I’ve written before of how evangelicals get upset over the wrong things. And new examples seem to come unbidden all the time. I suppose this is what happens when evangelical pastors and leaders, out-source their discipleship and teaching duties to Fox News, Breitbart, and other right-wing propaganda outlets.
The average evangelical pastor has no idea what he’s up against. They get a couple hours on Sunday and maybe an hour or two during the week, but these “news” outlets get to disciple and teach several hours a day, seven days a week, year-round. There’s no competition. These poor pastors, leaders, and teachers think they are discipling and shaping their flocks, but they show up with that goal already accomplished and then “hear” everything the pastor is saying through the grid already provided them by the likes of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.
Sadly, we know there are many evangelical pastors, leaders, teachers, and professors, who have, themselves, been discipled by these right-wing channels of propaganda. At some point, they re-interpreted much of what they had learned so it would comport with the new understanding given them by people, who, upon cursory inspection, are nothing more than political ideologues taking advantage of peoples’ prejudices and fears. And, it’s worked.
For decades, Christian ethics and morality in evangelical circles have been re-interpreted to fit a modern right-wing ideology, rather than the rich and deep tradition going back 2000 years and longer. And now, the chickens are coming home to roost. When we out-source our teaching of ethics to hucksters and pseudo-intellectuals, we get these sorts of responses and triggers. When we have been fed a steady diet of the ethical equivalent to hot dogs and Twinkies in their moral nutritional value, we get this.
Let me get this straight: We’re not triggered over the abject dishonesty and lack of integrity, paying off porn stars, the serial adultery, the tacit support of those trying to disrupt our democracy, obstruction of justice, the sexism, the racism, putting children in cages and separating families, the bullying, the name-calling, and the crass narcissism of an insecure, small, angry, and petty man.
What will trigger us however, what will really upset us, what will make us call our congressperson or senator, is, yep, you got it: cussing. And God forbid anyone throw in the Lord’s name—then we will get our boxers in a real wad. We will rush by the people truly offended and hurt by Trump’s racism, sexism, and other weightier ethical failures, to wag our fingers in his face. Like he cares. Folks, if this other stuff doesn’t bother him, do you really think he cares one whit that his normal way of speaking and thinking offends you somehow? Please. You’ve been had. He knows what you are—and as to what it may cost him, it’s just a quibble over price at this point.
We have a segment of evangelicals out there with an understanding of ethics and morality on par with that of a child and their understanding of physics. Their sense of scale, of what matters, of moral weight in the balance of things, is seriously off. It is unbearably light, flimsy, and air like. Since it cannot bear any weight, we get the ridiculous responses from these people triggered more by Trump’s cussing than his racism/sexism or his being just a generally terrible person. This is where we are and it’s really a damn shame.
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