Thursday, December 21, 2017

Why White Evangelical Christianity is in Big Trouble

Roy Moore's home church.
White evangelical Christians have become the mainstay of the Republican Party and the toxic Trump/Pence regime even as the GOP controlled Congress and Trump/Pence both engage in behavior and push policies that are the antithesis of the Gospel message and Christs teachings on the treatment of the poor, the sick, the homeless and the hungry.  As posts on this blog and numerous op-ed columns have noted, the consequence is the killing of the Christian brand as evangelicals give the faith reputation for hypocrisy, selfishness and a hatred of others.  As evangelicals cheered the GOP's passage of a bill that will lavish millions in tax cuts on the obscenely wealthy, including Der Trumpenf├╝hrer, the failure of the GOP to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, now leaves health care access for 9 million children in doubt.  A piece in the Washington Post sums the situation up as follows: 
Congress appears unlikely this week to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which has become a crucial element in broader negotiations over how to fund the government.

For the Smiths, who are Republicans, the congressional stalemate over the $15.6 billion program is bigger than a question how to pay. It is also a question of who — or what — to believe.
Over the course of the year, their faith in the GOP-led Congress has eroded. Their general disenchantment became more pronounced when lawmakers, including even their home-state senator, Orrin G. Hatch, an architect of the CHIP program, failed to secure the funding.
The tangible effects of that inaction reverberated from the Smiths’ home to doctors’ offices and statehouses across the country. Nine million children use CHIP to help lower their medical costs.
Federal funding for CHIP stopped flowing on Sept. put out by the Kaiser Family Foundation published on Wednesday noted that states are running out of money faster than anticipated. Half will have no money for the program by January’s end if nothing is done.
Nearly 2 million children would lose insurance by the end of January, according to the Georgetown Health Policy Institute. 
Seemingly, aiding sick children is not a priority with evangelicals who place a higher priority on a license to discriminate against others than following Christ's dictates.  As an op-ed in the Washington Post notes, if Christianity is dying in America, it is thanks to white evangelicals.  Here are column highlights:
It’s that time of year again, when we hear about the profanity of “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” and about Starbucks’ covert “war on Christmas,” run through their seasonal coffee cups. . . . . This year, however, it’s increasingly difficult not to notice that the main threat to Christianity in America comes from American Christians themselves.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard a case from a baker who argued his Christian convictions led him to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Last week, we witnessed the spectacle of white Christians in Alabama who convinced themselves either that the man they hoped to elect as their senator was not so creepy around young girls as to get himself banned from a mall (fact check: he was), or that the behavior that got him banned is actually biblical in character, and therefore okay (exegesis check: it isn’t). In the end, 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Moore.
When we’ve reached a place where good Christian folk think it’s a matter of major theological principle not to sell pastries to gay people but are willing to give pedophiles a pass, I think it’s safe to say that American Christianity today — white American Christianity in particular — is in a pretty sorry state.
We’re remarkably ignorant of the history and the current state of the world we inhabit, and no better with scientificknowledge either. We don’t believe the media, but we’ll believe the most incredible Twitter rumor or Facebook post, curated for us by Vladimir Putin. We are surprisingly ignorant about religion, not only other people’s, but even our own.
White evangelical Christians like guns, for example, and do not especially like immigrants. Compared to other demographics, we’re excited about the death penaltyindifferent to those who are impoverished or infirm, and blind to racial and gender inequalities. We claim to read the Bible and hear Jesus’ teachings, but we think poor people deserve what they (don’t) get, and the inmates of our prisons deserve, if anything, worse than the horrors they already receive. For believers in a religion whose Scriptures teach compassion, we’re a breathtakingly cruel bunch.
Indeed it’s hard to know who we do feel pity toward, except ourselves — for we believe that we are the real victims in today’s world. 
The tyranny of fear in white Christian life is especially visible among white evangelicals, who stand out in their opposition to pluralism in America. While all other religious groups, like Americans overall, oppose letting small business owners refuse to serve gay and lesbian people — by margins of roughly two to one — white evangelicals, by 56 percent to 39 percent, say shopkeepers should be allowed to so discriminate. 
Ironically, it may well be that it is Christians’ fears about losing control of the culture that have accelerated the rise of secularism itself. (This has been an open secret in the sociology of religion for almost two decades.) Consider the rise of the “Nones” in American public life — those adults, especially younger adults, who when asked about their religious affiliation, say “none.” For decades that number was very low, but then it began to increase rapidly in the 1980s. Why was that? It seems to be caused by the tight alliance of Christianity, especially conservative white Christianity, with conservative politics over the past several decades . . . . that alliance has repelled many younger people from religion out of a distaste at seeing religion so eagerly bend the knee to short-term political gain. That is to say, Christians’ response to a misperceived crisis have become, in fact, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
 As the Christmas holiday approaches, I will celebrate being with family and friends.  One thing I will not be doing, however, is calling myself a Christian give what a hideous connotation that label has come to hold - thanks to evangelicals in particular. 

1 comment:

EdA said...

Nine million children with less access to health care.

To put this into context, this is the equivalent of EVERYONE in Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, and North and South Dakota without the access to health care.

So much for the Republiscum caring about the children. Given Jesus' condemnation of sociopaths like these, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Jesus. You must be really proud of your followers who clearly enthusiastically take your name in vain.