Trump and his core supporters see any criticism as betrayal. When the president is thin-skinned and lacks core convictions, there are Christians who are concerned that criticism will cause Trump to dump their issues. An enormous number of Christians — especially Christians in politics — suffer from a lack of faith [and] view the Left as presenting an existential threat to Christian faith. Trump has done a remarkable job at convincing conservative Christians that he’s the lesser evil compared to his enemies in the media and on the radical Left so they’ll find ways to rationalize their support for Trump.
We’re tired of the way so many Boomers seemed to bully through culture with very little regard for what was before or after them. For people of my generation and younger, we simply don’t trust the right-wing religious establishment any more. We saw one disaster after another emerge from the conservative religious right. Over time, moral duplicity began to define right-wing fervor for many of us. When we see someone crusading hard for legislated morality, red flags go up instinctively. It’s not that Gen-Xers are ungracious with sin. We know that everyone needs grace, and we are willing to extend that to the broken. But Boomer Conservatives tend to appeal to moral superiority when they ask for our political allegiance. This appeal means little to Gen-Xers. Some of the most disturbing, perverse, abusive stories we have heard have come from the religious right. When Jerry Fallwell Jr. tries to convince us that Trump is a good man, that spooks us. If a right-wing politician commits a foul deed, it seems like conservative leaders tend [to] minimize that fault while nailing a left-winger for the same exact wrong done. When we say that we are tired of the religious right, we are talking about a political movement that has adopted religious robes to promote its own causes. X-ers shoot straight, see. That’s how we roll.
What has alarmed me has been the willingness of my fellow citizens to rationalize the President’s behavior. Yes, the rules have changed for the President. Character DOES matter. You can’t run a family, let alone a country, without it. How in the world can 7 out of 10 Americans continue to say that nothing matters except a robust economy? – James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, on the character of the President of the United States (1998)
Back in the ’90s, when Bill Clinton was sexually sinning, conservative evangelicals fulminated with outrage and insisted that a president’s most important trait was moral character. The word hypocrisy doesn’t begin to describe people who have forfeited moral authority and proved to be as fraudulent as the president they deify. Rev. Franklin Graham said that he loves Trump because this president has “a concern about Christian values.” This is the same Franklin Graham who contended, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal of 1998, that character counts, that a president’s private behavior can’t be separated from his public behavior. Michael Gerson, a principled conservative [said], “The priests have become acolytes … The gag reflex is entirely gone.” They’ve become just another special interest group in the partisan tribe. They’ve shelved their morals to serve a president of abysmally low character, in exchange for his ideological favors. For Trump, there’s all kinds of doctrinal flex. We’re getting the same riff [from] Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the Moral Majority movement founder, who calls Trump “a dream president,” [and] James Dobson, ex-leader of Focus on the Family, who lectured in the ’90s about the “profound moral crisis” of low presidential character.
Unlike the alt-right, which is pretty forthright about its ideals, most high-profile Trump supporters, Christian or otherwise, are not intellectually honest. If they were, we’d see a book explaining what’s really behind all this cynical piety: that they want a white man in the White House, that they want conservative Christian values to be codified into law, that they want to hang onto their cash, and that everybody else can go to hell. Perhaps literally. — Gordon Haber
Gordon Haber writes about religion, money and culture. Follow him on Twitter @gordonhaber.0
If we talk about human possibility and human hurt and human pain and human suffering, then it doesn’t matter whether we are Muslims or Christians or liberals or conservatives. Very many of the ancient prophetic promises are about the re-ordering of the earth and I think too much Christian hope has been escapism.
The Christianity Bonhoeffer denounced is the Christianity we denounce today. The Boston Declaration, condemning the abuse of the Christian faith by many conservatives today, was just written, signed and released by over 300 hundred Christian theologians. Many dressed in sackcloth and ashes to call for repentance and change in Christianity in the United States, the presenters were clear that white American Evangelicalism is in a crisis, a crisis of its own making. It has abandoned the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Love one another.” And we say, “Amen.”
