The War Between Conservative Christians

The War Between Conservative Christians December 26, 2017

Some people have talked about the conflict within the Republican party since the election of President Trump. Others have discussed the conflict in the Democrat party as well. But you may not have yet picked up on a conflict that is occurring among conservative Christians since the election of Trump. One thing Trump seems to be good for is promoting conflict.

To be fair, I cannot say that Trump is the ultimate source of all of this conflict. A fairer statement is that his presence has motivated the different elements in each of these groups to engage in this conflict. In other words, the seeds of the conflict were already there. Trump was just the water they needed to bloom. This is certainly the case for conservative Christians as there has been an ongoing struggle in this community over the proper role of Christians in politics. And that conflict has gotten nasty at times.

I am not as concerned about the conflict among Republicans and Democrats as I am among my fellow conservative Christians. That, and not politics, is where my identity lies. On one side of the Christian conflict are those who are supporters of President Trump and politicians like Roy Moore. Among these are individuals such as Mike Huckabee, Robert Jeffress, and Jerry Farwell Jr. On the other side are detractors of those types of Republican politicians. I would place David French, Rod Dreher and Bruce Ashford in this camp.

Note that individuals in both of these groups largely agree on most of the social and political issues of the day. They are pro-life, oppose notions of modern sexuality, want to fight for religious freedom, and promote a conservative religious theological framework. They do not disagree on which issues are important nor on the degree of importance of those issues. Where they do disagree is the value of someone like Trump or Moore. In this their differences are irreconcilable.

The difference between the two groups is not merely whether they are willing to support Trump/Moore or not. That decision undergirds a deep division in how each group sees the problems they want address and who they want to address them. For simplicity sake, I will refer to each group as either Trump supporters or Trump critics. But understand that the differences between these two groups go far beyond this one decision.

For example, the Trump supporters are concerned about the direction of our society under the Obama administration. They fear for the loss of our Christian culture and of religious freedom. Last year they feared that a Clinton presidency would finish the job Obama started as it concerned, in their opinion, ruining our Christian society. They also feel threatened by the anti-Christian hostility that has become more prominent and powerful over the past few years.

With such concerns and fears, these individuals are willing to “fight fire with fire.” In other words, they believe that their opponents are ruthless and will stop at almost nothing to promote an agenda depriving them of their religious freedom and setting up a society that displaces them. If that means supporting someone like Trump, who they generally acknowledge is not a highly moral person, then they are willing to take that step. When Moore comes along with all of the baggage (If you are unconvinced about how unfit Moore was for office then perhaps David French can convince you) he brings, the question for them is whether Moore is a solid vote for their causes. Other issues for which some may disqualify him as a candidate are not as important as getting that vote. Thus, for them the end justifies the means.

The Trump critics have many of the same concerns as the supporters. They fear for the loss of our Christian culture, of religious freedom, a Clinton presidency that would amplify the damage they saw in the Obama administration and the anti-Christian hostility that has become more prominent and powerful over the past few years. They also want to see a Senate that will support religious freedom and promote a pro-life agenda. When you read the writing of these critics, it becomes clear that they are realistic about the challenges conservative Christian face in a post-Christian world.

But Trump critics do not take the same approach as Trump supporters since they also fear the loss of our Christian identity. They believe that supporting politicians like Trump and Moore will rob our faith of the legitimacy that we need to have an authentic voice in our society. They reason that if we support immoral individuals in order to maintain a Christian society, and thus compromise our values, then we may not have a Christian society when we are done. Even if their political opponents are using unfair strategies to promote ideas they find distasteful, they are unwilling to utilize those strategies themselves. For them there is something inherently embedded in their Christian faith that they want to preserve even if they fear a loss of Christian rights.

The Trump supporters are angry at the Trump critics because they feel that those critics should support shared political goals. For example, some of them are mad at Christians who would not support the candidacy of Moore. On the other hand, Trump critics are angry at Trump supporters because they see such support producing a corrupt image of their faith. They fear that such an image will hamper their efforts to influence the larger culture and to promote the Christian faith. If you want to read a representation of some of these differences, then check out this debate between David French and John Zmirak on the pages of the New York Times.

