Recommended Read: Michael Gerson in the Washington Post on Why White Evangelicals Should Panic

Michael Gerson wrote a column at the Washington Post the other day which created a lot of attention on social media. The post dealt with why white evangelicals should be afraid. Their embrace of politics and Trump has come with a large trade off: Many people in the 18 to 29 age bracket are rejecting evangelicalism and walking away.

“If corruption is a disease, transparency is a central part of its treatment.”

Kofi Annon 

In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.

Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?

Psalm 120: 1-3 KJV

Interior of 4th Presbyterian Church in Chicago. 

The other day in the Washington Post Michael Gerson wrote a column that grabbed a lot of attention. The op-ed deals with white evangelical Christians and their support of Donald Trump. Many white evangelicals made a trade off of accepting Trump and all his flaws, affairs with porn stars and more as long as they get conservative judges. Michael Gerson writes in the Post that there is a much bigger scandal that is being missed. That scandal is the way older white evangelicals have sold out their faith and belief in God and how its driving away young people from evangelicalism. After all he points out the among those 65 and old 26 % identify as white evangelical. When it comes to those of ages 18 to 29 that figure drops to 8%. That is the bigger scandal and as older people die off the question to be asked will this form of evangelicalism – wrapped up in the culture wars die off with them? You can read the post article here. But I will also lift it and include it below if you have problems accessing it.


Much white evangelical support for President Trump is based on a bargain or transaction: political loyalty (and political cover for the president’s moral flaws) in return for protection from a hostile culture. Many evangelicals are fearful that courts and government regulators will increasingly treat their moral and religious convictions as varieties of bigotry. And that this will undermine the ability of religious institutions to maintain their identities and do their work. Such alarm is embedded within a larger anxiety about lost social standing that makes Trump’s promise of a return to greatness appealing.

Evangelical concerns may be exaggerated, but they are not imaginary. There is a certain type of political progressive who would grant institutional religious liberty only to churches, synagogues and mosques, not to religious schools, religious hospitals and religious charities. Such a cramped view of pluralism amounts to the establishment of secularism, which would undermine the long-standing cooperation of government and religious institutions in tasks such as treating addiction, placing children in adoptive homes, caring for the sick and educating the young.

But this is not, by any reasonable measure, the largest problem evangelicals face. It is, instead, the massive sell-off of evangelicalism among the young. About 26 percent of Americans 65 and older identify as white evangelical Protestants. Among those ages 18 to 29, the figure is 8 percent. Why this demographic abyss does not cause greater panic — panic concerning the existence of evangelicalism as a major force in the United States — is a mystery and a scandal. With their focus on repeal of the Johnson Amendment and the right to say “Merry Christmas,” some evangelical leaders are tidying up the kitchen while the house burns down around them.

There is a generational cycle of religious identification that favors religion. Adolescents and young adults have always challenged the affiliations of their parents and been less likely to attend a house of worship. This tends to change when people have children and rediscover the importance of faith in the cultivation of values and character. So there is likely to be some recovery upward from 8 percent as this cohort ages.

But this recovery will come from a very low baseline of belief. Evangelical identification could triple without reaching the level found among senior citizens today. In an interview in November, David Campbell of the University of Notre Dame said: “It’s unlikely that [young people are] going to be able to climb back to the same level of religious involvement as their parents’ or grandparents’ generation did. Just because they’re starting at a much, much lower point.”

Why is that point so low? There are a number of reasons, but one of them, Campbell argued, is “an allergic reaction to the religious right.” This sets up an irony. “One of the main rationales for the very existence of this movement was to assert the role of religion in the public square in America. And, instead, what’s happening in that very movement has actually driven an increasing share of Americans out of religion.” This alienation preceded the current president, but it has intensified during the Trump era.

Since 2000, according to Gallup, the percentage of Americans with no religious affiliation has more than doubled, from 8 percent to 19 percent. The percentage of millennials with no religion has averaged 33 percent in recent surveys.

As Campbell described it, some of those alienated from religion merely drop out of the faith marketplace. They are what he calls “passive secularists.” But there is also an increasing number who are “active secularists” — people who have chosen secularism as an identity. And this is creating a secular left within the Democratic Party to counter the religious right in the Republican Party. In their hands, the culture war will be fought to the last man or woman.

If evangelicals were to consult their past, they would find that their times of greatest positive influence — in late-18th-century and early-19th-century Britain, or mid-19th-century America — came when they were truest to their religious calling. It was not when they acted like another political interest group. The advocates of abolition, prison reform, humane treatment of the mentally disabled and women’s rights were known as malcontents in the cause of human dignity.

Today, far too many evangelicals are seen as angry and culturally defensive, and have tied their cause to a leader who is morally corrupt and dehumanizes others. Older evangelicals — the very people who should be maintaining and modeling moral standards — have ignored and compromised those standards for political reasons in plain view of their own children. And disillusionment is the natural result.

