As we’ve known now for well over three years, the complete capitulation of the evangelical community to President Donald Trump is one of the most confounding occurrences in recent memory. It’s hard to fathom, really. But my friend and contributor to this blog, Jerry Gramckow (grumpy 1180), understands it better than most.
After all, he’s been a part of that community for well over 45 years. Jerry’s view of Mr. Trump is quite different from his fellow members. In fact, defeating this president in 2020 is something he’s committed to make happen. I’m happy to have him join me and Greg in this journey.
Recently he wrote a piece that was published at The Culture Crush, a digital and print magazine that I’ve sometimes contributed to as well. The following is an excerpt, followed by a link to the rest of the story. I highly recommend reading the entire article. Perhaps instead of scratching our heads in amazement and shock at Trump’s grip on those who blindly follow him, we’ll at least gain some insight into what drives this phenomenon.
Thank You Jerry.
By Jerry Gramckow
Bill and Carol are retired seventy-somethings who live in a comfortable, conservative enclave of Southern California. Both have long histories of chronic health problems. They are prime candidates for a deadly encounter with a communicable disease. When the coronavirus finds its way into their lives, they will face a dire situation.
Like so many American boomers, Bill and Carol had regrets over their rebellious youth, and during the “Jesus Freak” era of the 1970’s, Bill and Carol became “born again” evangelical Christians—their social, political, and cultural sense of community shaped by a complete faith in the words of the good book. But according to whom?
In 2016, when it came time to fall in line and get behind the man who promised to Make America Great Again, their faith was replaced by a sense of nostalgia, a dangerous political proposition that came in direct opposition to what their hearts told them. Knowing full-well it felt like the party they rallied behind was presenting them with a draft-dodging-would-be-autocratic-billionaire-braggart who planned a Nazi-like takeover of the United States, they were asked to cast their ballot for the man behind a very suspicious curtain.
But the couple’s children—as well as most of their other friends and relatives, the majority of them persuaded to believe themselves to be disaffected white evangelicals abandoned by American culture in favor of minorities—were already passionate Trump disciples. So when he won the Republican nomination, the couple concluded that their hearts had been wrong. Trump’s ascension was all the evidence they needed that God had chosen him to lead this nation. “God is in charge and He chose Trump,” they ultimately conceded. They ignored their hearts as this new political plague demanded they sell their very souls.
Despite abundant and undeniable evidence of Trump’s disastrous, deceitful, bungling response to the worst global health crisis in decades, Bill and Carol cling to their faith in the new messiah, even if this new plague will lead to their demise. Such would not be case if evangelicals like Bill and Carol were to trust science—or even a proper interpretation of the Bible they so revere.
Instead we see them fall for the same cons pulled on them decade after decade, by those who rely on the kind of blind faith evangelicals adhere to—a greatest hits of fear-mongering, misinformation, and ruthless exploitation. They target the very communities hit hardest by tragedy—from the gay community during the AIDS crisis to the entire population of the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Whether actually victimized by an act of God or systematic institutional failure, the concept of sin is used as a powerful weapon against the powerless, against the suffering, and most of all, against the truth. But this time, they can blame who they like, it’s still people like Bill and Carol who will most likely be the ones to ultimately reap what the evangelical community tends to sow.
To read the rest of the article, here is the link: The Culture Crush/Blind Faith