One point of clarity. When I talk about ends justifying the means, I do not want to paint a drastic all or nothing picture. If for some awful reason Christianophobes attempted to pass a law allowing the murder of Christians (not that I think that there is any reason that there is support for such a law but the extreme example makes the point), I do not think that the supporters would look to kill their political opponents. On the other hand, the critics do not sit on their hands and refuse to engage in political battle with their political opponents. We are talking about degrees to which each side is willing to use relatively extreme means to accomplish their goals. Let’s be careful not to use hyperbole in describing those with whom we disagree.

I have done my best to fairly represent the ideas of both sides of this divide. But clearly I identify with the latter group more than the former group (although I am more politically moderate then either group). So I am an active participant in it. Nevertheless, I will attempt to offer an analysis of the implications and future of this division.

The recent Alabama Senate race brought out some of the animosity in this conflict. Some Trump supporters believe that those who do not support candidates such as Moore are allowing babies to die in abortion mills. Some Trump critics lament what support for the likes of Moore is doing to our Christian witness and how it affects our ability to impact our culture. The argument did not end with the electoral defeat of Moore. I fear it may intensify.

Despite the fact that I have a rooting interest in this fight, let me speculate what I think will happen over time. Of course no one is going to perfectly predict what occurs in a social conflict. But I see clues suggesting the most likely outcome of this conflict.

In the short term, the Trump supporters have the majority of influence and power among conservative Christians. Their man, Trump, has won and is President of the United States. They can parade judicial appointments and an administration that is overturning some of the excesses of the Obama administration. In their mind, American Christianity has been saved and their support of an imperfect vessel such as Trump is a big reason why it has been saved. Everybody likes a winner, and for right now the Trump supporters have won.

But I believe that this will be a short lived victory. Nothing in Trump’s past suggests that he will be able to achieve the long-term political victories that his allies crave. It seems likely that he will revert to a more politically progressive stance on key issues to achieve political victories or his incompetence will result in a dysfunctional administration. Either way I fear that the euphoria many supporters have today will give way to disappointment tomorrow.

This means that in the long run I think that the Trump critics will gain the upper hand in the fight. When Trump is discredited in the eyes of Christian conservatives, or leads those Christians to electoral defeat, then Trump will no longer be a winner, and the fortunes of those who support him will change. Furthermore, younger evangelicals are more likely to be part of the Trump critics, and over time they will have more influence among conservative Christians. At that point there will be more willingness to listen to Trump critics. Perhaps then conservative Christians will move away from their “win at all costs” mentality. The Moore defeat may be the first move in that direction.

Will Trump critics win with enough time to salvage an effort to shape American culture? I do not know how long we can forget about our values and principles and still have something left to offer to others. Can we recover from the cultural effects of supporting immoral politicians if Christians stop supporting them in 2018? What about in 2020? There is no certain answer to this. It is also possible that if Trump is discredited, then the way he is discredited may continue to be a stain on our Christian image. So no matter how soon Christians abandon Trump, the damage may have already been done.

It is possible that this divide will lead to a larger, more permanent divide among conservative Christians. When the Trump supporters lose power, they may want to ostracize Trump critics. I do not want to see that divide. In a post-Christian society we need to stick together as much as possible. But being a Trump critic, there is a limit to what I will do for Christian unity.

Remember that this divide is larger than Trump or Moore. It is about our willingness to compromise our principles for political power. We have compromised our principles long enough. In time we must regain the principles we have given up and reject political leaders not worthy of support. But it is also time to consider who we are as Christian people and to know that while we must engage in politics, there must be limitations on what we will do to obtain power. If we are as power hungry as the rest of society, then how is our faith making us the new creatures we claim to be.

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  • Graham

    Winning at all costs for abortion I can understand even if I disagree with expediency. At least its a defensible position

    My worry is that amongst a large percentage of white evangelicals, racism and hostile sexism are features rather than bugs of trumps appeal. At the very least white evangelicals I knew who justified their support of trump spoke about how they did so “in spite of his affairs and crude talk” as if they didn’t even realize that the racism and sexism was a sin they had to excuse the same way they had to excuse his affairs and the crudeness of “locker room talk”.
    That’s not to mention the slander of poor people I frequently hear amongst white evangelicals well before trump.
    I don’t know of any analysis that looks at whether explicit appeals to bigotry make white evangelical support increase or decrease if all other factors are equal but the 80% support of trump and Moore by white evangelicals is not a good sign.

