When devout evangelicals reject the advice of their pastors and decide to storm the U.S. Capitol

Peter Manseau, the curator of American religious history at the Smithsonian, tells the story of Michael Sparks, an evangelical Christian who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Here is a taste of his piece at The Washington Post:

The 43-year-old husband and father didn’t believe that he actually would, but he knew even just saying so fell short of the Christian witness he wanted to bring to the world. His pastor at Franklin Crossroads Baptist Church in Cecilia, Ky., advised him to leave Facebook. He considered it. Instead,the rage that had begun online led him to Washington, D.C., not long after the new year.

According to the FBI, Sparks was the first to enter the Capitol through a smashed window near the Ohio Clock Corridor. Wearing jeans, a light black jacket and eyeglasses, he crawled over broken glass to overturn a presidential election. In his booking photo from Kentucky’s Oldham County Detention Center taken 13 days later, he is wearing a T-shirt that reads “Armor of God” and cites a Bible verse, Ephesians 6:11: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

The attack on the Capitol was for many involved a Christian insurrection, urged along by passages of scripture and culminating with prayers intoned in the occupied Senate. But as Sparks’s story shows, his faith played a more complicated role in his journey to Jan. 6.While his social media posts make clear he connected the election and his religious beliefs, his church community had also been a force cautioning him against letting online resentment take over his life. That tension — religious rhetoric as a goad to extremism on the one hand; community accountability as a safeguard against it on the other — highlights the complex influence some churches have had through the past tumultuous months, and may yet in the future.

Read the rest here. Listen to our interview with Manseau in episode 75 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.

Sean Penn is confused

Some might say Sean Penn has been confused for a long time. There are indeed times when I can’t distinguish Penn from Jeff Spicoli. But in this post I am specifically referencing his recent tweet:

First, the passive voice!

Second, evangelical leaders are not under the authority of the Vatican. In fact, most of them are not under kind any religious authority. At this point, it might be worth referencing Molly Worthen’s book Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism.

White evangelicals love QAnon

Here is Jack Jenkins at Religion News Service:

A new survey reports more than a quarter of white evangelical Protestants believe a QAnon conspiracy theory that purports former President Donald Trump is secretly battling a cabal of pedophile Democrats, and roughly half express support for the debunked claim that antifa was responsible for the recent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Experts say the data point to a widening ideological divide not only between white evangelicals and other religious groups in the country, but also between white evangelical Republicans and other members of their own party.

The survey, which was conducted by the conservative American Enterprise Institute, reported 29% of Republicans and 27% of white evangelicals — the most of any religious group — believe the widely debunked QAnon conspiracy theory is completely or mostly accurate. QAnon has infiltrated other faiths as well, with 15% of white mainline Protestants, 18% of white Catholics, 12% of non-Christians, 11% of Hispanic Catholics and 7% of Black Protestants saying they believe it.

In addition, large subsets of each group — ranging from 37% of non-Christians to 50% of Hispanic Catholics — said they “weren’t sure” whether the theory was true.

Read the rest here.

There are clear links between QAnon calls for a “great awakening” and evangelical calls for a post-COVID “great awakening.” I’ve done preliminary research on this, but I still haven’t untangled the mess.

Evangelicals need to learn how to corporately confess their sins

I mentioned Skye Jethani‘s thoughts on corporate confession and repentance in one of my posts on Justo Gonzalez’s Teach Us To Pray: The Lord’s Prayer in the Early Church and Today. Yesterday at Religion News Service, Jethani developed a few of those points. Here is a taste:

Having spent 15 years traveling and speaking to groups across the landscape of American religion, I’ve realized the Christian discipline of confession — while common among Catholics, Anglicans, mainline Protestants and Orthodox believers — is largely absent in my own evangelical tradition.

Attend an evangelical church in the United States and you are more likely to find cushioned theater seats than a liturgy of confession or hear a prayer of repentance. And while other churches use Lent to reflect on their sinfulness in preparation for Easter, few evangelical churches acknowledge Lent at all, preferring to bypass the solemn season in favor of weekly “celebrations” more appealing to religious consumers. 

The 40 days of Lent have historically been a season for Christians to engage in confession and repentance. Lenten fasting (which has turned into giving up an indulgence like sweets or Netflix) was merely a way to facilitate self-examination by eliminating distractions and focusing on one’s inner life rather than outward comforts.

Read the rest here.

Evangelical politics, even among Trump voters, is not monolithic

I have been talking to a lot of evangelical pastors in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. A lot of them tell a more complex story about evangelical Christianity in America than the one currently found in the press and academic circles. And others tell a story about evangelical Christianity in America that is exactly the same as the one currently found in the press and academic circles.

I think Associated Press religion reporter’s Alana Schorr’s recent piece on evangelicals in Bluefield, West Virginia captures a lot of what I am hearing. Here is a taste:

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (AP) – If you’re Christian in Bluefield — and most everyone is, in this small city tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains — you have your choice.

You can follow Pastor Doyle Bradford of Father’s House International Church, who has forcefully backed Donald Trump — doubting Trump’s defeat in November and joining some congregants at the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally that degenerated into the Capitol riot.

Or you can go less than 3 miles away next to the rail yard, to Faith Center Church, where Pastor Frederick Brown regards Bradford as a brother — but says he’s seriously mistaken. Or you can venture up East River Mountain to Crossroads Church, where Pastor Travis Lowe eschews Bradford’s fiery political rhetoric, seeking paths to Christian unity.

The three churches have much in common. All of them condemn the desecration of the Capitol and pray for a way to find common ground. 

But they diverge on a central issue: What is the role of evangelical Christianity in America’s divisive politics? 

Read the rest here.

What do evangelicals around the world think about American evangelicals?

René Breuel is a native of Brazil who currently pastors an evangelical church Rome. He has led evangelical student movements in Brazil, Germany, Canada, and Italy and is the author of The Paradox of Happiness: Finding True Joy in a World of Counterfeits. Over at Christianity Today, Morgan Lee (have I mentioned she is a former student?) talks to Breuel about how evangelicals outside the United States view American evangelicals’ embrace of Donald Trump. Here is a taste of their conversation:

Do you remember any moments from his presidency when leaders outside the US expected white evangelical leaders to say something to rebuke him, and they did not?

Rene Breuel: Yes, I did. In all honesty, there are so many moments where you wish they did. Maybe this time, maybe this crisis, maybe this tweet, but often it did not come close to the moment which I think struck me the most, which was before his election in 2016 when the Access Hollywood tape came out. It was heartbreaking to see someone boasting joyfully of adultery, sexual assault, and grabbing women.

