All posts tagged: Religion & Theology

Trump Weaponizes the Word

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. ~ Matthew 18:5-6 Perhaps this verse might be something of a counter to the White House theologians as they weaponize the Bible so as to justify their attacks on the world’s most vulnerable.

Tribal Survival: The central, simple insight on why Evangelicals stand by Trump

I grew up Evangelical, in the Nineties. For me this meant being very aware that I was a central player in America’s “culture war,” an epic, ongoing saga, a clash of good and evil, a series of battles against the secular world and the liberals who were actively encouraging sexual liberty, baby killing, the feminizing of men, the gay-ing of American children, and the use of the welfare state to reward sloth and laziness. In a degenerate age, we were on God’s side, doing God’s work. So when it was discovered that Bill Clinton received a blow job (or perhaps more than one) from a busty young intern, we all lined up against him. As an impressionable teenager, I was told that character mattered; it was crucial, I was told, that American leaders be men with integrity — and I was a pretty earnest kid, so I took it all to heart. 

Of the world but not in the world

A college friend, Dave Lester, posted a few thoughts on secular humanism. Dave is sort of a post-evangelical, of sorts. He still considers himself an evangelical but unlike most evangelicals, Dave remains truly engaged, both intellectually and emotionally, with “the world.” I post a good bit about evangelical Christians. I’d rather not, but I do. I do it because evangelicals are some of the real movers and shakers within Cult Trump and are more or less responsible for this den of thieves that is otherwise known as the Republican Party. (And of course, I’m a former evangelical m’self.) You can ignore them, but evangelicals are the engine driving the Trump Train forward, pushing the United States toward the edge of the cliff.

When will evangelical leaders dump Trump?

One of the things that has gotten a lot of press lately is how Evangelical leaders who are a part of Trump’s informal faith advisory council have stuck with their man, even after Trump’s Charlottesville fiasco. Even after Trump wavered on his condemnation of white supremacy in his recent comments on Charlottesville — indicting “both sides,” as though the left shared just as much blame as neo-NAZI’s — evangelical leaders continue to stand by Trump. Even after a wave of prominent CEOs defected from one of Trump’s advisory groups and even after every last soul resigned from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, prominent evangelical leaders continue to ring out their support, which has come most ardently (and most infamously) from Jerry Falwell, Jr. who took to Twitter to praise Trump in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s Charlottesville speech. The most obvious question: Why? Given how at-odds Trump is with the basic tenants of morality and spirituality as taught by Jesus, how can evangelicals remain so steadfast in their support for Trump?

Fundamentalism, racism, fear and propaganda: An insider explains why rural, Christian white America will never change

I’m very happy to have landed out west — I love the landscapes, the culture, I just love the whole vibe — but I’m originally from the Midwest, and this makes me more than a little suspicious when I read articles that slam the Red States. I don’t disagree with most of the points made in this article, even though it’s harsh, and I even agree with the author’s basic premise that too much is being made of trying to “understand” the swing state Trump voter, as if Trump won and the Democrats lost at (literally) every level simply because they didn’t have better Red State focus groups. To understand rural white Christian conservatives is to understand that their perspective is non-negotiable. The author gets this right. It’s the fundamentalist strain of evangelical Christianity — there are certain things you just believe, certain things you don’t question. And more to the point: there are evil enemies (liberals and leftists, atheists and secularists) against which one must be hyper vigilant. A liberal or secular perspective (and …

The shadows cast in a Christ-haunted culture

“Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one. To be able to recognize a freak, you have to have some conception of the whole man, and in the South the general conception of man is still, in the main, theological. That is a large statement, and it is dangerous to make it, for almost anything you say about Southern belief can be denied in the next breath with equal propriety. But approaching the subject from the standpoint of the writer, I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted. The Southerner, who isn’t convinced of it, is very much afraid that he may have been formed in the image and likeness of God. Ghosts can be very fierce and instructive. They cast strange shadows, particularly in our literature. In any case, it is when the freak can be sensed as a figure for our essential displacement that …

From the Exodus to the Underground Railroad, Religion’s Legacy of Sanctuary | Sojourners

“…Since Trump was elected in November, the number of churches in the United States expressing willingness to offer sanctuary has doubled to 800. …The faith community in general, after the election, was looking for what can we do to support the immigrant community.”   It’s encouraging to see that there are at least a few churches following Jesus and the scriptural mandate of hospitality, to welcome the stranger, but we still remain a nation committed to the old human tribalism embedded from tens of thousands of years of human evolution — it ain’t easy to shake it. We still remain suspicion of the other, regardless of our highfalutin religious ideals or of our status as a “Christian nation.” Evangelicals had a large part in electing Trump. (Better to have a billionaire playboy in the White House than someone who might let too many Mexicans and Muslims through the gates.) And of course 800 churches isn’t all that many. My modestly-sized Midwestern hometown, alone, probably had somewhere around 800 churches. Even so, at least there’s a …