    • johnny b davis

      When did Moore ever appeal to bigotry?
      Wanting to secure the border is not an appeal to bigotry.

      • Myles

        Short memory. Denying the rights of gay people to equality isn’t bigotry, only if you happen to be a homophobe.

  • jo1storm

    And the other people are casualties of your war. You have written something I find really telling. You empathize with the idea of people, but when it comes to helping real, living people, you balk at that. I have met too many people who are all “We need to help the poor.” and at the same time “Don’t give him money, he would only use it for booze or drugs” . For some reason, it is easier to help the idea of a person instead of a person in front of you. And it comes to every single political decision.

    Pro-life? Potential life of future person(s) vs the life and quality of life of currently living, breathing, thinking, feeling woman. You like the idea of a person instead of a person in trouble and making a decision.

    Transgender people? You find the idea icky, you think it will corrupt some innocents and do not see people who are actually hurting.

    I’ll tell you a secret. During elections, the politician is judged by his words and his previous achievements. After the elections, it is by his actions. And Trump’s actions consistently make things worse for a lot of people. And he is the least Christ-like person I have ever seen reach public office.

    Christ healed the people. Trump is removing their access to doctors and medicine aka, healing.
    Christ fed the people. By cutting food stamps and unemployment assistance, he is taking food from people’s mouths.
    Christ and his followers clothed people and gave them shelter. By removing housing assistance, Trump is taking away people’s homes.
    Christ talked about being a good shepherd. Trump removes environmental protections and allows companies to pollute this good Earth.
    Christ was a good teacher. Trump’s administration defunds education.

    And less said about his warmongering rhetoric, the better (the whole Jerusalem fiasco).

    By voting him in, you have shown exactly what you are for. You have shown that you cannot be trusted to vote in everyone’s best interest. And smart people won’t forget that.

    • George Yancey

      I did not vote Trump in.

      • jon lagle

        reply to joistorm; Christ healed the people therefore we should have a national health care system? To be more accurate Christ only healed a handful of people in one particular area of the world even though thousands of individuals around the globe were in need, so by your analogy we should be exclusive. And He healed them miracuously so we should, again using your remarkable, theological insights, provide sufferers means to go to church and pray for miraculous recovery. Also since Christ fed the people on one particular day, people who came to hear Him preach then shouldn’t the proper takeaway be that we feed people who go hear sermons? And Christ never clothed or sheltered anyone , so…? There is no scriptural justification for putting health care in the hands of extremely ineffecient beaurocrats. (And Jerusalem is the eternal city of David)

        • jo1storm

          What an odd notion. You ignore everything I wrote to focus on one piece of it. Ok then.

          You wrote “putting healthcare in the hands of inefficient bureaucrats” and that is very far from truth. Might be even called lying. There is no more efficient way to heal as much people as possible than actually having a national healthcare system. There is some triage (because, I’m sad to say, resources are always limited) and some people will fall down the cracks in the system, but that’s not the point of having a health system. There is no perfect one, because it cannot exist; efficiency of the system is measured by how many people are covered by it (and for what) and how many fall down the cracks. Price and cost is only tertiary consideration. And US system is dismal as compared to other nations on all three accounts. Your coverage is bad, the number of people falling down the cracks and getting on hard times is horrifying and the cost is enormous. It has a solution and you just don’t want to implement it.

          But you’re also missing the point of my analogy. I only pointed that Trump is not Christ-like and that’s just one of the points I made. He and his cronies caused people that need healing to be without it (causing some needless deaths, pain and suffering) and Christ healed even “Samaritan dogs”. As for Christ’s disciples clothing people, read your bible more thoroughly. You shall see that is exactly what they did. But might be smelling of communism too much to you, because they indeed lived in a commune.

      • jh

        I’m glad that you didn’t vote for Trump. But that doesn’t mean that you didn’t help Trump win.

        By pretending that an employer can impose their religious beliefs on their unfortunate employees is somehow “religious freedom”, you are part of the problem.

        By pretending that bakers who sell cakes are suffering genuine religious persecution when they won’t sell cakes to gay couples, you and your never-trumpers are part of the problem.

