Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rachel Held Evans on White Evangelical Roots of Trump's Decision to Ditch Paris Climate Agreement: My Response

Like Rachel Held Evans, I was raised in a white evangelical family in the South. Her approach to white evangelicals in this tweet is charitable, and I'd do well, I'm sure, to emulate her.

But when it comes to what is happening right now, with the decision of a president elected with 81% of the white evangelical vote to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, I'm not in the least inclined to refrain from pointing the finger at white evangelicals. Donald is still their man. 

And the decision he made today has ominous implications for the entire planet. That any Christians anywhere would applaud this decision, would deny that climate change is happening, would insult the intelligence of everyone around them by claiming that God will solve the problem of climate change and human beings have no business doing God's work: this is not merely appalling, intellectually nonsensical, and mendacious. It's absolutely destructive. 

This is pseudo-Christianity put to the most pernicious anti-life uses imaginable — by "pro-life" Christians. The disconnect between what the "pro-life" Christian communities of the U.S. claim to believe about the value of life and what they do in the area of protecting the ecosystems that sustain life on this planet is impossible to ignore, especially when the peculiar belief system of white evangelical Christians has such potentially life-threatening implications for other people in the world who exist side by side with white evangelicals.

With white evangelicals who do not own the world. Though they believe that they do own the world. People not raised in the white evangelical communities of the American South seem unable to understand how fundamental that assumption is to the belief system of white evangelicals, especially in the South, the extent to which it drives everything evangelicals think and do, their political decisions and their behavior in the public square shared by all of us in a pluralistic democracy. 

This is their world. God has placed it in their hands to rule. Your obligation, as an unbeliever (that's what you are, if you do not buy into the white evangelical belief system in toto and implicitly), is to shut up and let white evangelicals do what they are called to do: to run the world. To run your life. To do "God's will" in the world and with your life — whether you like it or not. Arrogance is the middle name of white evangelical Christianity.

These assumptions are deeply ingrained in white evangelical thinking, and they are increasingly shared by many white Catholics in the U.S. who have bought into the ethos of white evangelicalism after the U.S. Catholic bishops allied their church with white evangelicals. They are also shared by Mormons. It is not in the least accidental that these three religious groups were the bulk of Donald Trump's base in the last elections.

The world is now harvesting the bitter fruits of these white Christians' belief systems through Donald Trump. Make no mistake about it: they're rejoicing today, rejoicing at the prospect that the planet may no longer enjoy the minimal protections this climate agreement afforded it, rejoicing at the slap their strongman savior has just delivered out of sheer childish petulance to the dark-skinned Kenyan Muslim who formerly occupied the White House and who signed the Paris accord.

You may be weeping, but that doesn't matter a whit to these folks. It's not your world, after all.

No comments: