“He quit because of the madness”

mattis

Some great reporting Washington Post reporting here (27 current and former White House officials) on the Mattis departure:

Here is a taste:

President Trump began Thursday under siege, listening to howls of indignation from conservatives over his border wall and thrusting the government toward a shutdown. He ended it by announcing the exit of the man U.S. allies see as the last guardrail against the president’s erratic behavior: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose resignation letter was a scathing rebuke of Trump’s worldview.

At perhaps the most fragile moment of his presidency — and vulnerable to convulsions on the political right — Trump single-handedly propelled the U.S. government into crisis and sent markets tumbling with his gambits this week to salvage signature campaign promises.

The president’s decisions and conduct have led to a fracturing of Trump’s coalition. Hawks condemned his sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Conservatives called him a “gutless president” and questioned whether he would ever build a wall. Political friends began privately questioning whether Trump needed to be reined in.

Read the rest here.

And then, as if the chaos was not bad enough, last night Trump sent out Stephen Miller to try to calm things down:

Or maybe Miller sent himself out.  He may be running the country right now.

A Trump Cult?

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Trump greets supporters after a campaign event in Bentonville Regional Airport near Bentonville

Writing at The New Republic, Alexander Hurst wonders if Trump supporters make-up a kind of cult.  He writes, “Millions of Americans are blindly devoted to their Dear Leader.  What will it take for them to snap out of it?”  Here is a taste:

Personality cults are a hallmark of populist-autocratic politics. The names of the various leaders are practically synonymous with their movements: Le Pen, Farage, Duterte, Orbán, Erdogan, Chávez, Bolsonaro, Putin. Or if we were to dip farther back into history: Castro, Franco, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin. Like religious cult leaders, demagogues understand the importance of setting up an in-group/out-group dynamic as a means of establishing their followers’ identity as members of a besieged collective.

Trump, like the populist authoritarians before and around him, has also understood (or, at least, instinctually grasped) how indispensable his own individual persona is to his ultimate goal of grasping and maintaining power. Amidst his string of business failures, Trump’s singular talent has been that of any con man: the incredible ability to cultivate a public image. Of course, Trump did not build his cult of followers—his in-group—ex nihilo; in many ways, the stage was set for his entrance. America had already split into two political identities by the time he announced his campaign for president in 2015, not just in terms of the information we consume, but down to the brands we prefer and the stores we frequent. And so with particularly American bombast and a reality TV star’s penchant for manipulating the media, Trump tore pages from the us-against-them playbook of the European far right and presented them to a segment of the American public already primed to receive it with religious fervor.

In an interview with Pacific Standard, Janja Lalich, a sociologist who specializes in cults, identified four characteristics of a totalistic cult and applied them to Trumpism: an all-encompassing belief system, extreme devotion to the leader, reluctance to acknowledge criticism of the group or its leader, and a disdain for nonmembers. Eileen Barker, another sociologist of cults, has written that, together, cult leaders and followers create and maintain their movement by proclaiming shared beliefs and identifying themselves as a distinguishable unit; behaving in ways that reinforce the group as a social entity, like closing themselves off to conflicting information; and stoking division and fear of enemies, real or perceived.

Read the entire piece here.

Believe Me 3d

I don’t want to debate whether or not pro-Trumpers are part of a cult, but I am struck by the fact that Hurst does not mention conservative evangelicals in his analysis.  Granted, not all of the 81% of self-identified white evangelicals who voted for Trump wear MAGA hats and scream “lock her up “at Trump events.  But a lot of them do. (I am reminded of the time Trump came to Harrisburg, PA during the campaign and I saw some members of my local church standing in line waiting to get into the rally).

Maybe instead of trying to figure out how many white evangelicals actually voted for Trump we should be trying to figure out how many people are members of the “cult.”

Court Evangelical Eric Metaxas Says Maria Butina is Probably Innocent

metaxas-at-party

Prominent court evangelical and Trump water-carrier Eric Metaxas believes that Maria Butina, the alleged Russian spy who pleaded guilty to conspiracy as a Russian agent, is innocent.  Warren Throckmorton has it covered.

