Evangelicals And Trump: A Steamy Love Affair

I often wonder exactly WHICH Bible evangelicals read. Jesus tells us in Matthew “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” How can evangelicals not understand this to mean that Christians care for the poor who hunger? Jesus doesn’t care if they are lazy or hard-working. We are to love and feed them! That we are supposed to welcome the stranger which included refugees, that we must provide care for the sick.

Much has been made about who in particular was responsible for the death of Jesus….the Romans. The Jews etc. but it’s obvious from reading some of of His very statements like the parable of the owner being killed by the caretakers of the vineyard that the guilty party was the religious ones who claimed to speak for him. The ones who wanted His Power but not His teachings. It’s amazing to me and actually very confirming of my my faith to see this very same thing happen with those who claim to be Christian today. Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter are the only 3 Presidents who seem to live in the Way of Jesus and they are vilified and hated by those who call themselves Christians. These Christians long for the Strong One, which is a biblical name used for the Devil. And I believe they would crucify Jesus again if he walked among us.

Perhaps the 1980 presidential election was a harbinger of things to come with an authentic evangelical sitting President losing to a secular challenger . Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority backed the less religious and more secular Ronald Reagan over the self proclaimed Bible thumping Jimmy Carter whose life embodied the best of Christian family values. Did Jerry Falwell favor Reagan’s far less tolerance of minorities over Carter’s clear mission of racial inclusion ? I think so. That today’s Religious Right is far more interested in political power than Christian values is shown clearly with the president of Liberty University , Jerry Falwell Jr. hosting a rally for Trump and loudly proclaiming him as the only one capable to restore Christian America while holding his own student body to high moral standards.

I will not argue with a minister who refuses to marry a same-sex couple. It is not up to me to tell him or her how to interpret The Bible. He or she may choose to believe that Bible verses condemning sodomy extend to a prohibition on performing a religious ceremony. Okay. I know other people who feel differently and can cite Bible verses to support their point of view. I’ve listened to the two sides debate. In the United States, this is what freedom of religion is all about.

I will, however, argue with a baker who refuses to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage. The bakery is a commercial enterprise. Baking and decorating a cake is not a religious activity. Providing a wedding cake is a commercial transaction. Refusal to engage in these transactions has consequences, just as refusal to serve African Americans had social and economic consequences 60 years ago.

So please don’t tell me that refusing to engage in commercial transactions with the LGBT community is impinging on your freedom of religion. Whites used to say that about integration.

The good news in today’s political cesspool is that a candidate no longer needs to espouse the extreme (although very widespread) religious and “moral” views of the evangelistic American voter. These are not, not anymore anyway, one-issue voters. Randall Balmer, a noted scholar on these questions, has it right, as does Robert Jones’ description of those voters as “nostalgia” voters.

Fundamentalists, wherever and whenever they are found, always want to go back to some imagined “golden age” that never fully existed. In my case I yearn for a politics of issues, not identity, and not pandering to special interests be they Wall Street or our dozen or so “minority” alleged victims. Too bad, I’m just as unrealistic as the others…

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