Let’s pray that on January 21, 2021 conservative evangelical extremists don’t act on Eric Metaxas’s prayer for martyrdom

This is very disturbing. It comes from a pro-Trump prayer meeting organized by court evangelical Jim Garlow. Thanks to Right Wing Watch for capturing it on video.

I am not one to criticize people’s prayers, but what Metaxas does here deserves some interpretation.

I am not sure what to call a prayer to God premised upon the belief in a false conspiracy theory.

  • The Metaxas’s introduction to the prayer, and the prayer itself, is filled with words of victimization. Metaxas complains about losing his Twitter feed and getting criticized by The New York Times. Is losing one’s social media accounts for promoting a false conspiracy theory the mark of religious persecution? Metaxas speaks like he is now part of an underground evangelical congregation in Stalin’s Russia. He says that he and the other Trump evangelicals are experiencing “oppression.”
  • Metaxas reaffirms his belief that it was probably Antifa who invaded the U.S. capitol last week. He says that liberals have “seized on” the insurrection “in the same way the Nazis seized on the Reichstag fire to use it as a way to demonize their political opponents, an incredibly wicked thing.”
  • Metaxas reaffirms his belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. He repeats several debunked stories.
  • Metaxas really believes that when he prays against the Democrats and the Left he is praying against satanic evil.
  • I’ve written this before, but I believe Metaxas is under the delusion that he is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer of this generation. (By the way, that makes two court evangelicals who believe this. The other is Johnnie Moore). At one point he prays that God would help his fellow evangelicals to have “the courage” of Bonhoeffer and the early Christian martyrs who “went to their deaths singing hymns.” I will be praying tonight that some crazy pro-Trump evangelicals do not show-up at the inauguration with hymn books to “courageously” die in order to help God answer Metaxas’s prayer.
  • Metaxas prays for a miracle to take place between now and January 20. He doesn’t specifically mention the nature of the miracle, but everyone watching this prayer meeting knows he is praying for a second Trump term.

An insurrection occurred at the U.S. capitol today. What are the court evangelicals saying?

We all know what happened today. I wrote about it earlier tonight in a post titled: “What happened today is a fitting ending to the worst presidential administration in American history.”

The court evangelicals, a group of pro-Trump evangelicals who regularly visited the White House during the Trump presidency for the purpose of flattering him, “advising” him, and getting their picture taken, are partly responsible for today’s insurrection.

Let’s see what they are saying (and not saying) today:

Conservative anti-Trumper Rod Dreher wants court evangelical Eric Metaxas to “own” what happened today:

Tonight, Metaxas joined other court evangelicals in a “prayer meeting.” According to Bob Smietana’s reporting at Religion News Service, the participants prayed for a miracle. Michelle Bachmann said that the mob who invaded the U.S. Capitol today were “paid rabble-rousers.” “Don’t think for a minute,” Bachmann said, “that these were nasty, naughty, ridiculous, hillbilly Trump people.” Metaxas then prayed: “We need to wake up to the tactics of the enemy who will do anything to win, because there are no values but power.” Bachmann and Metaxas continue to see this as a spiritual battle.

Earlier today, Metaxas tweeted: “There is no doubt the election was fraudulent. That is the same today as yesterday. There is no doubt Antifa infiltrated the protesters today and planned this. This is political theater and anyone who buys it is a sucker. Fight for justice and Pray for justice. God bless America!”

This is why people thinks Metaxas has lost his mind. He claims, with no evidence, that Antifa was behind today’s riot.

Jenna Ellis of the Liberty University Falkirk Center has decided to stake her future on Trumpism:

She is also upset with Mike Pence’s decision to carry-out his constitutional responsibility:

The Metaxas claim that the rioters today were part of Antifa appears to be a popular court evangelical response:

Lance Wallnau:

The Liberty University Falkirk Center is calling for prayer. Will the Falkirk Center season of prayer be focused on repentance? After all, the Falkirk Center’s primary mission is to promote division in the country. The Falkirk Center also seem to think the Trump era has not damaged the proclamation of the gospel. Here’s the tweet:

Court evangelical journalist David Brody thinks Mike Pence got a raw deal:

Brody is also retweeting Kayleigh McEnany on the Georgia election:

The other day Brody said that “journalism is dead.” And today he retweeted the president:

Most court evangelicals are condemning the violence:

I am glad that these court evangelicals condemned the violence, but there words could not ring more hollow. There is no recognition that these men and women empowered Donald Trump or encouraged their followers to vote for him. These court evangelicals spent four years praising Trump as the greatest Christian president in American history. They used their platforms and influence to support the president who triggered the insurrection in Washington D.C. today. Now they pray for peace, unity and the preservation of the American republic. But there is no moral or intellectual equivalency here. One side believes in facts, evidence, science, the rule of law, and the Constitution. The other side believes in conspiracy theories, lies, an unhinged president, and an absolute certainty in their knowledge of the will of God. These two sides cannot be reconciled. What are Franklin Graham, Metaxas, and the Falkirk Center praying for?

Only Mohler, the guy who convinced thousands and thousands of Southern Baptists that it was OK to vote for Trump in 2020, said the president is responsible for what happened today.

It would be best if these court evangelicals (and Mohler) just kept quiet. Or better yet, they could admit their complicity in the insurrection and political terrorism that occurred in Washington D.C. today and repent.

Who will be first?

2021: What should we expect on the religion scene?

I recently joined Engy Abdelkader, Jill Jacobs, John Inazu, Johnnie Moore, Gerardo Marti, David Gibson, Andre Henry, Asma Uddin, Robin Fretwell Wilson, and Jonathan Calvillo in thinking about what we can expect on the religious scene in 2021. Thanks to Yonat Shimron of Religion News Service for putting this piece together.

Here is my contribution:

In 2020, American evangelicals had an opportunity to move beyond the kind of one or two issue politics that have defined their public identity for four decades. They failed miserably. As historians look back on evangelical life during this tumultuous year, they will uncover a religious group that mostly ignored racial injustice, preferred individual liberties over care for their neighbors amid a deadly pandemic, and supported a narcissistic president who convinced them Supreme Court justices were more important than truth, empathy and basic human decency. As local pastors struggled to hold their politically divided congregations together by keeping them focused on spiritual matters, they learned their efforts toward shaping the moral lives of their flocks through sermons about racial justice, neighbor-love and compassionate politics could not compete with the power of conservative media and the loud voices of Christian right activists. In 2021, some evangelicals will remain citizens of the shadow government Trump is building through the millions of dollars donated to his “election fraud” efforts, while others will assess the damage of the Trump years, try to heal the wounds in their congregations and attempt to restore evangelicalism’s gospel witness.

Read the entire piece here.

Everyone is discovering the court evangelicals!

The conservative pundits are outraged at what happened at Saturday’s Jericho March!

David French is worried that too many evangelicals have fallen for conspiracy theories.

Rod Dreher says we would be wrong to “blow off” the influence of these evangelicals who still believe Trump won the election.

Andrew Sullivan is concerned about the fusion of religion and politics.

Matt Lewis asks: “Is nothing sacred?”

Beth Moore is not really a conservative pundit, but she is still fired-up.

And we already discussed Michael Gerson.

