[Rushtalk] The Retribution for Evangelicals Who Sold Their Souls to Trump Is Coming / yes there is christian communism.

John Quayle blueoval57 at verizon.net
Fri Nov 2 08:48:25 MDT 2018

/*Are we therefore condemned?!? */

On 11/1/2018 3:11 PM, Carl Spitzer wrote:
> **
>   *The Retribution for Evangelicals Who Sold Their Souls to Trump Is
>   Coming *
> *Trump is arguably the logical culmination of some strains of 
> right-wing evangelical Christianity in America* *History News Network 
> * /*October 14, 2018, 4:35 AM GMT */
> *Print* *Comments*
> *Pastors praying over Donald Trump (Photo: Screen capture)*
> *This Advent season, while watching Donald Trump in front of a 
> garishly green-and-red banner which proclaims “Make America Great 
> Again,” take the opportunity to reflect on the Faustian bargain which 
> allowed conservative evangelical Christians to “Keep Christ in 
> Christmas” while seemingly divorcing Christianity from Christ. That 
> Republican supply side economics, exemplified by Paul Ryan and Mitch 
> McConnell’s cruel tax “reform,” contradicts Matthew 5:3 is clear. That 
> Trump’s draconian immigration policy, which involves splitting 
> families apart, violates the essence of Exodus 22:21 is obvious. And 
> it shouldn’t have to be said that the new nationalism, this new 
> fascism, with its “blood and soil” metaphysic, stands in opposition to 
> the sublime universalism of Galatians 3:28.*
> *For those 81% of white evangelicals who voted for Trump, and more 
> troublingly for the profoundly inhumane, greedy, wrathful ideology 
> that he embodies, and who have seemingly forgotten their scripture, I 
> have another passage to remind them of: Matthew 4:10. Following the 
> dark Adversary who took Christ up “an exceeding high mountain, and she 
> with him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And 
> saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall 
> down and worship me.” And Christ, choosing to follow the small, 
> humble, yet sacred path, rejected the temptations of worldly power 
> declaring, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt 
> worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”*
> *America’s conservative evangelicals, however, have taken up that 
> diabolical offer. Witness the self-debasement of a man like 
> neurosurgeon and current H.U.D. secretary Ben Carson offering prayers 
> for Trump last December 19th, with the president “quipping” to the 
> press that they “need the prayer more than I do…. Maybe a good solid 
> prayer and they’ll be honest, Ben, is that possible?” Or when at that 
> same meeting Vice-President Mike Pence (one for whom we are 
> perennially reminded of his piety while he seemingly forgets Matthew 
> 6:6) offered a master class in saccharine sycophancy when he groveled 
> to Trump with “Mr. President, I’ll end where I began and just tell 
> you, I want to thank you, Mr. President. I want to thank you for 
> speaking on behalf of and fighting every day for forgotten men and 
> women of America… the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten 
> no more, and we are making America great again.”*
> *Or if those examples condemn the powerful at the expense of regular 
> evangelicals, consider that 80% of white, self-identified evangelicals 
> in Alabama voted for the disgraced and disgraceful losing pedophile 
> Roy Moore. Presiding over this nightmare of abandoned principles (or 
> perhaps more disturbingly the embrace of principles that were always 
> there) is Trump himself, the philandering, vulgar, immoral New York 
> real-estate developer of seemingly no authentic faith who promised 
> evangelicals that “I am your voice.” The Public Religion Research 
> Institute reported that over the past five years the “percentage of 
> white evangelical Protestants who said that a politician who commits 
> an immoral act in their personal life could still behave ethically 
> shot up from 30 to 72 percent. The percentage saying such a politician 
> could not serve ethically plunged from 63 to 20 percent.” The 
> difference, it would seem, is a certain Fifth Avenue resident who 
> promised them that “If I become president, we’re gonna be saying Merry 
> Christmas at every store …. You can leave happy holidays at the 
> corner.” What easily bought faith! In 2017 all it takes for many 
> right-wing Christians is to be taken to the top-floor of Trump Tower, 
> be shown all the kingdoms of the world, and they’ll gladly prostrate 
> themselves before an idol for a bit of temporal power.*
> *Christianity, by its own definition, is a countercultural faith, one 
