Quantcast
Connect with us

The term ‘evangelical’ has crumbled into meaninglessness in the era of Trump: professor

Published

on

As the evangelical Christian movement began to rise in politics before the 1980 election, there was a fork in the road that forced the self-described “Moral Majority” to make a decision in regards to which candidate they supported: the devout Christian Jimmy Carter, or the divorced Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan.

Writing for the Atlantic, Baylor University professor of humanities Alan Jacobs says it was the Moral Majority’s decision to go with Reagan that “inaugurated the affiliation of white American evangelicals with the Republican Party that has lasted to this day.”

ADVERTISEMENT

While Carter’s support for abortion rights played a significant role in evangelicals’ choice to go with Reagan, it was the overall drift towards a more progressive stance on racial and sexual issues embraced by the Democratic party that alienated social conservatives, many of them in the South, as Jacobs writes.

But as the decades passed and American church leaders in almost all denominations became less interested in traditional Christian doctrines and more interested in what some scholars have come to call moralistic therapeutic deism, a larger and larger proportion of white evangelicals became what Pew Research calls “God-and-Country Believers.” These folks, almost all of whom are white, may not attend church often or at all, and they may not be interested in, or even aware of, the beliefs that have typically characterized evangelical Christians, but they know this much: They believe in God, and they believe in America, and they love Donald Trump because he speaks blunt Truth to culturally elite Power, and when asked by pollsters whether they are evangelicals, they say yes.

According to Jacobs, “God-and-Country Believers” are now married to the Republican Party, and as a result, the identity of evangelicals and Trump supporters now goes hand-in-hand. Now, the term “evangelical” has completely lost its meaning.

This transformation of evangelical from a theological position to a “racial and political” one is not just bad for serious Christians; it’s also a prime driver of the increasing hostility of liberals to religion in almost any form. Those who have insisted on yoking (a very vague notion of) God and (a very specific account of) country may soon find themselves dispossessed of both.

ADVERTISEMENT

In the wake of Trump’s election, Jacobs argued in a blog post that evangelicals need to take back their identity from the political ideologues who’ve stolen it. But in the months since, he’s now starting to believe that may not be possible, thanks to a “strange and inadvertent conspiracy of Trump supporters and journalists” who’ve worked to “put an end to a useful term that once described a vital tradition in the Christian faith.”


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

Breaking Banner

In extreme crises, conservatism can turn to fascism. Here’s how that might play out

Published

on

5 movie "Back to the Future," Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) travels in a time machine from the 1980s to the 1950s. When he tells people of the '50s he is from the '80s, he is met with skepticism.

1950s person: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?

This article first appeared at Salon.com.Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.

1950s person: Ronald Reagan? The actor? [chuckles in disbelief] Then who's vice president? Jerry Lewis [comedian]?

Continue Reading

Facebook

Who are the young people behind the Catalonia protest violence?

Published

on

The violent protests that have swept Catalonia over the jailing of nine separatist leaders have involved veteran anarchists and youthful troublemakers as well as outraged separatists, some of whom became radicalised only recently.

"I am 24, have a masters and a job and I never imagined myself setting fire to a barricade with my face masked," said one protester who gave her name only as Aida.

She has joined in protests every day since they erupted in the region after Spain's Supreme Court on Monday sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to up to 13 years in jail for sedition over a failed 2017 independence bid.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Body language expert dissects the power dynamic at play in the iconic Nancy Pelosi photo

Published

on

Last week, President Donald Trump met with Democrats at the White House to discuss the way both sides could work to fix the President's mistakes in Syria. Democrats left the White House saying that the President had another meltdown during the meeting, which prompted Trump to claim Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the one who had a meltdown. He then posted photos of Pelosi sitting quietly and another photo of Pelosi standing and pointing at him.

Body language expert Dr. Jack Brown posted the photo and gave his own analysis of what he believed was happening in the photo.

"When a person has little or no empathy — and/or when they're far from their emotional baseline, their ability to interpret how others will view an event becomes dramatically distorted," Brown explained Sunday. "Rarely has this behavioral axiom been better exemplified than last Wednesday at the White House."

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image