And those who regularly question my decision to cover the court evangelical phenomenon seem to be taking it seriously now. Yes, even John Wilson ;-):

I’ve been writing about this for the last four years. At this point I am more interested in who was NOT at the Jericho March on Saturday:

Franklin Graham

James Robison

James Dobson

Jentezen Franklin,

Jack Graham

Paula White

Tony Perkins

Johnnie Moore

Ralph Reed

Greg Laurie

Robert Jeffress

The more traditional court evangelicals–most of whom are not connected with the Independent Network Charismatics and similar groups– seem to be focused on the Georgia Senate race and COVID restrictions. Would they like the election results to be overturned? Sure. Do they believe that there may have been election fraud? Of course they do. But they did not want to join the folks who were on the Mall on Saturday. This branch of court evangelicalism seems to only show-up when Trump is in the house or when one of his surrogates is present. They prefer power over prophecy.

And maybe some of them really believe Biden won.

We will see what happens after the Electoral College votes later today, but right now the evangelical voter fraud movement is led by Eric Metaxas (who showed his Charismatic side on Saturday), the gang at Liberty University’s Falkirk Center (Metaxas, Charlie Kirk, Jenna Ellis, Sebastian Gorka, etc.), and the My Pillow Guy.

UPDATE (December 15, 2020, 12:41am):

Some folks on Twitter were not happy with this post. Here are a few:

These tweeters made fair points, which prompted me to explain things further. It’s never a good idea to try to “explain further” on Twitter, but I am a glutton for punishment! 🙂

Eric Metaxas and Charlie Kirk talk “voter fraud” (and other court evangelical news)

Over fifteen million cases and 292,000 deaths.

COVID-19 continues to rage in the United States. Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to give meaning to the phrase “lame duck president.” He is concentrating on last ditch efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

On Wednesday, Trump and seventeen GOP states filed a motion to join a lawsuit brought to the Supreme Court by controversial Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The suit would invalidate 2020 election ballots in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case (a very long shot), Trump wants Ted Cruz to argue it. Cruz has apparently agreed to do it. Things have certainly changed in four years.

By the way, evangelical Nebraska GOP senator Ben Sasse thinks Paxton is looking for a pardon from Trump.

Now that the context is set, let’s see what the court evangelicals are saying:

Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church says the pandemic is “fake” and he will not take a vaccine. When asked to define a “pandemic,” Locke said “COVID is not it.”

Eric Metaxas’s Christmas Show is back again this year:

Liberty University Falkirk Center fellows Metaxas and Charlie Kirk got together yesterday:

Metaxas says that “God acts in history” and he has acted on the side of Trump. He believes that only “mature” Christians understand this. In other words, if you are a serious (“mature”) Christian, you will know that Trump won the election. Metaxas, of course, is one of those mature Christians. He also says that since he “knows” Trump won the election it doesn’t really matter what we can prove in court. Anyone who disagrees is not only “arrogant,” but is working on behalf of evil and spitting “on the grave of George Washington.” (The “arrogance” of Metaxas’s claim to know the mind of God is astounding. He claims that God told him and some friends whom he trusts that Trump will have a second term).

Metaxas seems to believe he is Dietrich Bonhoeffer and all those who reject this conspiracy theory are the Germans who stood-by and watched Hitler rise to power. At one point, Kirk asks Metaxas what he thinks will happen with the election fraud cases currently in the courts and Metaxas says he is “too ignorant of the details to answer that question in any substantive way.” Unbelievable.

This stuff goes on for 40 minutes. At one point Metaxas says he believes that God will intervene on behalf of Trump, the criminals will go to jail, and the country will heal. Kirk, on the other hand, says he is preparing for war no matter what happens with the election results.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, Kirk suggests that recent leaks about the prosecution of Hunter Biden came from the Kamala Harris camp. Kirk never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like–all in the name of Jesus.

Kirk, the founder of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, continues the “election fraud” fight:

A woman believes that Jenna Ellis, Trump lawyer and Liberty University Falkirk Center fellow, is “sharing the word of God.” A part of me feels sorry for Ellis. She is a young lawyer with very little experience who the Trump is using because so few experienced lawyers are willing to touch these election fraud cases. Ambition is a powerful temptation.

Ellis quotes Robert Gagnon on “holiness”:

And this:

The Falkirk Center, the new center of evangelical Trumpism in America, just celebrated its one-year anniversary by telling people concerned about COVID-19 that they are “wasting their lives in fear of death.” Wait, doesn’t Liberty University have COVID restrictions? Don’t let Liberty University control its students’ lives! 🙂

Lance Wallnau says millions of Christians–a Christian populist movement–is “taking on the devil” and stopping Satan from gaining control of America. The Texas case is all part of God’s plan. God works in mysterious ways. Wallnau’s video has 277K views and 20k comments.

Journalism is dead, except at the Christian Broadcasting Network:

Court evangelical journalist David Brody’s claim about the death of journalism is rich in light of the fact that he is getting his understanding of constitutional republicanism from Lara Trump:

The speaker list for the December 12 “Jericho March” in Washington D.C. includes: Michelle Bachmann, Michael Flynn, Mike “My Pillow Guy” Lindell, Eric Metaxas, Abby Johnson, Cindy Jacobs, Fr Frank Pavone, Kelly Kullberg, and Dennis Prager.

Johnnie Moore is praying for health care workers, but he says nothing about the president who seems to be ignoring COVID-19 and his fellow evangelicals who oppose masks and social distancing. Is this what a “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer” would do?

Tony Perkins is on board with this crazy Texas lawsuit. He can’t “wrap his head” around how people are ignoring all the election fraud. Perkins should take it up with state legislatures (GOP and Democratic) and the Supreme Court (with three Trump appointees). His guest, Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson, thinks that the Court will take this case. Perkins says he “trusts” Johnson’s judgement. Johnson knows this case has no chance. He is blatantly lying to Perkins. If he is not lying, he is delusional.

Actually, John Hagee, history does not repeat itself and prophecies of a Trump victory in the 2020 election will not come true:

Franklin Graham is pushing the voter fraud narrative:

Friday morning court evangelical check-in

Jack Graham sends a subtle pro-Trump message using Psalm 68:

And this:

Not sure what this means, but I think it has something to do with the election:

The part about Biden getting few evangelical votes than Hillary Clinton odes not match-up with some of the best research available right now. Johnnie Moore sees what he wants to see:

David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network is all in on the fraud narrative:

Jenna Ellis, a court evangelical lawyer and spokesperson for Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, is invoking Old Testament verses about “battles”:

Tony Perkins is focusing on Congress.

Eric Metaxas is sharing this Mike Huckabee video titled “The Art of the Steal”:

Hers is what Metaxas tweeted last night. He clearly believes that the Democrats planned a coup.

@ericmetaxas TWEET There are so many witnesses to voter fraud it’s now clear the Dems planned this. But who did that planning? When Trump is finally reelected– & he will be –he must see these traitors punished to the fullest extent of the law. Anything less is itself treasonous. God help America.

David Barton and his Wallbuilders gang is fraud and corruption.

Lance Wallnau prophesied election fraud.

The court evangelicals are making their final case for Trump

Robert Jeffress is saying that not voting is a “sin against God.” Does he mean not voting is a sin or not voting for Trump is a sin?

