I have long maintained that Christian fundamentalists and so-called evangelicals - who voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump - hate anyone and anything that challenges their warped religious beliefs and sense of superiority over others. Be it gays, minorities with different skin color, and non-Christians, all are on the target list with the pious ones since they fail to conform to the overbearing white Jesus of fundamentalism. The decline of the Republican Party into something akin to an insane asylum, in my view, closely tracks with the rise of the fundamentalists and evangelicals in the party. Hence the transformation of the GOP from a party that honored knowledge and learning to one where ignorance is celebrated and objective facts are meaningless. A very lengthy piece in The Raw Story looks at the poisonous impact that Christian fundamentalism and those I call the Christofascists has had on the nation and the rise of Donald Trump and neo-fascism. The piece paints a depressing and harsh picture, but, in my opinion, it is right on target. Christian fundamentalists remain a clear and present danger to America's future, Here are article excerpts (read the entire piece):
As the aftermath
of the election of Donald Trump is being sorted out, a common theme keeps
cropping up from all sides: “Democrats failed to understand white,
working-class, fly-over America.”
are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all
forms of the media are saying this. Even some Democratic leaders are saying
this. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, it is complete bullshit. It is
an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to throw attention away from
the real problem. The real problem isn’t east coast elites who don’t understand
or care about rural America. The real problem is rural America doesn’t
understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no
interest in finding out. They don’t want to know why they feel the way they do
or why they are struggling because they don’t want to admit it is in large part
because of choices they’ve made and horrible things they’ve allowed themselves
I grew up in
rural, Christian, white America. You’d be hard-pressed to find an area in the
country that has a higher percentage of Christians or whites. I spent most of
the first 24 years of my life deeply embedded in this culture. I religiously
(pun intended) attended their Christian services. I worked off and on, on their
rural farms. I dated their calico skirted daughters. I camped, hunted, and
fished with their sons. I listened to their political rants at the local diner
and truck stop. I winced at their racist/bigoted jokes and epithets that were
said more out of ignorance than animosity. I have also watched the town I grew
up in go from a robust economy with well-kept homes and infrastructure turn
into a struggling economy with shuttered businesses, dilapidated homes, and a
broken down infrastructure over the past 30 years. The problem isn’t that I
don’t understand these people. The problem is they don’t understand themselves,
the reasons for their anger/frustrations, and don’t seem to care to know why.
white America, the white Christian God is king, figuratively and literally.
Religious fundamentalism is what has shaped most of their belief systems.
Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive to introspection,
questioning, learning, change. When you have a belief system that is built on
fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a
member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t “coastal
elites don’t understand rural Americans.” The problem is rural America doesn’t
understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble.
present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no
matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they WILL NOT even entertain
the possibility it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of
their fundamentalist belief system and the fact I’m the enemy because I’m an
Education is the
enemy of fundamentalism because fundamentalism, by its very nature, is not
built on facts. The fundamentalists I grew up around aren’t anti-education.
They want their kids to know how to read and write. They are anti-quality,
in-depth, broad, specialized education. Learning is only valued up to the
certain point. Once it reaches the level where what you learn contradicts
doctrine and fundamentalist arguments, it becomes dangerous. I watched a lot of
my fellow students who were smart, stop their education the day they graduated
high school. For most of the young ladies, getting married and having kids was
more important than continuing their learning.
with rural, Christian, white Americans is they are racists. I’m not talking
about white hood-wearing, cross-burning, lynching racists (though some are).
I’m talking about people who deep down in their heart of hearts truly believe
they are superior because they are white. Their white God made them in his
image and everyone else is a less-than-perfect version, flawed and cursed.
The religion in
which I was raised taught this. Even though they’ve backtracked on some of
their more racist declarations, many still believe the original claims.
Non-whites are the color they are because of their sins, or at least the sins
of their ancestors. Blacks don’t have dark skin because of where they lived and
evolution; they have dark skin because they are cursed. God cursed them for a
reason. If God cursed them, treating them as equals would be going against
It is really
easy to justify treating people differently if they are cursed by God and will
never be as good as you no matter what they do because of some predetermined
Once you have
this view, it is easy to lower the outside group’s standing and acceptable
level of treatment. Again, there are varying levels of racism at play in rural,
Christian, white America. I know people who are ardent racists. I know a lot
more whose racism is much more subtle but nonetheless racist. . . . . They are
white supremacists who dress up in white dress shirts, ties, and gingham
dresses. They carry a Bible and tell you, “everyone’s a child of God” but
forget to mention that some of God’s children are more favored than others and
skin tone is the criterion by which we know who is and who isn’t at the top of
God’s list of most favored children.
winning a battle of beliefs with these people if you are on one side of the
argument and God is on the other. No degree of understanding this is going to
suddenly make them less racist, more open to reason and facts. Telling “urban
elites” they need to understand rural Americans isn’t going to lead to a damn
thing because it misses the causes of the problem.
change so much. They aren’t used to it. Of course, it really doesn’t matter
whether they like it or not, it, like the evolution and climate change even
though they don’t believe it, it is going to happen whether they believe in it
Christian, white Americans have let in anti-intellectual, anti-science,
bigoted, racists into their system as experts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity,
Bill O’Reilly, any of the blonde Stepford Wives on Fox, every evangelical
preacher on television because they tell them what they want to hear and
because they sell themselves as being “one of them.” The truth is none of these
people give a rat’s ass about rural, Christian, white Americans except how can
they exploit them for attention and money.
allowed to marry are a threat. Blacks protesting the killing of their unarmed
friends and family are a threat. Hispanics doing the cheap labor on their farms
are somehow viewed a threat. The black president is a threat. Two billion
Muslims are a threat. The Chinese are a threat. Women wanting to be autonomous
are a threat. The college educated are a threat. Godless scientists are a
threat. Everyone who isn’t just like them has been sold to them as a threat and
they’ve bought it hook, line, and grifting sinker. Since there are no
self-regulating mechanisms in their belief systems, these threats only grow
over time. Since facts and reality don’t matter, nothing you say to them will alter
isn’t understanding their fears. The problem is how to assuage fears based on
lies in closed-off fundamentalist belief systems that don’t have the necessary
tools for properly evaluating the fears.
