According to Politico New Tax Law is Hitting Churches. In The Atlantic John Fea Writes About How Evangelicalism in the United States Has Long Dealt with Fear and Donald Trump is the Latest Iteration. Finally in Raw Story an Article about how Evangelicals are Worshiping Donald Trump Over Jesus

A couple of brief articles about evangelical Christians and politics. The new Republican tax law is taxing churches, and the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is not pleased. John Fea wrote an article for Atlantic about the history of evangelicalism in the United States and its roots in fear. According to the influential Messiah College professor Donald Trump is the latest iteration. And Raw Story had an article about how evangelicals are worshiping Donald Trump over Jesus. 

“Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

Ronald Reagan 

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:18 NKJV

 

Downtown Washington, D.C. in rush hour.  

Neo-Calvinism is not the only issue in evangelicalism, on the traditional side you have evangelicals and politics and their culture wars. There are several articles related to this area that deserve attention. This will be a brief post but let’s quickly cover some ground. The new Republican tax law has hit churches and non-profits and churches are being taxed. The new tax law requires churches (among other organizations) to pay 21% taxes on fringe benefits. The National Association of Evangelicals has condemned the law and the Evangelical Counsel for Financial Accountability has denounced the law. If you want to read more you can do so in Politico in, “Republican tax law hits churches.” A while back I wrote about why churches should lose their 501 (c)(3) status in, “Should 501(c)(3) Status End for Churches? If Evangelical Christianity Can Not Police Itself Against Criminal Activity, Fraud, and Waste…then Yes 501(c)(3) Status Should End.

John Fea, a professor at Messiah College outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania  who I recommend and respect wrote a strong article for The Atlantic. The article John wrote looks at the history of evangelical Christians in the United States and how that history is intertwined with fear. The history of fear with evangelicals begins in Salem, Massachusetts with the fear of witches ended up hanging 19 people. From there the sad saga continues to evangelical Christians being xenophobic and fearing Catholics who immigrated from Ireland and Europe in the 19th century. Then from how evangelicals reacted during the Civil War to the threat of science in the Scopes monkey trial in Tennessee. The fact that 81% of evangelicals embraced Donald Trump is the latest iteration of evangelical Christians living in fear. You can read more from John Fea in, “Evangelical Fear Elected Trump.” John Fea is quoted again in his new book coming out about the evangelical road to embrace Donald Trump. In Raw Story it is written that many evangelicals are following Donald Trump over Jesus. This article originally appeared in Salon magazine. You can read about this in, “Blinded by darkness: Here is why evangelicals are choosing Donald Trump over Jesus.” From time to time there will be more articles about this issue which is found mostly in traditional evangelicalism. 

 

8 thoughts on “According to Politico New Tax Law is Hitting Churches. In The Atlantic John Fea Writes About How Evangelicalism in the United States Has Long Dealt with Fear and Donald Trump is the Latest Iteration. Finally in Raw Story an Article about how Evangelicals are Worshiping Donald Trump Over Jesus

  1. On the last item, the way I would characterize it is that many Christians (and especially evangelicals, though not exclusively) have increasingly come to see political “solutions” as the way to achieve their goals. This has the effect of shifting their focus to worldly or human means of “advancing the kingdom.” (Separately, I would strongly argue that what they are doing is not advancing the kingdom at all, but is rather all about giving them the upper hand in positions of power, which are two entirely different issues. God’s prescription for the kingdom as described in the Bible seems to have nothing to do with grabbing power; quite the opposite, in fact.)

    As a result, in seeking the political “solutions,” they increasingly place their hope in human agents, and at this particular juncture in time they place hugely disproportionate hope in ONE man. This is done to the point where his evangelical supporters now offer total unconditional unqualified support, and cannot even conceive of offering even so much as a single mild criticism of anything he does or says, which does come pretty darned close to worship.

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    • In the interest of fairness, I can point out that my point in the first paragraph can be applied to both left- and right-oriented politics: either can become a snare. I recognize that the misplacing of faith and trust in human agents can apply to Christians across the political spectrum. Progressive Christians can and do fall into the same trap that conservative Christians (primarily the evangelicals) do.

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    • Only “close” to worship, Dave?
      That’s something that both Eagle and I have been scratching our heads over since 2016.

      Do you remember bad Christian Apocalyptic fiction (books or movies — the predecessors of Left Behind)? How when anyone takes the Mark of the Beast, he instantly and irrevocably becomes a total FANATIC Beast-worshipper Unto Death (and beyond)?

      During my time in-country, this (and other absurdities of the “history written in advance” genre) were dismissed with a Verse:
      “For God Shall Send Them Strong Delusions, That They Shall Believe A Lie. (tsk. tsk.)”

      Well, these same Born-Again Bible-Believers are acting like they’ve taken the Mark of the Trump on both forehead AND right hand. AND THEY DON’T SEE IT. AT ALL.

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      • I was being “civil” with my “close to” characterization ; )

        My wife and I have both commented to each other that when Jesus speaks of the false messiahs and false prophets being able to deceive even the elect (Matthew 24, Mark 13) that now seems far less surprising than it once did.

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  2. This article originally appeared in Salon magazine. You can read about this in, “Blinded by darkness: Here is why evangelicals are choosing Donald Trump over Jesus.”

    I noticed that article mentioned all the Birther conspiracy shticks circling around Obama. Birtherism has had a Christian branch since it first surfaced.

    Some years ago when I was visiting the East Coast, there was this big billboard along Route 15 between Gettysburg and Harrisburg:
    “WHERE’S THE REAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE?”
    Down in the lower right corner was a small World Net Daily logo.

    In both 2008 with Obama and 2016 with Trump I saw a similar pattern of Apocalyptic Messiah Politics. Despite Obama and Trump’s vastly different styles and personalities, the similarity was the candidate’s base mythically viewing the previous incumbent (Bushitler in 2008, The Obamanation of Desolation Enthroned in the White House in 2016) as The Antichrist. And if the previous incumbent is Antichrist, who becomes the Second Coming of Christ to come and sweep away the Beast and all his minions at Armagaeddon? With all the accompanying Power of Myth and Mythic baggage?

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    • I saw that very same billboard often! The location you describe is within a half hour of our home and I remember it well, including the sponsoring organization.

      Too much of Christianity sees everything that happens in purely apocalyptic terms, which is dangerous when the descriptions of the “last days” are intentionally shrouded in mystery and imagery in the Bible. But of course, so many believe they know exactly what each component of Revelation and prophecy precisely means today. The same as many Christians through the ages thought they knew exactly what each component of Revelation and prophecy precisely meant in their time as well . . .

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      • Dave, I am a survivor of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay and its corollary Christians For Nuclear War. That was in the early Seventies, and the damage is still there over 50 years later.

        And Christians for Nuclear War is back. In full force. “IT’S PROPHESIED! IT’S PROPHESIED!” Last year when both Kim the Fat and Trump the LOOORD were playing with their nuclear arsenals, I got the first full-intensity PTSD flashbacks I’ve had since the end of the Cold War.

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