How can someone justify that? But people found a way, saying it’s locker room talk. I was very appreciative of people who spoke out, like Beth Moore. I think John Piper wrote an article about that. I remember, on the other hand, many who kept on, saying “Oh, the other side is worse. We cannot support it.” I remember specifically, I taught theological seminary for the first semester back then. One of the books I had assigned for people came from Grudem. Then he came out very strongly even after the Access Hollywood tape, suggesting Christians should vote for Trump.

There were a number of leaders, some who spoke out against, but I sense that many either didn’t or those who did, were lost in the course of those who supported the deceit vert strongly….

Do you remember hearing a different tone or a way of relating to things from American evangelical leaders who lived overseas or who were a bigger part of international communities?

Rene Breuel: Yes, I have. Certainly, I think it helps a lot when one lives outside the country and especially outside the media ecosystem, in being able to listen to a number of views and receive news in different languages. My experience is seeing people who retained their convictions and maybe aren’t as vocal because it’s a different society. At the same time, many who come to get a greater sense of perspective are able to see things more critically. Normally it becomes a matter of soul searching and pain.

There is division within families. For example, a missionary couple of mine here in Rome who do wonderful work was sharing with me how he was interacting with their parents who live in the Midwest and who have supported Trump throughout.

It was some delicate conversations right between children and parents of those who live outside the country and those who live within it. I had my own conversations with cousins who have moved to the US and are strong supporters. We have some good conversations, respectful conversations, but one gets the sense that it matters a lot where you live and the kinds of news you receive.

Do you think that the last four years has hurt the credibility of the American evangelical church? And if so, in what ways?

Rene Breuel: Yes, I’m sorry to say, but I think in part it has, though of course, it’s not a blanket statement. We can see nuances and they may be people who did not support Trump or voted for him reluctantly, the tough spot people of faith find themselves in a two-party system. But people being vocal, like Black Christians being vocal, was very helpful.

There is a feeling that the American evangelical church, at least in the past four years, lost part of its moral authority and spiritual leadership. Too many leaders, unfortunately, supported Trump noncritically, too many churchgoers supported Trump joyfully, and then too many prophets in the charismatic movement predicted a second term, which did not come to pass.

I sense that people are clear on the gospel of Christ, the cross and repentance, and faith in the new birth, but when it comes to the church’s relation to society, I think there’s something which will be helpful to think a little bit more about, like to what extent should we get involved in politics? How can we conceive of a public sphere in ways that are not political, trying to seek the common good without falling into partisanship? I think these are some key questions which of course I’ve been asked in the United States and people around the world as well.

As we can see, movements like that can happen and are happening in other countries. How we can be more nuanced and more thoughtful when it comes to supporting parties and candidates? Even with sharing some policy platforms, we can try to be a little bit more thoughtful about that.

Listen to the entire podcast interview here.

Breuel is correct, but the people who need to hear his words will either not listen to them or dismiss them. When your faith tells that you that the United States is exceptional because God has blessed it more than other nation, why would you listen to Christians from other countries?

Where are the evangelicals in this diverse cabinet?

Over at The Washington Post, Yonat Shimron examines the religious affiliations of the member of Biden’s cabinet. Here is a taste:

President Biden’s Cabinet is set to make history in a number of ways.

If all the nominees he has chosen are confirmed, the Cabinet — including the vice president, the heads of 15 executive departments and eight other key positions — will be the most racially and ethnically diverse ever. Among them are six African Americans, four Hispanics, three Asian Americans and one Native American.

Half the nominees are women — the most ever nominated for a presidential Cabinet.

In terms of their religious backgrounds, the Cabinet nominees are also diverse. Like Biden, the majority — at least eight — are Catholic.

But five Jews have also been nominated, two Black Baptists and, if the surgeon general is included (often not), two Hindus. (A handful of Cabinet picks do not appear to identify with any religion.)

I talked to Yonat for this story. She asked specifically about why Biden does not have an evangelical Christians in his cabinet. Here is what I said:

“Most evangelicals tend to lean Republican,” said John Fea, professor of American history at Messiah University.

And while White evangelicals could legitimately critique the omission, Fea said they probably won’t notice because, in their eyes, “an evangelical Democrat is not an evangelical, anyway.”

Frankly, it is doubtful that Biden thought about evangelical Christians when he set out to create the most diverse cabinet in U.S. history. Evangelical Christians make-up roughly 25% of the U.S. population. One might think that a president concerned about diversity would consider this. Of course, as I noted in the piece, qualified evangelicals are hard to find. But they are out there. What about civil rights activist Bryan Stevenson for Attorney General? How about Texas Tech professor Catherine Hayhoe for the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency? I am sure there are other evangelical Democrats out there who are qualified for other cabinet posts.

Addendum (11:49AM): It seems like this post has opened a can of worms about the definition of the word “evangelicals.” I am not interested in delving into this labeling game right now, but I will say this by way of correction to the post:

  • Brian from Toronto informs me that Katharine Hayhoe is Canadian.
  • I don’t know much about Marcia Fudge’s church, but some are telling me it is very evangelical. I am willing to accept that.
  • I don’t know if Bryan Stevenson would identify as an evangelical. He is a graduate of Eastern University, an evangelical Christian school in the Philadelphia area.

Franklin Graham asks, “Where does this hate [in America] come from?” (And other court evangelical news).

Eric Metaxas, radio host and fellow at Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, is encouraging everyone to trust God in midst of this intense period of persecution for the church. The persecution, he claims, is coming from Marxists who removed him from Twitter for twelve hours yesterday. He quotes Patrick Henry famous phrase, “give me liberty or give me death.” The difference between Henry and Metaxas is that Henry was responding to facts and Metaxas is responding to a conspiracy theory about the supposed stealing of the 2020 presidential election. He is still expecting God to perform a miracle that will allow Trump to stay in office and restore all social media accounts. Finally, Metaxas says not to “demonize” people. This is rich coming from a guy who has has used his platform to demonize Democrats for four years, even calling them Satanic. When he demonizes others he quickly says that he was “joking” about it. Watch:

One of Metaxas’s guests today was former Minnesota congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. She was apparently in the U.S. Capitol as part of a “prayer force” when the insurrection took place on January 6, 2021. She was there to pray that Congress would not certify the 2020 Electoral College votes. Both Metaxas and Bachmann once again suggest that very few of the insurrections were part of the “happy” and “joyous” Trump supporters in Washington that day. Bachmann describes the entire riot as “identity theft.” The Left, by spreading this narrative of the violent Trump supporter, is stealing Trump’s identity as a great leader. What happened during the 2020 election, Bachmann believes, was a political coup–a takeover of a legitimate government. She is 100% sure that the Democrats stole the election. Metaxas and Bachmann are preparing for persecution.

