24 December 2019

The church of Trump

FiveThirtyEight observed yesterday that 2019 was the year Trump completed his take-over of the Republican party.  But it was also the year in which his ascendancy in the world of American conservative Christianity became equally supreme.

Mark Galli's December 19 editorial in Christianity Today, calling for Trump to be removed from office, was hailed by some -- for a couple of days -- as a sign that cracks were appearing in Trump's overwhelming Evangelical support.  It ended up triggering a thundering affirmation of the exact opposite.  Evangelical leaders quickly rallied around Trump, with two hundred of them signing a letter attacking the editorial.  Evangelical media erupted with a firestorm of denunciation against Galli and his views.

The episode paralleled the feeble embers of anti-Trumpism that still occasionally sputter to life in the Republican party.  Like politicians who repudiate Trump when they leave office after doing nothing to oppose him while they held power, Galli was on the verge of retiring.  And the Evangelical reaction to his words echoed the standard Republican denunciations of the party's political heretics.

And remember, this is not just Evangelicals.  Traditionalist Catholic news sites like Church Militant and LifeSite have been just as fervently in Trump's corner.  They pretty much ignored Galli's editorial, but their support for Trump has never wavered.

Our country's conservative Christians have not only sold their souls, but sold them extraordinarily cheaply.  Trump is to theocracy as Gilderoy Lockhart was to sorcery.  Yes, he's packed the courts with anti-abortion wingnuts and done what he can to undermine gay equality and the separation of church and state, but he's never made much pretense of being a Christian and has never lived his life in conformity with the Christian taboo system, while his general blundering and incompetence limit his effectiveness as an autocrat.  Granted, fundies have a long history of excuse-making and closing ranks around money-grubbing, sexually-abusive church leaders, but their hypocrisy is no less blatant just because it's an old habit.  Making idiotic analogies with Cyrus the Great doesn't help.  It's no wonder young people are running away from religion faster than ever.

But our country's conservative Christians have chosen their side, and have made it clear that dissent within their ranks will be ruthlessly denounced.  They are with Trump all the way.

They are the church of migrant family separation and "very fine people".

They are the church of systematic scapegoating of Latinos and Muslims.

They are the church of "pussy grabbing", mockery of the disabled, cruelty to the families of the honorable dead, and potty-mouthed toddler-level name-calling.

They are the church of Leviticus 20:13 which has utterly forgotten Leviticus 19:33-34.

They are the church of sabotage of all efforts to preserve the habitability of the Earth they believe their God created for humans to live on.

They are the church of obscenely massive tax cuts for the rich man, and empty slogans and gutted health care for "the least of these".

They are the church of friendship with Kim Jong-un and Mohammad bin Salman and Xi Jinping, tyrants who repress Christianity, and of petty quarreling with our fellow democracies which embrace religious freedom for all.

They are the church of graft and abuse of power for personal financial gain.

They are the church of lies, which must greatly amuse the Father of Lies.

They are the church of an absurd and disgusting con man whom they have embraced as a de facto modern Messiah because he offers them a last desperate chance to re-impose their taboo system on a society which is evolving beyond it.  They are the church of Trump.  They own it, they own it all.

And just as in the future we must never let the Republicans obfuscate or repudiate their self-branding as the party of Trump, so we must never let conservative Christianity escape what it has revealed about itself here.  When push came to shove, when fascism emerged from the shadows and asserted itself openly, when American democracy was facing its greatest challenge since the Civil War, when it was time for everyone to show their true colors and take a stand -- they chose him.

Let that be the epitaph of fundamentalism.


Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

I heartily second your concluding sentence!

24 December, 2019 06:13  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

And the most troubling of your spot-on post is that 40% of the voting public, a rather large percentage, supports Trump. I will never understand that many so-called Christians clinging to a liar, cheat, and fraud just so they can pack the court system and "stick it to the libs."

I've always believed the fundamentalist Xtians of the Ralph Reed, Franklin Graham, and Jerry Falwell type practiced the sort of religion that is the complete opposite of what they believe their Savior practiced.

The Era of Trump proves this beyond any doubt.

Glad to see you're back to blogging.

24 December, 2019 07:47  
Blogger Mike said...

You need to send this to the New York Times. I'll bet they will print it as a guest editorial.

24 December, 2019 08:56  
Blogger seafury said...

Well said. As a survivor of evangelicalism, Couldn't have said it better myself. One last memory was that of the guy in the front row
of the church wearing a field jacket. A Vietnam Nam vet, all the unit patches, badges, correctly placed. (I'd know). And on top of his head
a maga hat.. His wife wearing a sweat shirt with trumps picture and the words "honor,dignity, courage. Promises made promises kept". That was it for me. I just couldn't do it anymore. I think there is a passage somewhere in the book that says as you sow, so shall you reap. I just can't wait for what happens next.