60 thoughts on “Recommended Read: Michael Gerson in the Washington Post on Why White Evangelicals Should Panic

  1. Why do you keep acting like Trump is a leader to the religious right? Its nauseating, such a reach, plain ridiculous. People of faith vote for whoever upholds their biggest ideals, not people that insult them and tell them they’re unfrozen cavemen lawyers. Evangelicals follow Jesus, and vote a conscience that best reconciles that. You people that can’t handle Trump in office and promote absurdities like “he’s ur leader, hur dur!” just show yourselves for who you are to the rest of us, and its pathetic. Debate the issues, make your points on reasoned approaches. Why was Hillary a better choice for Evangelicals to vote for Eagle? Can you answer that just looking at her merits and not at who was running against her? Is it that hard dealing with the fact that some folks thought Trump was the lesser of two evils?

    The more rabid you are the more you look like same old partisan hacks on both sides and you lose all credibility. IMHO. Reading articles like this reinforce my decision in 2016, which I was very trepid about making but ultimately and SOOOO glad we’re not in the same company.

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    • I would make a distinction here. I know many of my fellow evangelicals cited the “Trump is the lesser of two evils” argument when they voted in 2016. I really do understand that argument, and although I didn’t find it persuasive for myself, I understood where people were coming from when they made it.

      But over the last almost-three years, when I see the full-throated support many of those same evangelical folks have shown, and their unqualified approval for absolutely everything Trump has said and done, and their aversion to offering even a peep of criticism or second-guessing of any administration position or decision, that is an entirely different dynamic. I totally understand people who say, I am in agreement with actions A, B, and C, and I have some concerns with D, E, and F. That means people are considering and evaluating individual things against their faith convictions. But again, I don’t see a lot of people saying that. Rather, I see people saying, “everything is absolutely perfect and couldn’t be better and I wouldn’t change anything,” and I just can’t understand that mindset.

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      • I’m super happy with the economic growth and have not heard any compelling argument that we’d have it without Trump. I run in very conservative circles and don’t know anyone that thinks Trump is perfect. I do think the constant “reeeeeeeeee!”-ing from anti-Trumpers is enough to push a majority to vote for him again.

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      • But over the last almost-three years, when I see the full-throated support many of those same evangelical folks have shown, and their unqualified approval for absolutely everything Trump has said and done, and their aversion to offering even a peep of criticism or second-guessing of any administration position or decision, that is an entirely different dynamic.

        This is the same dynamic you get in Bad Christian Apocalyptic, when someone Takes the Mark.

        “WHO IS LIKE UNTO THE BEAST? WHO CAN STAND AGAINST HIM? HE IS LOOOORD!”

        And the real kicker is these are the exact same Fundagelicals who quoted Late Great Planet Earth chapter-and-verse with a smug and pious “God Shall Send Them Strong Delusion, that they Shall Believe a Lie. Tsk. Tsk.”

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  2. Oh, for crying out loud, Wondering. As if Jesus is gonna send us to hell for voting for Trump? Come on, man. Your hate for Trump is what goes against Jesus. You are supposed to love your enemies. How much LOVE have ya got for Trump? Besides, what bible verse commands is to vote for a sinless man? For all have sinned, is what I thought the bible stated. Didn’t Jesus ask the adulteress woman, where are your accusers? You sound self righteous. What are your deepest darkest sins that NO ONE knows? And you got a problem with someone else’s sins? Besides, I’ve learned a long time ago, DON’T BELIEVE ACCUSATIONS UNTIL ADJUDICATED IN A COURT OF LAW. False accusations are constantly thrown at Trump, and no one has proven a thing. But, there are many righteous sinners I the bible, including adulterers. KING DAVID. RING A BELL MR. SELF RIGHTEOUS?

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  3. Jesus ate with sinners. Didn’t he? I don’t think he’d have a meal with you. You are too self righteous to be in his presence. How self righteous was the thief on the cross next to Jesus? But he made it to paradise. Trump will be there, too. You can’t, cuz you are more self righteous than Trump, and you know you are. You keep telling us.

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  4. At least in the short-term, in regards to the issue of more younger persons walking away from evangelicalism, I think what you are likely to see is a smaller overall population of evangelicals but with greatly increased political partisanship. This is at least in part because in some quarters, blanket support for Trump and his party and politics has essentially become a “litmus test” for “genuine” evangelicalism. Those who are uncomfortable with this test will simply walk away, or at least shed the “evangelical” name.

    This is entirely anecdotal, but I would say my three young adult children who were raised in a pretty conservative evangelical church reflect some of the trends discussed in Gerson’s column. One has entirely left evangelicalism for a more liberal “mainline” denomination. Two still attend a different non-denominational evangelical church (as do my wife and I) which intentionally distances itself from political partisanship; one is utterly disenchanted with politics and doesn’t even want to vote or follow it any more, the other has moved to a more moderately conservative political stance (at least, far more moderate than that exhibited by today’s GOP) and voted third party in the last election.

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    • From my observation of history of the founding of this country, you can’t separate religion from politics, and that is not an admission of a violation of separation of church and state. The citizens were Christians, and they had a right to participate in politics, no matter what church they attended. But, Ben Franklin did not want anyone to make a career out of being a public servant. Christians have always participated in politics. People are leaving Christianity because of lack of spiritual belief, not because of politics. I’m a Christian, and I voted Trump, and will again, and I don’t believe the false accusations against him that the never Trumpers lash out at him about. It’s all a distraction, that shows the failures of the never Trumpers themselves. Politics as usual put the United States in a dangerous place, and Trump is doing what he promised.

