Repent, White Evangelicals, Before It’s Too Late

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I’m ashamed of my people, white evangelicals. As a conservative evangelical for the better part of half a century, I write from the perspective of intimate knowledge. For nearly five years now I’ve repeatedly pleaded with my fellow white evangelicals to cut their ties to Donald Trump—to repent of their idolatrous quest for power. My reward for doing so has been ostracization, accusations, and even some loss of income. (Yes, some of the clients for my freelance writing business have taken their business elsewhere.)

Civil War on the Horizon?

Without the continuing, unflagging support of conservative white evangelicals, Donald Trump would have had to retreat to his safe place and quietly await the last days of his presidency. Were it not for white evangelicals’ unfaltering loyalty, this nation likely would not be facing a legitimate threat of mass violence and even civil war. (Yes, in various polls, anywhere from one-third to 70 percent of Americans foresee a new civil war looming.)

Despite what more than half of Americans see as four years of Trump “governing” through chaos, white evangelical support for the pandemonium president persists at close to 80 percent. It seems nothing will budge them. Why this eerie intransigence?

Without the continuing, unflagging support of conservative white evangelicals, Donald Trump would have had to retreat to his safe place and quietly await the last days of his presidency.

Held in Place by Pride

Pride. White evangelicals simply have too much invested in their ties to Trump. They bet everything on him—including their “faith.” The prevailing notion among most—from leaders to congregants—is that God chose Donald Trump to save them from encroaching liberal secularism. Donald Trump is the de facto messiah for today’s white evangelicals. To abandon him now would be to admit that their assessment of Trump—and, as a result, their entire belief system—was defective.

One need only search YouTube for videos regarding “evangelical visions about Donald Trump” to see the prevalence of the phenomenon. There seems to be an endless parade of evangelical pastors, “leaders,” talk show hosts, and congregants who have declared that God personally told them He chose Donald Trump to preserve religious liberties and uphold morality for Christians in America. What better way to shut down a meaningful discussion on the topic? God told me this. End of discussion. Do you dare contradict God?

Giving Trump Cover to Destroy

So, bolstered by that resolute evangelical defense, Trump is free to wreak havoc in the waning days of his administration—and even to attempt to overturn the fairly conducted election through his bogus claims of voter fraud, which his disciples accept as gospel.

Even as many longtime conservatives—including a few Fox News pundits—finally concede that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, white evangelicals stubbornly cling to their fervent belief in their new messiah. In a contest of faith, most white evangelicals are more than willing to turn against fellow Republicans they formerly supported—and the true Christian faith—as well as against observable facts. “Trump said it; I believe it, and that settles it for me.”

Yes, a new U.S. civil war could be looming, and my folks, white evangelicals, will be largely responsible if it does happen. I wish I could reach them. Most are too far gone.

10 comments

  1. Jerry, I have long been convinced that Donald Trump is a sociopath. The impact on others is very secondary to what is in it for him. Narcissism is a form of being a sociopath, but it goes beyond narcissism. Who would put his most ardent fans in danger without telling them he knows the coronavirus is dangerous? Who would burn down people or institutions because the competent public servants who know what their oath means have raised concerns? Who would jeopardize our election process to not lose an election because his fragile ego cannot stand losing?

    He has done more to damage America, our global standing, and Christianity than any other person in a leadership position. He has torched Jesus’ words and it does not seem to matter. That not only makes me sad, it is off putting and people are leaving the church. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “He has torched Jesus’ words and it does not seem to matter.” Yes, and it seems so obvious that he has done so. Yet so many evangelicals have now elevated Trump’s words over Jesus’ words that the message of grace and of respect for every human being has largely been lost to them.

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  2. What we are seeing today is the most extreme example of why religion and politics don’t mix well and should be kept entirely separate. Freedom of religion does not include the right to impose a viewpoint on the entire nation, contrary to what the majority of the evangelicals seem to believe. My fear is that their manic behaviour will continue even after Trump is out of the White House, continuing to widen the divide in this country and keeping us from finding any common ground on which to build.

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    1. You wrote, “My fear is that their manic behaviour will continue even after Trump is out of the White House, continuing to widen the divide in this country and keeping us from finding any common ground on which to build.” I agree. When a significant portion of the population sees their “opponents” as either demon-inspired or even as literal demons, unity–or even any level of tolerance–is out of the question. Conservative Christian intolerance is certainly not new, but I’m convinced it’s becoming more rabid by the day. That’ not true of every evangelical. I still know some gracious, kindhearted evangelicals, but a growing number have given themselves over to bitter hatred. Those types would happily go to war against other Americans if Trump so much as suggests it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Tell me, Jerry … where do you think this is all heading? I value your opinion … some say a new civil war is inevitable, others think we will eventually divide into a number of separate nation states, and others think some major disaster will bring us all together again. I have my own thoughts, which I will likely post about next week, but I’m interested in yours. The one thing I think we both know is the current status quo cannot continue. The fevered pitch of hatred has to take us in one direction or the other, and I think soon. Sigh.

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  3. As I’m sure you know by now, Jill, I am not one of those “Thus saith the Lord” evangelicals who claims a direct line to and from God. So this is nothing more than a guess based on my long history with the far-right and on my observations in general:
    It won’t take long for the results of the December 14 official electoral college vote to reach the public. At that point, the true Trumpists who’ve continued to cling to their fantasy of Trump still winning will have to accept reality. But accepting reality is not the same as acceding to reality. They’ll begin by venting their fury on social media sites. That will escalate to pockets of violence on city streets. Trump will neither do nor say anything to dissuade the violence, so it will increase. Meanwhile, other Trump loyalists will be plotting more organized “resistance.” (All the while, most elected Republican officials will continue their cowardly silence.) Then, law enforcement agencies–and individuals within those agencies–will be choosing sides. Some will chose to side with the Trumpist reactionaries. Within a week or so (December 20 or thereabouts) Trump will have his opportunity to do what some, such as Michael Flynn, have advised him to do; he’ll declare martial law as a last-ditch effort to hang on to his presidency. His declaration will lead to angry responses from the left, which far right-wingers will welcome; they’ll have what they want–the seeds of a new civil war in which the entire democratic system can–if they win–be replaced by their Trumpocracy.
    Then again, I could be way off base. I hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your scenario sounds awfully foreboding … yet unfortunately, entirely possible. Whether it happens as you describe or not, there’s little doubt there will be uprisings. And to think it’s all because of one egotistical, self-serving, power-hungry individual — assisted by many who have kept hidden their political aspirations for domination but now see an opportunity to fulfill their goals.

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  4. Its been very hard to understand the steadfastness of support for Trump. Your articles shed alot of light on the insidious nature of his rise and staying power. He has managed to capitalize on sacred beliefs. It is a literal recipe for ongoing civil unrest and as you say, possibly more. Thank you, as always, for sharing your insights.

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