Metaxas and Bachmann say that evangelicals who criticize them for their views on election fraud are “conforming” to the world. Neither of them present any evidence of election fraud. Metaxas just has a feeling about it based on the way Biden behaved in the weeks before the election.

Watch:

Bottom line: The Trump presidency may not make it to January 20. Metaxas and Bachmann are going down with it. Metaxas is positioning himself as the evangelical voice of Trump’s lost cause. Bachmann is doing the same thing from her new post at Pat Roberston’s Regent University.

The Falkirk Center at Liberty University is also talking about free speech. White evangelicals are in full victimization mode.

Believe it or not, Falkirk Center (Liberty University) founder Charlie Kirk did not tweet today. Did he get banned?

Kirk is now calling for unity. Over the last four years Charlie Kirk has been one of the most divisive people in the United States. As David Blight taught me years ago through his book Race and Reunion, calls for unity often ignore the unjust things that happened in the immediate past. They tend to paper over injustice. Historians will hold Kirk and his rhetoric partly responsible for the first attack on the U.S. Capitol in American history. These commentators on Majority Report are absolutely correct:

Samuel Rodriguez says repentance begins with him:

On Sunday, Rodriguez called the evangelical church to repentance for making “the person who occupies the White House more important than the one who occupies our hearts.”

Court evangelical journalist David Brody says that the insurrectionists did not represent “#MAGA Nation”:

A quick word about this tweet. As I argued earlier today, I don’t think those who stormed the U.S. Capitol represent American evangelicals (Brody’s primary audience). Nor do they represent all Trump voters. But they certainly represent the kind of people who attend rallies and scream “Make America Great Again.” I would like Brody to explain the difference between these people and the people he calls #MAGA Nation.”

I am still wondering what evangelicals did before Twitter and Facebook. At a time when they should be mourning the near collapse of American democracy and reflecting on how their view of Christian politics led to the enabling of Donald Trump, they are playing the victim. This is par for the course. Here is court evangelical Richard “unprecedented access” Land complaining about free speech.

Jack Hibbs, in an apparent act of protest, has left Twitter. He is fleeing persecution by retreating to his personal web page.

Robert Jeffress has no clue that he empowered this twice-impeached president. History, however, will remember.

You can’t make this stuff up. Franklin Graham asks “Where does this hate come from?”

Evangelicals and the January 6 insurrection

New York Times religion reporters Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham just published a piece on evangelicals and the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.

Here is a taste:

Lindsay French, 40, an evangelical Christian from Texas, flew to Washington after she had received what she called a “burning bush” sign from God to participate following her pastor urging congregants to “stop the steal.”

“We are fighting good versus evil, dark versus light,” she said, declaring that she was rising up like Queen Esther, the biblical heroine who saved her people from death.

“We are tired of being made out to be these horrible people,” she said, acknowledging there was some violence but insisting on the falsehood that Antifa was behind it.

And this:

Oren Orr, 31, an arborist from Robbinsville, N.C., where he goes to Santeetlah Baptist Church, rented a car to drive to Washington. He carried his American flag right up below the officers on the bleachers, and his wife had a Christian flag. Mr. Trump could be the last president to believe in Jesus, he said. (Mr. Biden speaks often about his lifelong Catholic faith, and unlike Mr. Trump, attends church services frequently.)

Mr. Orr said he brought a baton and a Taser to Washington but did not get them out. “I know the Lord has my back no matter what happens,” he said.

Are Lindsay French and Oren Orr representative of American evangelicals? No. Most white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 not because they liked him, but because Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden were pro-choice and posed a threat to religious liberty. Most of them are horrified by what happened at the U.S. Capitol last week, but few of them see any connection between their vote in 2016 and the events of January 6. At the same time, many also believe the Democrats stole the election. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of evangelicals embrace the views of people like Lance Wallnau, Eric Metaxas, Charlie Kirk, and the rest of the Liberty University Falkirk Center and court evangelical crowd.

Here is Dias and Graham again:

In a Facebook video shot in Washington on Monday night, Tennessee pastor Greg Locke referred to himself as part of the “black robe regiment,” a reference to American clergy who were active in the American Revolution. At a rally the next night, Mr. Locke preached to a crowd of Trump supporters in Freedom Plaza, predicting “not just a Great Awakening, but the greatest awakening that we have ever seen.”

There is a lot going on in this excerpt. We have written about Locke’s “black robe regiment” before. This reference to eighteenth-century patriotic clergy got traction during the Tea Party movement that emerged in the early Obama administration. It also draws upon QAnon conspiracy theories that predict a national and religious revival is coming to America.

Most evangelical pastors are not like Lindsay French’s pastor or Greg Locke. They do not preach politics from the pulpit (even though many of them voted Trump in 2016 and 2020), they do not encourage their congregations to “stop the steal,” and they do not invoke the Black Robe Brigade in their sermons. I have communicated with dozens and dozens of evangelical pastors over the last month or so. Most of them never mentioned Trump’s name (or Joe Biden’s name) in official church settings. (Nor did they condemn Trump or Biden). Most of them are striving to steer their divided congregations toward some form of Christian unity as they try to figure out how to respond to the power that Fox News (and now Newsmax and One America) and social media have over their congregations. They wonder if their congregations will come out of the COVID-19 pandemic in tact. Many of them are trying to educate their congregations about race. Whether you are sympathetic or not to the struggles that these pastors are facing, they are an important part of the larger story of evangelicals in the age of Trump.

The best histories of evangelicals in the Trump era will tell a complex and complicated narrative.

Roughly 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump in both elections. History will show that they enabled this president. I stand by every word I wrote in Believe Me.

But history will also show that evangelical support for Trump took on different levels of commitment. Some followed him deeper into the abyss than others. It is important for future historians to capture this nuance and avoid the media’s efforts to paint evangelicals with broad brushes.

Why do some Trump evangelicals blow shofars?

Some of them even blow red, white, and blue shofars.

Over at VOX, Alissa Wilkinson asks New Testament scholar Gary Burge of Calvin Theological Seminary about the pro-Trump shofar-blowing. Here is a taste of her interview:

Wilkinson: So what are Christians doing with shofars, then? I suspect that Christians who’ve encountered a shofar today have mostly encountered them in a particular denomination, or in a political context.

Burge: That’s right. So let’s be absolutely clear about one thing: Evangelicals don’t all use shofars. Let’s be really clear about that. But, okay, so how did this suddenly surface? I think there’s an explanation for this, and it has to do with an infatuation among some conservative evangelicals with all things Jewish and all things Israel.