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      • I don’t believe that is what the early Baptists did at all. They were citizens. That so-called WALL of separation, it’s a firewall. Government can’t tell Baptists how to worship, but, Baptists as cut rd citizens, can surely tell the government what to do, as any other citizen can. Not only that, no other RELIGION was not used in the same manner then, as it is today. No other RELIGION was here, but for Christians. The word, RELIGION, in those days, pertained to the multiple Christian denominations. As you should know, some RELIGIONS, or, to be more precise, denominations, wanted their version to be the top dog in politics. And THAT is what the whole debate/argument was all about. Bible and prayer was in school. Buddhist teaching was not. Church of England is where our founders came from, not Thailand. All RELIGIONS here were Christians. The word DEIST only meant that they didn’t believe Jesus was God. Not an impersonal God as is defined today. All citizens were Christians, and many Baptists were nationalists, responsible for all sorts of patriotic songs, or hymns, and sayings about God and country. Even the pledge of allegiance was originally penned by a Baptist. We never were a theocracy, but all citizens were Christian, and this country was never intended to be godless, or secular. Ben Franklin said explicitly that there are no atheists here, and why did he say that? So that no ones piety would be shocked. I think you have a distorted view of the Baptists letter to Jefferson. I give a ton of credit to the Baptists. I’d never be one, cuz I disagree with their theology, but I praise them. Today, I despise them cuz they now distance themselves from politics, buying into the lies that you spew about separation of church and state that the 20th century supreme court bought off on, too.

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      • Wondering,

        The quote that Thomas Jefferson stated about that he trembled, that God is just… was that said in a church setting, or in a government (State) setting? Not only that, his statement of that clearly shows that he believed in the SUPERNATURAL, which atheists LOVE to tell is otherwise.

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      • This is what gets me when people bring up the Danbury Baptists letter. Just like this blog, theres a notion that “a” founding father had a thought as to how to keep government from meddling in people’s religious affairs. Today, that’s twisted to be if you’re a person of faith and hold values formed of that faith, we can’t legislate it. If you’re a person not of faith that may hold those same values, too bad, the evil religious right has ruined it for you. In short, Jefferson’s thoughts in a letter are now used as a legal interpretation to shut out all opposition to the progressive ideology. And these are always moral stances that lead to slippery slopes exactly how the left likes to play it. And you guys eat it up. Hillary was a hairline away from winning. If she did, “culture wars” wouldn’t be happening, Evangelicals would just be that annoying cat lady aunt you see at Christmas, and society would be humming along nicely…in your mind. But with Trump winning, Ed makes a good point about sore losers. You guys project out end times alarmisim and everything is magnified 10x Because Trump!

        I had HUGE issues with Barry Obama’s globalism. But I focused on the next election and doing what I could to get a conservative elected. My first choices didnt make it, but I just went down the line. Now, I’m told that makes me racist and I’m personally responsible for deaths of the children in the third world. Because I don’t like globalism. Hmmmm. Can’t you guys just focus on the next election like adults and stop with all the alarmism and false claims about Trump being some sort of leader for Christian’s that don’t bash him? Like I said, the economy is great, I love how he knocks around other countries that Obama kissed the asses of, and he gets under lefty skins. What is there to hate that isn’t blown out and laughably not relevant to my long term success as a person? Because if I’m successful in life, then I should vote for policies that helped me make it so that others can too. And I should be able to do that without being brow beaten by irrational liberals.

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    • I think what you are likely to see is a smaller overall population of evangelicals but with greatly increased political partisanship.

      Smaller and more Fanatical as the normal people all bail out leaving only the real Crazies?

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  5. I’m fine with everything he’s doing, and why? Because people who hate Trump are doing everything they can to thwart what Trump made campaign promises on, that we agreed with Trump on those campaign promises. Myself, I think it’s insane to vote for someone based on false allegations and baseless accusations that you have a desire to believe. I didn’t vote for a politician, nor did I vote for a pastor in chief. I knew people like you would hate Trump, and that, too me, is all the more that o voted for him. You see the worst in someone that you don’t even know. You people believe the lies thrown at Trump. So someone said something…grab by p… And oh, that’s the end of the world! So what that he said that? No big deal to me. But you guys think that’s a disqualifyer, but not really, tho… You wouldn’t want Trump if he actually was Jesus himself. But look at history… Jesus, being God in the flesh, was condemned to die the death of a criminal, and many hated Jesus, made false accusations about him, etc. One thing the bible makes clear, is that God judges the heart, not the deeds of the flesh. Thief on cross, made it to heaven…how? By not being a thief?

