When old friends disagree about politics


Woodcrest Christian School, Riverside, California

In the next several decades, a social historian will write a book about how the presidency of Donald Trump has influenced families and friendships. If I am still alive, I would be happy to be interviewed for such a book. Since I began criticizing Donald Trump and the  evangelicals who support him, I have lost some old friends, had people who I haven’t spoken with in decades e-mail and Facebook me with messages that start with “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?,” and have struggled to maintain some degree of civility with family members who support Trump. The work of reconciliation will be difficult.

With all this in mind, I have found myself gravitating to people writing about similar struggles with their own friends and family. One of those people is Randy Blacketer, a historical theologian and former pastor. Here is a taste of his recent blog post, “On an ‘Election Year’ Definition”:

Jeff is an old classmate of mine, a very good guy, an evangelical pastor, great sense of humor. He posted this on his Facebook timeline:

election year [ih-LEK-shun yir] noun
1. A time when decent people throw off their personal responsibility of how they speak about people in authority, in order to promote someone else. Anyone else.
2. A period every four years when otherwise balanced thinkers abandon core values (Example: sanctity of life, etc.,) in order to rationalize supporting someone else. Anyone else.
3. A moment when many citizens celebrate a right paid for by someone else. Anyone else.

I found the post rather interesting in its assumptions. And it recalled to me the variety of Christianity that was the centerpiece of my Evangelical / Fundamentalist high school: Woodcrest Christian School, in Riverside, California. I liked my high school. I’m still in contact with a number of my classmates. My graduating class numbered 24. We studied New Testament Greek in the 9th and 10th grades. We had courses in biblical hermeneutics and systematic theology. But at the same time, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Jerry Falwell was promoting his Moral Majority movement. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family was making its way into every evangelical household through books and radio programs. Many of us kids had seen the terrifying film “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” narrated by pioneer culture warrior Francis Shaeffer with his creepy, weird knickers. There we learned that true Christians are about being against abortion, and that abortion is the most wicked injustice ever. It was in the beginning days of the fusion of Christ and the GOP.

The rest of the post is a response to his friend. Read it here.