Monday, November 21, 2016

As Trump Presidency Is Normalized in Mainstream and Religious Media, Attempts Underway to Sanitize White Evangelical, White Catholic, Mormon Vote for Trump

The attempt to normalize Donald Trump and his presidency is well underway, and anyone following the trajectory of the mainstream (and religious) media in this country from the Reagan period forward could have foreseen this. To its great shame, National Catholic Reporter published an article last week by one of its leading "pro-life" writers attacking those protesting Trump's election, noting that the Dow is up, and claiming that we're seeing a "peaceful transition of power" with Trump — even as incidents of violent speech or acts directed against members of minority communities proliferate all over the nation. To my knowledge, NCR has yet to publish any statement at all about those incidents of violence. It's as if, for "pro-life" Catholics applauding the "peaceful transition of power," those being targeted simply do not exist — not as fellow human beings whose human lives must count in any credible rendition of a pro-life ethic.

At the same time that we witness this immediate normalizing process with a political transition that is anything but normal or "peaceful" for many Americans on the margins of society, there are also growing attempts in various religious publications to sanitize what has just happened with church-affiliated voters in this election, as 8 in 10 white evangelicals, 6 in 10 white Catholics, and 3 in 5 Mormons placed Donald Trump in the White House. The gist of these calls is to pretend that the "81 percenters" do not represent the white evangelical community. 

As Neil Young states in the article I've just linked, some folks are now even trying to claim that the data themselves are wrong — though polls throughout the pre-election period showed us plainly that white evangelical support for Trump ran exceptionally high, no matter what new revelation broke regarding his personal life or moral views. And those polls were again confirmed by election-day polling.

There are calls in leading Catholic "liberal" publications — again, by ardently "pro-life" Catholic writers — to view what has just happened as a well-deserved drubbing of the Democrats for engaging in "identity politics" while they ignore the white working-class. When these calls are being issued by "pro-life" Catholics who remain completely silent about the real human beings now being targeted by supporters of a president elected by ostensibly "pro-life" Christians, how can we avoid asking ourselves whether some lives matter for "liberal" "pro-life" Catholics, while others are simply invisible — as they were when some of these same leading Catholic "pro-life" voices wrote about the Orlando massacre this summer, refusing ever even to speak the names of the LGBTQ people murdered in that event.

Some lives matter for "pro-life" Catholics. Others — those comprised under that umbrella of disdained "identity politics" — clearly do not matter. Not as fellow human beings whose human lives must count in any credible rendition of a pro-life ethic . . . .

As the violence continues in the wake of this election, as members of minority communities are targeted, as the new administration targets members of those communities with surgical precision — and it will do this by force of law now — we are going to hear more and more attempts (and here) to separate out the "good" white evangelicals and "good" white Catholics from the ones who elected Donald Trump while claiming to be motivated above all by "pro-life" concerns.

As this journalistic winnowing, sanitizing, disguising of reality gets underway, we must not allow ourselves to forget — if we care about the truth and an accurate historical record — who placed Donald Trump in the White House and who has placed the mechanism of the federal government wholly into the hands of the Republican party now:

8 in 10 white evangelicals did this.

6 in 10 white Catholics did this.

3 in 5 Mormons (by definition, this is to say "white Mormons") did this.

While claiming that they have done this out of a commitment to pro-life values.

We must not forget any of this, if we care about the truth — and about what Christianity itself means or can possibly mean in a world in which Christian voters are capable of setting hateful acts of violence into motion against targeted minority groups while claiming to be motivated by "pro-life" concerns.

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