Chris Stroop’s #EmptyThePews Movement Takes Off on Twitter

Chris Stroop has given birth to a growing movement on Twitter called #EmptyThePews. It started out as a protest of Donald Trump but it is growing as people list all the reasons why they are done with evangelical Christianity. 

This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” 

Winston Churchill 

“Leaving things behind and starting again is a way of coping with difficulties. I learnt very early in my life that I was able to leave a place and still remain myself.”

Rachel Cusk  

  If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

Matthew 10:14 NIV

As of this morning this was the most liked Tweet on Twiiter at #EmptyThePews

Christopher Stroop has launched a fascinating project on Twitter that is growing in size and scope. It started out as a response to the Neo-Nazi riot in Charlottesville but it is growing into something bigger. Chris Stroop is a scholar, freelance writer, public speaker on religion and politics and the evangelicals in politics. He graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a Ph.D in Modern Russian History and today is currently a Provost Postdoctural Scholar at the University of South Florida where he teaches history. As a former history grad student  I have to chime in and say good choice in study. 🙂 Chris is also a former evangelical, who it sounds falls in the done camp. The done camp is the growing movement of people who are done with church. 

As Chris’ blog he wrote the following post called “#EmptyThePews – If You Attend a Trumpist Church, it’s Time to Leave in Protest” on August 18, 2017. It was meant to be a call for Christians to protest evangelical support for Donald Trump. Its actually growing into a much bigger movement and I want to throw my weight behind this Twitter project. I inserted a sample of some of the Tweets but this is growing. The reasons why people are leaving the church are do to the following reasons: 

  1. Evangelical support for Donald Trump and dismissing his abuse or Access Hollywood tape. 
  2. Financial scandals and money being mismanaged in some churches. 
  3. Polarizing personalities who hold sway over congregations, individuals such as James Dobson, and Franklin Graham. 
  4. How gays have been treated. 
  5. How women have been treated. 
  6. People being told to return to their domestic abuser in marriage. 
  7. How people with disabilities are being treated. 
  8. Hostility to science. 
  9. Child sex abuse issues. 
  10. Racial strife issues and discrimination. 
  11. Pastors who are above question who are narcissist. 

In reviewing many Tweets that is some of the reasons being written. This is growing so that list will grow, and new topics will come up. I am waiting for the Neo-Calvinist movement to come out as a driving force in creating defections. This issue got the attention of Hemant Mehta who writes at The Friendly Atheist who wrote, “Christians Are Using #EmptyThePews To Explain Why They Left Their Churches.” If you read this and you are on Twitter make sure you explain why you left the church or why you are thinking of doing so. Kudos to Nate Sparks who is pushing this movement as well. That’s it for the day guys, take care. 


7 thoughts on “Chris Stroop’s #EmptyThePews Movement Takes Off on Twitter

  1. I had been meaning to ask you for your take on #emptythepews!

    I’m really glad to see this trend, and I like that the emphasis is in the right place. It’s not about beliefs, and there’s no push for people to change what they believe. It’s just about taking the power out from under the theocrats. So Christians can get behind it while still staying Christian, but former christians can also participate. Good stuff.


  2. Here’s the money shots:

    The Girl Who Waited @CarolynEWray

    Realizing that Christians can’t recognize an abuser in the WH because they are used to abusers within their church leadership. #EmptyThePews

    I’ve been thinking this for a long time.

    After all, what is Trump’s behavior but that of a Megachurch ManaGAWD without the GAWD?

    Elizabeth Wallen @headedtoairport

    When I was told as a child that being left handed writing with the hand of the devil. I was done.#Emptythepews


    (Eagle — When you saw me in Gettysburg/Dillsburg five weeks ago, did you notice which hand I was using?)

    The Maz @youknow_theMaz

    Jesus threw them out of the temple once. Please come back to throw the thieves out of the White House. #EmptyThePews


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wonder why the Christian leaving churches they find abusive simply just go and find churches that fit their model? They certainly exist.

    Though impossible to discover, it would be interesting to know the percentage of Christians who are simply using the #emptythepews movement as an excuse to cover laziness and indifference.


    • I’m sure some christians are finding other churches, and that’s fine. But the point of this movement is not where you go afterward, it’s about publicly leaving something that has become intolerable. Taking the power out from under those who are abusing it.

      And people who are lazy and indifferent are not likely to be bothering about making a public statement about leaving. People who are indifferent are more likely to just keep doing what they’ve always done, maybe showing up to church occasionally on christmas and easter, and otherwise not paying much attention, because it’s easy and what they’re used to. Many of us who have left permanently did so because we were paying attention. Taking a stand against the abuse of power is the opposite of indifference.


  4. Pingback: The Evangelical Christian/Donald Trump Phenomena is Ranked as the Top Religious Story of 2017; Plus Chris Stroop on Evangelicals and Authoritarianism in Playboy, University of Virginia’s Charles Matthews on White Evangelicals Living in Fear in the W

Comments are closed.