        By pretending that your faith is under attack if a person or corporation dares to say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”, you are part of the problem

        By spreading false rumors and lies about your political opponents (Obama as a muslim/anti-Christian, HRC as an anti-christian despite their documented history.), you are part of the problem. (I mean – Obama’s two decades attending a church was some sort of long con? HRC as a devout Methodist was just “fake news”? Who died and made evangelical whites the arbiters of who was Christian and who was not?)

        By making false claims about reality and false equivalencies to protect your faith, you are part of the problem.

        The fact is that this essay was all about how sad you were at how your faith is perceived. It’s a “woe is me” story. As a former Christian, I see no spirit of “suffering servitude” or “generosity of spirit” or “love”. I see the pathetic grasping for power and the weak excuses as more and more people are repulsed by the actions of the “chosen people of God”.

        When I was a Christian, I never put my faith in my fellow man. I genuinely believed that my God could do anything. That was the kind of faith I had. Even if the elected politician was my political opponent, I had no fear in my heart. I don’t see this from the evangelical conservative Christians. All I see is fear and darkness and anger and violence and hatred and a profound selfishness. Physician, heal thyself. Instead of proffering excuses, start demanding that people behave like decent people and treat each other kindly and respectfully. Demand that others be treated as well as you are treated. Demand that your fellow Christians engage in concrete actions that fulfill the commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself”. None of this “I’ll pray for your garbage”. (After all, would you really put your faith on prayers. I’m betting that you would prefer cash.)

        You don’t want another person’s religion forced on you, so don’t do it to others. You don’t want to be treated badly just because of your personal choices, so don’t treat others badly because of their “choices”. You definitely don’t want to be judged for your sins, so don’t take the place of your God and judge others. If your God exists, He will be counting every time your Christians judged and will extend that same mercy to them. Goats are still goats even if Stalin killed millions.

        Sorry – it’s time to stop making excuses or justifications. It’s time to start emulating that demigod named Jesus that you claim to worship and actually start loving your neighbors. It means forgiving and extending mercy and kindness to those whom you consider your enemies.. even to the point of them offering your harm. Remember that roman soldier who arrested Jesus. Jesus did not curse that soldier. He did not judge that man. What did he do? He rebuked Simon Peter and healed his enemy who was sending him to his death. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Forgive them for they know not what they do. Be humble. Be loving. and you will be known by the fruits of the Spirit.. which are love, kindness, gentleness, slow to anger …

        And as an atheist – it would be awesome if you guys would keep your faith to yourself at least in the public square. At a minimum, it would be awesome if you guys would stop lying about how persecuted you are in the US. A country where almost all of the presidential candidates claimed to be Christians (yep – both republican and democrat candidates except for Sanders), a country where there are churches on every third corner, a country which is often asserted to have been built on “Judeo-Christian beliefs”, a country that is often asserted to have been founded by “Christians”… it’s insulting to a rational person to listen to that and then here about how “persecuted” you are because you have to treat other people well.

        • George Yancey

          Do you want to be responsible for every crappy think atheists have ever done such as imprisoning millions of people under communism. That makes as much sense as your blaming me for Trump because once in a while he may do something I agree with. I wrote against Trump and convinced some of my friends to not vote for Trump. I bet I cost Trump more votes than you did. Because I actually interacted with people who may vote for him and talked some of them out of it. But in order for you to feel superior I guess you have to find some convoluted way to blame me for him. Pretty pathetic.
          By the way I think Christians should not bring their ideas to the public square the second that feminist, LGBT community, BLM, capatalists or any ideological community stop bringing their ideas to the public community. They have every right to battle in the public community and put their ideas into it as you do. Ironically while you decry us for crying wolf you put forth ideas designed to make Christian second class citizens.

          • Myles

            So-called communist regimes imprisoned millions while christians are destroying the world; some distinction.

