Quantcast
Connect with us

Here’s why Trump’s Evangelicals won’t care about those budget cuts

Published

on

Poor hungry child eating bread (Shutterstock)

As the White House releases its budget that slashes support for the poor, the elderly, and the sick in favor of tax cuts, evangelical support for President Trump remains strong. This, despite what most people see as the obvious Christian obligation for charity, is not economic justice.

This article is reprinted with permission from Religion Dispatches. Follow RD on Facebook or Twitter for daily updates.

The degree to which Trump seems an unlikely evangelical standard bearer has been widely explored.  (See Sarah Posner and Christopher Stroop for insightful analyses.) Certainly the “alt right” and authoritarian threads are important. Also critical is the argument that some aspects of the Trump agenda are merely tolerated by evangelicals because they care more about fighting abortion/LGBTQ rights and “preserving” their privilege in the name of religious freedom.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the support for tax cuts, over assistance for those in need, is not just a gift from Trump to his rich friends, tolerated by evangelicals because they care more about other issues. These budget cuts are in keeping with the religious right’s understanding of a biblical worldview, and are at the very core of its agenda.

This paradox warrants a revisiting of dominionist views about the proper role of government and how those views have given shape to the ideology embraced by today’s American evangelicals. It also serves as a foreshadowing of the future if we ever see a President Pence.

In Building God’s Kingdom,in which I explore the framework rooted in the Reformation with the work of Abraham Kuyper and popularized by Francis Schaeffer and R.J. Rushdoonythe contemporary religious right builds on a notion of “sphere sovereignty” to develop an overarching theory of how the Bible speaks to every area of life. According to sphere sovereignty, God has delegated authority to men (they usually do mean men) in three distinct spheres of government: family government, ecclesiastical government and civil government. These three spheres have specific and limited roles.

In this view, the role of civil government is limited to the protection of property and the punishment of criminals. It is primarily the obligation of the family to assist the poor, and secondarily the obligation of the church to assist those who can’t receive the help they need from family. If the civil government uses tax money to help the poor it is understood as tyrannically exceeding its biblical authority and effectively stealing money to do so. (They call such misused taxes legalized theft.)

You find this position articulated in rather arcane theological form in the work of R.J. Rushdoony and other Christian Reconstructionists, but you also find it popularized in rather mainstream evangelical circles by people like David Barton on his radio show. It is promoted in books, conferences and Christian school/home school curricula.

ADVERTISEMENT

This is also the underpinning for any number of other administration policies. It’s why so many of Trump’s appointees literally oppose the efforts of the agencies they lead. Case in point, the Department of Education is led by one who believes that education is the responsibility of the family and that the civil government doesn’t have authority in this sphere. It’s unlikely that Donald Trump has any such theoretical underpinnings, but you can bet Mike Pence does, and he’s already ensuring that this dominionist “biblical worldview” shapes the administration’s policies.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Trump takes his COVID-spreader show to Omaha — in search of a key electoral vote

Published

on

Donald Trump’s super-spreader campaign rallies generally don’t matter in the big picture of things. But there’s one happening this evening that’s a little different.

Trump will be taking over a ramp at 7:30 p.m. at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield. It is being billed as an outdoor event with “strong precautions” in place to prevent the spread of a pandemic disease that the main speaker will be telling his audience is fake news. And they’re hoping to draw 10,000 potential pandemic patients.

The reason Trump is in Omaha is the same one that President Barack Obama was there in 2008: a recognition that the Nebraska 2nd congressional district’s one electoral vote could literally decide the fate of the free world. Nebraska and Maine are the only two states that portion delegates in part by congressional districts.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s lenders forgave hundreds of millions in debt — but he paid virtually no taxes on it: NYT

Published

on

On Tuesday, The New York Times released the latest in a lengthy series about their findings within President Donald Trump's tax returns — this time, how he managed to punt or avoid millions of dollars in debt from constructing the Trump Tower in Chicago, while still not paying taxes on the amount he was forgiven.

"The president’s federal income tax records, obtained by The New York Times, show for the first time that, since 2010, his lenders have forgiven about $287 million in debt that he failed to repay. The vast majority was related to the Chicago project," reported David Enrich, Russ Buettner, Mike McIntire, and Susanne Craig. "How Mr. Trump found trouble in Chicago, and maneuvered his way out of it, is a case study in doing business the Trump way."

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Militia leader denies that flying a Confederate flag is racist in NBC News exposé

Published

on

On MSNBC's Deadline White House Tuesday, correspondent Cal Perry spoke with a militia leader in Kentucky who denied that carrying a Confederate flag was a form of racism.

"There are photos of you carrying Confederate flags," Perry said.

"Some people don't. People in my group are Puerto Rico, Blacks, Cubans, I've got a mixture," said Tara Brandau of the National Patriotic Defense Team militia.

Continue Reading
 
 
Democracy is in peril. Invest in progressive news. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE