Do Evangelicals Care What I Think About Trump?

Believe Me 3dHistorian David Swartz does not think so.

Here is Swartz at The Anxious Bench:

White evangelicals are doubling down on President Donald Trump. Their choices in 2016—Trump or Clinton—may have been distasteful to them then. But in 2019, their taste for Trump is heightening, even without a singular evil liberal personality yet serving as his foil.

To be sure, not all evangelicals are jumping on board. Christianity Today editor Mark Galli, prolific blogger and historian John FeaAtlantic writer Peter Wehner, Liberty student Rebecca Olsen, academician-activists Ron Sider and Richard Mouw, and many others have offered a steady stream of criticism.

These and other bracing rebukes of co-religionists who voted for Trump, however, have not done much to stanch support for the president. The divide between cosmopolitan evangelicals and populist evangelicals is too entrenched. In one of the most sobering scholarly articles I’ve ever read, James Guth shows that the “Populism Syndrome”—marked by “nationalism,” “authoritarianism,” “rough politics,” and “compromise bad”—is disproportionately practiced by evangelicals. Guth writes, “Populist Syndrome scores are a better predictor of a Trump vote among Evangelicals in 2016 than are party identification and ideology combined.” He continues, “White Evangelicals share with Trump a multitude of attitudes, including his hostility toward immigrants, his Islamophobia, his racism and nativism, as well as his political style, with its nasty politics and assertion of strong, solitary leadership.”

And he adds this:

But if you were only hanging out in the faculty lounge at an evangelical college or with humanitarians at an evangelical NGO in Phnom Penh, there’s a good chance you were shocked by the 81 percent. The election exposed the many evangelicalisms that have been there all along.

And this:

But they are reinforcing their cosmopolitan script with a selective historiography that does not reflect the full sweep of evangelical identities. Abolitionists never really represented the mainstream of evangelicalism. There were always more slaveholders and white Jacksonian patriarchs in the nineteenth century than Tappan brothers and Grimke sisters who championed social justice causes. Though some evangelical leaders have sought to refine the term in ways that minimized support for Donald Trump, they do not speak for most rank-and-file evangelicals. There continues to exist a vast subterranean populism that upsets establishment vanities.

Read the entire piece here.

“I’ve worked hard at trying to get rank-and-file evangelicals to rethink their support of this president.  And some have changed their minds.  I know this because they have told me.   But these are just anecdotes. In the end, Swartz is right.

But at least I took a shot.

I have been a longtime advocate of detached scholarship.  I made the case for this kind of scholarship in Why Study History?  But I also argued in that book that there are times when a scholar must use his or her knowledge, expertise, and resources in service to the church.  While other Christian scholars sat on the sidelines and offered detached analysis that they hoped would have a trickle-down effect, I jumped headfirst into the fray.  I don’t regret it one bit.

I continue to be inspired by the recent words of historian Carlo Ginzburg:

I must say that I don’t like sermons. If there is anything I can do, as a historian, from an analytical point of view, it is very good. It’s part of my job. But the situation is evolving in a way that I may have to get a little more involved. Yesterday, I was asked to comment on the screening of a film on immigration and I accepted. Would I have said yes five or ten years ago? The context is changing… Even if the idea of the committed intellectual is not something I particularly like.

Moreover, I have never understood myself as a “cosmopolitan.” (Swartz seems to place me in this camp). In fact, I once wrote a book and a Journal of American History article problematizing “cosmopolitan” as a form of identity.  I have also made the case, in Believe Me and elsewhere, that the kind of evangelical populism Swartz writes about has been around for a long, long time.  No “cosmopolitan script with a selective historiography” here.

Finally, I don’t spend much time in the faculty lounge at Messiah College (although I probably should–fellowship is good), I have never been to Phnom Penh, and I have no experience with NGOs.

So how should I respond to Swartz’s piece?  I can’t speak for the other “evangelical cosmopolitans” Swartz mentions, but I will persist in trying to get evangelicals to see that their propensity for fear, political power, and nostalgia is not healthy.  Someone has to keep saying it or else Trump’s words, behavior, actions, and policies will become normalized.

Beware of Adam Schiff’s Eyes. They are the Eyes of the Devil!