I agree with the Falkirk Center and Tucker Carlson:

I am still waiting for the Falkirk Center to explain how our right to bear arms comes from God:

This is the kind of biblical proof-texting that passes for sophisticated political theology at The Falkirk Center. Their entire biblical defense of the Second Amendment comes down to two verses from Psalm 82 and Proverbs 24.

All Charlie Kirk of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center had to do was just condemn this incident. The court evangelical just can’t bring himself to do it:

Johnnie Moore, the court evangelical who describes himself as a “modern-day Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is praying for a Trump victory:

Samuel Rodriguez doubles-down on the spiritual warfare theme:

Jim Garlow is still preaching the idea that Trump is “saved” and just needs a little more spiritual growth.

Garlow also believes that progressive and liberals are mentally ill and demonic:

I am not sure what this means, but it seems to make sense to Kenneth Copeland:

I think this is like saying that you are not racist if you a Black friend:

Eric Metaxas is still making his “Trump is a pilot” argument. The problem with this analogy is that Trump is incompetent. He doesn’t know how to fly the proverbial plane.

Gary Bauer is engaging in Christian politics:

Yes, Tony. We will all “answer one day”:

I wonder what Paula White really means by this prophecy?:

Cissie Graham is trying to spin Wolf Blitzer:

Al Mohler and Donald Trump have found each other!:

It looks like Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is now taking the position of its president and entering the political fray. Jack Graham loves it:

And let’s not forget Franklin Graham:

Less than a week to go. Let’s check in on the court evangelicals

Trump’s favorite evangelicals are making their closing arguments. Here are some of them:

Franklin Graham believes that God works through the United States Supreme Court. It is also worth noting that he is bragging here about attending a super-spreader event:

These two tweets from James Robison are pretty revealing:

Jentezen Franklin does not seem to understand that overturning Roe v. Wade will do little to end the “abortion agenda” in the United States.

As might be expected, Jack Graham is supporting Al Mohler’s argument for Trump:

“The most successful term of a President in my lifetime”:

Christianity Today actually gave Paula White space to make her argument for Trump. What are the chances that PR man Johnnie Moore wrote this piece?:

John Hagee believes that Amy Coney Barrett is a “righteous judge.” Perhaps he is confusing the nomination of Barret with what the Pslamist says in Psalm 7:1. and Psalm 9:4.

Tony Perkins wants us to believe that he supports Amy Coney Barrett because she holds a “proper understanding” of the Constitution. He could care less about this. It’s all about Coney’s previous statements on abortion and what he believes to be her willingness to “inject social policy issues into the court.”

They said something similar about every conservative appointment in the last forty years. We will see what happens:

Look and weep?. It sounds like Bauer just dropped a royal flush in a poker game:

Ralph Reed would prefer massive crowds that are not social distanced and not wearing masks. In other words, a Trump rally. Yes, Ralph Reed supports pro-life candidates.

Wayne Grudem is still at it.

Eric Metaxas is still talking about “the end of America as we know it.”

Jack Hibbs believes God answered his prayers:

This kid called John Piper a “fool.” Now he is lecturing more pastors:

Sadly, this all Jenna Ellis and the rest of the Falkirk Center crowd at Liberty University have left:

How did the court evangelicals respond to last night’s debate?

They loved it, of course.

Let’s begin, one more time, with American religious historian Grant Wacker from his biography of Billy Graham:

The crucial point is that Graham continued to defend Nixon long after most Americans smelled a rat. When the first hint of something amiss came to light in 1972, Graham dismissed it as pettifogery.

As I noted in an earlier post today, Ralph Reed said he condemned Trump’s policy of separating children from parents. Tony Perkins, on the other hand, wants to talk about cages. Let me repeat that, there are 545 kids without parents and family values guy Tony Perkins want to talk about who built the cages.:

The oil industry pollutes. it is bad for the environment. Tony Perkins mocks alternative forms of energy:

You can tell Perkins is getting desperate. It’s late in the election and his guy is trailing. He is condemning Biden for not meeting with a North Korean murderer and dictator. This is really getting sad.

Perkins mocks mask-wearing and claims that Biden is the candidate who “covers things up.”

If Napp Nazworth’s reporting is correct, Johnnie Moore, the guy who claims to be a “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is probably on the phone right now with The Christian Post asking them to do a piece on how Trump won the debate.

Like Tony Perkins, Ralph Reed tweets Biden’s view on fossil fuel and the oil industry as if reducing our reliance on these things is a bad thing:

The same goes for Charlie Kirk:

It seems like the court evangelicals are divided over the performance of moderator Kristen Welker:

I can no longer write about Robert Jeffress without thinking about his fellow court evangelical Richard Land’s line: “the most dangerous place in Texas to stand is between Jeffress and a television camera.” Expect Jeffress to repeat this tweet tonight on Fox News with Lou Dobbs:

And here is the Liberty University Falkirk Center crowd:

This weekend Charlie Kirk will be bringing this to an evangelical megachurch near you:

I am sure “Falkirk Fellow” Jenna Ellis will be pushing this narrative today on Fox News:

“No rational American believes this”:

No rational American believes this:

Again, these court evangelicals try to deflect from the fact that 545 kids are not with their parents by focusing on the construction of the cages. Where is the empathy and compassion among these evangelical Christians affiliated with Liberty University?:

I just wanted to get this on the record. It was tweeted at a moment when COVID-19 is surging again:

11 more days.

When the politics editor of *The Christian Post* refused to let the website become a court evangelical mouthpiece he had no choice but to resign

In December 29, 2019 Napp Nazworth, the politics editor of The Christian Post, resigned after The Post denounced Mark Galli’s Christianity Today editorial calling for the removal of Donald Trump as President of the United States.

Now Napp Nazworth is telling his story in a long form piece at Arc Digital.

Nazworth shows how court evangelicals tried to use The Christian Post as a propaganda tool for Donald Trump. But it also reveals how these evangelical leaders crave public attention, promote themselves through public relations firms, and seek political power.

Here are some highlights:

On court evangelical Richard Land, the Executive Editor of The Christian Post:

Executive Editor Richard Land led the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission when CP first hired him, then later became president of Southern Evangelical Seminary. He was often relied upon for his theological insights and his deep knowledge of Washington politics and the SBC.

It was wise of CP to bring Grano and Land on board. All the upper management were young, in their 20s and 30s, which meant they needed people with experience they could turn to for advice.

Land is nothing like Trump on issues of race and immigration. He was one of the primary figures leading the SBC to grapple with its racist past. The ERLC also joined the pro-immigration Evangelical Immigration Table under his leadership.

Land is also nothing like his public image. He has a great sense of humor. Since his public interviews discuss serious topics, those who don’t know him don’t get to see this other side. If the multiverse is real, there’s another Richard Land somewhere doing stand-up right now. Sharp-witted, his humor often worked on many levels. One of my favorites was when he joked that Matt Drudge, founder of The Drudge Report, is what he would be like if he had never become a Christian.

On court evangelical Robert Jeffress:

Jeffress is a celebrity hound. It wasn’t uncommon for Jeffress to personally email me or our reporters to show us one of his many TV interviews in the hopes we would report on it. We often obliged. Land liked to tell a joke he heard in Southern Baptist circles that the most dangerous place in Texas to stand is between Jeffress and a television camera.

There is also a really interesting section on how court evangelicals Johnnie Moore and Paula White tried to manipulate The Christian Post to publish a White puff piece in the hopes that Donald Trump would read it.

