism-- lamented the effect this moral freak show is having, especially on the younger generation. With unusual passion, he told me, “We’re losing an entire generation. They’re just gone. It’s one of the worst things to happen to the Church.”

Coppock mentioned to me the powerful example of St. Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, who was willing to rebuke the Roman Emperor Theodosius for the latter’s role in massacring civilians as punishment for the murder of one of his generals. Ambrose refused to allow the Church to become a political prop, despite concerns that doing so might endanger him. Ambrose spoke truth to power. (Theodosius ended up seeking penance, and Ambrose went on to teach, convert, and baptize St. Augustine.) Proximity to power is fine for Christians, Coppock told me, but only so long as it does not corrupt their moral sense, only so long as they don’t allow their faith to become politically weaponized. Yet that is precisely what’s happening today.

Evangelical Christians need another model for cultural and political engagement, and one of the best I am aware of has been articulated by the artist Makoto Fujimura, who speaks about “culture care” instead of “culture war.

According to Fujimura, “Culture care is an act of generosity to our neighbors and culture. Culture care is to see our world not as a battle zone in which we’re all vying for limited resources, but to see the world of abundant possibilities and promise.” What Fujimura is talking about is a set of sensibilities and dispositions that are fundamentally different from what we see embodied in many white evangelical leaders who frequently speak out on culture and politics. The sensibilities and dispositions Fujimura is describing are characterized by a commitment to grace, beauty, and creativity, not antipathy, disdain, and pulsating anger. It’s the difference between an open hand and a mailed fist.

Building on this theme, Mark Labberton, a colleague of Fujimura’s and the president of Fuller Theological Seminary, the largest multidenominational seminary in the world, has spoken about a distinct way for Christians to conceive of their calling, from seeing themselves as living in a Promised Land and “demanding it back” to living a “faithful, exilic life.”

Right-wing former GOP congressman assesses Trump

Labberton speaks about what it means to live as people in exile, trying to find the capacity to love in unexpected ways; to see the enemy, the foreigner, the stranger, and the alien, and to go toward rather than away from them. He asks what a life of faithfulness looks like while one lives in a world of fear.

He adds, “The Church is in one of its deepest moments of crisis-- not because of some election result or not, but because of what has been exposed to be the poverty of the American Church in its capacity to be able to see and love and serve and engage in ways in which we simply fail to do. And that vocation is the vocation that must be recovered and must be made real in tangible action.”

There are countless examples of how such tangible action can be manifest. But as a starting point, evangelical Christians should acknowledge the profound damage that’s being done to their movement by its braided political relationship-- its love affair, to bring us back to the words of Ralph Reed-- with a president who is an ethical and moral wreck. Until that is undone-- until followers of Jesus are once again willing to speak truth to power rather than act like court pastors-- the crisis in American Christianity will only deepen, its public testimony only dim, its effort to be a healing agent in a broken world only weaken.

At this point, I can’t help but wonder whether that really matters to many of Donald Trump’s besotted evangelical supporters.
Ralph Reed, a follower of Jesus? Give me a break. Falwell, Jr.? You're joking right? What makes Wehner imply they are? Must be something I don't understand.

Also on Friday, writing for The Economist, Erasmus noted "the widening ideological and personal schism within the very group of citizens who should be a conservative president’s most natural supporters... white evangelical Christians, of whom 80% are thought to have voted for Mr Trump. Leading evangelicals are not just sparring over metaphysics, they are also trading insults. Think of the war of words that erupted after June 25th when Russell Moore, a distinguished theologian who heads the Ethics and Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, protested over the fate of migrant children on the Mexican border." Moore wrote that the plight of the kidnapped children at the southern border stuffed into Trump's concentration camps "should 'shock all our consciences' given that all 'those created in the image of God should be treated with dignity and compassion.'" Vicious Trumpist Falwell went on the attack against the man who runs the public-policy arm of America’s largest Protestant denomination immediately: "Who are you Dr Moore? Have you ever built an organisation of any sort from scratch? You’re nothing but an employee-- a bureaucrat." [An inheritor of great wealth, it is notable that Falwell never built anything except an alliance with Satan.] The neo-Nazi evangelicals on the far right fringe joined Falwell by claiming protesting the immigration crisis amounted to an unpatriotic slur on the U.S. Border Patrol.

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At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...what is most personally painful to me as a person of the Christian faith is the cost to the Christian witness. Nonchalantly jettisoning the ethic of Jesus in favor of a political leader who embraces the ethic of Thrasymachus and Nietzsche-- might makes right, the strong should rule over the weak, justice has no intrinsic worth, moral values are socially constructed and subjective-- is troubling enough."

A Christian lamenting the hypocrisy of Christianity? what's new?
All one could possibly conclude from the entire 2000+ year history of Christianity, wherein this very hypocrisy has ALWAYS been a feature is:
1) it's an illegitimate religion worshipping a god that cannot possibly exist and proves all followers who lament the hypocrisy are just dumber than shit while all followers who celebrate the hypocrisy are pure evil
2) Christianity is like all other human religions; it exists to vindicate and sanctify all human sociopathies;
3) the Christian god is pure evil masquerading as an altruist to fool the 'better' imbeciles who follow. You know... like our democraps.

The quoted author is a #1. you cannot but realize that anyone who writes that is just dumber than shit. the god they follow cannot possibly exist. prolly a loyal democrap voter too. just pathetic.

I remind you all that naziism also was firmly rooted in the Christian religion. The cat'lick pope was deeply complicit. Christianity over the millennia is no stranger to hatred, torture, wars and genocide. sound like the altruistic version of that fake god? no. but it dovetails nicely with the old testament trump-like god. you remember: petulant, vain, prone to hissy fits, grand gestures, violence and genocide?

"Our country is complicit in his crimes against humanity"

For 2000+ years, this quote would be applicable to Christians and their violence. Hitler, Trump... the "holy" inquisition, the crusades... to name a few that American morons might have heard of (but probably have zero understanding nor interest in).

You ask what I'm doing? You just read it.

I'll point out that the one who COULD *DO* something refuses, as she has always done. But I'll also point out that YOU, DWT and followers (not unlike Christians), worked very hard and flushed a lot of treasure to put Pelosi back onto the throne of the house so that she could continue to refuse to *DO* anything at all.

Like (the altruistic) Christians, do you lament the hypocrisy whilst practicing it? Or are you as clueless as the author of the first quoted snip?

If you actually want something done, why not start by working to destroy Pelosi and party? Why not start by trying to coalesce a truly left, altruistic movement that actually WOULD do something? Cuz you have to know that your democraps won't ever.

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hypocrisies of Christianity became known to me at an early age, and I stopped participating despite being raised with some heavy proselytizing. The last straw for me was the fact that one man decided he could overrule the wishes of a thousand and that GAWD had nothing to do with it. His ego and ambition was far more important.

In response to this latest outrage of Christianity against Humanity, I'd ask these self-appointed Holy Liars to tell me which prison Yeshua ran, and where in the New Testament is the reason for incarcerating many thousand with neither fishes nor loaves. I'm sure that those Holy Liars who seem to have an answer for everything else from their Buybull can provide that answer as well.

At 10:38 AM, Blogger TrumanTown said...

If they were to fully and meaningfully implement this policy, I doubt that the Convention would be left with any churches as members, for they all remain complicit with racist and sexist structures that rob many of us of our very humanity.

The Hollowness of the Southern Baptists’ New Racism and Sexual Abuse Amendments

At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the most pious Christians would embrace hate, concentration camps, murder and genocide without anything like being mocked/scorned. They do it because that's what their religion is. toss in greed and you've got it all.


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