You might remember Perry Stone as the preacher who checks his smart phone while speaking in tongues.  In the video below, he reminds us again that the debate over the impeachment of Donald Trump, at least according to his most ardent evangelical supporters, is a spiritual battle.  More mainstream conservative evangelical Trump supporters like Robert Jeffress or Franklin Graham do not talk with the charismatic fervor of a Perry Stone or Paula White, but they believe the same thing about impeachment.

‘Satan Hates This Man’: Perry Stone Says Trump’s Critics ‘Have Demons in Them’ from Right Wing Watch on Vimeo.

Why a Florida County Public Library Will Not Be Subscribing to *The New York Times*

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The librarians of Citrus County, Florida wanted to buy a digital subscription to The New York Times, but the country commission will not let them do it because, as everyone knows, The New York Times is “fake news.”  Yes, this is a true story.  Here is a taste of Antonia Noori Farzan’s reporting at The Washington Post:

The librarians of Citrus County, Fla., had what seemed like a modest wish: A digital subscription to the New York Times. For about $2,700 annually, they reasoned, they could offer their roughly 70,000 patrons an easy way to research and catch up on the news.

But when their request came before the Citrus County commission last month, local officials literally laughed out loud. One commissioner, Scott Carnahan, declared the paper to be “fake news.”

“I agree with President Trump,” he said. “I will not be voting for this. I don’t want the New York Times in this county.”

In a move that is generating intense online backlash, all five members of the commission agreed to reject the library’s request. The discussion took place Oct. 24, the same day the Trump administration announced plans to cancel federal agencies’ subscriptions to the Times and The Washington Post. While there’s no apparent connection — the Citrus County meeting began several hours before the Wall Street Journal broke the news of the new edict — the controversy unfolding in central Florida highlights how politicians nationwide are parroting the president’s disparaging rhetoric about the media.

Read the rest here.  I realize that Citrus County, Florida is a very conservative place, but what do these county commissioners have to fear?

The African American Women of the Underground Railroad

Tubman

Harriet Tubman, the subject of a movie now showing throughout the country, was just one of many African American women who labored on the Underground Railroad.  Over at Process, historian Jazma Sutton explains:

This November, Focus Features will release the anticipated movie Harriet in theaters worldwide. In promoting the film, the company characterizes Harriet Tubman as “one of America’s greatest heroes.” The website further asserts that “her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.” Kasi Lemmons, the film’s cowriter and director, in an interview addressing the film’s contemporary relevance, reminded the public how “important it is to remember what singular people were able to accomplish in turbulent times.” Undoubtedly, Harriet Tubman deserves credit, and her biopic is long overdue. But Harriet did not toil alone. Rather, her work as an Underground Railroad conductor was part of a national movement of free and enslaved black persons dedicated to the liberation and advancement of their race. Countless African American women, in addition to Harriet—young and old; free and enslaved; alone, pregnant, and with family; in the South, the North, and the Midwest—risked their lives to obtain freedom. Unfortunately, we know very little about the actions and sacrifices of other black women who liberated themselves or worked as assistants and operatives on the Underground Railroad. Who were these women? What motives did they have for escaping and aiding in the escape of others?

Surviving historical records suggest that several factors influenced African American women’s determination to flee slavery. These included the prospect of a better, more autonomous life; the threat or reality of family separation; the fear of being sold to the Deep South; and the hope of joining family members who had successfully escaped. Underground Railroad testimonies overwhelmingly describe African American women fleeing in the company of their children, husbands, and other family members. Their visions of freedom were inseparable from the responsibility they felt for family, especially their children. In the 1840s or 1850s, fifteen self-liberated people appeared at the Union Literary Institute (ULI), an integrated school established for the education of black students in the Greenville settlement of East Central Indiana, the region I study. The party consisted of a woman, her ten children, her son-in-law, a grandchild, and two others. The entire family was enslaved by one man and comprised his entire human property. When asked, “Were you not used well…why did you run away,” the mother responded, “My children were my master’s, and the mistress and the white children wanted us to be sold, and we thought it time to quit.” This particular woman appears to have eventually fled to Canada, but that was not the only promised land for African American women seeking freedom. Some chose to live permanently, or at least for extended periods, in free black communities on the Kentucky border; others preferred secluded communities in the rural Midwest, particularly because the threat of being captured was significantly lessened by the presence of cooperative Quakers. Still others chose remote or protected destinations convenient to them: Native American communities, the Great Dismal Swamp, and distant Mexico, for example.

