Friday night court evangelical roundup

Court Evangelicals at Table

What have Trump’s evangelicals been saying since our last update?

Jentezen is worried about the radical left controlling churches:

Jack Graham is asking people to wear their military uniforms to church on Sunday. Why do white evangelicals always appeal to the Armed Forces, and only the Armed Forces, on July 4th?

I am really confused by both Paula White’s retweet and Samuel Rodriguez’s original tweet:

I am also confused by this tweet. What has history told us, Paula?

James Robison makes it sound like “profanity, pornography, and exploitation” are new things in America:

Robert Jeffress tweets the Great Commission:

I’ve always wondered why so many Christian Right preachers stop after Matthew 28:19. Don’t they realize that the Great Commission continues into verse 20: “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

If the Great Commission means we should be observing all Jesus commanded us, Christians should rejoice when persecuted (Mt.5:11-12), be agents of reconciliation (Mt. 5:23-25), tell the truth (Mt. 5:37), turn the other cheek (Mt. 5:38-42), love their enemies (Mt. 5:44-46), stop practicing their righteousness before men (Mt. 6:1), judge not (Mt. 7:1-3), not cast their pearls before pigs (Mt. 7:6), practice the Golden Rule (Mt. 7:12), follow the 81% narrow way (Mt. 7:13-14), beware of false prophets (Mt. 7:15-16), pray for laborers (Mt. 9:37-38), fear not (Mt. 10:28), defend their rights deny themselves (Lk 9:23-25), celebrate the poor (Luke 14:12-14), and welcome strangers (Mt. 25:35).

Jeffress is also mad about the California prohibition against singing in church. It looks like he got the news from the alt-Right, white nationalist website Breitbart:

Eric Metaxas is devoting his entire show today to re-running this.

Richard Land explains why we should still celebrate July 4th “amid this mayhem.” He uses his Christian Post editorial to attack critical race theory. Not a good look coming from the guy who said this.

Pastor Mark Burns thanks Trump for protecting Confederate monuments:

The Falkirk Center at Liberty University is using Edmund Burke to defend Confederate monuments and the white supremacy they represent.

I have many questions about this tweet, but here are two:

  1. Would the Falkirk Center feel the same way about George III, Parliament and British tyranny? Would they tear down monuments?
  2. Would the Falkirk Center like this “good, bad, and ugly” approach to American history to be applied to public school American history textbooks?

It looks like Trump will be “telling the truth” tonight in South Dakota. Here is what Falkirk Center spokesperson Jenna Ellis retweeted earlier today:

I am watching the crowd assembling at this event right now. No social distancing. No masks. The president’s job is to protect the people. This rally is immoral.

Until next time.

Is Traditionalism Experiencing a Revival at College and Universities?

PHC

Jeff Cimmino has a really interesting piece at The National Review on the rise of traditionalism (as opposed to free-market, classical liberalism) among conservatives on college campuses.

Here is a taste:

Young Americans are usually thought of as decidedly liberal. This is an oversimplified picture. A sizeable minority of Millennials identify as conservative. Despite some evidence that Millennial conservatives lean left on social issues, it would be wrong to write all of them off as libertarians. Some young conservatives, in fact, hold anti-libertarian attitudes, and their numbers may be increasing. Plainly speaking, these young conservatives hold socially and culturally conservative views. On the other hand, they are wary of individualism and free markets. They are not necessarily anti-capitalist, but fear that laissez-faire economic systems can be excessively cutthroat, prizing individual material gain above the wellbeing of the community.

This strain of conservative thought is closely related to the traditionalism of Russell Kirk, the 20th-century conservative political theorist who authored The Conservative Mind. Kirk identified ten foundational conservative principles. The first principle states that conservatives believe in an “enduring moral order.” Moral truths do not change with the times, and neither does human nature. “Conservatives are champions,” he continues, “of custom, convention, and continuity because they prefer the devil they know to the devil they don’t know.” Conservatives value private property because it is “closely linked” to freedom, but argue that “getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence.” Decisions directly affecting members of a community should be made “locally and voluntarily.” Regarding governance, conservatives recognize that human passions must be restrained: Order and liberty must be balanced. Moreover, a conservative “favors reasoned and temperate progress,” but does not worship Progress as some type of magical force. Young, anti-libertarian conservatives represent a new generation of traditionalists. And they are increasingly prominent on some college campuses.

Read the entire piece here.

If there is an upswing in traditionalism among conservative students on the campus where I teach, I am unaware of it.  That is not to say that such a resurgence is not happening, but I really doubt that most students are aware of these conservative thinkers and their contribution to Western culture.  I think I can confidently say that these works are very rarely ever assigned in classes.  I think that is a shame.

What Would Edmund Burke Say About Donald Trump?

Edmund-Burke-portrait-006

Edmund Burke

Over at the Anxious Bench blog, Baylor University historian Thomas Kidd wonders what the eighteenth-century English conservative Edmund Burke might say to Donald Trump.

Here is a taste:

Worst of all, Trump represents the opposite of what Burke called “virtuous liberty.” Uninformed about American history, and contemptuous of moral, familial obligations, Trump bases his campaign on zingers, nativism, and misogyny. About such characters, Burke warned that liberty without virtue or wisdom “is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.”

Read the entire post here.

Kidd argues that Trump’s ideas are much more suited to Thomas Paine than Edmund Burke.  He concludes:

Trump champions radical Paineism, masked by faux Burkeanism. Trumpism dispenses with vital American traditions in the name of restoring an illusory American past. For example, Trumpism denies, in the face of all the wisdom of the ages, that republics need wise, experienced, and virtuous leaders to survive.