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    • Ed, the article raises some good points. Evangelical Christianity among young people is dying. Young people are leaving Evangelicalism in drives. Where is the concern about that? I like the analogy Gerson uses. Older evangelicals are obsessed with modeling the kitchen while the house is on fire and burning down. I wonder if evangelical theology will be around in 2060, 2070, etc…

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      • Discussing that at face value is fine. The issue for me is that before beginning the discussion you (and the author) attribute the problems to some unwavering all-in support of Trump. So in doing so, you disqualify anyone who supports Trump to further dissect and opine on why youth’s identifying as Evangelicals is on the decline. It’s a pretty myopic viewpoint and immature approach to discussing issues, but that tends to be the way of the left these days.

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      • Hence the mass shootings, suicides, drug addictions, sexual confusions, porn addictions, robberies, lack of respecting your elders, discipline, especially discipline in schools, glorifying drugs, the lack of justice for crime committed, chaos, and plain anarchy. People just doing what they want, without regard to their fellow man, calling it freedom. That’s not what this county was founded on. Gettysburg address…Besides, we used to have bible and prayer in school. Who put it there? No one talks about that. They just want it out. Kids believe science, yet, none have a science education, except to dissect a frog. You, Eagle, set the fire in the house. Remember the three that were in the furnace in Babylon? They didn’t burn, or die.

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      • I wonder if evangelical theology will be around in 2060, 2070, etc…

        If so, it’s not going to be in the same form as it is today.
        Today’s politicized form is going to burn itself out, and the smaller and more fanatical it becomes in its isolation, the faster its burn rate.

        Problem with hitching the Gospel to something temporal (not necessarily political). As Chesterton puts it, it locks that particular Christian theology/culture into the time of what it’s hitched to. Fixes it in time and culture, and time is always moving. That Gospel (whether SJW or Trumpist) rises with what it has mated to — and will fall with it as well. “Nothing gets old-fashioned faster than over-Relevance.”

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      • The only people having a problem with it is the non-religious, who were not gonna be religious no matter who is president, especially if Hillary won. To blame Trump or politics on why people are leaving religiosity is insane. Today’s anarchy without consequences, or deterrents is what contributes to godlessness. People love to break rules. Too much freedom is not good for any society. Today’s society is drug happy. Heroine and meth, both of which causes crime with guns, robbery, etc, killing people. Blame Trump?

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      • When all is said and done with all your posts regarding Trump, it only boils down to one thing. 1. Sore Losers. It’s not about policies, it’s about that you want Christians to sit down and shut up, and let secularism reign. You don’t consider Christians as citizens that should be involved in politics, thinking that you know better that we do, cuz ya consider us as dumb uneducated white people. And you want us to take it by turning the other cheek.

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      • But Eagle, culture wars are constant. And they only swing left of center, not right. The pendulum swings way left, reaches a max, but never swings fully back right past center. Then it rinses and repeats so over time the only lasting movement society makes is left. Culture is ever evolving only to a progressive society. What has changed now is the Internet and its ability to reach the masses with little interference. That’s good and bad, but ultimately I disagree culture wars have intensified, they’re just more in your face. Truth is we’re in an unprecedented and unparalleled level of peace in this world. That gives people lots of time for keyboard quarterbacking.

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  6. Copying and pasting a comment I had made elsewhere related to Gerson’s column:

    Taking a long-term view, here is what I find most ironic about the current evangelical preoccupation with seeking “protection” through political means by aligning itself with a political party and individual politicians in the transactional bargain referenced by Gerson. The irony is that throughout history, the church and the faith has frequently been refined and strengthened when faced with opposition, even at the level of persecution. In contrast, when the church has allied itself with worldly powers and sought power and influence, this has typically resulted in compromise, corruption, and significant “mission drift” to the point where the church ceased to be salt and light to the world.

    And yet you would never guess this based on the strategy of so many evangelicals and evangelical leaders/spokespersons today, who seek protection provided by earthly powers or, even worse, who seek to themselves BE the earthly powers achieving dominion. If history is any indication, it is not too hard to predict where this trajectory leads.

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    • If you take the semi-allegorical interpretation of Revelation where The Beast represents a corrupt political system and The False Prophet a corrupted religious system, WHICH OF THE TWO IS ALWAYS THE BOSS AND WHICH IS ALWAYS THE FLUNKY?

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      • Well HUG, I wasn’t looking to go all Apocalypse with my comment, I was looking more at simple history. But I couldn’t read your comment without hearing it in Yoda’s voice: “Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice.”

        As an aside, I happen to think it is fine for Christians to be politically engaged, particularly in a country like ours where everyone has been invited to participate and, in fact, it is considered a civic duty. The problem I have with Christians doing so is when it becomes apparent that faith has become just a means to a desired political end. When that happens, as with the horse manure and the ice cream, it’s not the horse manure that gets ruined.

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  7. It is very interesting. I am an evangelical Christian. Until recent years I would have considered myself to be moderately politically conservative. Apparently by the new rules of the game this is no longer the case, and to the Right I am now just now part of the varied potpourri of Goddamned secular liberal fake-news-propagating America-haters. Well then. Because I fail the Trump litmus test, apparently, and I don’t see the world in terms of a culture war where everybody not exactly like me is an enemy fit to only be hated and destroyed. I have to say, somebody moved the goalposts, and it sure wasn’t me. Every day I encounter a world view that is so far removed from anything I recognize that I just don’t know how communication is even possible any more. It’s not even worth trying to engage.