Read the rest here.

Kentucky’s Christian Right Governor Matt Bevin is Out

Bevin 2

Apparently last night’s visit by Donald Trump, Rand Paul, and Mitch McConnell did not help Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin.  As David Axelrod just said on CNN, Trump would not have gone to Kentucky is he did think Bevin was going to win. Well, he lost.

From what I understand, many of Kentucky’s suburban voters are turning away from the Republican Party and toward the new Democratic governor Andy Beshear, who campaigned entirely on local issues and tried to avoid getting entangled in national politics.

Readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home may remember Bevin:

While the above issues might be of interest to readers of this blog, Bevin is unpopular because of his battles with teacher’s unions and his attempt to overhaul Medicaid by requiring recipients to prove that they are either working or volunteering.

Did Bruce Springsteen Bring Down the Berlin Wall?

 

Of course he did. 😉

Here is Erik Kirschbaum’s piece at the Los Angeles Times:

Springsteen’s July 19, 1988, concert, the largest in East German history, reflected the growing thirst for freedom of young people inside East Germany, which, unlike other Eastern European countries warming to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms, had continued to clamp down on its citizens.

Some 160,000 managed to get tickets to see the Boss, but more than 100,000 stormed the gates, Woodstock style, shortly before the show — an astonishing act of defiance at a time when East German police still routinely used force.

“The show in East Berlin was a major moment for us…. It was one of our greatest shows,” Springsteen said in an interview with German TV network WDR in 2016. “It was just the stakes involved. The band tends to play well when the stakes are very high. We knew going into East Berlin at that time that we were rolling the dice quite a bit. And then the amount of people that showed up … it was an epic evening for us. It just seemed like a very important show to play….”

In any case, authorities hoped Springsteen’s appearance would pacify restless East Germans clamoring for more reforms, freedoms and rock ’n’ roll.

But Springsteen decided he would try to set the record straight about his motive with a short, powerful speech in German, which he had scrawled on a piece of paper: “I’m not here for or against any government. I’ve come to play rock ’n’ roll for you in the hope that one day all the barriers will be torn down.”

The crowd erupted in joy, fully understanding Springsteen’s reference. Some later said that it was a message they had been waiting their whole lives to hear.

Read the entire piece here.

Can Albert Mohler Unite a Southern Baptist Convention Divided over Donald Trump?

 

Al Mohler wants to be the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention.  According to Yonat Shirmon and Adelle Banks’s reporting at Religion News Service, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville will be nominated as the denomination’s next leader.  Here is a taste of their piece:

 

In a statement about his willingness to serve as SBC president, Mohler said he hopes to “unite Southern Baptists,” a group that has long had political and theological divisions within its fold even as it has seen a declining membership as the nation’s largest Protestant denomination….

Campaigns for the presidency of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination with about 14.8 million members are usually tightly scripted, polite affairs in which populist megachurch pastors are typically chosen. But because 2020 is a U.S. presidential election year, there was a desire among leaders of some of the denomination’s agencies and seminaries to avoid an ugly and potentially divisive battle over President Donald Trump.

Though most Southern Baptists are evangelicals and therefore make up the backbone of the Republican Party, Trump’s presidency had divided some of its leaders who believe it’s unwise to align so publicly with the nation’s president.

Among those who support Trump is Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, who has become a fixture on Fox News defending Trump publicly for protecting America as a Christian nation. Other Southern Baptist leaders, such as Russell Moore of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, are in the Never Trump camp. 

“There’s a tension in the SBC,” said Barry Hankins, professor of history at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. “The rank and file are going to vote for Trump one way or the other. The leadership will argue on it.” 

Mohler, who is 60, has taken a middle path.

Though not a Never Trumper, Mohler has expressed skepticism about Trump’s moral character as early as 2016. Appearing on CNN shortly after the “Access Hollywood” tape came to light in which Trump is heard bragging about grabbing women’s genitals, Mohler took a sharply critical view.

