Degenerate Christianity, the Rise of Trump & WWDD
And right there, I'm done with Evangelical Christianity.
Well, to be fair, I was kind of over it some years ago with its prosperity doctrine (essentially 'greed is good'), Islamophobia, judgement of others and general sense of superiority. Oh, and its unwillingness to protest against human rights abuses while vehemently protesting against same sex marriage (because it's more important to stop gay people getting gay married than to stop the torture of children).
But 8 November 2016 did it for me. The date Evangelicals boasted that Donald Trump's election to President of the USA was an answer to prayer, that he was sent by God, that this was a vindication of Christianity.
Vindication of Christianity? Errr ... no ... it was the degeneration of Christianity.
Evangelical Christianity is degenerate. It has accepted a man who won on the platform of hatred, racism, sexism, bigotry, lies and fear. He used that fear to whip the community into a foaming cess-pit of hate. How is that Christian?
Oh, actually, I can answer that. Hillary will kill babies in the ninth month of pregnancy. At least, that was the lie spun to ensure the gullible didn't do something silly, like vote for Clinton. It was just one more lie, although a powerful one that gullible Christians believed. Anyhoo, there are no ninth month abortions as doctors at this stage deliver the baby regardless of whether or not it will live. This was clearly articulated by Dr Jennifer Gunter (specialist in obstetrics and gynecology) in an article that showed Trump had 'confused birth with abortion'(1). Of course the funny part about Trump opposing abortion is that it wasn't that long ago that he supported abortion(2).
So how did so many people believe him? In this day and age where one can easily research any claim and discover the truth, there is no excuse for the stupidity of people who believed Trump's lies. Trump's 'whole truth' rating was 4%(3). By contrast, Clinton's 'whole truth' rating was 25%(4) and when comparing 'true, mostly true and partly true', Trump sat at a meagre 30%, while Clinton was a whopping 75%.
It wasn't just Trump's veracity that was in question. He also changed policy positions from tweet to tweet. This election campaign revealed that Trump's policies are like putty. They can be moulded into whatever works at the time. Addressing women on abortion? Hey, have two. Addressing evangelicals on abortion ... ooh it's bad, jail women who have and abortions and don't forget that Hillary wants to rip the heads off unborn babies just before delivery.
One minute he wants to carpet bomb Syria, next he wants to end US intervention in foreign countries.
He is a chameleon.
He is deceitful. Saying whatever it is that people want to hear. He is manipulative.
And he manipulated the evangelicals.
To be fair, the evangelicals didn't need much manipulating. There was no way in the world they would vote for a Democrat who might dare support abortion, marriage equality ... and even worse ... socialism ... who might expand Obama's universal health care so the poor are looked after, who might raise the minimum wage so the low paid are looked after, who might welcome refugees and the widow and ensure that people of colour have the same opportunity to education, justice, housing, health and employment that white people do. You know, the sort of things that Jesus Christ spoke of.
Remember the cute little saying that Evangelicals used to bust out and which translated itself into t-shirts, stickers and bracelets: WWJD. (No, not 'We Want Jack Daniels'), but 'What Would Jesus Do?'
My challenge to the evangelicals who claim the Trumpenfuhrer is God's gift to the world, is this:
Let's replace WWJD with WWDD!
What Would Donald Do?
Let's see how that pans out:
1. Pastor, I need prayer:
WWJD: Gather around, lay hands on and pray
WWDD: Grab her on the pussy and pray
2. Ooh, there's a Muslim:
WWJD: Love your neighbour / Love your enemy (take your pick)
WWDD: Deport them / ban them / vilify them
3. Welfare for the poor
WWJD: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me
WWDD: Get a job you bum, stop bludging off the government. End welfare, it's only a rort. Pay your own medical treatment.
WWJD: Blessed are the peace-makers.
WWDD: Carpet bomb them.
WWJD: Blessed are the meek
WWDD: Screw the meek and mild. I'm the greatest.
