“Kids have what I call a built-in hypocrisy antenna that comes up and blocks out what you’re saying when you’re being a hypocrite.” – Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump administration
Perhaps, Mr. Carson, that hypocrisy antenna is why the younger generation is generally rejecting the Republican Party—and evangelical Christianity. The election of Donald Trump—largely due to the unholy marriage of the GOP and white evangelicals—has exposed the rank hypocrisy that has infected both entities.
Hypocrisy: The Final Nail in the GOP’s Coffin
Elsewhere on this site, in May You Rest in Peace, GOP, Jeff outlined several reasons for the imminent demise of the Republican Party. As a stalwart and highly involved Republican from 1973 until 2016, I can attest to the accuracy of Jeff’s analysis. The GOP—at least in its present structure—is doomed. The angry old white men—most of whom self-identify as “evangelical”—who’ve propped it up for the last couple decades are not immortal. And under Donald Trump, the party has made no effort to expand beyond that dying base. So to Jeff’s list of the GOP’s stupid and self-defeating miscalculations, I’d add the above-mentioned unholy marriage of the often-hypocritical joined-at-the-hip forces of the GOP and white evangelicalism.
Never has that hypocrisy been more glaring than in the response of both these entities to the COVID pandemic. And because the two are now so intimately intertwined, as I examine that hypocrisy below, I feel no need to differentiate between the two. (Within white evangelical churches, identifying oneself politically as anything other than a conservative Republican is equivalent to declaring oneself a high priest in the satanic church.)
Examples of Evangelical Indifference and Hypocrisy
In a previous post, Owned Libs and Lost Souls, I wrote about a September 13th gathering of thousands of unmasked evangelicals here in Colorado Springs, despite the county’s COVID-related restrictions on such gatherings. I’d previously written a letter of rebuke to the evangelical pastor who organized the ill-advised and rebellious gathering. But, as I noted in Don’t Lick the Frog, the pastor never replied to my letter. I suspect similar incidents—hundreds, perhaps thousands—have occurred in cities and town across the nation, particularly within red states. Here are a few examples:
- “The River at Tampa Bay Church in Florida held a crowded service Sunday for its thousands of members, despite a ban of groups of 10 or more people….”
- “Shasta County health officials say that an outbreak of cases among students and staff at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry contributed to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases….”
- “A pastor associated with Bethel Church in Redding, California, held a prayer service and protest against coronavirus prevention measures on the California State Capitol grounds on Sunday.”
- “In the meantime [Pastor John] MacArthur will continue to hold indoor, in-person services for his 7,000-plus member congregation….”
- “Andrew Wommack Ministries is continuing to hold its minsters conferences this week as a legal battle looms against Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and local and state health departments.” Wommack’s “ministry,” in Woodland Park, west of Colorado Springs, has been defying local and state COVID restrictions for months. The news article linked above continues, “The Teller County Department of Public Health has filed an injunction that seeks to prevent any further events at Charis [Bible College] after Andrew Wommack Ministries filed a lawsuit against the state alleging religious discrimination. AWM was first contacted by public health officials with a cease and desist in early July after a summer bible conference that Teller County said led to a coronavirus outbreak.”
- “Prominent megachurch pastor and conservative activist John Hagee has been diagnosed with COVID-19, his son announced during services at the Texas church his father founded.” Yes, just as with our COVID-downplaying President, Pastor Hagee caught a case of COVID-style poetic justice.
It’s likely that in each of the cases listed above—and the thousands of similar gatherings across the nation—many were infected, and many of those infected at those gatherings carried the virus back to their homes and workplaces. But, after all, one must exercise one’s First Amendment rights to assemble for religious services, regardless of the potential danger to one’s neighbors.
Evangelicals’ Dangerous Persecution Complex
As I stated in Don’t Lick the Frog, evangelicals’ persecution complex tends to make them a rather pugnacious association, feeling the need to defend themselves from what they perceive to be a malicious majority bent on their destruction. This is despite the fact that, as I stated in Beware, Evangelicals, of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, “The 75 percent of Americans who are not evangelical are not focused on oppressing the 25 percent who are evangelicals. The simpler and more uninspiring truth is that non-evangelicals rarely even think about evangelicals.”
But now, thanks to evangelicals’ selfish, rebellious reactions to a highly contagious worldwide pandemic, non-evangelicals are more likely to pay attention to them. And it’s not the kind of attention evangelicals should desire. Evangelicals’ rebellious defiance—like that of their White House messiah—has brought about “super-spreader” events across the nation.
Perhaps more than any other assemblage, white evangelicals are responsible for the recent upsurge in COVID cases across America. Evangelicals are mistaken if they assume their non-evangelical neighbors have not noticed this correlative trend. When real persecution does come upon America’s evangelical churches, it will not be without some justification.
It is because of evangelicals’ overemphasis of a few Bible verses that they have adopted their persecution complex, which in turn drives their rebellious attitude, such as their defiance of reasonable public health measures in the COVID era. Evangelicals need, instead, to reconsider the many other Bible passages that call for compassionate concern for their neighbors, chief among them Philippians 2:3-4.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Sadly, it might already be too late for that.