I’d Wish You a Happy New Year, But It Isn’t and Won’t Be

I’d Wish You a Happy New Year, But It Isn’t and Won’t Be January 3, 2017


FRANK SCHAEFFER (former Evangelical Christian): I’ll tell you one thing maybe we can agree on: This sure isn’t the age of reason in the post-religion sense. The American election was won because of the religious vote. France is rediscovering Roman Catholic nationalist roots. The Russian Orthodox Church and Putin are one and the same. Whatever happened to science trouncing religion? Moreover you can talk about the rise of the “nones” all you want but they are religious too. At least they are theologically literate. I mean by that that if you look at the Sci-Fi hits like Westworld built on the back of what Gene Roddenberry started 50 years ago and that was accelerated by Blade Runner, entertainment is philosophy and theology these days. John Calvin would get Blade Runner and Westworld. They’re all about predestination and personhood (so are most of the Black Mirror stand-alone episodes) – and the soul or lack thereof. And then there’s Islam and the actual war of religion we’re in, started by the evangelical George Bush.

And by the way, do you agree with Trump’s ban on Muslims?

LUKE MOON (Evangelical Christian): The religious vote was significant in this election and seems to be influential in other nations too. I’m not sure how much it’s a rise of religion (there is evidence to this) and how much it’s a reaction to the overreach of the Left. The normative live-and-let-live attitude most people gave towards LGBT folks was followed by the Left with attacks on people who didn’t want to bake wedding cakes for a same sex marriage or share locker rooms with a man who thinks he’s a woman. The reaction to Trump shows that the Left has not learned any lessons from the election.

I am very opposed to a ban on Muslims.

Frank: Why are you opposed to banning Muslims?

Luke: Because it’s a terrible idea both morally and politically. There is not a monolithic “Muslim.” There are lots of different kinds of Muslims, and people from countries that are Muslim doesn’t mean those individuals are actually Muslim. It’s not uncommon in the Middle East to meet Muslim and Christian Atheists. They are not your kind of Christian Atheist, but rather the Muslim is a label on their id and has nothing to do with faith of any kind.

Politically, it’s terrible policy. Having rigorous screening would go along way in addressing the concern.

Frank: You can’t think it’s too terrible an idea or you wouldn’t have voted for him. Re the Left not learning I’d look at what you said re gay rights etc. this way: this wasn’t “the Left’s” doing. President Obama and Hillary Clinton came way late to the marriage equality table. The “gay issues” of the LGBTQ community became an issues not because of the Left but because of the LGBTQ community’s guts and persistence. The same is true of other civil rights advances. Feminists weren’t feminists because they were of the Left. Blacks weren’t into civil rights because they were of the Left. Had the Right stepped up and defended civil rights activists — as by the way Billy Graham did in 1954 by integrating his crusades much to the horror of huge swaths of southern “Christians”–or for that matter defended women or these days the LGBTQ community they’d have been “of the Right.” In fact, Billy Graham was pro-choice when Dad and I talked to him about abortion. So were the editors of Christianity Today, and the president of the Southern Baptist Convention… The Left until recently was as homophobic as the Right. The New York Times was until very recently shamefully hateful to gays who worked there. So this monolithic “Left” you imagine pushing these issues and “not learning” as if in a conspiracy against evangelical sensibilities is nonsense. These are and were truly grass roots movements. And if the LGBTQ community is pushy, what did you expect from people treated so horribly by so many Christian parents for a start? Why should they not push back? Why should they “learn”? There was no live-and-let-live after people came out. I happened to be with Jerry Falwell when I preached at Liberty Baptist, and he told me he thought gays should be shot. He wasn’t kidding. And this was the same asshole who a few years before was a segregationist.

Luke: If the threshold to vote for a candidate was 100% agreement with every statement they ever make, then none of us could vote. I’m in NY, so my vote for Trump was a protest vote.

Yes, the Left discovered LGBT advocacy recently, but that doesn’t mean they are not partially responsible for the overreach. The expectation on the Left and backed up by the LGBT community was that people who agreed that general discrimination against LGBT folks was wrong would also be fine with sharing locker/bathrooms. That was the overreach. Also the targeting of businesses and religious institutions. Sure, I can see how and why they want to pounce on the opportunity, but they went too far. It’s pretty irrelevant what Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell said decades ago. What mattered to folks was what was happening now. They felt under attack, and Trump said he would fight back–for them.

Frank: As if he cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hey, dinner time here, I’d wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year but it isn’t and won’t be. I still wish you joy though and the best.

Luke: Trump’s follow-through will be known soon enough. So far people on the Right seem generally happy. There will be up and downs. There will be lots of opportunity for the Left and the Right to be critical. That’s how politics works these days.

Have a great Christmas and New Year. I’m really enjoying these weekly chats and look forward to more conversations in the new year. Take care and have a blessed time with family and friends. May God bless you and your family.

Schaeffer & Moon is written on the fly in a real-time chat room format and lightly proofed by Patheos editors.

Image via Shutterstock

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