In the late 19th century, there’s the dawning of Zionism. It takes hold inside of Judaism as a way to reclaim ancient legacies. But also you have Christian Zionism, which really does take form around the turn of the century. Christian Zionism not only anticipates the return of Jews to the Holy Land, but it also becomes deeply interested in the recreation of Jewish practices. This can be complicated to explain, but after World War I, Europe had destroyed itself. The [1918] Spanish flu kills 50 million people. The stock market crashes in ’29. And Europe is warming up for another war after that. The whole world is wondering, What is going on? The wheels have come off the bus in this very interesting period.

And conservative evangelicals and other conservative Christians who were invested in Zionism said, “This is the end of the world.” It’s very simple. This was also connected to prophecies about how things [foretold in the Bible] are being fulfilled [in world events]. So what happens is there is an investment in Jewish practice. After 1948, when Israel becomes a state, and after their major military victory in the Six-Day War in 1967, what you have is this amalgamation of prophecies about the end, which we call eschatology, with this remarkable commitment [among some conservative Christians] not just to the state of Israel but this investment in all things Jewish. This forms in the 1970s and ’80s and ’90s, and it’s a thread that has moved through this aspect of evangelicalism.

So you might, on a church platform, have seen the Israeli flag. That’s not even a religious object. You have this blending of Israeli politics, American conservative politics, conservative religious values, and an infatuation with Jewish culture. Some examples would be singing songs with a Hebrew cadence, or singing songs in Hebrew. I was at a church gathering once at a conference where I was a speaker. They said, there’s a pledge of allegiance in Israel, like the one we have in America — and then the church said it together. It was remarkable. It was a political thing. I thought, Wow, what in the world?

As they rummage around inside of Jewish culture, and what they think to be Hebrew Old Testament culture, they’ve taken on these cultural instruments. That would include music and “Hebrew” dancing. I think some Jews look at this and say, “Wait, that’s just Eastern European culture, or Yiddish.” But [these Christian groups] don’t discern very well that so much of modern Judaism is a dynamic faith, just like Christianity. It’s evolved over the years. So they’ve taken on these contemporary — or really, European — Jewish things. They think by loving Jewish culture, they’re actually loving a culture that God loves most of all.

There’s your key. They almost sanctified or divinized one culture. They think by recreating some features of it, there you have it.

I think the shofar specifically only really came into life in the last 30 years. Someone might get onstage and launch a [Christian] conference with a shofar. Or at a rally of some kind, they’ll pull them out and use them. What they think they’re doing is rousing emotional drama with it. Originally, that probably was its intent, like any bugle or trumpet would be. In the American military, the guy who plays “Taps” on the trumpet at a funeral — it’s the same thing.

They have appropriated this thing. Their movement is a mash-up of conservative religion and pro-Israel Zionism, all blending together in this one segment of the evangelical world right now. The shofar for them now has become a way to say, Rally the troops. Let’s march.

Read the entire piece here.

About 60 the 138 House members who objected to the Electoral College count were evangelical Christians

My very conservative estimate is that sixty evangelical Christians who are members of the House of Representatives objected. I think the number is probably higher, but I can’t be sure until we take a deeper dive into the bios of these representatives. Whatever the case, I hope the list below will give you all something to talk about. If you have any additional information please send it along on my Facebook page or Twitter feed. You can also shoot me an e-mail.

And don’t forget to take the survey!

It looks like thirty Catholics also objected.

Here are the religious affiliations of all 138 members of the House who objected to the Electoral College count in Pennsylvania, Arizona, or both. Click here for the Senate.

Robert Aderholt (AL), while a member of the evangelical organization “The Family,” traveled to Romania to meet with a Holocaust denier. He has also fought to display the 10 Commandments in public schools and other public buildings.

Rick Allen (GA) once read a Bible verse to the House Republican Conference calling for the death of homosexuals. He attends evangelically-oriented Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church in Augusta.

Jodey Arrington (TX), like Josh Hawley and Mike Pompeo, is an Evangelical Presbyterian.

Brian Babin (TX) appeared on the radio show of court evangelical Tony Perkins three days after the 2020 presidential election. Babin is an active member of First Baptist Church (Southern Baptist) of Woodville, TX.

Jim Baird (IN) is a United Methodist who believes America was founded on Judeo-Christian values. His church, Gobin United Methodist in Greencastle, does not look particularly evangelical in orientation.

Jim Banks (IN) has an online MBA from evangelical Grace College in Winona Lake. He identifies as an “Evangelical Christian.”

Cliff Bentz (OR) is Catholic.

Jack Bergman (MI) is Lutheran. This is not a historically evangelical denomination.

Stephanie Bice (OK) is Catholic.

Andy Biggs (AZ) is a Mormon.

Dan Bishop (NC) attends Providence United Methodist Church and sings in the choir. It is unclear if this is an evangelically-oriented United Methodist congregation. He defines himself as a “Christian conservative.”

Lauren Boebert (CO) wrote in clear evangelical language when she recently tweeted, “I’m a Christian. So they may try to drive me to my knees, but that’s where I’m the strongest.” She became a born-again Christian in 2009.

Mike Bost (IL) organized a prayer movement for Donald Trump, which was reported on by the Christian Broadcasting Network. He may have caught COVID-19 at an event sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Mo Brooks (AL) left the Mormonism of his wife and now identifies as a “non-denominational Christian.” “Non-denominational” is code for evangelical.

Ted Budd (NC) is an evangelical Christian and a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary.

Tim Burchett (TN) is an evangelical Christian and a member of the Presbyterian Church in America

Michael Burgess (TX) is a Reformed Episcopalian. This is an evangelical, or at least orthodox, denomination.

Ken Calvert (CA) does not seem to make his faith a dominant part of his political identity.

Kat Cammack (FL) started a Faith & Pro-Life Coalition. I can’t find much on her specific religious identity.

Jerry Carl (AL) is an evangelical Christian. He helped found Luke 4:18 Fellowship, a Southern Baptist Church in Mobile.

Buddy Carter (GA) attends Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah. It is hard to tell from the church website if this is evangelical-oriented congregation.

John Carter (TX) attends Central Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist Church in Round Rock, TX.

Madison Cawthorn (NC) is a devout evangelical who attends Biltmore Church in Hendersonville.

Steve Chabot (OH) is Catholic

Ben Cline (VA) is Catholic

Michael Cloud (TX) is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. Before he entered Congress he was the communications director at Faith Family Church, an evangelical megachurch in Victoria.

Andrew Clyde (GA) is a member of Prince Avenue Baptist Church, an evangelical megachurch in Bogart.

Tom Cole (OK) has a Ph.D in British history from the University of Oklahoma,. He attends a United Methodist Church. Perhaps it is Moore United Methodist Church. He has taught history at Oklahoma Baptist University, an evangelical Southern Baptist university.

Rick Crawford (AR) is a Southern Baptist and attends Nettleton Baptist Church in Jonesboro.