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    • I agree Dave. I don’t understand how some of these conversations go the way they do. The key by some is to mis-characterize others and label them. Earlier I was reading about Brexit on the BBC and conservatives were complaining that their party was hijacked and they were upset as to how they were described. I feel the same way, like one group of people hijacked the church and that it is forcing others into difficult situations. The fact that support of Trump is now the litmus test of if you believe in God shows how flawed this theology can be. The either/or sentiment is fundamentalism and in the end fundamentalism consumes everyone. Even those spouting it will fall victim to it. But I appreciate what you are saying.

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      • Wondering, you’ve been confused your whole life, but ya use Trump and Calvinism for all the woes in the United States. You grew up a Catholic, and went to Calvinism. But, in our founding, all denominations got along just fine together in spite of differing beliefs. But you don’t want to get along with Anyone of faith. You want to have Christianity to be deleted from everyone’s memory, all because someone hurt yo wittle feewings… whah… wha, wha, whahhhhhh. People like you are cry babies who whine when ya don’t get what ya want, and that is what your blog is all about. If you were really serious about abuse in churches, you’d do only one blog post scenario. Outline what they teach, then outline what three bible states. And another blog post, teach people what the phone number is to 911, and where those buttons are on a telephone.

        How many evangelicals are shooting people in mass murders?

        You wanna talk gun control? It’s the GODLESS that are responsible for the anarchy, and you praise three anarchy.

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    • Dave, you characterize yourself as an Evangelical Christian. Yet this article and others posted here clearly state that by being a self described Evangelical Christian you are a blind Trump follower who worships all he says. I’m not an Evangelical, I have been going to an EFCA church for only a few months now (first EFCA I’ve ever attended) but don’t label myself as such. Still it is so friggin irritating to see a group broadly labeled as lemmings when they simply agree with certain things Trump does. We’re all adults, I loathe the pity-party “poor me, no one listens” mentality. I haven’t read any post of yours that makes me assume you’re an irrational illogical person. Yet, here you are claiming to be the thing being attacked in these articles and saying “i agree – it’s my own groups fault, I cant save them, everything is spot on here”. Your stance isn’t anti-American or anti-Christian, its just… dumb. It helps nothing. Good on ya.

      At least your not a professional victim like some around these parts, I’ll yield you that.

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      • Ronery, I say I am an evangelical Christian because of my theological understandings (essentially, along the lines of Bebbington’s “quadrilateral” definition of evangelicalism). But increasingly, evangelicalism is coming to be understood by society and defined as a matter of political alignment. Whether this is a fair or unfair definition is almost beyond the point, it is becoming so defined because of the simple fact of ever-growing politicization within the church. I see political, social and cultural engagement as positive Christian actions, but I have become increasingly dismayed at the way in which so much of evangelicalism has come to define itself not by a theological ethos but rather by alignment with politicians and a political party. Many Christians have observed, rightly, that when the early church said that “Jesus is Lord,” this was quite subversive within the Roman Empire because it also was saying, “and Caesar is not.” My concern is that we are increasingly struggling within evangelicalism with an push from within our own ranks to put our hope and trust in earthly Caesars rather than in Jesus. Apparently in large part because the earthly Caesars do such a splendid job of bashing those detested liberals, whereas that Jesus guy is just way too nice and loving and forgiving for his own good.

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      • Well, Dave, you go ahead and put your faith in Jesus as you wish, but just remember, our founding was based on religious beliefs, hence EXECUTIVE, JUDICIAL, AND LEGISLATIVE, and the government, our government is OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE, meaning, that JESUS doesn’t get to vote, which means that YOU DO. And if you are gonna be the HANDS AND FEET of Jesus on this earth, then YOU had better vote for someone who is gonna advance RIGHTEOUS living where we can all LIVE IN PEACE. And, I think you had better REVIEW some bible verses about NATIONS that don’t follow God, vs. those nations that do. We elect our leaders, and YOU have a problem with Trump because YOU don’t think he’s a righteous leader. I happen do DISAGREE.

        Not sure if you knew it or not, but Democrats are the ones who OWNED SLAVES. Senator Robert Byrd…remember him? He was a democrat, and a former HIGH UP in the KKK. But, today, ALL TRUMP SUPPORTERS are demonized UNJUSTLY as being racists. WHERE IN GOD’S NAME DID THAT COME FROM?

        The lies spewed about Trump are being believed by you people, and also disseminated by you people.

        I don’t get you people at all. You hate TRUMP for NO CAUSE. Jesus calls that MURDER. Jesus also said something that if you even THINK of LUST, that you are guilty of adultery, yet, you point fingers at adulterers when Jesus clearly points out that YOU are just as guilty, all because YOU had lust in your heart over some woman yourself, and DON’T LIE, cuz every person on this planet is guilty of adultery just by the words of Jesus.

        The one thing that I can’t stand, is SELF RIGHTEOUS people, who call themselves Christians.

        Stop and THINK about that thief on the cross right next to Jesus. Did he get to heaven by being a GREAT MORAL PERSON? But you think that YOU ARE? Think again, because for all have sinned. So stop pointing fingers at others for their sins. You are just as guilty. If ya broke one commandment, you broke them all.

