[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 22:51:08 MDT 2018

/*Dennis, I would agree with you, but that certainly isn't the flavor of 
this piece that Carl has offered...................*/

On 11/2/2018 11:03 AM, Dennis Putnam wrote:
> I believe the correct word is commended.
> On 11/2/2018 10:48 AM, John Quayle wrote:
>> /*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.*
>>> **
>>> -- 
>>> ----CWSIV----
>>>   ,= ,-_-. =.
>>> ((_/)o o(\_))
>>>   `-'(. .)`-'
>>>       \_/
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