And this:

While most of my time at CP I could write on the topics I wanted, I recall two separate occasions when I was told I couldn’t criticize prominent evangelical leaders Franklin Graham and Eric Metaxas. This made sense from a business perspective. Graham and Metaxas each have a huge and influential media presence and their audiences closely overlap with CP’s audience. All they would need to do is tell their followers to not read CP and CP would take a big financial hit. This is why it was easy at CP to be sharply critical of liberal leaders — their audiences didn’t overlap with ours, but criticizing prominent conservatives was problematic.

And more on Johnnie Moore, the self-proclaimed “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer”:

In 2017, Johnnie Moore was being mentioned as a candidate for the position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. He asked CP for help in advertising his credentials for the position, while also claiming he didn’t want the position. It was an odd email. If he didn’t want the position, why should we publish articles promoting him for the position? We published two articles after Johnnie Moore’s request, “Meet the 3 Leading Candidates for Trump Religious Freedom Post,” and an op-ed by Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and also a CP advisor, titled, “President Trump Should Appoint Johnnie Moore to Top Religious Freedom Post.” Trump selected Governor of Kansas Sam Brownback for the position.

We heard from Johnnie Moore often by email and occasionally on an editors’ chat. While he was supposed to provide advice to CP, when Johnnie Moore spoke, we couldn’t tell if he was really thinking about the best interests of CP or the interests his clients and Trump. This problem was understood and discussed by both editors and reporters. We appreciated that he was well connected and sometimes helped us get interviews with his clients. But sometimes he would ignore our emails and requests for weeks, then suddenly we would hear from him again when we published a story he didn’t like. Those stories were about his clients or Trump. He wanted to help us, but only to the extent we could help his clients. When it came to Trump, he expected us to behave like state media. Kwon became increasingly frustrated with this side of Johnnie Moore.

In one editor chat, we asked Johnnie Moore for help in getting interviews with Trump administration officials. He remarked that our previous “Donald Trump is a Scam” editorial was a stumbling block. Was he fishing for a quid-pro-quo? Positive coverage in exchange for an interview? I’m still not sure. After that call, I asked Grano if Johnnie Moore was speaking for the administration or himself. Grano answered that he wasn’t sure.

CP editors all understood then that our relationship with Johnnie Moore had to be kept at arm’s length. He was on Team Trump, and would always want us to spin the news in his team’s favor.

Read the entire piece here.

Trump is having a rough week. What are the court evangelicals saying?

If you are following the news (or this blog), you know that:

  1. Multiple outlets, including Fox News, have confirmed that Trump disparaged American veterans. He called them “losers” and “suckers.”
  2. Trump knew about the “deadly” nature of the coronavirus as early as February 7, 2020 and did nothing about it. (And I am sure there will be more revelations in Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book).
  3. According to Michael Cohen, Trump disparaged evangelicals, calling their beliefs “bulls–t.”

So what are Trump’s evangelical supporters–the men and women I call the “court evangelicals”–saying?

Some of the court evangelicals will be gathering at a Liberty University Falkirk Center event today. I will try to keep an eye on this.

Liberty University Falkirk Center fellow Jenna Ellis is not going to read Woodward’s book. But I don’t think Woodward’s reporting will be something she can ignore. If I were her, I would jump off the Trump train right now:

Ms. Ellis will not be able to change the subject much longer:

When Donald Trump candidate is in trouble, court evangelicals start talking about abortion and the Supreme Court:

If abortion and the Supreme Court don’t work, court evangelicals can always retweet stuff about truth and ethics:

But let’s not pick-on Jenna Ellis too much. Let’s see what Liberty University’s Falkirk Center co-founder Charlie Kirk is up to.

Again, pivot to abortion:

If abortion doesn’t work, say something about Nancy Pelosi:

Or this:

Court evangelical journalist David Brody is always ready to tweet favorable things about Trump, but all he has for us today is a story about Biden and a Washington football team hat. Maybe he is on vacation. 🙂

There is a reason Trump released his Supreme Court list today. Ralph Reed is more than willing to help the president in his attempt at misirection:

The same goes for Johnnie Moore, the guy who touts himself as a “modern-day Dietrich Bonhoeffer.”

Gary Bauer refuses to believe the reporting:

Tony Perkins, as expected, focuses on the Supreme Court:

Jack Graham too:

Graham also seems to reject the reporting on Trump’s disparaging marks about the military. He retweeted this:

This is what court evangelicals do. When every major news outlet (including Fox News) confirms a story that they don’t like about Donald Trump, they desperately search for a source from a Trump loyalist to prove them wrong.

Jentezen Franklin is distracting his followers with a different story:

I think it is fair to say that the court evangelicals, with a few notable exceptions, have been relatively silent this week. They don’t have much to say about Trump’s remarks on military veterans, Cohen’s allegations, and the president’s mishandling of the coronavirus.

Court evangelicals on night 3 of the GOP convention

Court evangelicals prayer

Here is what the Bible-believing, born-again Christians who support Donald Trump are saying today:

Let’s start with the Liberty University Falkirk Center crowd:

Charlie Kirk believes that the Democrat concern over racial unrest and racial justice is politically motivated:

He is still denying the existence of systemic racism. How many more incidents have to happen before he sees a pattern?:

The NBA players boycotting for racial justice are morons:

And this:

Can Jenna Ellis point to one “God-given right” enshrined in the Constitution? The Constitution never mentions God:

As I wrote earlier today, Pence actually “stands firm” on the heretical fusion of Christianity and American nationalism:

Here is Sebastian Gorka of the Falkirk Center:

And this:

Court evangelical journalist David Brody has a partial list of court evangelicals who will be at Trump’s acceptance speech tonight:

The list includes Johnnie Moore, Jenetzen Franklin,Paula White-Cain, Tim Clinton, Greg Laurie, Samuel Rodriguez, Eric Metaxas, Gary Bauer, Jack Graham, Harry Jackson, Cissie Graham Lynch, and Ralph Reed.

Trump hasn’t even given his speech yet and Robert Jeffress is already calling it “historic”:

As expected, Jeffress was pretty excited about Mike Pence’s speech last night:

Johnnie Moore, the court evangelical who describes himself as a “modern-day Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” wrote a piece at Religion News Service in defense of Trump.

Mike Pence tried to quote the New Testament Book of Hebrews last night. He replaced “Jesus” with “Old Glory. Pastor Jack Graham loved the VP’s manipulation of the Bible for political gain:

Ironically, earlier in the day Graham tweeted this:

Yes, but is Franklin Graham proud of his niece Jerushah?

Night four of the RNC convention begins very soon.

What are the court evangelicals saying about day 3 of the DNC convention?

Trump Court Evangelicals 2

Last night we heard from Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Barack Obama, and Kamala Harris. So what are the court evangelicals saying?

Johnnie Moore, the man who describes himself as a “modern-day Dietrich Bonhoeffer“:

Moore tweeted the above Bible verse while Barack Obama was speaking last night.

On Monday night, as the DNC was talking about “rising up” for social, economic, environmental, and racial justice, Moore tweeted this:

It is worth noting that Psalm 20 also says “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

This is unrelated to the convention, but one court evangelical will no longer have a TBN television show.