Like a manic Paine, Trump would cast away the rules of war, constitutional checks and balances, and conventional financial practices, such as paying national debts. He’ll keep out all the Muslims, and round up and deport tens of millions of Hispanics. Somehow by doing so, we’ll get back the America of the 1950s. We’ll know we’re there when we can all say “Merry Christmas” again. It will be the Revolution of 2016. Believe me.

Andrew Bacevich Defines Conservativism

After blasting the type of conservatism found on the pages of The National Review and The Weekly Standard, Andrew Bacevich, writing in The American Conservative, offers a conservative alternative.  He calls it “Counterculture Conservatism.”  Here are some its characteristics:

  • Counterculture conservatism is NOT the “conservatism” of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, Ron Paul, Robert Murdoch, Mitt Romney, Karl Rove, or Grover Norquist.
  • Counterculture conservatism IS the “conservatism” of John Quincy Adams, Henry Adams, Randolph Bourne, Reinhold Niebuhr, Christopher Lasch, Flannery O’Connor, Wendell Berry, William Appleman Williams, and Frank Capra.
  • Counterculture conservatism protects things of lasting value.  It discriminates “between what is permanent and what is transient.”
  • Counterculture conservatism is skeptical of utopianism.
  • Counterculture conservatism celebrates community and “little platoons” (Burke) over individualism, appetite, and ambition.
  • Counterculture conservatism upholds a belief in Original Sin.
  • Counterculture conservatism favors the “local” over the “distance.”
  • Counterculture conservatism is patriotic, but does not “confuse country with state.”  America is not the military.
  • Counterculture conservatism favors change through “incremental” and “thoughtful” action.
  • Counterculture conservatism knows that it will be virtually impossible to dismantle the welfare state, outlaw abortion and gay marriage, and stop the “sexual revolution.”
  • Counterculture conservatism subordinates economic growth to the well-being of “planet Earth.”  (Bacevich: “conservatives should make common cause with tree-hugging, granola-crunching liberals”).  Sounds a lot like Rod Dreher here.
  • Counterculture conservatism opposes “the excesses of American militarism and the futility of neo-imperialistic impulses.” No neo-conservatism here.
  • Counterculture conservatism preaches fiscal responsibility
  • Counterculture conservatism believes children should be raised by traditional families.
  • Counterculture conservatism defends the health of churches and religious freedom

There is a lot here that I can embrace, if not champion.  Does that mean I am a conservative?

Himmelfarb on the Civil Society

Gertrude Himmelfarb (echoing Charles Murray’s conclusion in Coming Apart) believes that we need a revival of civil society in America.  Such a new “civic Great Awakening” (Murray’s phrase), she argues, must draw upon the views of older defenders of civil society such as Locke, Tocqueville, and Burke who wrote about the links between civil society and political association.

Here is a taste:

Today, in our anxiety about the excesses of individualism and statism, we may find ourselves looking upon civil society not merely as a corrective to those excesses but as a be-all and end-all, a sanctuary in itself, a sufficient habitat for the human spirit. What our forefathers impress upon us is a more elevated as well as a more dynamic view of civil society, one that exists in a continuum with “political society”—that is, government—just as “civil associations” do with “political associations,” “private affections” with “public affections,” and, most memorably, the “little platoon” with “a love to our country and to mankind.” This is civil society properly understood (as Tocqueville would say), a civil society rooted in all that is most natural and admirable—family, community, religion—and that is also intimately related to those other natural and admirable aspects of life, country and humanity.

Edmund Burke on Religious Dissent and the American Revolution

Over American Creation, “Mark in Spokane” has posted a lengthy quote from English statesman Edmund Burke on the relationship between dissenting Protestantism and the American Revolution.  The quote comes from Burke’s “Speech on Conciliation with the Colonies,” which was delivered on March 22, 1775. 

In this speech, Burke put forth six reasons why the people of the colonies loved liberty so much: their British heritage, their government, their religion (especially in the northern colonies), their manners (especially in the southern colonies), their education, and their remoteness. Burke concluded his speech by arguing that England should allow the colonies to be free. 

I encourage you to read the entire document.

As some of my readers know, I have been thinking of late about this idea that the American Revolution was a “Presbyterian rebellion.”  Though Burke does not mention Presbyterians, his speech makes a direct connection between Protestant dissent and the colonist’s love of liberty:

Religion, always a principle of energy, in this new people is no way worn out or impaired; and their mode of professing it is also one main cause of this free spirit. The people are Protestants; and of that kind which is the most adverse to all implicit submission of mind and opinion. This is a persuasion not only favourable to liberty, but built upon it. I do not think, Sir, that the reason of this averseness in the dissenting churches, from all that looks like absolute government, is so much to be sought in their religious tenets, as in their history. Every one knows that the Roman Catholic religion is at least coeval with most of the governments where it prevails; that it has generally gone hand in hand with them, and received great favour and every kind of support from authority. The Church of England too was formed from her cradle under the nursing care of regular government. But the dissenting interests have sprung up in direct opposition to all the ordinary powers of the world; and could justify that opposition only on a strong claim to natural liberty. Their very existence depended on the powerful and unremitted assertion of that claim. All Protestantism, even the most cold and passive, is a sort of dissent. But the religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance; it is the dissidence of dissent, and the Protestantism of the Protestant religion. This religion, under a variety of denominations agreeing in nothing but in the communion of the spirit of liberty, is predominant in most of the northern provinces; where the Church of England, notwithstanding its legal rights, is in reality no more than a sort of private sect, not composing most probably the tenth of the people. The colonists left England when this spirit was high, and in the emigrants was the highest of all; and even that stream of foreigners, which has been constantly flowing into these colonies, has, for the greatest part, been composed of dissenters from the establishments of their several countries, and have brought with them a temper and character far from alien to that of the people with whom they mixed.

Thanks, Mark in Spokane.