There have been a number of articles that deal with evangelical Christians and politics. This post compiles them into one. Also with an impeachment inquiry underway many evangelicals are responding to that development as well. This post is compilation of those articles and also some analysis of this topic.
“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. 3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
Hebrews 11:1-4 NLT
Pennsylvania Ave and the Capitol taken from the soon to close Newseum.
Saturday Night Live humor….
There have been a number of articles that addressed evangelicals and politics that I needed to compile into a post. Some of these I have been sitting on for a while. The first part of this blog post is about evangelical Christians and politics. The second part is about evangelicals and the impeachment inquiry going on within the House of Representatives.
Evangelical Christians and Politics
Let’s look at some of the articles that have come out on different media outlets these past few months.
- Former Covenant Life Church Senior Pastor Josh Harris gave an interview with Axios on HBO. He said that evangelical identification with Donald Trump is greatly harming the church. You can watch what Josh Harris says in, “Josh Harris: Evangelical support for Trump “incredibly damaging to the Gospel“
- CNN did an article about the polarization of society and politics today. One story told dealt with a person who because of Trumpism walked away from her evangelical Christian church and lost many friendships in the process. You can read the comment which I lifted and put here. “I left the evangelical church after nearly 50 years in it because I could not side with those who see Trump as their savior. For the first time, I saw friends I knew for decades believe that Trump is somehow a good person. They didn’t care about his misogyny, his racism, his bankruptcies, adultery, or his demonization of immigrants, Muslims, and people of color. They became people I never wanted to know, so I lost many friendships and my church. I won’t be reconciling with them because now that I have seen their true colors, there is no way back. This experience has introduced me, however, to many, many new friends who believe in equality, justice, compassion, and kindness, and so I have forged a new path forward, one that does not include those in my past who are unable to see that Trump is dangerous for democracy.”
- At the Religious News Service they had an article about the Hispanic evangelical preacher that is running against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. You can read about Fernando Cabrerain, “Meet the Hispanic evangelical minister challenging ‘AOC’”
- Paula White is in the news also. White is one of the better known prosperity gospel preachers. This blog has written about the issues with the prosperity gospel which is in the archives. Paula White was appointed to be President Trump’s key spiritual adviser. You can read about that in the Washington Post in “Paula White, Trump’s key spiritual adviser, will join the White House.” Over at the Religion News Service they had an article that talked about how White represents the mainstreaming of both the prosperity gospel and Pentecostalism. You can read that in, “Paula White and the mainstreaming of American Pentecostalism.”
- Within the Southern Baptist Convention it was announced the Al Mohler is going to be nominated to run for the President of the Southern Baptists. H.B. Charles an African-American pastor at a Baptist church in Georgia announced his plans to nominate Mohler. This preemptive move will block those in the SBC who are into Christian Nationalism from being nominated. Basically its a power play that is happening. You can read more at the Religion News Service in, “Mohler, prominent Southern Baptist, will be nominated to lead denomination.”
- Scot McKnight a well known pastor and professor in evangelicalism gave a talk at Oklahoma Christian University recently. In that talk he stated that the evangelical bonding with the Republican Party in the 1980’s was one of the most harmful acts that has taken place. McKnight said the following. “I can think of no good thing that has happened to evangelicalism as a result of its alliance to the Republican party. All I can think of are negative things,” McKnight also said, “I’m not taking a political position. I would call myself a classic conservative. I’m not a Republican, I’m a Christian. I believe that we have made undeniable damage to the church’s weightiness because we align ourselves so much with political parties.”You can read more in, “Scot McKnight comments on Christian culture in America.”
- In the Washington Post there was an article about how South Bend mayor who is gay who wants to build a bridge with evangelical Christians. The article looks at the tension with his in-laws who include an evangelical pastor. You can read this in, “Pete Buttigieg wants to build a bridge to the religious right. But tension within his in-laws’ family highlights how difficult that may be.”
Ambassador Yovanovitch’s opening statement.
Evangelicals and Impeachment
The Ukraine scandal as you no doubt know has led to impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Since the impeachment process began there have been a number of articles that appeared in various media sources that deserve to be mentioned.
- In the Charlotte Observer there is a fascinating article about how mega churches are becoming more political. A reporter sat down with several pastors within large churches in North Carolina and discussed evangelicals, Trump and impeachment. Several pastors stated that church is becoming too politicized and believe that Fox News is a contributing factor. But one felt that Bill Clinton’s perjury was worse that Trump’s alleged extortion. Or that we get the leader we deserve or that Hunter Biden should be investigated. The article closes with one pastor who says that the Christian faith is taking a black eye. The article definitely leaves you with the impression that a number of evangelical Christians don’t know what truth is. You can read more in, “The political challenge for NC evangelicals.”
- In October Atlantic Magazine had an article that stated that in regards to impeachment President Trump would have their support regardless. There could be no law, no crime committed and they would support him in all circumstances. You can read that article in, “Nothing Will Persuade White Evangelicals to Support Impeachment.”