24 December, 2019 09:10  
Blogger Lady M said...

Well said my friend. The Church is just an emperor without clothes. A delusional shell of outdated beliefs.

24 December, 2019 09:54  
Blogger Victor said...

Great post, Infidel!

tRUMP's all about mining the rich veins of hatred, fear, bigotry, and Manichaeism in far too many people!
It's as if tRUMP had said, "Thy enemies are my enemies! If you're with me, you are with Jesus and his Father; and if you're not? Then you are with Satan!"

And the consequences of that mining?
As Adam Serwer wrote, "The cruelty IS the point!"

24 December, 2019 13:24  
Blogger Victor said...

Oh, and good to see you're back!

I hope things are better for you and yours.

24 December, 2019 13:25  
Blogger Les Carpenter said...

I will gladly SECOND THAT Infidel. A very well written and factual oped.

24 December, 2019 16:16  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Oh wouldn’t that be the best Holiday gift?
May the infighting be their demise.


25 December, 2019 00:39  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Ain't this a fine Christmas season? At least we have a nice ornament of impeachment.

Apart from the suicide cults, Evangelical Christianity is the most fraudulent and hypocritical of religions.

It has fused into a cult of angry and hate-filled white nationalists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis. All are self-proclaimed "Christians"

Evangelicals do indeed make a mockery of their own tenets. It has no core of honesty, love and decency, as it reveres a megalomaniacal asshole, and embraces the policies of the cruelest, most dishonest and vindictive human being ever to befoul the Oval Office.

Once again I am reminded of earlier "Christian values".

On October 10, 1936 Heinrich Himmler created the Reich Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion, or Special Office (II S), a sub-department of Executive Department II of the Gestapo.

"The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life." - Adolph Hitler "My New World Order" - Proclamation to the German Nation, Berlin, February 1, 1933

"Gott Mitt Uns" was embossed on the belt buckles of Hitler's legions.

Unlike Germany in 1936, we have two opportunities, albeit deeply flawed, to rid our nation of a fascist leader. If he isn't removed by the aid of the senate's most corrupt party ever, or by an election certain to be tainted by criminal acts of cheating, this republic is over.

Are the American people up to it, or are we already too suffocated by the lies of tyranny?

Will our nation's epitaph read, "When fascism came to America, Americans embraced it."

25 December, 2019 10:08  
Blogger The New York Crank said...

Thank you for a rousing, read-aloud piece that ought to be preserved and read aloud at frequent intervals.

The New York Crank

25 December, 2019 10:46  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Debra: As an epitaph it would reek of the tawdry and corrupt -- perfect for them.

Shaw: I suspect the majority of that 40% or 35% or whatever is actually fundamentalists and other hard-core Christians. After all, 40% of the country doesn't consist of knuckle-dragging Deliverance mutants in trailer parks gloating toothlessly about "owning da libs". That's a big element of the Trumpanzees, but I think the fundies are the main component.

Mike: Hmm, I don't know -- they tend to be a bit both-siderist. Thanks, though.

Seafury: It's hard to imagine anyone further removed than Trump from honor, dignity, and courage (well, the Republicans in Congress have even less courage). You'd think veterans would be disgusted with Trump's disrespect for the military, but I guess for some of them, ideology is more important.

Lady M: Thanks. Unfortunately emperors can get belligerent when you point out their nakedness.

Victor: Thanks! Trump's rabble rousing is right out of Goebbels's playbook, but then, a lot of religious leaders throughout history have operated that way.

25 December, 2019 12:42  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Rational: Thanks!

Sixpence: Actually the fundies' disgrace is that they're so united behind Trump. Plenty of infighting among among the Catholics, though. I'll take it.

Dave: It won't read that, because the majority of us never embraced it. At worst it will say the Republicans' scams robbed us of our chance to vote it out.

Crank: Thanks! Perhaps it will become a hardy perennial, but I hope after November it will be obsolete. Except for the part about never letting them live this down. I really mean that.

25 December, 2019 12:46  
Blogger Oblio said...

Great post, you nailed it. I wrote about how and why so many GOPers seem to support him so unflinchingly and likened it to the Catholic church sex scandals that seem to happen with an alarming frequency, yet the masses seem to look away: https://gortnation.blogspot.com/2019/01/i-know-but-i-dont-know.html

26 December, 2019 11:46  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Oblio: Thanks! The linked post makes some good points.

26 December, 2019 16:22  
Blogger Mary said...

Late to this post, but it is excellent and I agree with who said this should be in The NY Times.

11 January, 2020 11:26  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence!

11 January, 2020 12:02  

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