Thursday, July 20, 2017

Daniel José Camacho on White Evangelicals as "Precarious Firewall for Trump"

As a footnote to my last posting on Trump's presidence and white evangelical and Catholic voters:

Daniel José Camacho thinks that, though conservative white evangelicals (and white Catholics and Mormons) propelled Donald Trump to the White House, these voters are "a precarious firewall for Trump" because their world is coming to an end. He cites Robert P. Jones' book The End of White Christian America as corroboration for this conclusion.* As he notes, 

What Jones calls the White Christian Strategy is an outgrowth of the Southern Strategy, a tactic Republicans used to appeal to white southern voters angry with Democrats for their support of civil rights. The White Christian Strategy allowed Republicans, especially since Regan, to monopolize the electoral market for conservative evangelical voters by promising to fight for their values and to restore America to an idyllic past. 
Evangelicals may have propelled Trump to the presidency, but Jones sees this more as the "death rattle" of white Christian America. The percentage of white Christians living in this country fell to 43% in 2016. Although white Christians have managed to be overrepresented in voting power, in proportion to their diminishing share of the American population, they are projected to make up only 52% of American voters in 2020. By 2024, white Christians will no longer constitute a majority of voters.

(But, of course, the strategy in electing Donald Trump — with a minority of the popular vote and with many indications of election tampering — is to lock in the power of these folks for the foreseeable future, especially by stacking the Supreme Court with their made men. And by gerrymandering and suppressing minority votes . . . . So that a minority of voters can exercise theocratic control over the whole nation, despite what the majority wants, for as long as possible . . . . For as long as the rest of us permit this to be done . . . .)

Camacho goes on :

I don't know what evangelical leaders like Michele Bachmann or Johnnie Moore (former vice president at Liberty University) prayed for as they huddled around Trump in the Oval Office. What I do know is that the biblical prophets talk about God refusing the prayers and worship of corrupt leaders unless they "cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow."
All four Gospel accounts describe a monumental event in the life of Jesus involving prayer and money. In this event, Jesus angrily lashes out at the religious establishment for mixing religion with greed. He overturns the tables of financiers in the temple and says God’s house "shall be called a house of prayer; but you are making it a den of robbers." 
The Republicans' alternative proposals to the Obamacare figure to produce a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich while leaving millions uninsured. Trump may surround himself with evangelicals but he has made a mockery of prayer.

And, of course, Trump's v-p Mike Pence has just made effusive statements about how his Christian faith issues in a perfervid love for Israel — but you won't find Pence quoting that passage from Isaiah 1 cited by Camacho above, in which we're commanded to seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan and plead for the widow as an expression of our faith in God. Nor will you hear Mike Pence, with his overflowing love for Israel, quoting Isaiah 58, with its command to us to proclaim good news to the poor, do justice, loosen the yoke of those oppressed, set the prisoner free, and proclaim the year of the Lord's favor — the Jubilee, in which slaves are set free and debts absolved.

Though Jesus himself quoted that passage in Luke's gospel as he announced the beginning of his public ministry . . . .

(Thanks to Jim McCrea for the link to the Times of Israel article about Pence and Israel.)

* To see my previous postings on Jones' book, click his name in the labels below.

No comments: