Monday, January 29, 2018

Frank Schaeffer on Why White Evangelicals Love Trump: "The Context Is American Racism" — Implications for White Catholic "Pro-Life" Voters

This is the kind of testimony that white Catholics who claim to be motivated solely by opposition to abortion as they cast their votes do not want to hear. I wonder why?

This is the kind of testimony that white "culture-war" Catholics who maintain that they can vote in unison with outright racists while not being complicit in racism do not want to hear. Why, I wonder?

This is the kind of testimony that leading U.S. Catholic intellectuals who have made resistance to abortion (and same-sex marriage) everything as they make political decisions want to keep out of Catholic discussions. For what reason? 

This is the kind of testimony that leading U.S. Catholic white intellectuals like Michael Sean Winters and Peter and Margaret O'Brien Steinfels want to ignore as they claim that racism is a red herring in the discussion of why many people — especially white Catholic voters — chose the moral monstrosity in the White House as their president. What's going on here, I wonder?

This is Frank Schaeffer, son of one of the founding members of the U.S. religious right movement Francis Schaeffer, speaking to Joy Reid yesterday about Tony Perkins' claim that President Obama "bullied" evangelicals. This is precisely the kind of testimony to which leading U.S. Catholic intellectuals, who define what being Catholic means for the American public square, need to hear. It's insider testimony by someone who knows what he's talking about — from the inside. 

It's testimony that convicts and exposes white Catholics who want to maintain that their culture-war votes have nothing to do with racism: Joy Reid tells Frank Schaeffer, "What we're seeing is people on the religious right who want someone to punch a bully, the bully being Barack Obama apparently."

Frank Schaeffer responds:

I guess Barack Obama was a bully because he was black. You have to remember that everything that has happened since his presidency is a reaction by a core group of white voters. Let's remember, when we talk about evangelicals, in 1958, Jerry Falwell Sr. was denouncing integration and started a white private school academy to get around the new rulings from the courts. 
So, if you fast forward right now, it isn't that this history doesn't have a context. The context is American racism. I grew up with these guys, I knew Tony and he got into politics because of my evangelist father Francis Schaeffer who challenged him to take a stand against these issues.
Tony Perkins seems to have forgotten the basis of Christian theology, not just evangelical — which is [that] to be forgiven, in this tradition, you need to confess first. Donald Trump never confesses to anything, and the one time he apologized for molesting a woman in a criminal assault which was caught on tape, he tried to take the tape back, said he would sue the women who claim he assaulted them and call them all liars. This is not a confession. 
So Tony Perkins forgot his own theology and replaced it with a theology of revenge on people he disagrees with politically, and that's what's going on here. It's revenge of white America, it's revenge of evangelical right-wingers and who they want to punch in the mouth is not just black Americans but, to put it in the words of the President of the United States, those who live in shithole countries. So they're willing to put up apparently with anything when it comes to moral degradation to see those ends achieved. And I'm glad he put it in terms of revenge, at least there he misspoke from his point of view but told the truth.

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