Charlie Kirk continues to represent the Falkirk Center at Liberty University:

How long will Liberty University allow this to go on? Charlie Kirk will continue to spew this kind of stuff as long as evangelical churches, schools, and Christians give him a platform.

Here is Liberty University Falkirk Center fellow Sebastian Gorka:

Court evangelical Lance Wallnau is on the Eric Metaxas Show. Wallnau claims that he prophesied the idea of “Trump derangement syndrome” He continues with his “Hillary 2.0″ theory about Kamala Harris. He once again claims that Harris is a “chameleon” with a “Jezebel spirit” who has been “vetted” not by Biden, but by the devil. Metaxas calls her an “evil protean figure.” He adds that if Biden wins in November it will be “the end of America.”

At the end of the interview, Wallnau and Metaxas engage in some serious “America as a New Israel” language. Metaxas says that we have abandoned God’s “covenant” with America established by the Pilgrims. in 1620 and the patriots in 1776. This is all very bad American history and theology, but it’s the kind of message Metaxas (along with David Barton) has been pitching for a long time now. Take a look at my review of his book If You Can Keep It.

World Relief report criticizes Trump’s efforts to aid refugees facing religious persecution

Syrianrefugees_0

If you read my court evangelical roundups, you know about Johnnie Moore, the Trump evangelical who likes to tout himself as a “modern-day Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” Moore champions the cause of global religious liberty. Here are some of his latest tweets:

Moore loves Secretary of State’s Mike Pompeo’s emphasis on religious liberty around the world. He recently retweeted Pompeo:

On Friday, Jack Jenkins of Religion News Service reported that World Relief, an evangelical Christian relief agency, released a report on persecuted Christians and U.S. refugee settlement. Here is a taste of Jenkins’s piece:

Entitled “Closed Doors: Persecuted Christians and the U.S. Refugee Resettlement and Asylum Processes,” the report was prepared by World Relief and Open Doors USA — both organizations that work on issues of immigration and religious persecution.

Their findings focus on the Trump administration’s drastic cuts to the refugee resettlement program, which has long been run in partnership with several religious organizations — including World Relief, an evangelical Christian group. According to the report, there has been a 90% reduction since 2015 in the number of persecuted Christians resettled in the United States.

And this:

The report calls for the U.S. government to return to “at least a historically normal ceiling” for refugee resettlement, such as 95,000 refugees per year as recommended by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2019. In addition, the authors urge the Trump administration to reject proposed changes to existing immigration systems that would make it more difficult to attain asylum in the U.S.

The document implicitly calls into question Trump’s 2017 promise to assist persecuted Christians. When asked about the issue by the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump said his administration would make responding to Christians fleeing persecution in Syria a priority.

“They’ve been horribly treated,” Trump said. He later added: “We are going to help them.”

Curry and Breene were careful not to criticize Trump directly during the call and pointed to instances where the Trump administration has taken some steps to assist persecuted religious minorities.

For example, Curry noted when Vice President Mike Pence personally intervened to dedicate U.S. Agency for International Development funds to better living conditions for religious minorities in northern Iraq. That move is part of a larger strategy aimed at improving the situation of persecuted Christians where they live instead of prioritizing refugee resettlement.

But when pressed about whether the Trump administration’s strategy tangibly benefited the lives of persecuted Christians in their countries of origin, Breene acknowledged that despite the government’s “good” intentions, “it’s very rare to see material progress.”

And even if conditions improve overseas, said Curry, Christians who have been displaced from their homes because of religious persecution still need help.

“This is a significant gaping hole in their strategy: that there are some people that are still in danger for their faith,” he said. “They’re not going to be able to move back home. If they could, they would.”

Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, called the data in the report “shocking.” Kim also expressed disappointment in the Trump administration’s refugee settlement policy. 

The United States, he said, has “long (been) a beacon of hope for those fleeing religious persecution … We must change this policy and remain a leader for religious freedom.”

Read the entire piece here.

A few closing thoughts:

  1. So far, Moore has been silent about this report.
  2. Moore and other court evangelicals will need to figure out how they can support Trump’s immigration policies and still claim the president is a champion of religious freedom around the world.
  3. It is also worth noting that Moore has been silent on this.
  4. Walter Kim is the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). Johnnie Moore is a member of the NAE board.

Wednesday night court evangelical roundup

Court evangelicals prayer

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

John Hagee invited Fox News commentator, conspiracy theorist, disgraced Christian college president, and convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza to speak at the Sunday evening service at his Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. Watch:

D’Souza tells the audience that American exceptionalism is ordained by God and it is under attack. He then moves into his usual critique of socialism. This then devolves into a rejection of systemic racism. If the camera shots of the audience members nodding their heads and cheering is any indication, D’Souza seems to be getting through to them. This is what pro-Trump megachurches have become. It’s pure fearmongering.

The Supreme Court made an important religious liberty decision today, but some court evangelicals and other Trump evangelicals are still fighting. They continue to stoke fear about threats to religious liberty.

“Christian” politico Ralph Reed turns a SCOTUS victory into a chance to get revenge against his enemy.

Johnnie Moore, the self-professed “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” responds to the SCOTUS decision in a way Bonhoeffer would not have recognized as Christian. Perhaps Johnnie needs to read The Cost of Discipleship.

This is what blind court evangelicalism looks like:

And this (notice “ALL” in all caps):

When you think David French is an “irrational woke liberal” and mock someone’s military service it speaks volumes about you and the institution you work for. In Jenna Ellis’s case it is Liberty University. Remember, not all Christian colleges are the same.

Jenna Ellis was on the Eric Metaxas Show today talking about Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech. Metaxas, who is also a spokesperson at the Falkirk Center, says anyone who criticized the speech is “loony.” He mocks the Sioux leaders who pointed out that Mount Rushmore was on Lakota land: “They have benefited from this country.” Ellis thinks that Trump gave the nation an “honest history lesson” during the speech. Again, this should be offensive to any serious classroom teacher who is working to give American young people honest history lessons. In one of the more comical moments of the interview, Ellis praises Trump for his love of the nuclear family and commitment to the institution of marriage.

Wait a minute, I thought Biden was working with Black Lives Matter to undermine America?:

Richard Land is spewing Christian nationalism:

There is a lot that is wrong with this thread. I don’t have time to respond directly right now, but if you want to dig deeper:

  1. Read this blog. It has subject tags, category tags, and a search engine. I’ve been addressing this stuff for years.
  2. Read Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction
  3. Read my post on Os Guinness’s similar claims about the American and the French Revolution.
  4. Read two books on American exceptionalism: John Wilsey’s American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea and Abram Van Engen’s City on a Hill: A History of American Exceptionalism.

Jack Graham issues a warning:

Graham’s words remind me what I wrote in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump about the Election of 1800 and the evangelical response to the threat of the Deep State Illuminati in the early republic.

Until next time.

Tuesday night court evangelical roundup

COurt Evangelicals

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

Court evangelicals are getting massive checks from the federal government. The money comes from the Payback Protection Program, a program to help small business during the pandemic.  Peter Montgomery reports. Elana Schor is also on the case.

Robert Jeffress is on the Jim Bakker Show today. He is talking about how God “orchestrated every detail” related to the pandemic and the country’s racial unrest so that his book on prayer could come out precisely at this moment.