Here is a taste of his post:

For Metaxas to believe Butina’s agreement was forced, he has to believe the Dept. of Justice is incredibly corrupt. Butina was represented by counsel and agreed that she was an agent of Russia in violation of federal law.  Her plea agreement refers to various documents which they have in their possession. They have text messages and emails with the information described in the plea agreement.

I don’t know how Metaxas will explain Butina’s agreement. Did the DOJ kidnap this girl and pin an espionage charge on her? Did the DOJ make up all of these events and communications? Did they really threaten to keep her in solitary confinement for a year if she refused to sign a false statement? Is her attorney in on the conspiracy too?

Butina was a guest on Metaxas’s radio program.  You can listen to that conversation here.

*Newsweek* Cover Story Tackles Young Evangelicals and Politics

newsweek evangelical coverYou can read Nina Burleigh’s piece here.   A taste:

In the 2018 midterms, exit polls showed, white evangelicals backed Republicans by 75 to 22 percent, while the rest of the voting population favored Democrats 66 to 32 percent. But evangelicals were slightly less likely to support House Republicans in 2018 than they were to support Trump in 2016—which may have contributed to the Democrats’ pickup of House seats. Trump’s support actually declined more among white evangelical men than women. The 11-point gender gap between evangelical men and women from 2016 shrank to 6 in the midterms.

To be sure, evangelical Christians have been rewarded for their support of Trump after enduring eight years wandering in Barack Obama’s political desert. They have two new conservative Supreme Court justices, and there have been nine self-professed evangelical Cabinet members, plus a flurry of laws and executive orders clamping down on gender roles, abortion and LGBTQ rights. But experts say this may represent the last bounty for a waning political power. Unlike their parents, the younger generation is not animated by the culture wars; many are pushing for social justice for migrants and LGBTQ people and campaigning against mass incarceration—positions more in line with the Democratic Party.

The result is a shrinking conservative bloc, something that could weaken white Christian political power—and, consequently, a Republican Party that has staked its future on its alliance with the religious right. It’s a conundrum that the father of modern GOP conservatism, Barry Goldwater, predicted in 1994: “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem.”

Read the entire piece here.

I dabble a bit with these issues in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump and people ask about young evangelicals and Trump when I am on the road with the book. But I am apt to let the sociologists and political scientists talk about future trends.  Having said that, here are a few thoughts about Burleigh’s piece:

  • Young evangelicals are disgusted by Trump.  Some have left evangelical churches and others have abandoned Christianity altogether.  I have met many of these folks on the book tour trail.  On the other hand, sociologists and political scientists tell us that the connection between young evangelicals and the GOP remains strong.
  • Russell Moore is NOT the “president of the Southern Baptist Convention.”  He is president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Church.
  • I think it will be interesting to see what happens once the Moral Majority generation fades from the scene.  The Christian Right voters that learned how to engage politics from the likes of Jerry Falwell are still alive and still voting.  These, of course, are many of the folks who voted for Trump based upon his promise of conservative Supreme Court justices and “religious liberty” issues.
  • Punditry, commentary and even scholarship on younger evangelicals has been around for a long time. In 1974, writer Richard Quebedeaux equated the “younger evangelicals” with the evangelical left and a commitment to social justice.  In 2002, theologian Robert E. Webber said that “the younger evangelicals” were interested in what he called “the ancient-future faith,” a Christian faith that was more historical and liturgical in nature.  James Davison Hunter also wrote about young evangelicals.

Need a Christmas gift?  It’s not too late.  Buy it at Hearts & Minds Bookstore.

Believe Me 3d

The “Bottomless Pinocchio”

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive in Rihad, Saudi Arabia,

The Washington Post Fact Checker has introduced a new dishonesty rating custom-made for the Trump era: the “Bottomless Pinocchio.” The newspaper says the new tier will be issued to politicians who “repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.” In order to be awarded the Bottomless Pinocchio, the claims must have received three or four Pinocchios from the Fact Checker, and must have been repeated 20 times. Fourteen statements made by Trump already qualify for the list—no other politician has yet been given the dubious honor. In an article announcing the introduction of the new level, the  condemns Trump and says: “He is not merely making gaffes or misstating things, he is purposely injecting false information into the national conversation.” The most repeated falsehood so far, according to the Fact Checker, is Trump’s assertion that his tax cut was the biggest in history, followed by his exaggerations of the size of U.S. trade deficits.