Warren Davidson (OH) is an evangelical Christian who has the support of court evangelical Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council. He has been a leader in the evangelical youth organization Young Life and attends Grace Baptist Church in Troy, OH.

Scott DesJarlais (TN) attends Epiphany Mission, an Episcopal Church in Sherwood. He does not seem to identify as an evangelical Christian. He also has an embarrassing past

Mario Diaz-Balart (FL) is Catholic.

Byron Donalds (FL) is an evangelical Christian who converted in the parking lot of a Tallahassee Cracker Barrel. He was a youth leader at Living Word Family Church in Naples.

Jeff Duncan (SC) is a Southern Baptist who attends First Baptist Church in Clinton. He believes in intelligent design.

Neal Dunn (FL) is Catholic.

Ron Estes (KS) is Lutheran

Pat Fallon (TX) is Catholic

Michelle Fischbach (MN) is Catholic

Scott Fitzgerald (WI) is Catholic

Chuck Fleischmann (TN) is Catholic

Virginia Foxx (NC) is a Southern Baptist who attends First Baptist Church of Blowing Rock.

Scott Franklin (FL) attends First Presbyterian in Lakeland. The church is PC-USA, but it seems pretty evangelical. Staff members have degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Asbury Theological Seminary.

Russ Fulcher (ID) is an evangelical Christian.

Matt Gaetz (FL) is a member of First Baptist Church in Fort Walton Beach. He says he was “saved in a Baptist church.

Mike Garcia (CA) calls himself a “Christian who believes in God and Jesus as our savior” but he does not seem to make his Christian faith a central part of his politics.

Bob Gibbs (OH) is a member of Nasvhille United Methodist Church. He holds conservative positions on most social issues, but it is unclear if his church is evangelical-oriented.

Carlos Gimenez (FL) is Catholic.

Louie Gohmert (TX) is a Southern Baptists Sunday School teacher and conservative evangelical.

Bob Good (VA) is an evangelical Christian who describes himself as a “biblical conservative.”

Lance Gooden (TX) is a member of the Church of Christ, a conservative Protestant denomination that is not usually associated with evangelicalism, but shares similar convictions on social issues.

Paul Gosar (AZ) is Catholic.

Garret Graves (LA) is Catholic.

Sam Graves (MO) is a Southern Baptist.

Mark Green (TN) is a Southern Baptist evangelical. He is a creationist.

Marjorie Greene (GA) is a conspiracy theorist who has a “strong Christian faith.” It is not clear if she identifies as an evangelical.

Morgan Griffith (VA) is Episcopalian.

Michael Guest (MS) is a Southern Baptist who attends Brandon Baptist Church where he teaches Sunday School and serves as a deacon.

Jim Hagedorn (MN) is a Missouri-Synod Lutheran.

Andy Harris (MD) is Catholic.

Diana Harshbarger (TN) is a Southern Baptist. She teaches Sunday School at Higher Ground Baptist Church in Kingsport.

Vicky Hartzler (MO) is a self-identified evangelical Christian.

Kevin Hern (OK) is an evangelical Christian who attends the Church at Battle Creek, a non-denominational megachurch.

Yvette Herrell (NM) attends Christ Community Church, an evangelical congregation in Alamogordo.

Jody Hice (GA) is a Southern Baptist and a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a strong Trump evangelical.

Clay Higgins (LA) holds to most Christian conservative social issues, but his religious identity is unclear apart from his self-designation as a Christian.

Richard Hudson (NC) identifies as a Christian and has been endorsed by the Family Research Council.

Darrell Issa (CA) is Eastern Orthodox.

Ronny Jackson (TX) was endorsed by court evangelical Robert Jeffress. He is a member of the Church of Christ.

Chris Jacobs (NY) is Catholic.

Mike Johnson (LA) is a Southern Baptist who attends First Baptist Church of Bossier City.

Bill Johnson (OH) sounds like an evangelical. He identifies as a Christian, a conservative, and a family man.

Jim Jordan (OH) does not seem to identify as an evangelical, but evangelicals love him.

John Joyce (PA) identifies as a Christian, but does not seem to make his faith an important part of his political identity.

Fred Keller (PA) is a member of the Reformed Church of America, a denomination that contains evangelicals but is not normally associated with evangelicalism. He attends First Reformed Church in Sunbury.

Trent Kelly (MS) is a member of Saltillo First United Methodist Church. It is unclear if this church is evangelical-oriented.

Mike Kelly (PA) is Catholic.

David Kustoff (TN) is Jewish.

Doug LaMalfa (CA) identifies as a Christian, but faith does not seem to be a central part of his political identity.

Doug Lamborn (CO) identifies as an evangelical Christian.

Jacob LaTurner (KS) is a Catholic.

Debbie Lesko (AZ) attends a Baptist church

Billy Long (MO) attends First & Calvary Presbyterian Church in Springfield. It is a member of ECO, A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.

Barry Loudermilk (GA) is a Southern Baptist who has been endorsed by Christian nationalist David Barton. He was part of an evangelical barnstorming tour leading-up to the 2020 Georgia Senate run-off.

Frank Lucas (OK) is a Southern Baptist who attends the First Baptist Church of Cheyenne.

Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO) is Catholic.

Nicole Malliotakis (NY) is Greek Orthodox

Tracey Mann (KS) identifies as a Pietist who attends First Covenant Church in Salina. The church is a member of the Evangelical Covenant denomination.

Brian Mast (FL) is an evangelical Christian who attended church at Calvary Chapel.

Kevin McCarthy (CA) is a Southern Baptist and evangelical Christian. He attends the Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield.

Lisa McClain (MI) is Catholic.

Daniel Meuser (PA) is Catholic.

Mary Miller (IL) attends Oakland Christian Church, an evangelical congregation in Oakland, IL.

Carol Miller (WV) is a Baptist. She attends the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in Huntington. This church is not association with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Alex Mooney (WV) is Catholic.

Barry Moore (AL) is a Southern Baptist who is a Sunday School teacher and deacon at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Enterprise.

Markwayne Mullin (OK) attends a congregation associated with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church.

Gregory Murphy (NC) identifies as a “conservative Christian.”

Troy Nehls (TX) is a graduate of Liberty University. He has encouraged Christians to carry firearms to church. He attends Faith United Methodist Church in Richmond, TX. Christianity Today has identified him as an evangelical.

Ralph Norman (SC) attends Westminster Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill. It is a member of the evangelical Presbyterian Church in America.

Devin Nunes (CA) is Catholic.

Jay Obernolte (CA) appears to be a Protestant, but he does not seem to overtly connect his faith to his political identity.

Burgess Owens (UT) is a Mormon

Steven Palazzo (MS) is Catholic.

Gary Palmer (AL) attends Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham. It is a member of the evangelical Presbyterian Church in America. He has a history with evangelical organization Focus on the Family.

