UNBOUND

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Show Notes Episode 37

November 1, 2020

Why do evangelicals love Trump?

On the surface, it seems like a bit of an enigma:

3 wives

Multiple affairs

Very un-christlike behavior

Rampant racism and xenophobia

Boorishness and bullying behaviors

Immature management of emotions

Obvious narcissism and other destructive personality defects

 

Evangelicals, whether they want to admit it or not, have a predisposition for racism, homophobia, and xenophobia and Donald Trump has gone out of his way to show that he has these very same predispositions:

 

Muslim ban

Excluding transgender people from military service

Encouraging civil unrest on racial lines

Stand back and stand by” - his message to white supremacists during the first “debate” with Joe Biden

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/white-evangelicals-love-trump-aren-t-confused-about-why-no-ncna1046826

 

Evangelicals, in religious terminology, believe that Jesus Christ is the savior of humanity. They have a long history in America, and include a number of different groups, including Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists and nondenominational churches. After the schism among the Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians in the 1850s over slavery, conservative denominations like the Southern Baptists — who defended slavery through their readings of scripture — came into being.

 

Evangelical denominations formed from these splits in the South were usually comprised of people who had made money from slavery or supported it. After the Civil War many were more likely to have supported the Ku Klux Klan and approved of (or participated in) lynching. The burning cross of the KKK, for instance, was a symbol of white Christian supremacy, designed both to put fear into the hearts of African Americans and to highlight the supposed Christian righteousness of the terrorist act.”

 

Billy Graham – the only cure for racism is for the nation to “turn to God.” This is the same god that divided nations and peoples who were attempting to come together and know him better. At the Tower of Babel, this same god created division along ethnic and racial lines, confusing their languages and guaranteeing that people would never be able to openly trust or dialog with each other (Genesis 11). This schism took place early in what the Bible chronicles as human history (even though it doesn't even come close to the truth) and sends the clear message that Yahweh's agenda is one of division, not union. This has been the message from the book of Genesis forward.

 

During the civil rights movement, many white evangelicals outright opposed Martin Luther King Jr. Evangelicalism became synonymous with being "born again" and also against abortion and, with the rise of the Moral Majority in the late 1970s, they began to seek not only moral, but political power.” (can we say Sharia Law?)

 

Ronald Reagan, who also counted evangelicals among his most vociferous supporters, started his presidential campaign on the platform of states’ rights from Philadelphia, Mississippi, where Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman were murdered by several Klansmen with the participation of local law enforcement in 1964, while attempting to register African Americans to vote. Decades later, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the evangelical leader, opposed sanctions on South Africa's apartheid regime and insulted Bishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Prize Peace winner, as a "phony."

 

Republicans and conservatives have been laying the foundations for a Trump presidency for years, particularly on the platform of racism.

 

When Barack Obama was elected it was FRANKLIN GRAHAM who fueled much of the birtherism associated with the Tea Party, aimed at vilifying Obama over issues they knew to be false. Barack Obama clearly held the credentials necessary to be considered for president and to this day, there remain only two: you must be at least 35 years old, and you must be able to prove that you are a natural citizen, born on US soil. But because key figures in both politics and religion SAID that Obama was born in Africa, it simply became truth in the minds of people who have, for most of their lives, been taught to accept things as true without evidence if it comes from what they consider to be a credible source.

 

Evangelicals have always hidden behind their racist tendencies, even to the point of speaking out against racist practices. Yes, there are plenty of black and hispanic ministers even in large organizations like the Assemblies of God, but a surface acceptance of a person in his or her position says nothing about the underlying attitude that still produces a strong undercurrent in the way people think and behave.

 

(that “colored” girl)

 

Evangelicals have given plenty of lip service over the years, especially when the White House is under democratic control, but get someone who thinks like them in the Oval Office and their true colors really do shine.

 

Under Bill Clinton, there were a number of race equality initiatives that were spearheaded by evangelical groups, particularly the Racial Reconciliation movements of the 1990s, but these “efforts” have yet to bring about any significant changes and there are many evangelicals, particularly in the south and predominantly rural states, who have found sanctuary for their own racist views in simply agreeing with Donald Trump and other conservative leaders who have been empowered to speak out more about their own racist leanings.