Source

More On Trump and the Apostles Creed

Several evangelicals, of various political persuasions, have weighed in.

On the court evangelical side:

Robert Jeffress spoke to the Huffington Post:

Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas Church in Texas and another one of Trump’s evangelical supporters, told HuffPost in an email that he’s heard Trump recite the Lord’s Prayer at a White House dinner and sing a Christian hymn at Billy Graham’s funeral. The criticism over the president’s failure to recite the Apostles’ Creed was a “manufactured controversy” created by “perennial Trump haters” who want to insert a wedge between the president and “his unshakable evangelical base,” Jeffress said.

The pastor said that there are times he doesn’t recite the scriptures or sing hymns in his own church because he’s distracted.

“I imagine the leader of the free world has a few things on his mind, as well!” Jeffress wrote.

In addition, Jeffress said that Trump’s actions are ultimately what matter the most, citing a Bible verse that states that faith without works or actions is dead.

“Historic Christianity teaches that it is not the words of a creed we mouth that make us a Christian, but the faith in Christ we embrace,” Jeffress wrote. “By his works, President Trump has become the most faith-friendly president in history.”  

And here is progressive Christian Rachel Held Evans:

And others of note:

In Defense of Trump on the Apostles Creed

Trump creed

Patrick Nugent, a self-described “liberal evangelical” in the Quaker tradition, thinks Trump did the right thing by not reciting the Apostles Creed at the George H.W. Bush funeral.  Here is a taste of his piece at The Washington Post:

The Apostles’ Creed is not just a prayer one can or should recite out of courtesy for the sake of show, good manners or good taste.

The Creed — or any Christian creed — is a statement of belief and a public commitment to very specific, carefully enumerated theological doctrines. It is not a bland, generic greeting-card prayer addressing an impersonal creator, a “force,” “the universe” or “the spirit of goodness” that could conceivably be uttered by anybody of any religious perspective or none at all.

I admit entirely that the Trumps’ abstention could well have been motivated by cluelessness, inattention, bad taste, bad manners, unfamiliarity, distraction or any number of other things. But the bottom line is that they abstained from reciting aloud, in public, a personal commitment to the truth of very specific, classic, ancient Christian doctrines.

The president participated in a public ceremony in his capacity as head of state, not as a Presbyterian (which is how he has identified himself). As such, he has no obligation to declare those theological truths, or any others, aloud in public. In fact, I’d suggest, he has an obligation not to do so if he disagrees with any of them, or all of them, or doesn’t especially care, or isn’t sure, or doesn’t understand — or just thinks the president should be theologically neutral in public.

Read the entire piece here.  What do you think?

Frankly, I think Nugent thinks more highly about Trump’s theological and ecclesiastical astuteness than I  do.

Deconstructing the “Paranoid Style in American Politics”

ParanoidIn the age of Trump, many are saying that we are witnessing a resurgence of a phenomenon that historian Richard Hofstadter once called “the paranoid style of American politics.” Over at The Baffler, UC-Davis historian Kathryn Olmsted traces the history of the “paranoid style” and how it may or may not be employed in today’s political climate.  Here is a taste of her piece:

Hofstadter also highlighted another common trope in right-wing rhetoric that’s relevant to today’s politics: the curious sense of loss among Americans on the right. Their anger, he argued, stemmed from their sense of dispossession, even though many of them were relatively well off. They believed, he said, that “America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion.”

Many scholars today have commented on this sense of dispossession among Trump supporters. Sociologist Arlie Hochschild captured this sentiment in the title of her book on the worldview of rural white voters, Strangers in Their Own Land. The rural white people who Hochschild interviewed felt angry at “line-cutters”: immigrants and people of color who, they believed, had jumped the queue in front of patient, hard-working white Americans like them, and were rewarded with welfare checks and affirmative action jobs. Hofstadter might call this fear that someone will take your place in line—i.e., push you out of your rightful spot in the social order—just another form of status anxiety.

