Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"Love Does Not Permit Us to Plug Up Our Ears with Bible Verses": Donald Trump and White Christians' Patriarchal Worldview — Connecting Dots

I see lots of dots connecting in these valuable pieces of commentary I've read in the past several days. I hope you might, too:

Amanda Marcotte, "White Christians are now a minority — but they're getting more isolated and less tolerant":

This "love the sinner, hate the sin" spin was a hard sell before, and in the age of Donald Trump, it's downright laughable. Not only did white evangelicals vote for Trump, but they voted for him in even greater numbers than they had for any other Republican before him — giving Trump even more support than they gave George W. Bush, who is one of their own. The more churchy the white evangelical, the more likely he or she is to support Trump. Many of the signatories of the Nashville statement (though not Mohler) also publicly lent their support to Trump. Signatory James Dobson even justified his choice by saying that Trump "appears to be tender to things of the Spirit," which can only be described as a ludicrous claim, whether one is religious or not. 
Trump committed adultery during his first two marriages and during his current marriage, has bragged on tape about apparently assaulting women. When asked about forgiveness during a Christian-oriented campaign event designed to make him look like a believer, Trump made clear that he had never asked God for forgiveness for these or any other sins and seemed confused about why he would have needed to. 
The white evangelical support for Trump, coupled with the continued denunciation of LGBT people, makes it clear this is not and never was about morality, sexual or otherwise. Instead, "morality" is a fig leaf for the true agenda of the Christian right, which is asserting a strict social hierarchy based on gender. 
The same-sex marriage question is a stand-in issue, [Robert P.] Jones argued, for "a whole worldview" that is "a kind of patriarchal view of the family, with the father head of the household and the mother staying home." 
"I think that’s why this fight is as visceral as it is," he added.  
Trump may be an unrepentant sinner, but he is a supporter of this patriarchal worldview, where straight men are in charge, women are quiet and submissive and people who fall outside these old-school heterosexual norms are marginalized. Voting for him was an obvious attempt by white evangelicals to impose this worldview on others, including (and perhaps especially) their own children, who are starting to ask hard questions about a moral order based on hierarchy and rigid gender roles instead of one built on empathy and kindness.

Eric Reitan, "A 14-Point Rebuttal to the Nashville Statement from a Straight Cis Christian Man":

The first act of Christian love is compassionate, empathetic attention. This was the first thing the Good Samaritan did on that Jericho road: he paid attention to the robbery victim. Likewise, we must listen to our LGBT neighbors. We must hear their stories. And we can't shrug off this demand because we think we already know the truth based on what the Bible teaches. When teachings we support lead our LGBT neighbors to cry out in suffering or outrage or despair, love does not permit us to plug up our ears with Bible verses.

Robert Webb, "I was never very good at being a boy":

What are we saying to a boy told to "man up" or to "act like a man"? 
Often, we're saying, "Stop expressing those feelings." And if a boy hears that enough, it actually starts to sound uncannily like, "Stop feeling those feelings." 
It sounds like this: "Pain, guilt, grief, fear, anxiety: these are not appropriate emotions for a boy because they will be unacceptable emotions for a man. Your feelings will become someone else's problem – your mother's problem, your girlfriend's problem, your wife's problem. If it has to come out at all, let it come out as anger. You’re allowed to be angry. 
It's boyish and man-like to be angry."

Charles Blow, "Inner Racism Revealed":

Donald Trump continues to say in every way possible that power and privilege in America is primarily the provenance of people who are white, male, Christian and straight, and that all others should be targeted for denial, oppression or removal. . . . 
Trump's base may be relatively small, but he keeps reinforcing its power and reminding us of the magnitude of that power, because the spirit of the base commands the presidency. 
We are witnessing the boot come swiftly down on the necks of women and minorities. We are seeing a program of minority removal — from the free population, from the work force, from the dole (as they see it), from the country itself. We are seeing an uplifting of whiteness to the detriment of non-whiteness. We are seeing the end of unity and the rise of factions and fascism. 
In Trump's America, white racism is ascendant; it is reclaiming a space many had hoped was shrinking. That is a plain and obvious truth. Efforts to describe it in other terms are an exercise in rhetorical contortionism. 
Sometimes you simply have to call a thing a thing, and the thing here is that Trump's inner racist is being revealed, and America's not-so-silent racists are rising in applause. 

Ta-Nehisi Coates, "Donald Trump Is the First White President":

Trump is the first president to have served in no public capacity before ascending to his perch. But more telling, Trump is also the first president to have publicly affirmed that his daughter is a "piece of ass." The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape ("When you're a star, they let you do it"), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House. But that is the point of white supremacy—to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification. Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible. But Trump's counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.

"Alex Ryan," "Inside the 'glass closet' of a gay Catholic teacher":

I know a great many Church employees who live in open defiance of its teachings. People who are divorced, remarried without annulment, married outside the Church, cohabiting before marriage, have children out of marriage, or are engaging in premarital sex. I have also worked with many people who don't even identify as Catholic. Surely if we are using adherence to Catholic belief as our yardstick for employability, then people who openly reject papal authority (e.g. Protestants), or reject belief in the Holy Trinity (eg. non-Christians) would fall short of the mark. 
I'm not, of course, advocating that people in these groups should be excluded from employment in Catholic institutions — on the contrary. Rather, this is just to illustrate that to single out gay Catholic employees is to arbitrarily discriminate against an already vulnerable group. That, surely, would be a plank in the Church's eye far bigger than the speck in mine.

As members of the Church we are called to speak with a unified prophetic voice in the face of colonizing empire. Our primary allegiance must be to the paz, shalom, or Kingdom/kin-dom of God, not to the ways and rulers of this world. Many of us must repent of our adoption of the logics of domination through silent, compliant, and capitulating failure to uniformly condemn all forms of human hierarchy. These logics perpetuate interpersonal and systemic violence in society and lay foundations for such violence to fester and infiltrate in our own congregations. It is past time to join the chorus of many inside and outside of the church crying out in the face of racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, homophobia, misogyny, and any form of human hierarchy—conscious or unconscious—that diminishes the inherent dignity of those whom God created. We can no longer be silent. We cannot and will not retreat. We believe the good news of Jesus Christ is freedom to those held captive by bigotry, hatred and fear; liberating oppressed and oppressor alike.

(I'm indebted to Robert Shine for the link to the article by "Alex Ryan," written pseudonymously, and to Fred Clark for the link to the "Theological Declaration on Christian Faith and White Supremacy.")

I find the graphic at the head of the posting at many sites online, with no clear indicator — that I can discover — of its original source.

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