“When it comes to Donald Trump, evangelicals are going to have to ask a huge question: Is it worth destroying our moral credibility to support someone who is beneath the baseline level of human decency for anyone who should deserve our vote?” Mohler said.

Read the entire piece here.   Clearly Mohler will have a lot of work to do.  The Donald Trump presidency is now shaping the identity of the Southern Baptist Convention.  I warned about Trump’s influence on American Christianity here.

Garry Wills on Patriarchy and the Discrimination of Women in the Academy

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Historian and writer Garry Wills has seen a lot in his day.  His has been observing the academic world for six decades.  In his recent revealing piece in The New York Review of Books, Wills reflects on the role of women in the academy and how he has evolved on this issue.  Here is a taste:

My next full-time teaching job, after a decade as an adjunct professor at Hopkins, was in the history department of Northwestern University as its first Henry Luce Professor of American History. The opportunities available to women had changed dramatically in that interval. They were being hired for all kinds of jobs—never, of course, in proportion to their numbers in the population, but with increasing frequency. Once, when Natalie and I got on a commuter flight with a woman pilot (at a time when the major airlines were not hiring women), she said, “We were never safer,” since we knew that this pilot had to pass twice the scrutiny any male pilot did. Even advances for women, then, were also inhibitors: they had to earn it twice over.

The Northwestern history department that I joined in 1980 had a few women on the faculty, but two of them were especially overworked. There was such a demand, beyond their fields of American and Renaissance history, for their help—with women’s study groups and for individual counseling of women students—that the women on faculty kept asking for more women to be hired. That should not have been a problem, since there were plenty of candidates, as well as pressure from feminists to add female members of faculty as a mark of diversity.

That very demand made some uneasy about hiring women—or, for that matter, blacks or gays: Would we be seen as hiring them primarily because they were minorities? (Not that women are a minority except in the professional and governing ranks.) So there was especially intense scrutiny given to any of the women brought up for consideration and, once again, the most dubiously qualified male members of the faculty were often the most severe judges of candidates. This process was repeated often enough that our two star women faculty members soon left Northwestern and accepted offers at another school where they would not be overburdened in a department with so few women. That is, we lost two superb women colleagues because we would not hire completely qualified women who might not have been quite at their level.

This dynamic became clear to me when it was my turn to lead a search for our diplomatic historian post. The position had been empty after the retirement in 1980 of Richard Leopold, who had educated many political figures in his popular courses on international relations. Other searches had failed because diplomatic history was in that time a sensitive, if not radioactive, field: it had been in turmoil over cold war history, since bright young revisionists had put much of the blame for competition and escalation of nuclear threats on the United States, rather than laying all of the responsibility on the Soviet Union and its allies. To hire an eminent scholar—even if he (and they were still all men) were willing to move from the embattled post he had won—could be read as siding with the establishment, while hiring a younger voice might be seen, rightly or wrongly, as joining the revisionists.

Two searches had already foundered on this problem by the time my turn came to lead another. Prior effort had revealed that the least controversial senior professors were not interested in leaving their eminent posts, and the younger and more controversial ones had not found a receptive audience among my colleagues. Rather than repeat the earlier baffled searches, I corresponded with prominent older scholars who were above the field’s polarization, asking if they had recent or current students who deserved consideration and might be free of the bitterness of their seniors. After getting almost a dozen recommendations, I started reading just-finished or almost-finished dissertations of young candidates.

I circulated the more promising of these pieces of work to other members of the search committee, we conferred, and we agreed on what seemed an ideal candidate. She came with an enthusiastic recommendation from a famous scholar at the University of Chicago, who called her the best doctoral student he had ever had. Her dissertation was not complete, but it was already so solid that we sent it around the whole department and invited her to Evanston for an interview. She was asked searching questions, which was the praiseworthy practice of our history department, and she answered them carefully but timidly. She was understandably intimidated by a barrage of people determined to show they were not going to hire a woman unless she was above any suspicion of being chosen mainly or even partly because of her gender. Some said granting a position on the basis of an unfinished dissertation would set a bad precedent. I argued that her other work and interests, along with the championing of her adviser at the University of Chicago, made it certain that she would get the doctorate with honors. But she was rejected. I was so disgusted that I resigned my tenure as the Henry Luce Professor at Northwestern. I had spent most of a year hunting for this superbly qualified woman. I saw the same consideration at work that made us lose the two A-level women professors.