Finally, even back in the 1960s, Hofstadter remarked on the skepticism of science and contempt for expertise among Americans on the right. The paranoid spokesman, he said, was not open to new ideas, scientific studies, or scholarly arguments. “He has all the evidence he needs; he is not a receiver, he is a transmitter.” This phrase could have been written about the most passionate Trump supporters during the 2016 presidential race. The Oxford Dictionaries picked “post-truth” as their word of the year for 2016, or the word “chosen to reflect the passing year in language,” and defined it as circumstances in which “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Trump was not embarrassed that his sources or his facts might be wrong; “All I know is what’s on the internet,” he said at one point during the campaign.

Read the entire piece here.

Would the Coverage of George H.W. Bush’s Death Look Different if He Did Not Die in the Age of Trump?

Bush Obama

Noble. Civil. Classy. Kind. Gentle. Hopeful. Dignified. Selfless. Honest. Wise. Beloved. Modest. Hero. Leader. Moral. Courageous.

These are all words that have been used to describe George H.W. Bush since he passed away this weekend.  Of course there are many writers on the Left who have complicated this glowing perspective, but as I watch his state funeral right now I am essentially listening to commentators describe the anti-Donald Trump.

What if Trump Were a Democrat?

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in Janesville

George Marsden teaches us all an important lesson in historical empathy.  Here is a taste of his guest post at The Anxious Bench:

For those who are (as I am) puzzled and sometimes troubled by how so many fellow believers support and even celebrate Donald Trump and so seem to be ready to subordinate some of their religious and moral convictions to political expediency, I suggest a thought experiment:

Let’s suppose that in some slightly altered historical circumstances, Trump, or someone a lot like Trump, had decided he had a better chance playing the role of a populist Democrat.

Then, by promising everything to almost everyone, he had unexpectedly been elected.

Even if the Democratic Trump would have had to hide his racism, he would have been the same in his essential dishonesty, his constant attacks on the line between fact and fiction, his narcissism, his background of corruption, his record of exploitation of women (despite the Democratic Trump claiming to champion of equality and male accountability), his lack of discernible principle, his disdain for the Constitution and the rule of law, his intimations that his critics in the press should be suppressed, his vilification of his enemies, and his ignorance combined with reckless and ungenerous “America first” ventures in foreign policy.

At first, we can imagine, many principled Democrats would have deeply opposed his nomination and some would have declared themselves to be in the “NeverTrump” camp. But the rank and file would have been energized and many of the working classes would have been brought back to the party.

And then let’s say that the Democratic Trump administration would have succeeded in establishing a single-payer health-care system, tightened environmental regulations, instituted sensible gun-control laws, and appointed several Supreme Court justices who would ensure protections of progressive views for the next generation.

Read the rest here.

Evangelical Gaslighting

Dallas First

This summer I visited twelve independent bookstores to speak about my book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.  These were public talks sponsored by the stores.  I had no idea what kind of people would show-up.  I expected verbal sparring at nearly every stop. I girded my loins (to use a biblical phrase) and prepared each night to face Trump voters who I expected to respond to my book with angry dissent.  I tried to anticipate every pro-Trump talking point and prepared myself to answer to each one of them.

Things did not go as I expected.  I ran into a few rabid Trump supporters.  I also ran into many sober-minded, even thoughtful, Trump voters.  And, as you might expect at a book talk at an independent bookstore, I met a lot of folks who occupied a political space that is left of center.

But each night I also met people–sometimes many people–like Elizabeth Baker of Katy, Texas.  Here is what Baker had to say recently in a piece she wrote for the Huffington Post:

I don’t sleep through the night anymore. I suffer from near daily panic attacks and almost constant anxiety. The source of my joy, my security and my identity has vanished, leaving me with an angry grief that almost no one in my immediate circle understands. I have relationships that were once life-giving but have turned toxic. I feel manipulated, deceived and abused. And why?

The church that raised me is gaslighting me.

I am a 39-year-old, white, straight, suburban mom. And I am a Christian ― at least I think I still am. I grew up in a privileged bubble, in deep red Republican country, where identifying as a Christian didn’t set me apart from the majority of my peers. Being a Christian certainly wasn’t any risk to my life or reputation. I spent my childhood in Sunday school, church camp and youth group, learning Bible stories about heroes who battled a giant with a slingshot, survived a lions’ den due to unshakable faith, and led an entire group of people out of slavery and into a promised land.