6. Human rights
WWJD: Blessed are those who thirst for righteousness. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For you are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works
WWDD: Get stuffed, you do gooder, lefty, pinko faggot. Stop the political correctness. I have a right to be a bigot and to speak my mind.
WWJD: God defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners and refugees.
WWDD: We're going to ban all Muslims from entering America. We're going to stop refugees. We're going to kick out all immigrants.
WWJD: Poverty is the major cause of abortion. Help end poverty, ensure there is a welfare safety net and free health care. Raise the minimum wage to a living wage. It is the responsibility of the government and the church to care for the poor.
WWDD: Don't have an abortion, it's evil, but too bad if you can't afford to feed the baby. It's your own fault for getting pregnant in the first place. Once its born, don't you dare go on welfare.
WWJD: er ... how can you say you're pro-life when you wage war and hate welfare?
WWDD: Seriously, Lord? You need to pray for more guidance.
WWJD: Sell your possessions and give to the poor. It's easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to rock into heaven.
WWDD: 'Oh Lord, look how righteous I am, please bless me with more wealth ... and more wealth ... and a bigger share portfolio' ... Sell my possessions? Hell no! Accumulate, accumulate, accumulate.
WWJD: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
WWDD: Wait, Jesus, you just quoted Karl Marx!
WWJD: er... no, that was Acts 4:32- 35 (which is almost the same as Exodus 16:16-18):
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need
WWDD: Umm ... er ... socialism is bad, m'kay ... Bernie's a socialist. Obama's a Muslim Socialist. Don't be a socialist, Jesus.
11. Blaming others
WWJD: You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
WWDD: But they're to blame, you wouldn't understand! You didn't have to put up with refugees, and Muslims and Mexicans and gays and ...
WWJD: Does 'plank / speck' mean anything to you?
11. Love your neighbour
WWJD: Love your neighbour
WWDD: Who is my neighbour, Lord? Oh that parable about the Good Samaritan? Yeah, great story we often share it in church. Sadly we don't have any Samaritans here. Lovely people. Instead we're overrun with Latinos, Muslims, blacks, gays, socialists. We love them. We just don't want them here so they can get f*ck out of our country ... in the blessed name of Christ. We love them, just hope the door doesn't hit them on the arse as they leave.
That's enough. You get the picture.
So how can any Christian have voted for Trump as an act of Christianity? Sure, vote for him because of any other reason, but to claim it was your Christian duty? Seriously? Read the bible.
Christ was a socialist, do-gooder who loved all and called for us to love all.
He didn't promote hate, fear, bigotry and xenophobia.
When the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan is giving a victory parade in honour of your candidate(5), then your candidate is clearly not Christian. Krist, perhaps. Kristian, perhaps. But not Christ. Not Christian.
It's not just the KKK who are stoked with Trump's victory. Racists have become emboldened by Trump's hate speech and vitriole. Since the election there has been a dramatic increase in hate crime across the United(?) States(6).
Evangelical Christianity has been on a downward spiral since the so-called Moral Majority in the 1970s, managed to dumb-down Christianity to two core issues: abortion and homosexuality. Since then, it has gravitated to ultra-far right politicians who preach intolerance and hate of other religions, other races, other nationalities, homosexuals and socialists while wrapping their message in a flag and loosely binding it together under the auspices of a twisted scripture that ignores key values such as love your neighbour, love your enemy, turn the other cheek, care for the poor, the downtrodden, the persecuted. But hey, if gays can't marry, poor people are forced into crime to care for children they can't afford, and women are forced to carry a fetus to full-term even though it has no chance of living, then all is right with the world.
Pro-lifers lose all legitimacy the moment they oppose welfare and support warfare.
Poverty and war: two of the biggest causes of abortion and child deaths respectively.
By trumpeting Trump, Evangelicals can no longer call themselves Christian. Religious, maybe. In the same way that radical Islamists are religious but not Muslim. In the same way that Hitler's power was shored up by Christians. In fact, German Pastor Martin Niemöller blamed Christians for Hitler in this speech which was later published in Die deutsche Schuld, Not und Hoffnung' ('The German guilt, misery and hope')(7).