        But, I don’t believe ANY of the false accusations that you people spew on Trump. NONE. But you spread those accusations like wild fire.

        Ed Chapman

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      • I guess I just don’t have that experience myself. In all the churches I’ve attended thru the years, none were political. Not even on election eve did they bring up politician names, they just generically said pray for leaders, vote your conscience, trust in Jesus, yada yada. Since that spans several decades and many churches in multiple states, my immediate response to posts like Eagle does, or similar ones on Twitter and such is that the narrative is being forced by the side that just really wants it to be true. Since my experience shows NONE of that to be true, I really wonder of people believe it, or are just too invested in their own truth to let it go. Either way, until I come across this eveyday-Joe that tells me I’m not a Christian if I don’t support Trump’s tax bill, my stance is this is all just frenzied click bait by liberals wanting to pat each others backs.

        Lots of things I like about Trump, plenty of things I don’t. I’m a Christian, I go to an EFCA church. Oddly enough, I find the exact opposite to be true of what you and Eagle say. I find admitting those things to any liberal leaning person immediately shuts down any further discussion from them. Would it be silly for me to say their lack of faith leads them to this kind of shut down reaction? Can’t it just be that they loathe Trump so much they can’t stand me? Why is faith being pulled into the Trump drama and why is it only the left accusing Evangelicals of this blind devotion? I have my thoughts on all that, but bottom line is I feel this entire topic is manufactured outrage.

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      • Well, Ronery, I can only share my own experience. You obviously have had different experiences, which is understandable. Please bear with me. I attended an EFCA church for 27 years. (What I am about to say here is specific to that individual congregation, because since the EFCA churches are congregationally governed without a strongly authoritative denominational structure over them, there is wide variation from church to church.). For years, whenever an election season approached, “Christian voting guides” would be distributed to the congregation. Invariably they would always be constructed to show how all the Republicans held all the “correct” Christian position and the Democrats did not. I was always mystified why some of the particular topics identified were seen as having one specific “Christian” position, as I could easily make the argument in some cases that there was no single “true Christian” position on the specific issue, or even that a stronger argument might be made for the preferred Christian position being the opposite of the one presented. No matter, GOP always unfailingly equaled Christian, Democrat always unfailingly equaled anti-Christian.

        (Side note: this was in Pennsylvania, and in the early 90’s we had the unusual gubernatorial election situation where a pro-life Democrat (Casey Sr.) was running against a pro-choice Republican (Hafer). You should have seen the contortions the church went through with its “voting guides” to … k-I-n-d o-f endorse the Democrat while not *actually* endorsing the Democrat.)

        Eventually the politicization grew to the point where the pastor would specifically name candidates from the pulpit as elections approached and explicitly tell us that the only proper Christian response was to vote for the Republican because to do otherwise would be to hold God in contempt. The pastor would comment how he knew he was not supposed to endorse candidates from the pulpit, but said it was of paramount importance that he do so because the very survival of the nation hung in the balance. The last election where I was still attending that church and heard such an edict was Romney-Obama in 2012.

        We moved on from that church for a number of reasons too numerous and complex to mention here (suffice it to say it involved a lot of church hurt, and over 2/3 of the regular attenders also left during that same time period). My wife and two of our adult children and I now attend a non-denominational evangelical church. It tries to be non-politically-driven, which we appreciate after our prior church experience. The focus is more on living out our Christian faith in our day-to-day lives, and our individual relationships with Jesus, and finding truth in the Word, and addressing the struggles we all face and how we can support each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

        And yet, even in this church that explicitly tries to be non-political, it still creeps in. While the pastor was recently on a sabbatical, various church leaders took turns doing the sermons. One of them went political both times he spoke. The first time he talked about some culture-war hot topics, and said society was directly slapping Christians in the face with its advocacy of certain things, and said it was high time that Christians started slapping back hard at society’s face. (Hmmmm… I seem to recall Jesus teaching exactly . . . the opposite ?) The second time he did a non-political sermon but then went off on a political tangent and started talking some historically inaccurate nonsense about how Obama had said that Christians were the greatest threat to America and therefore Christians needed to be opposed at every turn. (Hmmm… I guess I was asleep for the years 2008-2016 and just missed all of that.)

        Well, I could go on at much further length, but you can get the idea. I am trying to explain why for me, and other evangelicals like me, serious concern over the politicization of the evangelical church is not mere “manufactured outrage.” Your description of churches that encourage people to pray for our leaders and vote their consciences and trust in Jesus is indeed encouraging (and I fully agree with these exhortations), but that is not the experience many of us have had.

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      • Fair enough. I tend to not trust government so I vote as best as possible to keep it out of my life. I’ve tried to vote in a way that would make sense for me and my family first because then we’re free to be the best Christians we can by giving back to the community. The flip side of this debate is that by saying I prefer the party of less government equates to accusations about not caring for others. For years that’s all it was, didn’t bother me, thought it was naive given what happened in history to societies that voted in more and more government control. But now we’re at the point that it’s not enough to accuse Republicans of social injustice, now they’re also racists and Trump cultists. Its outta control and blaming Evangelicals just reinforces my thought that its manufactured and those that propagate it are ill-informed, well, lemmings.