The church also taught me the story of Jesus, the son of God, whom God sent to earth as a defenseless human infant. Jesus spent 33 completely sinless years on this planet, only to be brutally murdered as a sacrifice for me, because of me. I was born with my sinful nature and no matter how good I try to be, how many prayers I pray or Bible study gatherings I attend, I am ultimately a sinner ― and the wages of sin is death. According to the church, I deserve death, simply for existing.

But the church also claims there’s good news! Even though I deserve death, Jesus’ bloody crucifixion and subsequent bodily resurrection saves me from a fiery eternal hell ― all because I believe this supernatural story and earnestly accept the gift of his grace. And because of this sacrifice, I owe him a lifetime of gratitude, worship and a commitment to follow his commandments (even though, because of my human flesh, I will always ultimately fail him).

Night after night men and women like Baker waited in line for me to sign their books and tell me their stories.  One young man thanked me for writing the book and then said that he felt more at home spiritually in the bookstore that night than he usually does at his own evangelical church.  His eyes were filled with tears as he told me about the like-minded people he met in the audience and how freeing it was to talk to them.  It was clear that many of these folks had a lot to get off their chests about evangelicalism and they saw me as a sympathetic ear.  Sometimes I tried to offer encouragement, other times I joined them in their lament, sometimes I prayed with them, but most of the time I just listened.  (And if you know me, listening is not always one of my strong suits.  I’m working on it, though!).

I did not expect this.

As I read Baker’s piece, I thought again about all the people I met this summer.  Here is another taste:

It simply does not matter to the evangelical church that Trump is racist and that his dehumanizing rhetoric is emboldening radicals and costing Americans their lives. Americans are dying in mass shootings at the hands of white supremacists, while the church is celebrating the nation’s return to traditional values. For Christians who reject the MAGA mindset, this is absolute crazy making.

No wonder I live with crippling anxiety and spiritual trauma. The church that warned me against moral relativism now calls me a heretic when I apply the very principles they taught me to real situations, with real stakes for real people. I don’t know where to turn or whom to trust. Is any of it true? Have I wasted my life on a religion that hurts more than it helps?

I stopped attending church regularly almost two years ago, but I am more invested in my spiritual life than ever before. Although I’ve lost the majority of my local Christian community, save for a few precious friends, I still cling to the true teachings and example of Jesus to inform my politics and moral code. I now understand that Scripture pays more attention to serving the needs of the oppressed than to regulating their lifestyle. Sin is not as much about my behavior as it is about my inability to love people well.

Meanwhile, I’ve diversified my bookshelf, podcast subscriptions and Twitter feed to include voices speaking truth to power from the perspective of marginalized people ― the same voices that the Trump administration continually tries to silence. I’ve joined online communities of people also working through spiritual trauma and gaslighting by the evangelical church. This fall, I attended the Evolving Faith conference, a gathering of more than 1,500 people in different stages of the deconstructing of their faith. As I’ve worked through my grief and anger, I’ve discovered I am not as isolated as I once believed. My hope is to someday find a local church again, one that is progressive, open and affirming, but I am not actively searching.

I wish the evangelical church would wake up and realize how many of us there are out there feeling manipulated and abused. This community of wanderers is dealing with grief both privately and collectively. Together we weep, we rage and we try to rebuild what’s left of our shattered spiritual lives. Healing is slow and it’s painful. I’m working hard to separate the true, worthy parts of Christianity from the bullshit. I do hope to return to church someday, but I will never again be gaslighted by an institution that sells out Jesus for political power.

Read Baker’s entire piece here.  There are a lot of folks out there who will recognize her spiritual struggles because they are also their struggles.  Perhaps Trump really is changing the course of American Christianity

An Evangelical-Voters Typology for the Age of Trump

Trump court evangelicals

Most of the people in this picture–the court evangelicals– would probably fall into categories 1-2 below.

I just discovered religion journalist Terry Mattingly’s “evangelical-voters typology.” (I am assuming he means “white” evangelicals).  He lays out six types of white evangelical approaches to Donald Trump.  If you are a white evangelical, which category best fits your relationship to the POTUS?