Each chapter of Jeffress’s book offers an “inspiring story demonstrating the power of faith in the life of our nation, a prayer, and a relevant passage of Scripture to inspire and encourage” people to pray for the United States. This all sounds well and good until Jeffress starts his “America is a Christian nation” rant. In other words, this book is just an extended version of his “America Was Founded as a Christian Nation” sermon–a devotion in Christian nationalism. The interview with Bakker’s wife includes some of Jeffress’s greatest hits, including the one about George Washington kneeling in the snow for a photo-op.

Johnnie Moore, who describes himself as a “modern-day Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” wants to stand for truth.

I am still waiting for Moore to explain how he supports this.

Franklin Graham is retweeting the recently-deceased country singer Charlie Daniels:

Eric Metaxas is still hawking his book If You Can Keep It. He writes on Facebook: “It’s my mission to get this book and its message to every American. I felt that way when I wrote it and I feel that way much more urgently right now. Losing the republic cannot be an option. It is too precious. Future generations depend on what we do…” Before you buy a copy of this book, I encourage you to read some reviews. It is a deeply flawed book. Start here.

If you want to know how I differ with Metaxas on a lot of things related to Christianity, history, and American culture, check-out Emily McFarland Miller’s piece about our visits to Chicago in September 2018.

And now for some Liberty University Falkirk Center news:

In other words, slavery is wrong and it was always wrong regardless of whether people who indulged in it were just products of their age.

And here is Trump wonder-boy Charlie Kirk:

So if Nike is operating in slave labor camps in China, and they stopped, would you, Charlie Kirk, then support their efforts to change the name of Washington’s NFL team? Just checking.

Until next time.

Monday night court evangelical roundup

TrumpJentezenprayer1

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

Greg Laurie is still suggesting that the United States was “born out of a revival.” I addressed the many problems with this view here. In fact, religious attendance and membership was at an all-time low during the Revolution.

Johnnie Moore, who calls himself a “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” loves Trump’s idea for a “National Garden of American Heroes.”

I wrote about this proposed garden here.

Moore also believes that “primary sources” exist in a vacuum. Most first-year history majors can debunk this approach to reading:

Ralph Reed, as always, is sticking to the playbook:

David Barton and his son Tim are on the Jim Bakker Show talking about monuments. For years, Barton ignored the parts of American history that did not fit with his Christian nationalism. Now he is talking about how we need to see the “good, the bad, and the ugly” of American history. At one point, David Barton compares himself and his son to the Old Testament prophets Elijah and Elisha. He praises Tim for training young people to go to their campuses and convince their professors to reject “cultural Marxism” and “cancel culture.” I have now said this several times–the small number of people who are tearing down non-Confederate monuments are providing fodder for this kind of stuff.

Any history teacher who watches this video, and hears the Bartons attack the “dumb” and “stupid” ideas being taught in schools, should be offended. I wonder how many times either David or Tim Barton have set foot in a public school history classroom.

This video is a clear example of the Barton’s Christian nationalist mission. And they are well-funded.

The Bartons came back for a second day on the Jim Bakker Show and basically told viewers that if they don’t vote for Trump the United States will become socialist. The fear-mongering continues. In this interview, they double-down on the idea that anyone who does not vote for Trump is not “thinking biblically.” According to Tim Barton, only about 10% of self-professed Christians are actually “thinking biblically.” The rest “love Jesus” but are ignorant.

Eric Metaxas is still playing to the extremes in order to scare his listeners. Most people in the United States are not engaged in the tearing down of monuments. Most local governments are not trying to remove non-Confederate monuments or erase history.  He plays to these extremes because he wants Trump re-elected and he needs to keep his show on the air. This is what cultural warriors do.

Metaxas keeps pushing his seriously-flawed book If You Can Keep It. He says that the American history kids are getting in schools today is making them ignorant. As I said above in relation to David and Tim Barton, this is a sad attack on hard-working history teachers who are teaching students how to read primary sources, weigh evidence, detect bias, think contextually, appreciate complexity, and grasp how things change over time. When was the last time Metaxas talked with a K-12 history teacher or visited a history classroom?

The fear-mongering continues with Metaxas’s guest John Zmirak. Their discussion of the history of the French Revolution takes so many liberties with the facts that I am not sure where to begin with my critique. Perhaps a European historian can listen to this and comment. Zmirak then refers to political scientist Mark David Hall’s book defending a Christian founding. I haven’t read this book, but you can see a discussion of it here.

The Metaxas-Zmirak conversation moves to a full-blown rejection of systemic racism and a defense of Robert E. Lee monuments. The kind of hate that is now propagated on the Eric Metaxas Show–a show on “Christian” radio–looks nothing like the teachings of Jesus Christ. I don’t understand how Metaxas could have read so much Bonhoeffer and still engage in this garbage. I’ll stick with Charles Marsh on Bonhoeffer: here and here. I would also encourage you to read Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship and compare his words with what you hear on the Eric Metaxas Show.

In one of the more ironic lines of this episode, court evangelical Metaxas criticizes the Democratic Party for refusing to “stand against the madness.”

That’s all for today. Until next time.

Monday night court evangelical roundup

Trump-Bachmann-Pence-religious-right

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

Mike Pence’s nephew hosted a court evangelical conversation with Paula White, Johnnie Moore and Samuel Rodriguez. This is an event sponsored by the Trump campaign. Watch:

At the 5:30 mark, Moore starts out with a lie. Joe Biden does not want to prosecute people for going to church. Moore is outraged that St. John’s Church in Washington D.C. was burned during the protests earlier this month. Please spare us the sermon, Johnnie. If this was any other moment, Moore, who likes to fashion himself a “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” would be attacking the rector of the church and its congregation for its liberal Protestant theology and commitment to social justice. (By the way, Bonhoeffer adhered to both liberal Protestantism and social justice. Moore’s Bonhoeffer comes directly out of the pages of Eric Metaxas’s popular, but debunked biography).

If you watch this video, you will see nothing but fear-mongering.

At one point in the conversation, Paula White says that Trump is fighting for the First Amendment and the Second Amendment. Since when was the right to bear arms a Christian concern? White claims that the Democratic Party platform says that it is a “party of the Godless.” Just to be clear, there is no such language in the platform. She also goes into what I call the “they are coming for our Bibles” mode. Here’s White: “We can basically kiss our churches goodbye, our houses of worship…we very well could be home churches at that.” As I wrote in Believe Me, this kind of fear-mongering reminds me of the Federalists during the election season of 1800 who thought Thomas Jefferson, if elected, would send his henchman into New York and New England to close churches and confiscate Bibles. (It didn’t happen. In fact, Jefferson was a champion of religious liberty). White believes that we are in a spiritual war for the soul of America. She mentions a conversation with Ben Carson in which the HUD Secretary told her that the forces of Satan are working to undermine Trump.

Moore defends Trump’s record on global religious freedom. Indeed, Trump seems to have made religious persecution abroad a priority. Only time will tell how successful this campaign has been or will be. But notice that Moore says nothing about the president’s approval of Muslim concentration camps in China. Why? Because Moore is not here to tell the whole truth about Trump as it relates to religious freedom. He is here to help Trump get re-elected. Or maybe talking about the religious persecution of Muslims in China won’t help Trump with white evangelical voters, many of whom still believe Obama was a Muslim. Most of Trump’s evangelical followers only talk about religious liberty when it relates to their own causes. Moore knows this.