The university president, Arnold Weber, invited me to lunch to talk over my resignation. He asked me what had made me take such a rare step. I said I could not do the tasks rightly asked of me as a tenured professor: the time-consuming meetings for hiring, for firing, for tenure advancement, for curriculum changes, for debate on affirmative action and diversity. I told President Weber that these were appropriate debates, but I did not want to be perpetually embroiled in them. He said I could be excused from such debates and still maintain my tenure; but I did not think that was fair to other tenured members of the department. I said I could maintain a light teaching load as an adjunct professor spared all duties of tenure while I concentrated on writing books and long articles of political reportage for The New York Review of Books.

Read the entire piece here.

Sam Wineburg Demonstrates Historical Thinking

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Sam Wineburg, the world’s leading scholar on K-12 historical thinking, turns to his Twitter feed to show us how it is done.  Teachers take note:

Do you want to learn more about Wineburg’s work?  Check out his appearance on Episode 52 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.

Movies About Women of Color in History CAN Make Money

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Over at VOX, film critic and The Kings College (NYC) English professor Alyssa Wilkinson interviews Gregory Allen Howard, the writer of the screenplay for Harriet. Wilkinson writes: “it’s surprising that Harriet is the first biopic about such an important woman in American history, considering how this is an industry that loves making historical biopics — surprising, that is, until you remember that Hollywood has typically exhibited skepticism toward the idea that movies led by women and people of color can make money.”

Here is a taste of the interview:

Wilkinson: Hollywood has taken a really long time to accept the fact that movies about black people might be told on screen, and that audiences would embrace them. Were there any movies over the years that showed you what could happen if that ever changed?

Howard: Of course, and there are movies that proved that to my producers, too. For [producer] Debra [Martin Chase], it was Hidden Figures. Mine is 12 Years a Slave. See, what I had heard for all those years was, “Nobody’s going to pay to see the slave movie, Greg. Get out of my office.” But I said, “But it doesn’t matter. If the movie’s good, people will see it.”

“No, we don’t want it,” I’d hear back. “No one’s going to pay to see a slave story.” I swear to God, I heard that for over 20 years.

And then 12 Years a Slave came out and did massive business. It made almost $200 million worldwide. That’s when I took [Harriet]off the shelf again. And I said, “You can’t tell me what you’ve been telling me all this time.” And they said, “Yeah, but see, that was a different movie.” They came up with a different excuse.

But the truth was that the business was changing. If this movie has been made 10 years ago, it would’ve been an outlier, and no one in town wants to be an outlier. Fear drives our industry, and I don’t know that anybody’s ever gotten fired for passing on a movie.

But boy, if you say yes to something, or even go fight for it, you’re risking your career. You’re certainly risking your job.

Read the entire interview here.

Sunday Night Odds and Ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Slavery and Jefferson’s university

Daniel Immerwahr reviews Jill Lepore, This America: The Case for the Nation and These Truths: A History of the United States

History and wonder

Two new books on Mormon women

A Catholic writer analyzes Attorney General William Barr’s speech at Notre Dame

White identity politics

The reinvention of Thanksgiving

Michael Gorra reviews three books on race and memory

David Hollinger reviews Matthew Sutton, Double Crossed: The Missionaries Who Spied for the United States During the Second World War

On the death of John Qunicy Adams

The editor of the National Review goes after Howard Zinn and defends nationalism

Trump Cabinet’s Bible teacher

Alex von Tunzelmann reviews Matthew Lockwood, To Begin the World Over Again: How the American Revolution Devastated the Globe

Kevin Kruse on thinking historically in public

John Fabian Witt reviews Eric Foner, The Second Founder: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution

Americans dealing with witches

Hope

A *Washington Post* Foreign Policy Reporter “Discovers” the Evangelical King Cyrus-Donald Trump Comparison

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I know The Washington Post is a big newspaper, but reporters such as Ishaan Tharoor should touch base with the paper’s religion beat before writing stories like “The Trump administration’s obsession with ancient Persian emperor.”  Tharoor makes it sounds like he uncovered something here.  In reality, religion writers have been covering this Cyrus story for nearly three years. See here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

I’m Confused. Is Trump the New King Cyrus, Queen Esther, or Daniel?