(1) Many evangelicals supported Trump from the get-go. For them, Trump is great and everything is going GREAT.

(2) Other evangelicals may have supported Trump early on, but they have always seen him as a flawed leader — but the best available. They see him as complicated and evolving and are willing to keep their criticisms PRIVATE.

(3) There are evangelicals who moved into Trump’s tent when it became obvious he would win the GOP nomination. They think he is flawed, but they trust him to – at least – protect their interests, primarily on First Amendment issues.

(4) Then there are the lesser-of-two-evils Trump evangelicals who went his way in the general election, because they could not back Hillary Clinton under any circumstances. They believe Trump’s team has done some good, mixed with quite a bit of bad, especially on race and immigration. They think religious conservatives must be willing to criticize Trump — in public.

(5) There are evangelicals who never backed Trump and they never will. Many voted for third-party candidates. They welcome seeing what will happen when Trump team people are put under oath and asked hard questions. … However, they are willing to admit that Trump has done some good, even if in their heart of hearts they’d rather be working with President Mike Pence.

(6) Folks on the evangelical left simply say, “No Trump, ever.” Anything he touches is bad and must be rejected. Most voted for Clinton and may have yearned for Bernie Sanders.

I am probably in group 6, although I don’t define myself as part of the “evangelical left.”  (Although I am not sure I really have any other place to go right now).

If 81% of white evangelicals voters pulled a lever for Trump, they would all find themselves in the first four categories.  I would like to see a breakdown of the 81% by these six categories.

Why You Should Hit the Golf Links With a Trump Evangelical

Trump golf

Daniel J. Conny’s November 26, 2018 letter to The Buffalo News sums it up pretty well:

Evangelical Christians (and other God-fearing folk) have taken to looking the other way when it comes to President Trump’s ethical and moral shortcomings. The president’s pattern of behavior is forgiven because he is unconventional but delivers on key issues.

Pastor Robert Jeffress observed that, “Evangelicals knew they weren’t voting for an altar boy when they voted for Donald Trump.”

Rather than attempt to deny or defend Stormy Daniels’ allegation that she had an affair with Trump, Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, simply said: “We kind of gave him – ‘All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here.’”

In amateur golf, a mulligan is an extra stroke allowed after a poor shot. The President has been granted multiple mulligans in the case of what many religious folks have traditionally held to be guiding life principles. Some examples:

• Fidelity in marriage is to be honored. At best, Trump has a checkered marriage history. Ignore “for better or worse.”

• Honesty is a virtue. 6,000+ lies and counting.

• Do not incite resentment for individuals of another race or religion. Charlottesville. Muslim ban. “Invading” caravan. Ignore “we are all God’s children.”

• Honor the family. Trump separated children from their parents – some never to be rejoined.

While I disagree that ends justify means, evangelicals are more welcome to join my foursome the next time I tee it up. Their generosity with mulligans would help my score.

Daniel J. Conny

Orchard Park

A Suggestion for that Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) Purchase

Believe Me 3dYou just returned from Thanksgiving dinner with your family.  Members of your family are Trump supporters and evangelical Christians.  Political debates took place over turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie.  You held firm to your anti-Trump convictions, but you struggled to persuade many of your pro-Trump family members.

You are already thinking about the upcoming December holidays.  How will you be able to convince your evangelical family members (civilly, of course) that hitching their wagons to Trump is a bad idea?

Perhaps this resource might help.  You have about a month to read it before Christmas.  🙂 (It also makes a great Christmas gift!).

Thank You Lisa Sharon Harper!

Lisa Sharon Harper

Over at Sojourners, Christian writer, cultural critic, and fellow New Jerseyan Lisa Sharon Harper calls out white evangelicals for their support of Donald Trump.  Here is a taste of her “Open Letter White Evangelicals“:

Politics is the conversations we have and the decisions we make about how we should live together. You have claimed that your political support for Trump is not a reflection of your own beliefs about race but is about issues such as abortion—appointing more conservative judges to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. But PRRI and The Atlantic have revealed a deeper reason for your support. When their 2018 Voter Engagement Survey asked many of you if you believed the nation would be better or worse off when people of color are in the majority, 52 percent of you responded that the impact would be “mostly negative.” It seems many of you want a white nation.