Greg Pence (IN) is Catholic.

Scott Perry (PA) identifies as a Christian.

August Pfluger (TX) identifies as a “devoted Christian.”

Bill Posey (FL) is a United Methodist. He attends the Rockledge United Methodist Church. The pastor of the church trained for the ministry at evangelical Asbury Theological Seminary.

Guy Reschenthaler (PA) identifies as a Christian.

Tom Rice (SC) is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church. It is an evangelical Anglican congregation.

Mike Rogers (AL) is a Baptist. He attends the independent Saks Baptist Church in Anniston.

Hal Rogers (KY) is a Southern Baptist who attends the First Baptist Church of Somerset.

John Rose (TN) is a member of Jefferson Avenue Church of Christ, a Churches of Christ congregation.

Matt Rosendale (MT) is Catholic.

David Rouzer (NC) is a Southern Baptist

John Rutherford (FL) is Catholic.

Steve Scalise (LA) is Catholic.

David Schweikert (AZ) is Catholic.

Pete Sessions (TX) is a Methodist. He attends First United Methodist Church in Waco. The pastor of the church is a graduate of the evangelical Asbury Theological Seminary.

Jason Smith (MO) is Pentecostal. He attends Grace Community Church in Salem.

Adrian Smith (NE) is an evangelical Christian. He attends Calvary Memorial Evangelical Free Church in Gering.

Lloyd Smucker (PA) is a Lutheran. He attends Zion Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Leola.

Elise Stefanik (NY) is Catholic.

Greg Steube (FL) is a Methodist.

Chris Stewart (UT) is a Mormon

Glenn Thompson (PA) identifies as a Protestant.

Tom Tiffany (WI) does not seem to publicly identify with a religious denomination.

William Timmons (SC) attends Christ Church in Greenville, a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, a conservative branch of South Carolina episcopalianism.

Jefferson Van Drew (NJ) is a Catholic.

Beth Van Duyne (TX) is an Episcopalian

Tim Walberg (MI) is an evangelical Christian who attended Moody Bible Institute, evangelical Taylor University and Wheaton College. He is an elder at Trenton Hills United Brethren Church in Adrian.

Jackie Walorski (IN) is a Pentecostal who attends SouthGate Church (Assembly of God) in South Bend.

Randy Weber (TX) is a Southern Baptist. He attends First Baptist Church of Pearland.

Daniel Webster (FL) is a Southern Baptist who attends First Baptist Church of Central Florida in Orlando.

Roger Williams (TX) identifies as a Christian.

Joe Wilson (SC) is an Associate Reformed Presbyterian, a theologically conservative Presbyterian denomination. He attends First Presbyterian Church in Columbia.

Rob Wittman (VA) is an Episcopalian.

Ron Wright (TX) is Catholic.

Lee Zeldin (NY) is Jewish.

NOTE: I am counting churches in the Southern Baptist Convention as “evangelical.”

Ed Stetzer: “there is…an evangelical reckoning to be had”

Ed Stetzer, the director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, has some important things to say about yesterday’s insurrection. Here is a taste of his post at Christianity Today:

The way Trump has conducted himself cost Republicans the Senate this week. When you fill people’s minds with falsities of election fraud it, not so shockingly, depresses the vote.

In the coming months, I believe many more will see these things more clearly, as we sort through the damage done.

More than the political situation, I fear an enduring damage to our witness as (white) evangelicals have been so closely aligned with this president.

There’s an American reckoning coming…

But there is also an evangelical reckoning to be had.

For now, we know three things.

Character matters.

Elections have consequences.

And, so do conspiracy theories.

Read the entire piece here.

Evangelicals are the “Trumpiest demographic in America”

Over at Christianity Today, Bonnie Kristian asks: “Are the Eighty-One Percent Evangelicals?” The subtitle of her piece is also revealing: “Just because people claim the name shouldn’t automatically imply they heed what it means.” Here is a taste:

Evangelical support for President Donald Trump wasn’t enough to win him another term. But it was enough to confirm evangelicals’ reputation among the broader public as perhaps the Trumpiest demographic in America.

Whether that perception is fair is disputable, certainly. The well-known report that 81 percent of evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016 was never really accurate. Derived from exit polls, it ignored the millions of evangelicals who didn’t vote for Trump because they didn’t vote at all. Widely shared as descriptive of the whole evangelical vote, it only considered white voters, though evangelicalism is increasingly racially diverse.

It also counted as evangelical anyone who simply claimed the label, though self-identification is a messy metric that includes “evangelicals” who don’t believe or behave as longstanding definitions of evangelicalism stipulate. And, after all those qualifications, it wasn’t even 81 percent: Laterbetter studies put that figure in the mid-70s, matching the very consistent rate at which self-identified white evangelical voters supported other recent GOP nominees.

But will any of this nuance, or whatever shifts in evangelical voting patterns may appear in the 2020 data, make a difference? I don’t think so. “Americans seem to increasingly view evangelicals through a political lens,” the Barna Group summarized in survey results from late 2019. For many of our compatriots, “evangelicals” are first and foremost a voting bloc. A term intended to signal views on salvation, Scripture, and service now communicates political alignment with a single party and a president.

Read the rest here.

Take the Evangelical Christianity in America Survey (2015-Present)

When I was traveling around the country on the Believe Me book tour, I encountered a lot of evangelical Christians who wanted to share with me stories about what they were experiencing in their churches and other evangelical institutions over the course of the last decade or so. Some were frustrated and angry about how their congregations were responding to the presidency of Donald Trump (and they followed-up later with similar remarks about racial unrest in America and COVID-19 restrictions). Others thought their churches were doing a very good job handling these issues. Some described their congregations as unified, while others said that their congregations were deeply divided. Whatever the case, everyone seemed to have an opinion about the current state of American evangelicalism, whether they used the term “evangelical” or not.

I am contemplating another project on American evangelicalism, and as part of my preliminary research I am creating an archive of stories, reflections and accounts of evangelical life in the United States between 2015-2021. If you would like to participate by telling your story, we have created an open-ended survey. It will be available for a few months. Thanks for considering this.

And please feel free to pass the survey along to friends, family, and anyone else who has something to say on this topic.

We all have our callings in life, and I am trying to decipher whether my current calling is to chronicle what has happened in American evangelicalism during the last five or ten years.

TAKE THE SURVEY BY CLICKING HERE.

What happened at today’s “Jericho Rally” for Trump?

Today pro-Trump evangelicals and their friends gathered in Washington D.C for a “Jericho March” to “stop the steal” of the 2020 election. Eric Metaxas, the creator and star of the recent Joe Biden parody video in which he transposed a political message over the lyrics to a Christian song performed by acapella group Pentatonix, was the master of ceremonies for a non-stop parade of bombastic, reality-denying speakers. I did not get to watch the entire event, but I live-tweeted through most of it.

