Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Will the "Christian Right" Recover Any Shred of Legitimacy Post-Trump?

Since I began following the so-called "Christian Right" roughly 20 years ago, I have discovered several things.  One is that those encompassed by the term are neither Christian, nor are they right. Second, literally no one lies and spreads deliberate falsehoods more than the parasitic professional Christian crowd, especially falsely named "family values" organizations.   The irony is that now, while a civil war rages within the Republican Party, a similar civil war is raging within the so-called evangelical Christian demographic.  Two pieces look at this latter civil war.  The first is in Christianity Today and slams Donald Trump - and by extension evangelicals supporting Trump.  The second is at MSNBC and asks the question of whether the :Christian Right" movement can recover after Trump.   Here are highlights from Christianity Today:
Just because we are neutral, however, does not mean we are indifferent. We are especially not indifferent when the gospel is at stake. The gospel is of infinitely greater importance than any campaign, and one good summary of the gospel is, “Jesus is Lord.”
The lordship of Christ places constraints on the way his followers involve themselves, or entangle themselves, with earthly rulers.
[S]ome rulers and regimes are especially outrageous in their God-substitution. After Augustus Caesar, the emperors of Rome became more and more elaborate in their claims of divinity with each generation—and more and more ineffective in their governance. Communism aimed not just to replace faith in anything that transcended the state, but to crush it. Such systems do not just dishonor God, they dishonor his image in persons, and in doing so they set themselves up for dramatic destruction. We can never collude when such idolatry becomes manifest, especially when it demands our public allegiance.
This year’s presidential election in the United States presents Christian voters with an especially difficult choice.
But not all evangelical Christians—in fact, alas, most evangelical Christians, judging by the polls—have shown the same critical judgment when it comes to the Republican nominee. True, when given a choice, primary voters who claimed evangelical faith largely chose other candidates. But since his nomination, Donald Trump has been able to count on “the evangelicals” (in his words) for a great deal of support.
This past week, the latest (though surely not last) revelations from Trump’s past have caused many evangelical leaders to reconsider. This is heartening, but it comes awfully late. What Trump is, everyone has known and has been able to see for decades, let alone the last few months. The revelations of the past week of his vile and crude boasting about sexual conquest—indeed, sexual assault—might have been shocking, but they should have surprised no one.
[T]here is hardly any public person in America today who has more exemplified the “earthly nature” (“flesh” in the King James and the literal Greek) that Paul urges the Colossians to shed: “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry” (3:5). This is an incredibly apt summary of Trump’s life to date. . . . That Trump has been, his whole adult life, an idolater of this sort, and a singularly unrepentant one, should have been clear to everyone.
And therefore it is completely consistent that Trump is an idolater in many other ways. He has given no evidence of humility or dependence on others, let alone on God his Maker and Judge. He wantonly celebrates strongmen and takes every opportunity to humiliate and demean the vulnerable. He shows no curiosity or capacity to learn. He is, in short, the very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool.
Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord. They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us—in hope, almost certainly a vain hope given his mendacity and record of betrayal, that his rule will save us.

Pretty damning of evangelicals supporting Trump.  Candidly, I agree whole heartedly.   Trump is revealing the moral bankruptcy and utter hypocrisy of many in the Christian Right, especially flim-flam artists like the leaders of Family Research Council, Franklin Graham and so many others.  The MSNBC piece looks at whether the so-called godly folk can ever recover from their self-prostitution to the Trump phenomenon.  Here are highlights:
Harvest Bible Chapel’s James MacDonald, a megachurch leader and a member of Donald Trump’s evangelical council, could hardly contain his disgust on Saturday after learning about the candidate’s 2005 comments about women.
“Mr. Trump’s comments released yesterday – though 10 years ago (he was 60) – are not just sophomoric or locker room banter,” MacDonald wrote in an email. “They are truly the kind of misogynistic trash that reveals a man to be lecherous and worthless – not the guy who gets politely ignored, but the guy who gets a punch in the head from worthy men who hear him talk that way about women.”
So, MacDonald was resigning from his role on Team Trump? The pastor was severing his ties to a man who’d proven himself “lecherous and worthless”? Actually, no. MacDonald was upset, but not enough to withdraw his support for Trump’s candidacy.
There’s a lot of this going around. A wide variety of Evangelical Christian leaders and power players in the religious right movement have said they weren’t pleased with the latest Trump revelations, but they’re devoted to the GOP nominee anyway. Indeed, by some measures, the Christian Right’s leadershave stuck with Trump in greater numbers than congressional Republicans.
The New Republic’s Sarah Jones recently made the case that a reckoning is inevitable.
The religious right isn’t dead yet. But after this election becomes history, the movement will be forced to reckon with the consequences of its quest for power. Young adults, who overwhelmingly oppose Trump, are already leaving conservative churches, and the religious right’s Trump moment will surely only fuel this trend. If it had maintained a consistent public morality, maybe it could have retained some countercultural appeal. Now that its most visible leaders have sacrificed that authority, it has nothing left. […]
In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ tells his disciples that no one can serve two masters; you’ll be loyal to one and not to the other. By endorsing Trump, the religious right chose a master—and sacrificed everything it says it stands for. 
It’s a fair prediction. The next time there’s a major national debate over a moral/cultural issue, and pro-Trump religious right leaders present themselves as standard-bearers for “family values” and traditional theological norms, is there anyone, anywhere, who’ll be able to contain their laughter?
These people are morally bankruptcy and need to be rejected by decent moral people.  They need to become political and social pariahs.  

1 comment:

EdA said...

And NOW they express their dismay? Where have these enablers been for the past eight years when over and over again every single Republiscum in Congress, with the possible exception of a couple of renegade Jews, condemned themselves to burn in hell until the end of time for their active contempt of the words of the person they claim to believe is their lord and savior?