Thursday, November 10, 2016

Who Put Trump in the White House? White People Overwhelmingly — Evangelical Ones, Catholic Ones, Mormon Ones

Not really blogging: but, though I am trying to avoid the news and blogging, I find it impossible to stop reading and thinking. And these are some statements to which I wanted to draw your attention, in case you have not seen them, about who put Donald Trump into the White House (and gave the future of the nation into the hands of the Republican party in a decisive way), and why they have done so.

As Mark Juergensmeyer says this morning, what is happening in the U.S. is part of a global response of right-wing, authoritarian, fiercely patriarchal religion to globalization. It is fueling the rise of "strongmen" in many places in the world, and their power rests on stirring fear among those who empower them, by targeting vulnerable minority groups in the name of God.

As Evan Derkacz indicates, in this election, white evangelicals supported Donald Trump in tremendous numbers. Paul Harvey states: 

White evangelicalism and white nationalist theology remain a potent brew, provided their voters can be mobilized in large numbers. These are mostly not the white working-class voters whose legitimate grievances Evan [Derkacz] discusses here, but more middle-class folk clearly fine to accept the mess of Trump porridge. 

Christians who described themselves as evangelical and born-again gave Trump 81 percent of their votes, up 3 percentage points from their support for Romney. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton garnered 16 percent of their votes. . . . White Catholics favored Trump, 60 percent to 37 percent. . .  
The Mormon vote, key in overwhelmingly Republican Utah — where more than 60 percent of people belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — gave Trump an easy win in the state.
Trump won 46 percent of Utah votes, compared with Clinton’s 27 percent. Independent Evan McMullin won 21 percent.

The narrative of a divided evangelical community rested on a few high-profile leaders who remained firmly in the "Never Trump" camp. But in the end, white evangelicals gave Trump record-high support, surpassing their support for George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. "The Lord did this!" said former Rep. Michele Bachmann. The Church “showed up,” exulted Iowa Religious Right leader Bob Vander Plaats, who had engaged in a nasty public spat with Trump during the primaries, "The church heard the call to consider their vote an act of honoring God. And they confounded the establishment, the media, and the elite by showing up to vote like never before!" . . .  
Conservative Catholics have been Religious Right allies in opposition to reproductive rights and LGBT equality, and Trump reportedly won the votes of 54 percent of white Catholics. An article on Catholic site Crux commented that "it’s safe to say that once again, rumors of the demise of religion as a voting issue have been greatly exaggerated." 

Polls predicted that American Catholics were evenly split between Trump and Clinton, but they voted strongly against abortion and insurance-sponsored contraception. 

Catholic voters gave 52 percent of their vote to Donald Trump and only 45 percent of their vote to Hillary Clinton, according to the media exit polls. This is four percentage points higher than the 48 percent of the Catholic vote received by Mitt Romney, according to the Pew Research Center
Surprisingly, the Hispanic Catholic vote for Clinton (67%) was less than that given to President Obama four years ago (75%). White Catholics, on the other hand, gave Trump almost the same percentage of their vote (60%) as they gave Romney in the last election (59%).

White evangelicalism yesterday performed the purpose for which it was designed: It elected a white nationalist as president. 
This was not a failure, but a success. This was not a side effect or an accident or a collateral consequence. This was not the end of white evangelicalism, but the culmination of its purpose, its origin, its intent. White evangelicalism is white nationalism. This is what it is, and always has been, for.

After a video of Trump was released showing he joked about sexually assaulting women, some religious leaders said that while his comments were inappropriate, he was still the best leader for the country. Others rejected the idea that those leaders were speaking on everyone’s behalf. 
The evangelical support of Trump will be an indictment against its validity as a Christian movement for generations to come," Richard Rohr, a Franciscan author and teacher, tweeted after those comments.

[W]hite evangelicals will forever be associated with Donald Trump in the minds of the American people. And they will pay the price for that association.

Religion is a vision that encompasses politics, economics, nationalism, gender, and race. Religious people don’t vote based on a candidate's support of the Ten Commandments; they support candidates who promise to inch the world closer to their own vision of what should be. 
Ronald Reagan empowered religious conservatives, many of whom were white, working class and disenfranchised after the recessions and economic upheavals of the 1970s. He told them that they counted and that, thanks to God's blessing of freedom, their futures would be brighter than their pasts. He promised them morning in America. Today, those who long waited for that dawn are finally seeing its orange tinge. 

The forces of animus have taken control of this country. And there is no telling what comes next.

But there is a clear indicator of what comes next: a lot of hapless people who already inhabit the margins of society are going to experience tremendous suffering. And that suffering will have been brought to them by people professing to believe in Jesus as Lord, people who proclaim what they call the "good news" that God loves the whole cosmos unreservedly, and is passionately concerned about those on the margins of society.

Some "God." Some "good news." Some "love." 

If this "God" and "good news" and "love" mean placing Donald Trump in the White House and putting the future of the nation into the sole control of a political party that is not by any wild construction concerned about the poor, about immigrants, about women, about LGBTQ people, about African Americans . . . .

What's church good for? A bunch of pain in the lives of people who don't deserve more pain, it seems, while churches spout a lot of nice-sounding words about "God" and "good news" and "love."

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