Evangelical Bashing in the Trump Era.
I keep seeing these columns in magazines and posts on social media about how horrible evangelical Christians are. After all, we voted in Trump and caused the iminent cessation of all good in the world, and thereby made moot any claims we have to Christian faith.
Furthermore, the narrative says that evangelicals are hateful, violent, racist, homophobic and transphobic hypocrites. In short, Evangelicals are the worst thing since, well, I guess since Christians in general.
To the authors of these pieces I would first ask, ‘do you know any evangelicals? Do you know that some of the most devout among them are women of color? Do you distrust them, and if so, why? And if you know evangelicals, how horrible are they? Have they been unkind to anyone you know? Have they treated your gay friend badly? Have the cheated the poor, have they burnt a cross in someone’s yard? Are they Klansmen? Are they utter hypocrites who throw sex parties in honor of Donald all the while preaching sexual purity? Can you please list the offenses they have committed, other than believing things you find disagreeable?’
I would also ask, are you aware of the activities of your local churches? I am, since I’m part of one. My church is preaching love and tolerance, and trying to welcome everyone into the worship service. My church is engaging in community outreach, helping poor families with financial struggles, holding camp for kids, sending missionaries overseas to love orphans, teach, build and help minister. Churches all over are trying to reach the LGBT community in love; even as they try to honor their Biblical teachings on the topic.
My church (well, the one I used to attend but technically still belong to) has a wonderful food and clothing bank. They do all they can, in concert with other dangerous, hateful evangelical churches in the area, to reach out to the poor and struggling. They find hotel rooms for the evicted, they pick up underprivileged kids for Sunday School where they love them, teach them and get to know them. They reach out to the aged. They comfort the dying and the grieving. And feed them. (It’s what we do.)
Evangelicals, furthermore, reach out to the world in amazing numbers during disasters. The Southern Baptist Church has one of the most robust and effective disaster relief organizations in the country. Samaritan’s Purse, run by Franklin Graham (I know, evil, hateful, blah,blah, blah) last year set up a combat hospital in Mosul, Iraq, staffed with evangelical physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners and others. The gall! The same group respondes to disasters all across the country, helping in many ways. I know, because my wife has worked with them in recovery efforts.
That bastion of hatred, Chic-Fil-A, fed the responders and blood donors after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida. Their founder, Truett Cathy, had a heart for orphans and did much to help their plight.
Focus on the Family, you know the ones almost as evil as the Gestapo? In Colorado, several years ago, they held adoption events in churches where they helped families with the paperwork and the process with the result that at that time, nearly every child in foster care was adopted. (But by who? Monsters, right? Better an orphan than an evangelical I guess.)
I could go on but I’m tired. Tired because it’s late. And tired of hearing my fellow believers besmirched over and over again by people who cherry-pick bad behaviors and ignore the enormous good of believers in their local churches. Yes, believers do bad things. We’re bad people. We know that. It’s why we come to Christ for forgiveness and transformation.
I’m tired of my fellow Christians being called names because we have differences of opinion based in our theology; and of seeing that termed hatred and phobia. We can disagree on ideas without hating, or fearing, anyone. Besides, is hatred of religious groups so much better?
And I’m so weary of the ‘Evangelicals Voted in Trump’ line. Yes, they had a big hand in it. But it wasn’t what they, what we wanted. However, we picked what we thought was a lesser of two or three evils. We liked other candidates, but they were called names. The were termed intolerant and hateful and mocked for their beliefs. They fell out of the race. Those are the people that the hard left now calls ‘moderates’ and ‘unifying forces’ and wishes they had been elected.
Trump isn’t everything we wanted. But we accepted that on the balance, he would probably represent our interests better than others. Personally I have no delusion that he is a believer. One can hope and pray, however, that he is good, and wise and that he confesses and repents. In the long history of Christianity, believers were seldom if ever offered an option about their political leaders. They just trusted God and pressed on, despite the fact that their kings or emperors were often cruel, selfish, decadent, often hostile to their beliefs to the point of murder and martyrdom.
Of course, regarding President Trump I can (and do) pray just as I prayed for the safety and guidance of the Obamas despite disagreeing with his policies.
And one last thing. Everytime I see some comment about how Trump isn’t behaving in a Christian manner, and that his policies aren’t Christ-like, I remember all the times we were told our faith had no business in politics, in policy, indeed in the public square at all! What changed?
Mock away. But as you do, try to get to know a few evangelicals. You might be surprised at how un-horrible they actually are! and if you play your cards right, you’ll end up with a casserole and an invitation to VBS.
Imagine the horror!