Court evangelical Jim Garlow, who recently co-authored a book with GOP activist David Barton, posted an image of Donald Trump in a lion’s den with the words: “Sometimes one picture says it all.”  He posted it on both Facebook and Twitter.  (I think he may have removed the pic from Twitter since I can’t seem to find it).

Garlow Lion

So I am really confused.

Is Trump the new King Cyrus?

Is Trump the new Queen Eshter?

Or is he the new Daniel?

Who will be next?  Any predictions?

Karen Swallow Prior Says More About Why She Left Liberty University

Author and educator Karen Swallow Prior. Courtesy photo

Background here and here.

Here is a taste of Richard Chumney’s piece at the Lynchburg News & Advance:

Karen Swallow Prior, a longtime English professor at Liberty University and a high-profile voice in the evangelical movement, will leave the school next year due to mounting frustrations over what she said is an administration-led campaign toward standardization that limits academic independence.

“For me, teaching is an art and I need the freedom to express that art,” Prior, who has accepted a position at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, said in an interview this week.

“A smaller school like Southeastern — that’s even more traditional in its curriculum and in its classroom methods — is a better fit for me now and my teaching style,” she added.

At the heart of Prior’s concern is what she called Liberty’s growing emphasis on “a business model of education,” in which university administrators have demanded greater standardization and an increasing level of oversight of instructors.

“A lot of these changes, especially as they trickle down, end up requiring me to check more boxes, to teach different classes outside my expertise and to follow along with new regulations and policies that make me less freer to practice this art,” she said.

Scott Lamb, Liberty’s senior vice president for communications and public engagement, declined to discuss Prior’s resignation, calling it is a personnel matter. He did, however, say that recent academic changes have been made with an eye toward cultivating student success. 

“In a system this big, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve the student experience,” Lamb said. “We’re focused on student success and the professors, I think, understand that. We haven’t gotten complaints from the professors.”

Read the entire piece here.

For the Court Evangelicals, Impeachment is a Spiritual Battle

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Over the past couple of weeks several reporters have asked me if I think impeachment will draw conservative evangelicals away from Donald Trump. At this point, I can’t imagine such a thing happening. As I recently told The Huffington Post, impeachment will only rally parts of the evangelical base.

Here, for example, is court evangelical Robert Jeffress:

No Bob Jefffress–the attempt to impeach Trump has nothing to do with the “traditional faith values of millions of Americans.”

Jeffress and other court evangelicals are incapable of believing Trump did anything wrong. Sure, they will admit he is a sinner. But God uses sinners to fulfill his purpose. Trump is God’s anointed. He was elected to restore America to its Christian roots and, like King Cyrus of old, lead evangelicals out of the captivity of the Obama era. How could the attempt to impeach him be any thing other than a demonic attempt to thwart God’s plan for America?

Scot McKnight: “I can think of no good thing that has happened to evangelicalism as a result of its alliance to the Republican party. All I can think of are negative things”

File Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with Jerry Falwell Jr. at a campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Biblical scholar and theologian Scot McKnight recently visited Oklahoma Christian University (OCU).  Here is a taste of an article from The Talon, the OCU student newspaper:

In a Q&A following the speech, McKnight did not hesitate to call out multiple facets of modern-day Christianity. He began by commenting on the contradiction of party politics with the evangelical faith.

“I think it is undeniable that the church in the United States is declining in its numbers, but it is clearly declining in its significance in our culture,” McKnight said. “I think it was a massive mistake in the 1970s and 80s when James Kennedy, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell decided to align that group of evangelical fundamentalists with the Republican party.”

Continuing in this line of thought, McKnight went on to state a thought surmised by many evangelical thinkers of our time.

“I can think of no good thing that has happened to evangelicalism as a result of its alliance to the Republican party. All I can think of are negative things,” McKnight said. “I’m not taking a political position. I would call myself a classic conservative. I’m not a Republican, I’m a Christian. I believe that we have made undeniable damage to the church’s witness because we align ourselves so much with political parties.”

Read the entire piece here.