        • There is no such thing as a “former Christian.” The atheists who claim such deluded nonsense are simply, and willingly lying. Lying to whom ever they make such a claim, and lying to themselves.
          This allows them to pretend to be so concerned about promoting their socialistic programs, always so generous with other people’s resources, and NEVER providing anything for anyone but themselves.
          Jesus did NOT heal everyone … and I don’t mean everyone in the world … Jesus did not heal every sick person at His meetings, and there were times when He actually retreated into the mountains to AVOID the multitudes.
          And as one other poster so rightfully pointed out, Jesus healed by His indwelt, supernatural power of God! He did NOT set up medical clinics and force other people to pay for them! So stop trying to bolster your idiotic, liberal/socialist agenda with comparisons to Biblical Christianity and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
          Every self-deluded, lying atheist I have ever met, who claimed to be a “former Christian,” has proven themselves the phoniest people imaginable.
          And by the way, no Christian baker has EVER refused to make a cake for a gay wedding. What they DID was to refuse to participate in their “ceremonies” by by refusing to make pro-homosexual decorations on a cake. But, don’t ever let actual facts interfere with you self deceptions.
          Thank God for putting Donald J. Trump in office! By the way, here’s a challenge for all you Trump haters. I can PROVE by the Bible that God DID put Trump in office! And NONE of you can prove by the Bible that He didn’t!

  • Matt

    It’s odd; I’m not a Christian myself, but I caught a quote from a trailer for a Christian movie (I think it was God’s Not Dead 2 or 3 or something, and I’m paraphrasing): “Everybody knows what Christians are against these days, but nobody is sure what Christians are for.”

    From the outside, it appears that Christians are against abortion, against homosexuality, and against non-binary gender identity, to list a few. I have to imagine that many people outside of Christianity are like me, seeing conservative Christians fighting against the Democratic party and offering no apparent plan or vision beyond their opposition stance. It seems to me that this produces a stance of being singularly prohibitive against individual liberties, which would run strongly against other forms of social conservatism such as libertarianism and alienates them as potential allies; the fact that conservative Christians don’t appear to care to fight politically against poverty puts them in direct alliance with economic conservatives (and the oligarchs who love them).

    I also find it odd to think of America as being a “Christian nation.” The “attack” on Christianity has been profoundly democratic; I haven’t seen any indication (including media coverage, statistics, opinion polls, etc) that the majority of Americans have somehow had their wills and intents overridden by the government. While the majority of Americans may disapprove of homosexuality philosophically (or scatologically; often it seems to be a ‘yuck’ factor), it seems apparent that they feel more strongly that people different from them should still have the right to be themselves. As long as they aren’t stealing, murdering, assaulting, etc, then who cares what they have in their pants or what they do in their bedroom? (And the case of abortion appears to rest almost entirely on the status of personhood; abortion is only objectively wrong if a zygote/fetus is a person, but as I said, conservatives Christians aren’t arguing their position as much as they are fighting against their opposition.)

  • Salvatore A. Luiso

    Regarding: “It is also possible that if Trump is discredited, then the way he is discredited may continue to be a stain on our Christian image. So no matter how soon Christians abandon Trump, the damage may have already been done.”:

    Trump discredited himself before he announced his candidacy in June 2015. The damage is already done. So many white evangelicals voted for him last year that for many Americans the first person they think of when they hear the term “evangelical” is not Jesus, but Trump. That is how it will be for the foreseeable future, even if every professed evangelical in America were to publicly repudiate Trump today. Whenever they evangelize in America, Trump will be in the minds of most of those to whom they speak–sometimes at the front of the mind, and sometimes in the middle or at the back.

    The second paragraph mentioned “Robert Jeffries”. The author means Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. In 2016 he was one of Trump’s strongest and most vocal endorsers for president among American evangelicals.

    • George Yancey

      Thanks for pointing out my mistake on Jeffress name. I will take care of it.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Christians have been compromising their principles for political power since the Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century. It is nothing new and never ends well.
    Matthew 4:8-10:
    Then the Accuser took him to a high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them,
    and said to him, `All these I will give to you, if you fall down
    on your face before me.” Jesus said to him “Get away, Satan, for it is written, you shall bow to the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’