> which stands in opposition to the things of this world while still 
> being in this world. But humans being humans the history of the 
> religion is replete with moments where Augustine’s City of Man has 
> overwhelmed the City of God in the heart of the believer. From 
> Constantine’s usurpation of the Roman Church to Henry VIII’s 
> appropriation of ecclesiastical power, Christians have been more than 
> willing to sell their allegiance for thirty pieces of silver. Trumpian 
> Christianity is but one chapter in a long lineage of hypocritical 
> capitulation of principle to sovereigns in the name of worldly power.*
> *A supreme irony, for one of the most important aspects of the 
> Constitutional principle of disestablishment is that it preserved the 
> independence and sanctity of religious practice from the machinations 
> of a meddling state. But while there is a long custom of right-wing 
> evangelicals bellyaching about their perceived oppression (when such 
> calls for “religious freedom” are often really just a justification 
> for denying the rights of others) there are now no compunctions about 
> jumping into bed with the most manifestly irreligious of presidents in 
> modern history, for whom the only scripture is that of Norman Vincent 
> Peale’s prosperity gospel combined with an endlessly renewable faith 
> in himself, regardless of what reality dictates. *
> *There is an irony in all of this. Since the resurgence of politicized 
> evangelical Christianity with the ascendency of Ronald Reagan, many 
> apocalyptic minded conservative Christians made a sort of prophetic 
> parlor game out of conjecturing who the potential anti-Christ could 
> be. Figures from Hal Lindsey, to Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, and 
> Jerry Falwell often fingered world leaders or liberal politicians as 
> being in league with Satan.. An irony since if the anti-Christ is 
> supposed to be a manipulative, powerful, smooth-talking demagogue with 
> the ability to sever people from their most deeply held beliefs who 
> would be a better candidate than the seemingly indestructible Trump? 
> Well I don’t believe in a literal anti-Christ, and to accuse Trump of 
> being one gives the president far too much credit. At his core he is 
> simply a consummate narcissist with little intelligence and less 
> curiosity, one who has somehow become the most powerful man in the 
> world. And that’s certainly dangerous enough without invoking anything 
> supernatural. Still, it’s surprising that evangelical Christians, who 
> for years preached about such a figure, seem to lack the 
> self-awareness to identify something so anti-Christian in Trump 
> himself. Or worse yet, they certainly recognize it, but don’t care.*
> *I don’t wish to engage the “No True Scotsman” fallacy; conservative 
> Christians presumably arrived at their faith and their conclusions for 
> their own reasons, and the fact that I disagree with them on a litany 
> of issues theological and political, from abortion to taxes, does not 
> invalidate the legitimacy of their own faith. But there is something 
> undeniably strange and supremely hypocritical in seeing the 
> embarrassing spectacle of religious leaders bow to such a spiritually 
> illiterate man, a moral midget. Jerry Falwell Jr., cognizant enough of 
> the disjuncture between personal piety and support of Trump but 
> apparently not cognizant enough to avoid uttering inanities like the 
> following, has compared the president to King David. That is to say 
> that he acknowledges Trump’s copious personal failings (and steadfast 
> refusals at contrition for any of them) but sees the president as a 
> tool of the Lord meant to enact Christian policy, and so it behooves 
> evangelicals to support him. One imagines that whatever makes it 
> easier for the good Rev. Falwell to sleep better at night, but perhaps 
> he is the sort of man whose sleep is untroubled, for hypocrisy has a 
> handy ability to cleanse the conscience.*
> *Currently evangelical Christianity in the United States is certainly 
> still classifiable as a flavor of orthodox Nicene Christianity. But 
> it’s not like there isn’t precedent for the church to contort itself 
> to the heresies of a totalitarian regime. Consider the promulgation of 
> an Aryan “Positive Christianity” in the Third Reich, in which all 
> Jewish elements of the faith were expunged, and the gospels rejected 
> in favor of a deadly and noxious blood-and-soil ideology, where the 
> “Fuehrer is the herald of a new revelation.” This consolidation of all 
> the Protestant denominations of Germany featured no Apostle’s Creed, 