 

Just to prove how disconnected evangelicals really are from their own statements about atoning for the sin of racism, let's look at the 2019 Southern Baptist Annual Convention. The proceedings were opened with a gavel owned by John A. Broadus, a slaveholder, white supremacist and the founder of their seminary. Let that sink in.

 

Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas: “[Trump] does not judge people by the color of their skin, but whether or not they support him.”

 

Jeffress thinks that this equates with Trump being “color blind” which is, in and of itself an insult to ALL non-white races.

 

I don't see color when I look at you...” = “I choose to see what I want to see about you and forgive that you're different.”

 

If we choose to see someone for who and what they are, we have to throw out any expectation of them conforming to something comfortable for us to deal with, even in our own minds. Ask yourself: if someone's skin color elicits a thought like “I don't see color...” what are you really saying? “I accept every part of you that makes me comfortable and choose to ignore the things that make me uncomfortable.” That is not how ANY relationship works.

 

A majority of white evangelicals supported the Muslim ban.

 

Evangelicals are the least likely to accept or support the entry of refugees into the country (The Pew Foundation)

 

White evangelicals, by and large, don't see an issue with white supremacy either. When posed the question, they'll say they denounce it, then go right back to venerating their middle-eastern savior who is enigmatically caucasian with blue eyes and surrounded by a posse of European blokes with names like James and Peter. And yes, these are European translations of difficult ethnic names, but this is the Bible that evangelicals read and most never give the first thought to why their middle-eastern savior is white or what people with names like Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Timothy were doing puttering around Palestine. Their image of Jesus and his portrayal in the ENGLISH bible – the only language they are likely to ever read, study, or attempt to understand – is a recipe for white supremacy.

 

This is STILL an issue for me... I've had to do a lot of un-learning and there's still plenty of stinkin' thinkin' ferreting around in my brain.

 

Much of Trump's appeal comes from and is fueled by messaging of decline and destruction which fits snuggly with the evangelical mindset of the End Times. Many evangelicals believe that we've been living in the end times for decades.

 

When Trump used the term “American carnage” in his inaugural address, evangelicals listened; they too, believed America is in decline. Their imagined powerlessness, and the need for a strong authoritarian leader to protect them, is at the root of their racial and social animus.”

 

Trump plays into and validates their fears of supposed “socialists,” Muslims, women who dare to think for themselves, LGBTQ people, and “foreigners.” Their attachment to childlike faith makes them childlike in how they look to their leaders. Donald Trump isn't their president, he's their daddy, second only to their god, and by the looks of things, on par with god to a dangerous number of evangelicals. When they vote, they don't vote based on any kind of educated conclusion. They vote the way they do because daddy tells them to. They respond to rhetoric, emotionalism, and sensationalism, just like they do to their pastors and worship teams.

 

A majority of evangelicals consider Trump to be “moral” and “godly.” Think about that. They equate trump with a god who:

 

Knows nothing about science

 

  • Greater light and lesser light are the same thing. The moon reflects sunlight, it does not make its own.

 

  • Plants on Day 3: Genesis 1:11-13

  • Sunlight on Day 4: Genesis 1:14-19

 

  • Refutations of The Flood through anthropology, geology and more (Aron Ra)

  • The suggestion that men shoot tiny babies into women's vaginas that grow inside the womb without any genetic contributions from the mother

 

Advocates people owning other people as property and lays out a management structure for keeping slaves in Exodus 21

 

Used mass murder as a means of solving his own invented problems with people more times than I can list in one episode, but let's consider things like:

  • The flood - Yahweh REGRETTED making people – people made in his image and likeness... think about that (Gen. 6)

 

  • Passover – He hardened pharoah's heart, removed pharoah's will from the equation and used his CONTROL over one person's mind to bring all manner of calamity upon the people under his rule (Ex. 9)

     

  • The parting of the red sea – further judgment on a people controlled by a man whose will was circumvented and manipulated (Ex. 14)

     

  • The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah – Destroying an entire society because they liked sex and other perceived “vices” (Gen. 19)

 

