Saturday, October 8, 2016

At Heart of "Odd Bedfellow of Trump and Christian America Is the Fear of the Loss of Privilege — Privilege of a 'White America', Privilege of a 'Christian America', Privilege of a 'Straight America', . . .Privilege of a 'Male America' "

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush writing last evening in Huffington Post:

The one religious demographic group that voted against Obama in '08 and again in '12 can be broadly described as White Christians. And this same group is the one religious group that is against Hillary in 2016 — supporting Trump over Clinton at a 2 to 1 margin according to the PRRI/The Atlantic Survey
At the heart of these odd bedfellow of Trump and Christian America is the fear of the loss of privilege — privilege of a "White America", privilege of a "Christian America", privilege of a "Straight America", and, today, we have to especially name — privilege of a "Male America." These privileges are on their way out although far too slowly. And like an animal wounded but not yet vanquished, the claim on privilege is yielding a dangerous phase of transition in our nation. 
We are in the midst of an example of the weirdness of this demise as White Conservative Christians in recent days have found themselves twisting to avoid or defend the candidate who was caught on tape saying extraordinarily derogatory things towards women, indicating a deep rooted disregard for women's bodies, wellbeing, or the sanctity of their relationships. He glorified himself indicating that his celebrity allowed him to be beyond normal rules of decency, and, in his non-apology, seemed completely unaware of the depths of his own depravity. 
And yet, thus far, I have not seen any White Christian Trump supporter renounce him. This can only be because of their white knuckle grasp on the desperate hope that he represents for their privileged position in American society. Perhaps the captains White Christian Men America will come out and say no, this is where we must part ways. But I doubt it. All this is sad and predictable and in my language sinful in that it seems completely out of whack with their own proclaimed core Christian beliefs.

The PRRI/Atlantic survey to which Paul's link points is the same one I linked yesterday when I noted that the latest poll I have seen shows 7 in 10 white evangelicals supporting Donald Trump. It states,

Consistent with past presidential contests, white Christian voters favor the current Republican nominee over his Democratic opponent by a nearly 2 to 1 margin: 59% vs. 30%, respectively. In contrast, non-white Christian voters are supporting Clinton over Trump by an even wider margin: 74% vs. 18%, respectively. Looking at specific religious groups, nearly seven in ten (69%) white evangelical Protestant voters favor Trump, while fewer than one in five (19%) say they are supporting Clinton. A majority (56%) of white Catholic voters also prefer Trump, while only about one-third (31%) are supporting Clinton. However, Catholic voters overall are more divided (49% Trump vs. 42% Clinton). Religiously unaffiliated voters prefer Clinton to Trump by a substantial margin (65% vs. 24%, respectively).

Note the finding that a majority (56%) of white Catholic voters also prefer Trump, while only about one-third (31%) are supporting Clinton. These folks are, of course, the "family-values" voters of American Catholicism to whom Mr. Trump reached out this week in a letter laden with statements about his commitment to traditional Catholic family values, which ends, "Please keep me and my family in your prayers. God bless you and may God bless the United States of America."

Remember that question I have asked repeatedly in recent weeks: What's church good for, when it ends up here, at the feet of the idol named white/Christian/straight/male privilege aka Donald Trump — and when it chooses to stay at the feet of this idol even after the whole world has heard him boast in the crudest language possible about sexually assaulting women? Oh, to be a fly on the wall of all the parishes and congregations in the land crowded with Trump voters tomorrow morning, as their pastors labor to preach the gospel and offer moral and pastoral guidance after what we've heard just this week from the mouth of a man running for the nation's highest office, a man who enjoys the support of a majority of white Christian voters . . . 

The self-proclaimed "family-values" voters of America.

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