> or Nicaean, rather only allegiance to the state, a complete 
> capitulation to the Prince of this World and an ascent to the 
> temptation upon that desert mountaintop. We must remind ourselves of 
> such compromises, bargains, and contracts as a perennial threat to the 
> inner life of the faithful. While there is certainly no corollary to 
> such a phenomenon in the United States today – yet – one must be 
> vigilant and on guard to those like Rev. Falwell who see no blasphemy 
> in comparing a president to the Anointed One.*
> *Trump is arguably the logical culmination of some strains of 
> right-wing evangelical Christianity in America, from the political 
> theology of dominionism to the hermeneutics of presuppositional 
> apologetics, dogmas which see no inconsistency to rendering all to a 
> Caesar whom they have declared to be a Christ. We may have yet to see 
> the arrival in the United States of a type of powerful, theocratic, 
> fascistic Protestant Falangism enabled by the opportunism of a Trump, 
> and which makes the traditional Christian Right look positively 
> liberal. And with the global rise of the new nationalism there is a 
> disturbing degree of collaboration between rightest religion and 
> racist ideology, from the Orthodox mysticisms of those in the Kremlin 
> who follow the crackpot historian Aleksandr Dugin to Stephen Bannon 
> who wishes to preserve his understanding of Christendom not because 
> all of us are children of God but because only some of us are white.. 
> Christianity, when allied to the powers of the world, has a way of 
> promulgating distinctly anti-Christian beliefs. Do not read me as 
> hyperbolic, the threat is global, powerful, interconnected, and real. 
> When 60,000 Polish fascists marched in November, promoting a Poland 
> without Muslims and Jews, they chanted “We want God” – a phrase from a 
> speech delivered in Warsaw by Trump earlier that year.*
> *Nazi “Positive” Christianity was countered by the resistance of the 
> Confessing Church, the underground network of pastors and parishioners 
> who operated in opposition to the glorification of worldly power as 
> represented by the regime. One of the greatest of souls and 
> theological intellects was the Confessing Church minister Dietrich 
> Bonhoeffer, martyred by the Nazis at Flossenbürg Concentration Camp in 
> 1945. Witness to the rise of compromised fascist Christianity in his 
> own country, he aptly diagnosed the equivocations and capitulations 
> some Christians were willing to make in order to sup at the table of 
> power, but he also understood that from a theological perspective 
> there should be nothing surprising about this. He explained that for 
> “evil to be disguised as light… is quite bewildering to anyone brought 
> up on our traditional ethical concepts, while for the Christian who 
> based his life on the Bible, it merely confirms the fundamental 
> wickedness of evil.” But even while acknowledging the fundamental 
> wickedness of that evil, Bonhoeffer stood in opposition to it, and 
> lived a life testament to that gospel.*
> *So, this Advent, if you’re looking for a bit of the promise of that 
> first Christmas consider this: whenever some persons trade their faith 
> for the treasures of this world, elsewhere a remnant of true faith 
> always seemingly endures. A faith that answers power with mercy, hate 
> with love, a shout with a whispered prayer.*
> *It’s written that nobody can serve two masters, even as many 
> evangelicals seem content to try and serve God, Mammon, and darker 
> gods aside. But a compromised faith, a tainted faith, an implicated 
> faith can only flourish for so long, and genuine faith can never be 
> extinguished. Writer and scholar Burke Gerstenschlager writes for our 
> current moment that “In the midst of Propaganda and Gospel, we must 
> resist … with love where there is hate. Resist with kindness where 
> there is abandonment. Resist with grace where there is cruelty Resist 
> with justice where there is impunity. Resist with knowledge where 
> there is ignorance. Resist with truth where there are lies. Advent is 
> our season.” For if Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church provide us 
> any Advent succor it’s this: even at the darkest of hours when faith 
> seems all but extinguished a faint light can still glimmer so that we 
> may see. And to those implicated, those collaborators, those who’ve 
> traded faith for power, and those who chant “We want God” – consider 
> that you should be careful what you wish for. God may be precisely 
> what we get.*
> **
> -- 
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