Moore then attacks Democratic governors for trying to close churches during COVID-19. He has a lot of nerve. It was Democratic governors like Andrew Cuomo (and GOP Ohio governor Mike DeWine, among others) who showed leadership during the coronavirus while Trump was tweeting “liberate Michigan.”

Samuel Rodriguez basically says that if you vote for Trump, you are voting against the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

OK, that was hard to stomach. Let’s move on.

Moore is also tweeting. He is upset about today’s Supreme Court decision on abortion, especially Chief Justice John Roberts’s decision to join the liberal justices in blocking a Louisiana abortion law restricting abortion rights:

What does Moore mean when he says that this is the “Scalia-moment” of the 2020 campaign? Here is a passage from Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump:

Already hitting his stride with his base, [GOP presidential candidate Ted] Cruz gained a new talking point in mid-February, with Super Tuesday only a couple of weeks away. When conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly on a quail hunting trip in Texas, and it became clear that the Republican-controlled Senate would not provide a hearing for Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s appointee to replace Scalia, the presidential election of 2016 became a referendum on the future of the high court. Scalia was a champion of the social values that conservative evangelicals hold dear, and it was now clear that the newly elected president of the United States would appoint his successor.

Cruz seized the day. Two days after Scalia died and five days before the 2016 South Carolina primary, Cruz released a political ad in the hopes of capitalizing on evangelical fears about the justice’s replacement. With a picture of the Supreme Court building as a backdrop, the narrator said, “Life, marriage, religious liberty, the Second Amendment. We’re just one Supreme Court justice away from losing them all.” In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Cruz said that a vote for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump could lead American citizens to lose some of their rights. “We are one justice away from the Second Amendment being written out of the constitution altogether,” he said. “And if you vote for Donald Trump in this next election, you are voting for undermining our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.” Cruz pushed this appeal to evangelical fear even harder at a Republican Women’s Club meeting in Greenville, South Carolina. He told these Republican voters that the United States was “one justice away” from the “the Supreme Court mandating  unlimited abortion on demand,” and for good measure he added that it was only a matter of time before the federal government started using chisels to “remove the crosses and the Stars of David from the tombstones of our fallen soldiers.”

I wonder if the modern-day Dietrich Bonhoeffer has learned the right lesson from 2016? Some might say that the recent Bostock decision, and today’s Louisiana abortion decision, should teach evangelicals to stop relying on the Supreme Court to “reclaim” America, especially when such an approach to “Christian” politics requires them to get into bed with a president like Trump. But, alas, Moore would never even consider such a lesson because it does not conform to the Christian Right’s political playbook.

Meanwhile, Paula White is supernaturally praying for her Twitter followers:

I’m just curious. Is there  a way to “pray” for a non-“supernatural provision?” Sorry, I had to ask.

Jentezen is also upset about the SCOTUS decision:

Tony Perkins too:

I agree with the idea that every life is valuable, including unborn babies. But putting faith in SCOTUS and POTUS is not the answer.

Robert Jeffress is still basking in the idolatrous glow of yesterday’s Lord’s Day political rally at his church. Here is his retweet of Mike Pence:

A spokesperson for Liberty University’s Falkirk Center retweets Princeton University scholar Robert George. As you read this retweet, please remember that The Falkirk Center supports Donald Trump and Trump is a pathological liar:

She is also upset with John Roberts:

And this:

Sadly,  in light of what we have seen thus far from the Trump presidency as it relates to race and Confederate monuments, this “idiot activist” seems to be asking a reasonable question.

Charlie Kirk is also mad at John Roberts:

It looks like the court evangelicals are very upset about an abortion case in the Supreme Court, but they have said nothing about Trump’s racist tweet over the weekend. I guess this falls under the “I don’t like some of his tweets, but…” category.

John Zmirak, who is an editor at court evangelical James Robison’s website The Stream, is back on the Eric Metaxas Show. He is comparing Black Lives Matter to Jim Jones and Jonestown. The entire conversation, ironically, is about people blindly putting their trust in a strongman. Metaxas wastes no time in connecting Jonestown to today’s Democratic Party. A Christian Right bromance may be forming between these two guys.  Metaxas tells Zmirak: “we are so glad you are on the program today, thank the Lord.”

They also condemn Black Lives Matter. Zmirak calls BLM a “slogan, a “trademark,” and a “brilliant piece of marketing” that is “raising money off of white guilt.” Sounds a lot like another slogan, trademark and brilliant piece of marketing. This one is raising money off of white supremacy.

In another part of their conversation, Metaxas and Zmirak say that Black Lives Matter is wrong from a Christian point of view because all men and women are created in the image of God. In other words, anyone who wants to say that only Black lives matter is actually racist (reverse racism, as they say) because in God’s eyes “all lives matter.” I’ve heard this argument before. Here is a quick response:

Indeed, Christians believe that we are all created in the image of God. As the civil rights movement taught us, Christian faith offers plenty of theological resources to combat racism. Moreover, the Black Lives Matter movement is very diverse. Author Jemar Tisby makes some important points in this regard in Episode 48 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podast.

I am sure Metaxas and Zmirak are correct about some of the abuses of the Black Lives Matter movement. But notice what is going on here. Metaxas and Zmirak are really only interested in attacking the Black Lives Matter movement. Since the killing of George Floyd, Metaxas has not offered any sustained empathy or acknowledgement of the pain and suffering faced by African-Americans, either now or in our nation’s history. Yes, he had some black guests on the program, but they were invited on the show for the purpose of undermining Black Lives Matter and rejecting systemic racism. At this moment, when white evangelicals have a wonderful opportunity to think more deeply about the problems of race in America, Metaxas has chosen to divert attention away from these issues by going after the extreme fringes of a generally anti-racist movement.

In his second hour, Metaxas hosts a writer named Nick Adams, the author of a book titled Trump and Churchill: Defenders of Western Civilization. He runs an organization called The Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness. Adams makes it sound like Trump has some kind of agenda to save Western Civilization. This strikes me as very far-fetched since I don’t think Trump even knows what Western Civilization is. Metaxas, of course, loves his guest’s ideas, going as far to say, in reference to World War II (Churchill) and COVID-19 (Trump) that both men carried their respective nations through their “darkest hours.”

Until next time.

Friday night court evangelical roundup

Trump court evangelicals

What have Trump’s evangelicals been saying since yesterday’s update?

Eric Metaxas and his guest entertain the idea that there is a relationship between a COVID-19 vaccine and the “mark of the beast” in the book of Revelation. His guest is this guy.

Today Donald Trump tried to protect Confederate monuments. Gary Bauer loves it:

Johnnie Moore, the guy who calls himself a “modern-day Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” is doing his part for the Trump campaign. Ivanka will be pleased:

Robert Jeffress is on Lou Dobbs denying the fact that Trump’s numbers among evangelicals are dipping and Biden’s numbers are rising. He continues to repeat the false claim that Virginia governor Ralph Northam wants to kill babies after they are born.

But Jeffress can’t argue with the facts. He says that the dip in evangelical support for Trump is only temporary. Eventually white evangelicals will embrace the playbook and come back to their political savior. You can always tell when Jeffress is worried–he raises his voice, yells, and points at the camera. For Jeffress, the November election is between “anarchy” and “law and order.” Yes, Joe Biden, the “anarchy” candidate. 🙂

Watch:

It’s a big weekend at Jeffress’s church. This is the Sunday his congregation waves American flags and shoots off indoor fireworks as they sing praises to Baal the American god.

