Friday, August 4, 2017

Lots of Commentary on Trump and White Evangelicals: "If This Poison Isn't Worse Than Racism, Then It Certainly Runs a Close Second"

So much good critical analysis of the role white evangelicals are playing in the Trump regime is coming out at once, it's hard to keep up with it. These are items I've spotted just today, which I'd like to share with you — and I'd also like to suggest that this analysis complements the analysis I just posted about "pro-life" American Catholics who are more-Catholic-than-Catholic (but who often reflect evangelical theological positions more than Catholic ones):

Constance Hilliard, "Huckabee Sanders--Poster Child for Something even Uglier than Racism that Rose from Antebellum South":

What could be worse than the soul-shredding evil of racism during the era of human bondage? My answer would be creating a world of make-believe so fortified by lies that those who lived within it could believe that slaves didn't mind it in the least when their children were sold from their trembling arms or when their wives were sexually assaulted by the plantation owner. While the institution of forced labor was dismantled after the Civil War, the peculiar mindset that defined reality as whatever the patriarch said it was, regardless of the evidence of one's own senses, escaped the confines of the South and spread to other areas of white working class America.   
It was a worldview built on an invented moral authority. Southern evangelicals had fought the abolitionism of their northern evangelical counterparts by creating a new hermeneutics  — Biblical literalism. It proclaimed that anything theologians found in the world of 2,000 years ago as having made its way into the Bible could be declared sacrosanct and God-inspired. Critical thinking skills, even personal observation were disdained for the proclamations of the patriarchal leader. In that context, lies were whatever liberals said, and the truth was the patriarch's mumblings. White House press secretary, Sarah Huckebee Sanders, thinks of herself as a good Christian because she is faithful to the truths of Donald Trump. If this poison isn't worse than racism, then it certainly runs a close second.   

Chauncey DeVega, "Evangelical Christians and Donald Trump: They love him because they don't trust facts or reason": 

Professor Anthony Jack highlights the implications of this research for American politics: "With all this talk about fake news, the Trump administration, by emotionally resonating with people, appeals to members of its base while ignoring facts." 
Jared Friedman, a co-author of this new research, concludes, "It suggests that religious individuals may cling to certain beliefs, especially those which seem at odds with analytic reasoning, because those beliefs resonate with their moral sentiments." 
Christian evangelicals' rejection of empirical reality and their habituation into believing the absurd and the fantastical mates perfectly with the zealotry of the broader American right, which views politics as a form of religious fundamentalism
Faith, after all, is a matter of believing in that which cannot be proven by normal or empirical means. This definition is a perfect description of both movement conservatism and the Christian right. 
Ultimately, Christian evangelicals and Donald Trump are united in an imperfect marriage because they share mutual goals. This is an unholy alliance and, as such, a perfect emblem of today's Republican Party.

Peter Montgomery, "Newt Gingrich And David Lane Urge Pastors To Support Trump, Lobby For Tax Cuts":

Christian-nation political operative David Lane hosted a conference call with Newt Gingrich this afternoon to tout President Trump’s accomplishments and to urge the pastors in Lane’s American Renewal Network to pray for Trump, speak out on his behalf publicly, and urge members of Congress to pass a big tax cut this fall. A big tax cut, said Gingrich, will spark an economic boom that will help conservatives win election in 2018 and 2020.

Julie Zauzmer, "Christians are more than twice as likely to blame a person's poverty on lack of effort": 

Christians, especially white evangelical Christians, are much more likely than non-Christians to view poverty as the result of individual failings.

Fred Clark, "The prosperity gospel: You’re soaking in it": 

When it comes to poverty, though, Christians like [Albert] Mohler [president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary] are far more comfortable assigning individual moral blame. 
"As he walked along, he saw a man poor from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born poor?' 
Mohler answered, 'Both this man and his parents sinned, in unwillingness to work, in bad financial decisions and in broken family structures.'" . . . 
If you read the Bible looking for ways that poverty is "deeply rooted in morality," you'll find the main connection its authors make between poverty and sin is that the poor are victims of the sins of others. In most of the Bible — the prophets, the Gospels, Paul, James, Revelation — it is not poverty, but wealth, that is presented as the consequence of sin and as evidence of immorality and spiritual sickness.

Bobby Azarian, "A psychological analysis of Trump supporters has uncovered 5 key traits about them":  

Authoritarian personality syndrome—a well-studied and globally-prevalent condition—is a state of mind that is characterized by belief in total and complete obedience to one’s authority. Those with the syndrome often display aggression toward outgroup members, submissiveness to authority, resistance to new experiences, and a rigid hierarchical view of society. The syndrome is often triggered by fear, making it easy for leaders who exaggerate threat or fear monger to gain their allegiance.

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