  • RobS

    This column is especially defeatist in tone. The problem I have with Donald Trump have nothing to do with the (mostly false) sexual accusations against him OR his vulgarity. The problem I have with Trump is that he said he does not seek forgiveness. That’s the problem. However, we don’t know what he’ll do tomorrow or the next day. By predicting that Trump will never change, you are the one making the value judgment. We vote for politicians based on their politics, policies, and stances on issues important to us. We do not vote against them because they are sinners, because we are all sinners. The truth is that U.S. elections are, at this point in history, a two party choice. You either choose Hillary Clinton, who claims to be a good Methodist, whose policies are antithetical to most of my values OR you choose Donald Trump, who has never claimed to be a beacon of morality. In fact, he wrote a book about being a cutthroat business deal maker. He called tabloids to make himself look like a playboy to create buzz about himself. All of that being said, he made middle class America, who has felt forgotten, the cornerstone of his campaign. It should be no surprise he won. In the minds of Americans in those Midwestern states, he was the ONLY candidate putting America FIRST, not himself (like Clinton), not other nations (like the NeoCons and Globalists). Remember, that Donald Trump did not need this job. He is a billionaire. He is famous. He has a beautiful family, etc. He was the only candidate with a clear motive of selflessness and desire to actually help America. I know, isn’t that surprising? The world’s biggest narcissist was the one who voters believed would help them more. Welcome to America!

  • johnny b davis

    The divide is much deeper. The French’s of this world believe that Christians in politics should follow the lead of the establishment and conform to the worldly rules of the game. He embraces globalism which is really the spirit of Anti-Christ at work.

    French is slandering and judgmental in a very ungodly way.
    There are great worldliness and corruption inside the Church including the Evangelical Church. We should not blindly follow any politicians. French wants believers to blindly follow the Republican Establishment as it did with Bush Jr. The Church was really doing wrong with its behavior toward Bush Jr.

  • johnny b davis

    The whole problem with this article is the failure to apply biblical principles to this debate both on the issues and behavior.
    French’s and others condemning Moore on accusations alone clearly violates Christ’s command not to judge esp. do be so harsh to be a fellow professed believer.

    The real core of this debate is nationalism vs. globalism.
    Globalism of today has all the marks of the spirit of Anti-Christ but we much make sure nationalism is in its proper place that is – we must always be Christians first. So there are problems with both camps but the anti-Trump camp is really misguided in its goals and tactics.

  • Jim

    You seem to totally ignore the bare fact that the choice was between Trump and Hilary Clinton, both of whom were undesirable to many, many voters. The vote showed clearly that Clinton was worse than Trump in electoral votes. And, it needs to be said with emphasis, that Trump has done some good things that would not have been done by Clinton, namely, a conservative supreme court justice, rollback of regulations, job-market increase, economic increase, boom in the stock market, trade market reform, and a much-needed tax reworking. Give at least a little credit where credit is due, and respect the fact that the alternative, without doubt, would have been far, far worse for not only conservative Christians, but for the country itself. None of this makes for support of the morality of Trump; but Clinton betrayed her country and should be in prison. As for the divide in Conservative Christians, the outcome remains to be seen. No distaste for Trump, however, means that any Democrat at the moment has a better track record or plan that we have so far seen.

  • John

    There were two viable candidates for president .
    Clinton is on record saying Christians need to change some of their Biblical beliefs to allow for secular law .
    While Trump is no Christian he is fighting for Christian issues .
    The Hobby Lobby issue.
    The Johnson amendment .
    Gorsuch on supreme court.
    Not funding U.N. humanitarian aid for refugees , which was selectively discriminating , such as against the kurds . Instead we will direct the refugee aid as we see fit .
    If you voted for anyone other than Trump , or did not vote , you were increasing the odds that Clinton would win .
    If you think Clinton with her support for partial birth abortion , advocation of surrenduring Biblical beliefs , promotion of homosexual , transgender special rights agenda , is a better voice in the white house for Christianity than Trump , we do have irreconcilable differences.

  • It seems that the article is saying that the difference between two groups of politically conservative evangelicals is that one believes in the ends of winning “the culture war” justifying the means and the other doesn’t. One group of evangelicals is like a college coach who violates NCAA rules because other coaches are doing the same while the other group of evangelicals want to remain ethical.

    I’m afraid that the conflict in evangelicalism is much more serious than that divide. That is because the conflict that should exist in evangelicalism doesn’t. If by evangelicals, one is referring to religiously conservative Christians, then the real battle that should exist is over the strong trend of evangelicals to pursue the 21st century’s version of flat earthers. Since evangelicals, as previously defined, are primarily an insular group regarding the sources they read and listen to, they are following political, economic, and scientific delusions and myths. Their allegiance to the Republican Party is strong evidence pointing to that fact.

    Most lay Evangelicals haven’t a clue as to what socialism, whether or not it is from the Marxist tradition, is. Why? Because they only study conservative sources on subject. Thus, what they think of socialism and the contributions it can make to society are invisible to them. Real forms of socialism and the various contributions these forms can make to society don’t exist to them. And these evangelicals will defiantly blind themselves to these various forms since their conservative mentors prefer to frame communism/socialism as a monolith that was exemplified in the governments of the Soviet Union, Red China, Cuba, et. al. They overlook how Nicaragua’s rebellion yielded a democracy. They overlook how various emerging forms of socialism that were springing forth from democracies and they overlook how US intervention replaced those forms with totalitarian dictators.

    Likewise, in economics, evangelicals tend to paint capitalism as a monolith. They don’t realize how today’s neoliberalism is vastly different from the Bretton-Woods system that followed WW II. They are ignorant of the fact that both support state capitalism while today’s neoliberalism pushes austerity on populations. And while complaining against the centralization of government power, they support or are at least apathetic to the growing wealth disparity that neoliberalism brings forgetting that, in Capitalism, power follows wealth. Thus, as America has fallen from a democracy to an oligarchy (see ), they support Israel because it is a fellow “democracy” in a region where there are no other democracies.

    And of course, one cannot mention the current flat-earth trend in evangelicalism without mentioning its resistance to the truths about climate change and implications that stem from those truths.

    What keeps evangelicals in their current political fold are two ways of thinking. The first way reduces being pro-life to being concerned with a woman’s right to an elective abortion. For if they saw how wealth disparity damages people’s health and shortens their life expectancies, they would realize that both major political parties have mixed records when it comes to being pro-life. And if they saw how modern war kills far more civillians, both immediately and as a result of property and infrastructure destruction, they would see how both major parties have mixed pro-life records.

    The second way of thinking that keeps evangelicals in the Republican political fold is the strong tendency for evangelicals to embrace authoritarianism. Among other things, authoritarianism promotes the idea that truth is more determined by the credentials of the source rather than by the facts and logic employed by any argument or position. And thus evangelicals strongly tend to refuse to read or listen to non-evangelical or politically conservative sources when looking at the world around them.

    American Evangelicals are becoming a 21st century version of those ancient Christian leaders who believed that the world was flat. And their traits show that they have no intention of changing. Thus, the damage they will do to the Gospel’s reputation is unavoidable.

  • tc

    To those who think there were only two viable candidates, to use a Joe Biden term, that is a bunch of malarkey. You really need to look at the term “viable”. If you feel that Trump and Clinton were the only viable candidates, then I would argue then that there was no viable candidates. Hillary disqualified herself from her disastrous decision to have her own home email server. This kind of decision making demonstrates a lack of understanding of risks in the world and being more concerned about keeping secrets that good government. Trump disqualified himself infinite amount of times. Before even running, anyone who followed his life the past few decades understands that Trump is only concerned about himself. He cheated on his first wife with his second, then threw her to the side. He had to be bailed out of his financial problems by the Russians and got into them in the first place due to taking on too much risk. He is a conspiracy nut and pursued the idiotic birther topic. No, there were others, like for example, Gary Johnson, who was Governor and former Republican. There was Evan McMullin who had worked in government and for Congress and has demonstrated sound judgement if you have read what he and Mindy Finn have been doing with Stand Up Republic. No, there were other alternatives. People were just too lazy to look beyond what the two major failed parties had to offer. Remember in history, the two current parties weren’t always the current parties. My guess give another decade and one or both of the parties may be relegated to permanent minority and possible extinction. Trump proved one can win without political background. What’s to say next election that someone like Bloomberg sits on the sideline? What’s to say Mark Cuban orRomney doesn’t challenge Trump for the GOP nomination? Think outside of the box. When you have a choice between say Trump and say Bernie or Warren, there will be a huge gap in the middle for someone to fill. With the country having about a third independent (middle) voters, the next election could be interesting.