I think the
whole, “Democrats have to understand and find common ground with rural
America,” is misguided and a complete waste of time. When a 3,000-year-old book
that was written by uneducated, pre-scientific people, subject to translation
innumerable times, edited with political and economic pressures from popes and
kings, is given higher intellectual authority than facts arrived at from a
rigorous, self-critical, constantly re-evaluating system that can and does
correct mistakes, no amount of understanding, no amount of respect, no amount
of evidence is going to change their minds, assuage their fears.
Do you know what
does change the beliefs of fundamentalists, sometimes? When something becomes
personal. Many a fundamentalist has changed his mind about the LGBT community
once his loved ones started coming out of the closet. Many have not. But those
who did, did so because their personal experience came in direct conflict with
what they believe.
America needs to be better understood,” is a dodge, meant to avoid the real
problems because talking about the real problems is viewed as “too upsetting,”
“too mean,” “too arrogant,” “too elite,” “too snobbish.” Pointing out Aunt
Bee’s views of Mexicans, blacks, gays…is bigoted isn’t the thing one does in
polite society. Too bad more people don’t think the same about the views Aunt
Bee has. It’s the classic, “You’re a racist for calling me a racist,” . . .
No one with
cancer wants to be told they have cancer, but just because no one uses the
word, “cancer,” it doesn’t mean they don’t have it. Just because the media,
pundits on all sides, some Democratic leaders don’t want to call the actions of
many rural, Christian, white Americans, “racist/bigoted” doesn’t make them not
truths that rural, Christian, white Americans don’t want to accept and until
they do nothing is going to change, are:
situation is largely the result of voting for supply-side economic policies
that have been the largest redistribution of wealth from the bottom/middle to
the top in U.S. history.
haven’t taken their jobs. If all immigrants, legal or otherwise, were removed
from the U.S., our economy would come to a screeching halt and prices on food
not responsible for companies moving their plants overseas. Almost exclusively
white business owners are the ones responsible because they care more about
their share holders who are also mostly white than they do American workers.
-No one is
coming for their guns. All that has been proposed during the entire Obama
administration is having better background checks.
getting married is not a threat to their freedom to believe in whatever white
God you want to. No one is going to make their church marry gays, make gays
your pastor, accept gays for membership.
access to birth control doesn’t affect their life either, especially women who
they complain about being teenage, single mothers.
-Blacks are not
“lazy moochers living off their hard earned tax dollars” anymore than many of
your fellow rural neighbors. People in need are people in need. People who
can’t find jobs because of their circumstances, a changing economy, outsourcing
overseas, etc. belong to all races.
-They get a
tremendous amount of help from the government they complain does nothing for
them. From the roads and utility grids they use to the farm subsidies, crop
insurance, commodities protections…they benefit greatly from government
assistance. The Farm Bill is one of the largest financial expenditures by the
U.S. government. Without government assistance, their lives would be
-They get the
largest share of Food Stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.
about globalization but line up like everyone else to get the latest Apple
product. They have no problem buying foreign-made guns, scopes, and hunting
illicit drugs as much as any other group. But, when other people do it is a
“moral failing” and they should be severely punished, legally. When they do it,
it is a “health crisis” that needs sympathy and attention.
-When jobs dry
up for whatever reasons, they refuse to relocate but lecture the poor in places
like Flint for staying in towns that are failing.
-They are quick
to judge minorities for being “welfare moochers” but don’t think twice about
cashing their welfare check every month.
about coastal liberals, but the taxes from California and New York are what
covers their farm subsidies, helps maintain their highways, and keeps their
hospitals in their sparsely populated areas open for business.
about “the little man being run out of business” then turn around and shop at
big box stores.
They are willing
to vote against their own interest if they can be convinced it will make sure
minorities are harmed more. Their Christian beliefs and morals are truly only
extended to fellow white Christians. They are the problem with progress and
always will be, because their belief systems are constructed against it.
isn’t a lack of understanding by coastal elites. The problem is a lack of
understanding of why rural, Christian, white America believes, votes, behaves
the ways it does by rural, Christian, white America.
Harsh? Yes, but in my opinion 100% on target. Southwest Virginia is a perfect example. The urban areas of Virginia, especially Northern Virginia that rural residents deride are footing the bill for much of their education and healthcare systems. They are parasites and due to their own embrace of ignorance and intolerance towards others almost guarantee that new businesses will not relocate in what they view as an educational and cultural backwater. Rural, Christian America needs to take a long look in the mirror and realize that they are their own worse enemy. The same applies to "conservative" working class people who vote against their own interest as they fall for Trump/GOP appeals to their own racism or religious based bigotry. Clinging to ignorance and religious myths is a choice. If one chooses to do so, there is not reason I need to show them respect or understanding.