The rally got off to a “good “start when Metaxas asked if anyone in the audience had a bazooka so they could shoot down a media helicopter flying over the event.

The day ended with Metaxas blowing a red, white, and blue shofar and the “walls came tumbling down.”

Mike Flynn, the former Trump national security adviser who told special counsel Robert Mueller that he “willfully and knowingly” made “false, fictitious and fraudulent” statements to the FBI about conversation with Russia’s ambassador, was one of the day’s featured speakers:

I got a complementary copy of the Epoch Times in the mail the other day. Nearly every article was about voter fraud. This was not the first time this rag was mentioned today:

Midway through Flynn’s speech, another helicopter made several passages over the event:

Flynn had several family members on stage with him:

The election is over. Joe Biden the Electoral College will formally elect him on Monday. He will be inaugurated on January 20. Yet Trump is not going to go away. His followers, like the evangelicals who came to this Jericho March, will be the ground troops for a Trumpian lost cause. This lost cause movement was on display today:

I didn’t get this woman’s name:

Messianic Jew Curt Landry spoke:

I laughed out loud:

And there was more:

Yes, Infowars host Alex Jones showed up:

The organizer of the rally, Ali Alexander, looks like Sammy Davis Jr.

What would an evangelical pro-Trump rally be without the master of ceremonies illustrating a complete misunderstanding of racism:

Metaxas was introducing this guy:

Christian nationalism and Zionism was everywhere:

I took the opportunity to counter bad history with some good history:

They found a couple of Greek Orthodox pro-Trumpers:

Former Minnesota congresswoman Michelle Bachmann spoke via video:

One speaker wants to start a new political party:

Pro-life advocate Abby Johnson was way over the top:

A lot of speakers came with “prophetic words”:

And yes, there were threats of violence at this evangelical Christian event:

Lance Wallnau prepared the audience for spiritual war to win back the country.

The state of evangelical politics:

Read the attached post about Kullberg. She once thought I was the son of New Testament scholar Gordon Fee.

He was convicted of witness tampering and lying to investigators, but then he converted to evangelical Trumpism:

“From Twitter”:

Some speakers mentioned Bible passages:

It was only a matter of time:

The last time we heard from this guy he had COVID-19:

He has a Ph.D in military history:

It looks like this group will be back on Inauguration Day:

The day ended with another prophetic word:

But not before Metaxas blew a red, white, and blue shofar. And the “walls came tumbling down.”

Some court evangelicals are still keep pushing the voter fraud narrative. Others are angry with Obama.

It is Thanksgiving. Yesterday Donald Trump’s legal team was in Gettysburg for an election fraud hearing. GOP state legislators hosted the event. The day included testimonies from Pennsylvanians who claimed to have witnessed voter fraud on November 3 and in the days following. Donald Trump called-in to the event. He said the 2020 election was “rigged” and claimed that he “won easily.” During the phone call he repeated false claim after false claim and conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory. He also invited these legislators to drive down to Washington to hang out with him.

Trump also issued his 2020 Thanksgiving Day proclamation. Despite Center for Disease Control recommendations, Trump told Americans to “gather” on Thanksgiving: “I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.” The proclamation also thanks “first responders, medical professionals, essential workers, [and] neighbors.” In other words, Trump is telling Americans to gather together and spread COVID and let the health care workers deal with it.

Court evangelicals are still complaining about things.

Jenna Ellis, a member of Trump’s legal team and a spokesperson for Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, reminds us that Pennsylvania state senator Doug Mastriano quoted Galatians 6:9 at the end of today’s hearing. (Earlier in the day he quoted John 8:36):

Ellis and Giuliani may really believe they are winning:

Ellis is an evangelical Christian and former professor at Colorado Christian University:

Charlie Kirk is Jenna Ellis’s colleague at the Liberty University’s Falkirk Center and a regular weekend speaker at pro-Trump evangelical megachurches:

Eric Metaxas has a radio show, but he is also a spokesperson for Liberty University’s Falkirk Center. Today he is pushing a providential view of American history and his book If You Can Keep It. (I wrote a multiple part review of this problematic book, but if you want the shorter version click here).

Metaxas is also claiming that “people are going to jail” for engaging in supposed election fraud. His online following is growing largely because he is one of the few evangelicals with a platform who is still pushing these election fraud conspiracy theories. Metaxas is still involved with the Jim Garlow “election integrity” prayer meetings where a guy with a red, white, and blue shofar plays “Taps” and “Amazing Grace.

Facebook barred Metaxas today for violating the site’s “community standards.” Apparently he thanked “My Pillow” guy Mike Lindell for bailing-out Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse.

Lance Wallnau is ready for the fight:

Yesterday Barack Obama made a factual statement about why so many Hispanic evangelicals voted for Trump. Obama’s comments were more analysis than condemnation and what is he says here is most likely true. Listen (second tweet in the thread):

Here is how Fox News twisted this statement:

Court evangelical Jim Garlow is also spinning this as some kind of Obama attack on Hispanic evangelicals. Here is what Garlow wrote today at his Facebook page:

Obama slamming Latino evangelicals for their views of pro-life and gay (so called) “marriage.” In other words, they are clinging to “life” and “marriage,” in much the same way we were accused by him of “clinging to our God and guns.” Disgusting comments. Trashing Hispanic God-lovers!

I am confused by this. Wouldn’t court evangelicals be happy that Hispanics are supporting Trump because of his views on abortion? How does this Obama statement “trash” Hispanic evangelicals? Doesn’t Garlow’s criticism here imply that Trump’s treatment of Hispanics at the border is correct? This is how these court evangelicals fire-up their evangelical Christian followers. This is not about logic, it’s about attacking Obama. Here are just a few of the comments Garlow received in response to the aforementioned Facebook post:

–Clearly a racist statement on Obama’s part as well as a blatant lie attributing to Trump the cages for illegal immigrants. Those cages were put there by the Obama/Biden administration.

–Liberals can’t stand anyone who believes God has given us direction on true right and wrong. This gets in the way of their playing ‘god’ and determining their own relativistic morals.

–I have NO respect or honor for that filth. Sorry he deserves nothing.

–I pray for our country- Obama is a Muslim that is only about elevating his evil agenda.

–Obama is a piece of crap. There, I said it and I mean it.

–The most corrupt President in USA 🇺🇸 history / never a friend to us / most of us (Latinos vote for Trump)

I imagine that the people who wrote these comments are also some of the people who are tuning in each night to Garlow’s regular prayer meetings for “election integrity.”