Liberty University’s Falkirk Center is worried about Black liberation theology. Today on its Facebook page:

Intersectionality, liberation theology, white fragility, white privilege. We hear these terms a lot, but where do they come from? A lot of the Christians supporting movements like Black Lives Matter, the idea of white privilege, and identity politics, whether they know it or not, are paying homage to a heretical teaching known as Black Liberation Theology. Virgil Walker and Darrell Harrison offer some insight into this fundamentally corrupt theology and how it’s influencing and corroding the Christian analysis and response on the leftist lies being perpetuated today.

This is a classic white evangelical move. Instead of coming to grips with problems of race and the plight of African Americans, past and present, evangelicals try divert attention by warning their constituencies about false doctrine. This reminds me of my years at an evangelical college in the 1980s when my white classmates said that we should not take Martin Luther King Jr. seriously because he was theologically “liberal.” (I write this as an evangelical Christian who does not subscribe to liberation theology).

Charlie Kirk is defending his Liberty University colleague Jerry Falwell by sharing a pro-Falwell article published in the alt-Right Breitbart News:

Trump’s court evangelical journalist:

Until now.

Wednesday Night Court Evangelical Roundup

Court Evangelicals at Table

Since my last update, a few things have changed in court evangelical land. Neil Gorsuch, one of two Donald Trump Supreme Court nominees, has defended LGBTQ rights and has proven he may not be the best court evangelical ally when it comes to questions of religious liberty. I imagine some evangelicals who are looking for a reason to reject Trump at the ballot box in November may have just found one.

Police reform and debates over systemic racism continue to dominate the headlines. On the COVID-19 front, more and more churches are opening this weekend and Donald Trump is preparing for a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

What do the court evangelicals have to say?

In an interview with Charisma magazine, James Dobson writes:

In an outrageous ruling that should shake America’s collective conscience to its core, the U.S. Supreme Court has redefined the meaning of “sex” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to include “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” Not only was this decision an affront against God, but it was also a historical attack against the founding framework that governs our nation.

Dobson says nothing about Trump or how Gorsuch burned white evangelicals on this decision.

I don’t know if Louie Giglio supports Trump, but he is now apologizing for his use of the phrase “White Blessing”:

The apology seems honest and sincere.

Jenetzen Franklin praises Trump as a great listener and defender of law and order.  But Trump’s police reform speech failed to address the systemic problem of racism in America. It attacked Obama and Biden and it defended Confederate monuments. Is this big action?

Johnnie Moore, the guy who describes himself as a “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” is doing the same thing as Jenetzen:

Greg Laurie interviewed South Carolina Senator Tim Scott on police reform. Scott talks about the “character” of police officers and shows a solid understanding of the Bible, but the issues of racism in America go much deeper than this. I encourage you to listen to Gettysburg College professor’s Scott Hancock upcoming interview at The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.

The Laurie-Scott conversation is a step in the right direction, but it focuses on striking a balance between law and order (Scott quotes Romans 13) and individual acts of racism.  The real conversation should be over to have an ordered society and address systemic racism. Today, for example, Scott said that the United States is not a racist country.

Robert Jeffress is “thrilled” to have Mike Pence speak at his church for “Freedom Sunday.” Expect fireworks. Literal fireworks! Once again, it will be God and country on display.

Here is another view of Pence.

Last Sunday, Jeffress addressed the Floyd murder and its aftermath with his congregation at First Baptist-Dallas. He summarized his response to our current moment in three statements:

1. God hates racism. Jeffress FINALLY admits that First Baptist Church was on “the wrong side of history” on matters relating to race. This is a huge step! It would have been nice to have this history included in the church’s 150th anniversary celebration, but I don’t think I have ever heard Jeffress say this publicly.  Let’s see where this goes. First Baptist-Dallas has some reckoning with the past to do.

2. God hates lawlessness. Jeffress says that there is “nothing wrong” with peaceful protests, but he condemns the looting and riots. He does not say anything about the root cause of the riots. One more question: Does God hate Christians who disobey unjust laws? I think Martin Luther King Jr. had something to say about that. So did most of the patriotic pastors during the Revolution. You know, the guys who created America as a “Christian nation.”

3. Racism and lawlessness is not the problem, the problem is sin. Agreed. The sin of racism pervades every institution in America. In order to address the problem of racism we need to go beyond mere calls for personal salvation. American history teaches us that some of the great evangelical revivals led to abolitionism and other forms of social justice. At the same time, some of the great evangelical revivals led to a deeper entrenchment of racism in society. Jeffress’s church, which celebrates its history of soul-winning, is one example. Also, let’s remember that when Frederick Douglass’s master got saved during an evangelical revival, he became more, not less, ruthless in his treatment of his slaves. We will see what happens this time around, but individual spiritual regeneration does not always solve the deeply embedded problems of race in America.

Now I want to hear how this generally good, but also insufficient, message applies to Jeffress’s support of Donald Trump.

James Robison is right. But so is Jurgen Moltmann when he said that Christians must “awaken the dead and piece together what has been broken“:

Tony Perkins is talking with David Brat, the dean of the Liberty University School of Business, about law and order and the breakdown of K-12 and higher education. Perkins thinks the real problem in America is a “lack of courage.” I did a post about courage a few weeks ago.

Brat wants Christians to be “prophets, priests, and kings.” Yes. Here is something I wrote last month about such royal language:

What does it mean, as Scot McKnightN.T. Wright, and Matthew Bates, among others, have argued, that Jesus is King? What role do Christians play as a royal priesthood, proclaiming the truth of God to the darkness and, as Wright puts it, “reflecting God’s wisdom and justice into the world.”And there’s the rub. Reed’s Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of God as understood by many conservative evangelicals, looks the other way when a ruler from another kingdom (so to speak) practices immorality. They do not seem to take their citizenship in this Kingdom as seriously as they take their American citizenship or, at the very least, they seem unwilling to say more about the tensions between the two. (There is, of course, a deep history behind the conflation of these two kingdoms).

Gary Bauer just retweeted this:

Perhaps he should have made a caveat for Christians in prayer. But let’s face it, the court evangelicals don’t do nuance very well.

Ralph Reed is fully aware of the fact that Gorsuch and Roberts have betrayed him and his followers. Yet don’t expect him to throw out the Christian Right playbook anytime soon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is ready to retire and Reed will no doubt try to make the 2020 election about the Supreme Court:

Rob McCoy, the pastor of Calvary Chapel of Thousands Oaks in Newbury Park, California, invited Charlie Kirk, the Trump wonderboy, to preach at his church last Sunday. McCoy introduced him by quoting Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever it admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Kirk then got up and gave a fear-mongering political speech that ripped evangelical pastors who have participated in anti-racist protests. At one point, Kirk told the Christians gathered on this Sunday morning that if the Left “takes him down” he “will be on his feet” not “on his knees.” This was an applause line. If you want to see hate preached from an evangelical pulpit, watch this:

And let’s not forget Charles Marsh’s twitter thread exposing Eric Metaxas’s use of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to attack Black Lives Matter.

Until next time.