- Again in October of 2019 Bloomberg had an interesting article that also deserved to be set aside. Many white evangelicals believe that impeachment is an assault on their values. You can read more about this in, “Evangelicals See Trump Impeachment as an Attack on Their Values.”
- The Babylon Bee, the evangelical Christian version of The Onion had an article that was pure satire. At a dinner a parody of the Last Supper takes place. You can read that article in, “Evangelical Leaders Ask Trump Which One Of Them Will Betray Him During Impeachment Proceedings.”
- McClatchy News Service has an interesting article that I put aside when I heard about it. McClatchy owns papers like the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, Kansas City Star, Miami Herald, etc… In the article it discusses how a lot of evangelicals approached President Trump and told him that impeachment was about going after them. Impeachment is about attacking evangelical Christian values. You can read more about this in, “‘They’re trying to impeach us’: What faith leaders told Trump behind closed doors.”
- Newsweek had an interesting article about Paula White. In the article it discusses how Paula White prayed for President Trump. She praised his leadership, and stated that the evil one is using people to attack him. Those who oppose President Trump are using witchcraft and sorcery as well. You can read that article in, “TRUMP SPIRITUAL ADVISER PAULA WHITE PRAYS AGAINST PRESIDENT’S OPPONENTS, SUGGESTS THEY ‘OPERATE IN SORCERY AND WITCHCRAFT‘
Analysis of the Above Mentioned Articles
Before I get into this section it needs to be stated that when it comes to evangelicalism those who are political are the mainstream. Calvinists and the Neo or New Calvinist movement are not involved in the culture wars. They just want to plant churches, preach and advance the Gospel as they define it. Those who are into the Culture Wars are the mainstream evangelicals who are Baptist and Non-denominational as well. When it comes to the news of Al Mohler this blog which disagrees with Calvinism actually thinks that him being President of the Southern Baptists would be a good idea. If that doesn’t force the Christian Nationalists to take stock in how they are destroying themselves and the Gospel then nothing will. The article from CNN hits home for those who had to deal with Christian Nationalism in churches. I lost friendships and relationships over these last three years. I watched members from a former church I was involved in, and my former Campus Crusade director Steve Papez in Milwaukee be converted to Christian Nationalism. If I were to ask who they are worshiping well, it clearly is not God. But I can sympathize with that description in that CNN article. Pastors should not be running for office. I am not a fan of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez but if you want to run for office then you should resign from the pulpit. This is unique in my view because I can’t recall hearing about a pastor actually running for office while being in the pulpit. This further shows another step of the politicization of evangelical Christianity.
Paula White in my view is really a disgrace. The prosperity gospel is absolutely cruel. You can read more in, “The Prosperity Gospel: Reflection on a NY Times Op Ed Called “Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me.” The prosperity gospel makes diseases like lung cancer, brain tumors, and more exceptionally cruel. It suggests that if you are not doing well that you lack faith. You have not given enough money to God or to a particular ministry. One plus to Calvinism is that you do not find prosperity gospel theology within Calvinism. Those evangelicals who have branded themself to Donald Trump have been discredited even more so by Paula White being his spiritual adviser. This helps legitimize the prosperity gospel even more so. What this also has done is show that evangelical Christians have no conviction, knowledge of the Bible or any principle.
Moving on to the impeachment issue there is much to say. I find is deeply sad that evangelicals view impeachment as an attack on them. This shows to me that evangelical Christians are not committed to truth. Politically if you want to be a conservative you can do so. But to merge the two together in a warped view is troubling. And while this is not a political blog many people like William Buckley, Bill Kristol and Charlie Skyes would say that Trump is not a conservative either. But for me this is heartbreaking. Also maddening is seeing how mega churches are become more politicized. That article in the Charlotte Observer really reveals to me that evangelical Christianity is not a faith movement. Its a political party. Evangelical churches should lose their IRS 501(c)(3) status over issues like this one.
But the one take away that comes forward in several of those articles when you look at the big picture is that white evangelical Christians have deified Donald Trump. I find this to be incredibly odd especially since I think they would have more in common with Mike Pence. Pence at least goes to church, could tell you what Hebrews 11 is about or tell you what the greatest commandment in scripture is. For me this take away helps explain why this side of evangelicalism should be ignored. In embracing this path white evangelicals have really destroyed themselves. They have made themselves irrelevant buffoons who have lost the right to preach the Gospel as they have no idea as to what it is. There is no covenant between God and the United States like there was one with Israel. For many evangelicals if this is who they are who wants to go to heaven and spend an eternity with them? Hell seems far more welcoming and indeed can be like heaven. But in the end its pretty clear cut. Many evangelicals have kicked Jesus in the ass and pushed him aside as the bow down and worship Donald Trump all while proclaiming, “Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” In their mind Donald Trump will probably rise on the third day and ascend into heaven. After all the cross, is not a cruel instrument of execution invented by the Romans. Instead that cross sands for T which means Donald Trump. He is the their Lord and Savior and were seeing this play out in the impeachment saga.