By the way, Jack Graham is also mad about this:

Not sure if John Hagee is talking about election fraud or COVID restrictions here. Probably both:

White evangelical voters helped Joe Biden nationally and in Michigan and Georgia

In the 2020 election, 27% of voters identified as either “white evangelical” or a “white born-again Christian.”

According to Edison Research, 76% of them voted for Trump and 24% voted for Biden. This means that Biden received four million more white evangelical votes than Hillary Clinton received in 2020. (Biden is currently leading Trump by more than 6 million votes nationwide).

Here is some exit polling. If these exit polls are correct, it appears that the white evangelical vote helped Biden in Michigan and Georgia. (We don’t have polling for the evangelical vote in Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin).

Biden won 29% of the white evangelical vote in Michigan. In 2016, Clinton won 14% of that vote.

In Georgia, Biden won 14% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 5% of that vote.

In Iowa, Biden won 24% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 25% of that vote.

In North Carolina, Biden won 14% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 17% of that vote.

In South Carolina, Biden won 13% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 11% of that vote.

In Ohio, Biden won 18% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 20% of that vote.

In Texas, Biden won 13% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 12% of that vote.

In Virginia, Biden won 19% of the white evangelical vote. In 2016, Clinton won 14% of that vote.

Fox News is discipling many white evangelicals

In January, Donald Trump launched “Evangelicals for Trump” at a Miami megachurch. After that event I wrote in USA Today:

At one point in his speech, Trump rattled off the names of the Fox News personalities who carry his water on cable television. The crowd roared as the president read this laundry list of conservative media pundits. 

This rhetorical flourish was all very appropriate on such an occasion because Fox News, more than anything else, including the Bible and the spiritual disciplines, has formed and shaped the values of so many people in the sanctuary. Trump’s staff knows this. Why else would they put such a roll call in the speech?

At times, it seemed like Trump was putting a new spin on the heroes of the faith described in the New Testament book of Hebrews. Instead of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, David and Samuel, we got Sean (Hannity), Laura (Ingraham), Tucker (Carlson) and the hosts of “Fox and Friends.”

Read the entire piece here.

In April 2019, I wrote in The Washington Post:

Many white evangelical churchgoers now see the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade as equivalent to their call to share the Gospel with unbelievers. They subscribe to the message that the only way to live out evangelical faith in public is to vote for the candidates who will most effectively execute the 40-year-old Christian right playbook.

The movement’s message is so strong that even when pastors oppose the politicization of their religion, the message is not likely to persuade congregants. Indeed, many white evangelical pastors do not preach politics from their pulpit. Some speak boldly against the idolatrous propensity of their congregations to seek political saviors.

But these pastors cannot control the messaging their flocks imbibe after they leave church on Sunday. And a massive Christian right messaging machine targets these Americans with precision. Ministries and nonprofit organizations, driven by conservative political agendas, bombard the mailboxes, inboxes and social media feeds of ordinary evangelicals. Many of these organizations appeal to long-standing evangelical fears about cultural decline or provide selective historical evidence that the United States was founded as, and continues to be, a “Christian nation,” even though this never was true.

Evangelicals filter what they hear during weekly sermons through Fox News and conservative talk radio, producing an approach to political engagement that looks more like the Republican Party than the Kingdom of God.

Read the entire piece here.

In both of these pieces, I tried to suggest that Fox News is shaping the religious lives of many white evangelicals today. Ed Stetzer of Wheaton College makes a similar case at Christianity Today. Here is a taste:

In an interview on immigration with Steve Inskeep on NPR’s Morning Edition, I concluded by talking about discipleship. It was a bit tricky because I was a little unsure about mentioning the idea of “discipling” in that context.

Inskeep specifically asked me whether evangelicals were hitching their wagon to the wrong horses. I explained, cautiously using the term “discipleship” on NPR’s flagship program:

“Well, it’s a fair question. The challenge is a lot of people are being discipled—or spiritually shaped—by their cable news choices. I think ultimately evangelicals need to be known for what they are for rather than what they’re against; and, showing and sharing the love of Jesus seems like a better thing to hitch ourselves to over the long term as evangelical Christians.”

I may have been unsure at first, but I am glad that I could use the word “disciple” in that context. Discipleship highlights a fundamental issue for followers of Jesus right now: there are certain things that are in us and need to be discipled out of us and other things that need to be discipled in us and aren’t there currently.

Some things need to be discipled out of believers.

The first is fear. In John 20:19, we read how the disciples were hiding behind closed doors because of fear. Two thousand years later, a lot of people are hiding behind closed doors because of fear. We not only fear the coronavirus; we are also fearful of the future.

Today, people hiding behind closed doors because of fear have something that humanity didn’t always have: The Internet. We’re hiding behind closed doors, fearful for ourselves and others, and spreading that fear to other people online. Fear needs to be discipled out of all of us.

Read the entire piece here.

Court evangelical Ralph Reed says Trump will get more than 81% of the white evangelical vote in 2020

It wouldn’t surprise me.

Here is Jon Ward at Yahoo News:

Ralph Reed, a veteran Republican operative who has helped corral the evangelical vote for Republicans for the last 30 years, said he thinks white evangelical support for President Trump is likely to be higher in the 2020 election than it was four years ago.

“I think the 81 percent of the evangelical vote that Trump received four years ago is the floor,” Reed, president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said in an interview. “I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility that he could end up in the mid-80s.”

Reed said that by Election Day his organization will have knocked on between 3.7 million and 4 million doors in a get-out-the-vote effort.

And he predicted that the efforts of his group, and others like it, combined with white evangelical enthusiasm for Trump, will produce votes from 5 million to 10 million white evangelicals who did not vote at all in 2016. Reed claimed that there were 31 million white evangelical votes for Trump four years ago.

Read the rest here.

African evangelicals like Trump

Check out Dickens Olewe’s piece at BBC news about evangelical Christians in Africa. A taste:

President Trump has been a polarising figure the world over but he is popular in African countries like Nigeria and Kenya, according to a Pew Research poll released in January, where supporters do not appear to be bothered that he reportedly referred to African countries as “shitholes” in 2018.

Both Nigeria and Kenya are deeply religious countries. Mega churches proliferate in the Christian south of Nigeria – Africa’s most populous nation – and in Kenya many politicians go to church sermons to address their supporters, such is their popularity.

Many evangelical Christian groups in Africa, which are mostly anti-abortion, against gay rights and support Israel, were not keen on Mr Trump’s predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, despite his Kenyan heritage.

“The Obama administration had been pushing a liberal agenda here in Africa and that agenda was of concern to some of us Christian leaders. It was a relief that during Trump’s time he’s taken a bit of a back seat,” Richard Chogo, a pastor at the Deliverance Church in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, told the BBC.

Read the rest here.