        But I appreciate you relaying on your experience. I’m more midwest in the land of passive aggressiveness. Hopefully you find peace in your current church.

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  8. Ed, I really have nothing to say that you would accept hearing from me, which is why I stopped trying months ago. If you don’t even recognize or acknowledge the mid-twentieth century transition where the Republican and Democrat parties essentially flip-flopped positions on civil rights, which was only one of the most significant historical and political paradigm shifts of the last 100 years, along with the GOP’s Southern strategy and the rise of the political religious right, then there is nothing much to say. You are playing the part of D’Souza who keeps yelling about how the GOP is the party of LINCOLN, doggonit, and the Democrats are the party of slavery and Jim Crow, as if the last 75 or so years never happened. That argument might fool people who never cracked a history book, or who didn’t live through portions of that time, but you’re wasting your breath with me (and now, of course, I have wasted this paragraph of breath with you).

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    • This is an example of why I shouldn’t post comments after midnight. There was content I wanted to communicate, but I was in a mood by that time and as a result I had no grace or humility in my tone, and for that I am sorry.

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    • Just so you know, I memorized the Gettysburg Address in the 5th Grade, and had to recite it in class from memory. I studied the civil war. We had Christmas plays in elementary school in which we sung songs about Jesus. It was not just in church, but school, too. In Jr. High, our football coach prayed with us before a game. In the US Navy, a chaplain said a prayer on the announcing system 5 minutes before lights out. God has been at the forefront of my whole life, whether public or private, whether in a church building, or at school, or at work. And no one had a problem with it. Then laws changed, thanks to the godless, and you endorse it. Do you really think that our founding fathers would be all hunky dorey with, oh, I don’t know, say pornography? Gay marriage, the legalization of drugs, the abolishing of the death penalty? Etc. Things have changed, and not for the better, and this whole idea of churches not being able to endorse a candidate, that’s new, too. Companies can do it. But churches? Come on. You have a serious problem with Trump. But you are not being objective. Trump is about law and order, and people have been breaking laws for so long, and getting away with it, without meaningful penalty, that they are pissed that a president wants to enforce laws that Congress passed, but congress doesn’t even acknowledge as laws that they passed. You and wondering drank the kool-aid of the left. Freedom does not mean free-for-all anarchy, and anarchy is what we got, and Trump is trying to fix that problem. Give the guy a chance. He’s the good guy. You hate him for no reason.

      Ed Chapman

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      • Ed you missed what the arthur said is the real scandal. That young people are rejecting evangelicalism, while older ones have married politics and faith. Facts are facts and they can be twisted, explained away but in the end they will always be there.

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      • God and country has always been, which is what and why i said that there is no such thing as SEPARATION of church and state as YOU teach. The church are people, and the people are citizens. And the people are the government, and some seem to have forgotten that. You can’t separate us, from us. That marriage of politics and religion has always been, but people like you have twisted that wall of separation to mean something never intended. How do I know? Cuz Jefferson violated your version many times, and so did Ben Franklin, and John Adams, and a whole host of others, including Abe LIncoln when he established Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Also, if your version is true, then the government violated that wall when the government told churches they can’t do something, and that something? Can’t endorse a candidate. Oh, and the government jumped over that wall again, instituting tax law to the churches with 501.c3 and threat to tax if they violate STATE rule. Newspapers and corporations endorse. We were promised a wall, but the government stuck it’s nose in church business. And to say that politics is not church business, that is where you are wrong. You don’t want us to have a seat at the table. Well, we are fighting back your nonsense. God and Country go hand in hand. Faith and politics were always married. You want them to divorce.

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      • Kinda hopeless here Ed. The emotion that comes with being perceived as uncool or unpopular rules the day with these folks. Anyone with a microcosm of sense can take a step back and ask “what am I really upset about?”. Here on this blog I read nothing but hyperbole and projection, wishing so much that their narrative was true. Dismissing dissent as trolls, and high fiving their merry selves along. I’d be happy to go knee deep in issues about Trump or social issues or economic worries, but honestly it’s the same old diatribe we get from the left. “Woe is me, I’ve tried before with your type and failed, everyone is racist” blah blah blah. Southern strategy BS, Trump is separating families BS, Evangelicals are devil incarnate BS. It gets old, yet I still feel compelled to throw my two cents in the ring of fire. Not that it’ll get anywhere, as most people on social media and blogs live in a bubble – when confronted by outsiders of that bubble with truth and hard facts run away with “oh, you’re a troll” or “man, I can talk to folks like you”.

        I’d love to engage in some high brow philosophical discussions with the other side but they cant seem to ever bring themselves to actually do it.

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  9. Eagle, what facts are you referencing here? The author quotes polls about non religious millenial Democrats on the rise, and then says evangelicals better stop living according to their moral because millenial Democrat atheists are on the rise.

    Whaaaaaa?

    And I’d love to hear your timeline on this southern strategy vs when the woke liberals began infiltrating society. Which group is on the defensive exactly?

