Just Because He Doesn’t Support Trump Doesn’t Mean He’s Not a Fundamentalist

Just Because He Doesn’t Support Trump Doesn’t Mean He’s Not a Fundamentalist September 4, 2022

Just Because He Doesn’t Support Trump Doesn’t Mean He’s Not a Fundamentalist

*Note: If you choose to post a comment here, make sure it is relatively brief (no more than 100 words), on topic, addressed to me, civil and respectful (not hostile or argumentative), and devoid of links or photos.*

I am not going to name anyone here. Some may think they know whom I am talking about. Be that as it may…

Something is bugging me. It nagged at the back of my mind for a month or more. Finally, in a moment of epiphany (metaphorically speaking), it came to my awareness. Here it is…

Many Americans, including many evangelical Christians, are assuming that if someone is critical of Trump he or she must NOT be a fundamentalist.

Guess what? There are fundamentalists who never supported Trump and some were and are even highly critical of him.

Somehow, however, some journalists and commentators and decision-makers have come to equate “fundamentalism” with “Trumpism”—at least among religious people. Thus, if someone, especially a Christian, speaks out against Trump, he or she must NOT be a fundamentalist.

That’s a mistake.

I know at least one very prominent evangelical celebrity whose star has risen high among evangelicals in the last few years who is, by my lights, a fundamentalist and yet became famous for being critical of Trump and his Republican supporters. People jumped to the wrong conclusion that he must not be a fundamentalist but a moderate evangelical.

Beyond doubt or question, a person can be a fundamentalist and nevertheless be critical of Trump and Trumpism.

So what do I mean HERE by “fundamentalist?” An orthodox, evangelical Protestant Christian who makes minor doctrinal and ethical issues major ones and who uses under-handed methods to promote his or her beliefs about those minor doctrinal and ethical issues, undermining the reputations and careers of those fellow orthodox Christians who disagree.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying ALL fundamentalists have that habit or mentality, but an orthodox, evangelical Protestant Christian who DOES have that mentality is, in my “book,” a fundamentalist.

For years I have watched as hyper-conservative, neo-fundamentalist Christian leaders have hijacked American evangelicalism. That process has recently, in my humble opinion, taken a giant leap. It seems now even to have become a “done deal.”

The problem is that a few of these neo-fundamentalist leaders have boldly stepped out from their crowd and publicly criticized Trump and Trumpism with the result that naive other evangelicals have assumed, wrongly, that they are not fundamentalists. They still can be and some still are.

The “line” between evangelicalism and fundamentalist so drawn and fought for by our neo-evangelical fathers and mothers of the mid-20th century is disappearing.

Let me dare to say it again: Just because someone has the insight and courage to come out against Trump and Trumpism does not make him or her “not fundamentalist.” It is possible to be a fundamentalist and anti-Trump. Wake up, people! Let those who have ears to hear understand. If you’re not immersed in American evangelical Christianity, you probably can’t understand.

Browse Our Archives