It is no wonder, then, that so many of you have supported Trump with unwavering loyalty. He promised you the golden crown, the Supreme Court, the key to winning your culture war and winning back white supremacy. He is holding up his end of the deal—and so are you.

At best, many of you have been silent. At worst, many of you have led cheers for Trump as he separated families and left babies on floors in cages, removed protection from refugees, threatened people of color through changes in the courts and policing system, removed protection from poor communities and communities of color threatened by toxic dumping on their lands, proposed removing funding from poor schools, and tried hard to remove health insurance from 30 million struggling individuals.

White evangelical church, this is your witness. You have become evidence of forces hell-bent on subordinating people of color and crushing the image of God. Repent and believe the gospel.

Read the entire letter here.

Why did so many white evangelicals vote for Donald Trump?  I tried to offer some reasons here.

A Trump Thanksgiving

The Washington Post described Trump’s speech to the world from Mar-a-Lago as “rhetorical bedlam.”

Here is a taste of Josh Dawsey’s piece:

Asked what he was most thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day — a question that for commanders in chief usually prompts praise of service members in harm’s way — Trump delivered a singularly Trumpian answer.

“I made a tremendous difference in our country,” he said, citing himself.

And this:

Beneath a gold ceiling, Trump told troops representing five branches in five countries overseas about “barbed wire plus . . . the ultimate” that was blocking migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Loquacious and hopping from topic to topic, he debated the merits of steam catapults vs. electromagnetic ones for aircraft carriers and whether the United States was being treated poorly on trade. On both occasions, perplexed officers on the other end of the phone seemed to disagree with his conclusions.

And this:

The president complained at length that a new Navy ship was using electromagnetic catapults to propel ships off boats. In his mind, Trump said, steam was far better — and he was incredulous the military would consider otherwise. “Would you go with steam or would you go with electromagnetic? Because steam is very reliable, and the electromagnetic, unfortunately, you have to be Albert Einstein to really work it properly,” Trump asked.

“You have to be Albert Einstein to run the nuclear power plants that we have here, as well. But we’re doing that very well. I would go, sir, with electromagnetic,” the officer responded.

And then there was this reference to “the Historical Society”:

He offered, without evidence, that Hillary Clinton had “probably” deleted more than 100,000 emails, a continuation of his long campaign to impugn her for using a private email system. At the same time, he defended Ivanka Trump’s use of a private email account for government business as “very innocent.” He said Ivanka’s private emails were all “in the Historical Society”; her lawyer has said they were forwarded to an official government server.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the President of the United States!

Read the entire piece here.

A Court Evangelical Weighs-In on Thanksgiving in the Age of Trump

donald-trump-and-pastor-paula-white

I will just let this one stand alone.  You can all have it.

Here is a taste of court evangelical Paula White’s op-ed at Florida Daily:

Thanksgiving Day is a unique tradition when America sets aside one day in the year to stop our busy lives, reflect on our blessings, and give thanks to God as one nation and one people.

This year, especially, we have strong reminders of how blessed we are by God as a nation, and that He sometimes uses the unlikeliest of people to accomplish the greatest of things.

After all, it’s hard not to appreciate everything that’s going right for our country this year. And, while you might not be where you want to be this holiday season, you’re probably in a much better situation than you used to be. That meaningful difference is thanks to the leadership of President Trump, who is himself guided largely by faith.

In fact, we can all learn a valuable lesson from President Trump about what a genuinely giving spirit looks like.

I’ll never forget the time I visited then-businessman Donald Trump in New York City with a friend of mine in ministry. After hearing about the work she was doing to minister to street prostitutes and abused women, Mr. Trump immediately called out to his assistant to retrieve his checkbook and cut a check, making a $10,000 donation to my friend’s organization.

That’s just one example of a phenomenon I witnessed time after time in my interactions with Donald Trump: his willingness to share some of his significant wealth on behalf of worthy causes without seeking recognition or adulation.

Despite perceptions and the caricature that the media use to portray him, that same humble outlook has characterized President Trump’s approach to his duties in the Oval Office.

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