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    • Im-So-Ronery,

      I thought that same thing, that the author wants us to APPEASE the younger generation in order to win them over to…FAITH?

      Whatever happened to RESPECT YOUR ELDERS for the younger generation? Obey your parents is in the bible, last I recall, and that comes with a BLESSING, too.

      I don’t think that the author really CARES about the so-called evangelicals to begin with, or their future. I think he’s really rooting for the demise of Christianity.

      But, Wondering calls them FACTS, whatever that means in English.

      I don’t trust authors such as this. It’s like getting a religious education from the Huffington Post, or the History Channel, or the Discovery Channel or worse yet, PBS. I don’t get my religious education from ANY of those sources, let alone, the Washington Post. They don’t much like religious folks to begin with. And neither does WONDERING EAGLE. We are just a pesky nuisance to their POLITICAL agenda to legalize anarchy.

      Ed Chapman

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      • Me, cutting youth programs? How about parents take responsibility for their own kids recreation. I earned my way to summer camp by selling cookies and candy. Ya, I worked at it. I didn’t beg for money from uncle Sam. Remember him?

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      • My youth program was going home, doing my chores, doing my homework, then go play with neighbor boys riding my bike, or football or basketball practice at school. I was a member of FBLA IN HIGH SCHOOL. And family near by to visit. I did a lot as a child, and the government didn’t pay a dime.

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      • Oh, and my youth program included mowing lawns for my neighbors to earn money to do things, too. And at 16, I got a job at an auto body shop until I was 18 when I joined the navy. I never got an allowance, never begged the government, I worked for my recreation. I’d suggest that today’s youth do the same instead of begging the government for their fun activities.

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      • Hey, forgot to mention…we had creek near my house. A neighbor of mine and I used to take out b-b guns and fishing poles and have some fun fishing and shooting. And these are the things we call…YOUTH ACTIVITIES…And that was FREE. Well, except for the B-B’s.

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      • Ed, drinking from the same well is poisonous. Living in an echo chamber and dealing with confirmation bias is a problem. One works with the facts and follows them where they lead. If a person is going to follow their bias and just live in that frame of mind then l would suggest they have already died. The funeral just has not happened yet. It’s challenging to read or be confronted by opposing ideas and yet that is one of the best ways to learn. It’s why l read, listen and get to know information from diverse sources.

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      • Ed, there’s a couple things that just make me want to bash my head on bricks when I venture round these parts. For the most part I try to respect the echo chamber, people need their outlet and I hold back from and being too confrontational and hurtful to their nonsense. But…

        1) this wa-po columnist writes nothing but anti-free market, pro-large government, anti-faith articles under the guise of being “a conservative”. You’re right to question the source, cause the source is BS. No conservative reads this dribble and agrees, but liberals that see this guy jump with a “oooohh, a conservative view that proves me right!” and post it out like conservatives are naive enough to buy it. And when we dont, we get told we’re hard headed, exhausting to deal with, etc. Often with a witty quote from some 1800’s Russian author, or obscure 60’s psychedelic leader insight.

        2) Race. This article, and the commentary about it, constantly bring up race. It’s not evangelicals, its WHITE evangelicals that are the issue. Nothing more left than identity politics. These hacks have nothing but a hard-on for knocking white Christian males at any cost. Even when they’re self professed white Christian males. You know who eats that stuff up? Super weak effininate white males that hate themselves. But they project that out to others and their country, and their leaders. I say just deal with your inner demons and stop being strung along by social justice warriors, decrying the bad (super-witty-play-on-words-preface)gelical, and grow a pair. I know plenty of black “evangelicals”, and fortunately we can have a laugh over a beer about articles like these. It’s so transparent the EPA needs to start giving these blogs an energy rating.

        But I digress, you’re sadly right these days there’s a shortage of men confident about being a man. All I can do is point out the idiocy to my son, teach him how to be a man, and move on hoping he doesnt aspire to be a faux-conservative op-ed writer for the washington post someday.

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      • I hear ya. It’s not the first time I’ve boldly told wondering to grow a pair, either. I know a lot of youth in my neck of the woods who are Christians. We don’t seem to have a shortage in my area. In addition, we have a lot of drug addicts and alcoholics that struggle with addiction that loves Jesus and goes to a church I attend with my brother-in-law, who was a former addict. Some still have issues with the law… And then I see blog posts here badmouthing the MORALITY of others. Christianity isn’t about morality, if it were, the thief on the cross would be in hell. The deeds of the flesh, no man is justified. We are justified by that pesky word that WONDERING and others can’t fathom…faith. They talk about the poor, yet wants the government to supply needs to people who can work for themselves, which is what America is suppose to be about. Constant employment keeps people out of trouble, according to Benjamin Franklin. What’s the unemployment rate now? Who is poor? Jesus never told Caesar how to run his government, and Jesus told his followers that if they see a need, fill it, from their own pocket, not by taxes. I’m not about social justice, either. If ya got a problem, hire a lawyer, take it to court. Don’t involve me. We already have ways to solve problems. Nobody today wants to take the time to obey the rules to solve that problem. They just wanna murder the cops, instead. Godless people to begin with.

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