  • Called men like Solomon “righteous” even though his own sexual drives went totally counter to his own laid-out plan for what a family is and what sexual morality is (I Kings 11)

 

  • David was referred to as a man after god's own heart (1 Sam 13) – a man whose uncontrolled lust for a woman caused him to have her husband slaughtered in battle so he could have her to himself (2 Sam. 11), but that was fine because he later repented and wrote a song about it (Ps. 51)

 

  • Denigrates women for being women and calling them unclean because they menstruate (Lv. 15)

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  • Provides avenues for keeping women forever under the control of men (Eph. 5)

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  • The “natural use of a woman” (Rom. 1)

 

  • Condemns homosexuality (Lv. 18)

 

Trump has made statements and exhibited behaviors that fall in lock step with all of the above. His vengeful nature, his misogynistic mindset, and need to be lauded and praised as a means of keeping his own ego in a place that's comfortable for him all mirror the actions and attitudes of the hebrew Yahweh right down to his many statements about how much he cares about America and its people while demonstrating absolutely nothing that begins to corroborate those claims.

 

From the NBC News article:

 

Evangelicals in America are not simply a religious group; they are a political group inexorably linked to the Republican Party.

 

Trump delivered evangelicals from the shame of losing [after 16 years of Democratic party governance, which was still held back quite a bit by the presence of a republican-led legislative branch], and they will back him again in 2020 to avoid losing again. So perhaps we should take evangelicals at their word that they will support Trump come hell or high water, rather than twisting ourselves into knots trying to figure out why.”

 

Tonight, my aim isn't to tell you how you should vote. My aim is to make it clear what you're voting for if you opt for four more years of Trump. And if you're listening to this after the election, regardless of the outcome, keep your eyes open. Donald Trump has flung the door wide open for the kinds of thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes that far too many evangelicals embrace and very little of it, if any, will move society in a forward or positive direction.

 

To the evangelicals listening to this, I want to issue you a challenge:

 

Regardless of how you vote or voted in this election and regardless of its outcome, I challenge you to give yourself the opportunity to have an opinion of your own on all of this. I challenge you to stop lending deference to your pastor's opinions and those of other evangelical leaders. Let your rational mind have its say. Ask yourself if the actions of this president reflect your – YOUR – moral leanings. How much of it is OK with you and how much of what Donald Trump does would really be embraced by your family, friends, and church members if you adopted even a small bit of it as your own? Would your behavior, opinions, and actions be considered morally, socially, or spiritually acceptable in the eyes of anyone you love or respect?

 

Think for yourself on this one and weigh your answers against what you – YOU – understand about the concepts of right and wrong. Not your pastor, not a bronze age collection of manuscripts, not a self-published book or poorly-produced movie... YOU. Because what YOU think matters and I don't believe for a second that YOU would say that Donald Trump or those who think like, behave like, or support him personifies anything decent, moral, praiseworthy, or of good report. If you truly believe that your faith is built upon tenets of love and compassion as you claim it to be, there is no possible way you can look at this individual and see anything that jibes with anything you've been taught about either.

 

Now to the truth seekers and free thinkers:

 

We might be able to salvage some of the American experiment after all this, but even in a post-Trump America, evangelicals will proceed from a place where they have become more empowered and will continue using their voice to assert their will over everything from who you love and who you marry to whether or not you're allowed to terminate your pregnancy based on spiritual, not anthropomorphic or scientific criteria. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Now, more than ever, it is important that we, as rational free-thinkers, use our voices and keep compelling counter-arguments in front of those who see Trump and his policies and something good, moral, or beneficial to society; those who still want to see an America emerge that reflects the morals, attitudes, and overall persona of their masochistic, narcissistic, unstable, angry deity personified in political leaders and policy. We need to work together to confront people with reality, force them to see the world they're creating for what it is and start thinking less about nebulous spiritual concepts and more about the very real things that allow us to function as a society.

 

We won't get there by allowing women's rights to be taken away. We won't get there by empowering white supremacists. We won't get there by letting the poor and minorities be marginalized and kept in their place. We'll get there by using our voices both inside and outside of the voting booth, living by example, and doing our level best to show those who support Trump and his ideologies that they are keeping all of us under bondage and that it's time to get unbound.