Too many people are hanging onto a worldview and way of life that is fast slipping away. California is roughly 15 years ahead of the rest of America in confronting the very different realities of the 21st century. It’s a more people-oriented politics, not tethered to 20th-century welfare state liberal solutions. Californians tend to be more pro-growth, practical progressives. Innovation is rippling through all sectors of the economy and society. The rise of Trump is likely nothing more than the last emotional backlash before America moves forward again. One way or another, Trump will eventually crash and take down a good chunk of the Republican establishment with him.
“Secularism is making America’s partisan clashes more brutal. As Americans have left organized religion, they haven’t stopped viewing politics as a struggle between ‘us’ and ‘them.’ Many have come to define us and them in even more primal and irreconcilable ways. The worse Americans fare in their own lives, the darker their view of the country. But non-churchgoing conservatives didn’t flock to Trump only because he articulated their despair. He also articulated their resentments. For decades, liberals have called the Christian right intolerant. When cultural conservatives disengage from organized religion, they tend to redraw the boundaries of identity, de-emphasizing morality and religion and emphasizing race and nation. Trump is both a beneficiary and a driver of that shift. Secularization is transforming the left, too. Secularization isn’t easing political conflict. It’s making American politics even more convulsive and zero-sum. For years, political commentators dreamed that the culture war over religious morality that began in the 1960s and ’70s would fade. It has. And the more secular, more ferociously national and racial culture war that has followed is worse.”
“I implore liberal and progressive Christians to become more vocal. We need more progressive/liberal Christians to start fighting back against the conservative charlatans who, for far too long, have driven away millions of people from a faith by misrepresenting the true values for which it stands.” — Allen Clifton
Allen Clifton is a co-founder of Forward Progressives. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/allen_clifton0
“Dear American Conservative Church: I know you want to Love, but as a whole, fear is winning. The most prevalent command Jesus gave was “Do not fear.” He knew that fear would kill our ability to Love.” — Sheri Faye Rosendahl
You can find more of Sheri Faye Rosendahl’s writing at NotYourWhiteJesus.org. Sheri and her BA husband, Rich, also run a non-profit called The Nations, doing peace and humanitarian work with refugee neighbors from the Middle East both domestically and abroad.0
“Resistance to Trump and Trumpism will succeed only if it mobilises both conservative and progressive forces opposed to authoritarianism, and it needs to stand for a better way to live in truth, with dignity.” — Charles Leadbeater
Charles Leadbeater is a leading authority on innovation and creativity, a British author and former advisor to Tony Blair.
See: The prophets of Trumpism: How the ideas of two pre-war intellectual refugees – the radical Herbert Marcuse and the reactionary Eric Voegelin – are influencing the new culture wars among Trump and his acolytes.0
“The pro-Trump evangelicals suffer from a spiritual crisis, not a political one. Moore has challenged the foundations of conservative evangelical political engagement because they desperately needed to be shaken. For 35 years, the old-guard religious right has uncritically coddled, defended and promoted the Republican Party.” — Jacob Lupfer
Jacob Lupfer is a frequent commentator on religion in American politics and culture. Lupfer has worked in parish ministry and has taught at the middle school, high school, community college, and university levels. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/jlupf0
“When the far-right Iowa Rep. Steve King quoted an Islamophobic tweet by Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders and commented that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” Americans were shocked. But anyone who is familiar with King knows that he’s long been an extreme immigration opponent and a fringe figure even within the very conservative Republican party of today.” — Alex Kotch
Alex Kotch is an independent investigative journalist based in Brooklyn, NY. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/alexkotch0
“The evangelical movement has, in my view, forfeited any future moral authority in American public life.” — Mark DeMoss
Mark DeMoss, a public relations executive with strong ties to the American evangelical community, resigned in the wake of disagreement with other executive committee members over his public criticism of President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s personal endorsement of Donald Trump. He had had been the chairman of the executive committee of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees. Liberty University is a private, non-profit Christian university affiliated with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia and located in Lynchburg, Virginia. DeMoss also served as a senior advisor for Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.0