When Pastor Niemöller was put in a concentration camp we wrote the year 1937; when the concentration camp was opened we wrote the year 1933, and the people who were put in the camps then were Communists. Who cared about them? We knew it, it was printed in the newspapers. Who raised their voice, maybe the Confessing Church? We thought: Communists, those opponents of religion, those enemies of Christians - "should I be my brother's keeper?" Then they got rid of the sick, the so-called incurables. - I remember a conversation I had with a person who claimed to be a Christian. He said: Perhaps it's right, these incurably sick people just cost the state money, they are just a burden to themselves and to others. Isn't it best for all concerned if they are taken out of the middle [of society]? -- Only then did the church as such take note. Then we started talking, until our voices were again silenced in public. Can we say, we aren't guilty/responsible? The persecution of the Jews, the way we treated the occupied countries, or the things in Greece, in Poland, in Czechoslovakia or in Holland, that were written in the newspapers. … I believe, we Confessing-Church-Christians have every reason to say: mea culpa, mea culpa!
The church's attitudes to 'others' doesn't seem to have changed much.
The Religious Right are wrong about almost everything in their interpretation of the bible. Their support and gloating over the election of Trump proves this categorically.
Thankfully, there were some Christians who called out Trump's behaviour and questioned how Christians could support him, including the not-so-conservative Pope Francis(8), conservative Max Lucado(9) and a number of others(10). The Christian Post declared that now was not the time for Trump, that he was a scam and called on Christians to 'pray for personal repentance, divine forgiveness and spiritual awakening for our nation'(11).
The Religious Right are only interested in power and wealth, not in the message of Christ which is summed up in one word: LOVE.
If Trump's platform is so Christian, then take the challenge and ask 'where is the love' in each of his policies. It isn't there. Hate and fear are the hallmarks of Trump. WWJD: 'Perfect love casts out all fear'. So how can Christians spruik that Trump is an answer to prayer.
Sadly, the Religious Right is in denial and actually believes that the accusations (such as sexual assaults, corruption, racism and so on) against Trump are perpetuated by a 'leftist media'.
One word: Google.
Seriously, don't just take the word of the 'leftist media', Google the veracity of the claims, check out Trump's speeches on YouTube. The man, by his own behaviour and words is a racist, a xenophobe, a sexist, a misogynist and a fear-monger. Blaming the leftist media is merely shooting the piano player.
Trump is a sexual predator who has whipped up violent hysteria against minorities. Where's the love? If this is the candidate who is blessed by God to be President, then why are minorities being physically and verbally abused by his followers?(12) White Christian America has a long history of racism. It is so entrenched in the American psyche that the Religious White don't even recognise it as a sin or a crime. They feel that they should be able to stamp their authority over minorities and any criticism is just 'political correctness'.
Just to demonstrate how desperate the Religious Right is to justify their support of Trump, Franklin Graham jumped the shark with his truly ludicrous claim that 'because Abraham lied, Moses disobeyed God and David committed adultery, Trump should get a pass, not just on his personal behavior but also on his deception, cruelty and appeal to bigotry'(13).
Sure people can vote for Trump, after all this is the nature of democracy. However, no-one can legitimately claim that Trump ticks the Christian boxes and is favoured by God.
In essence, Trump is NOT the Messiah, he is a very naughty boy and the Religious Right cannot be trusted or believed if this is the man in whom they put their faith, if they are willing to believe lie after lie, if they are willing to accept hate speech and fear.
The Religious Right has forgone all credibility and cannot call themselves Christian if this is where their values lay.
|Christian leaders endorse Trump (13)|
1. The Huffington Post, Dr Jennifer Gunter, 'Donald Trump Confuses Birth With Abortion. And No, There Are No Ninth Month Abortions', 20 October 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-confuses-birth-with-abortion-and-no-there-are-no-ninth-month-abortions_us_5808dfa2e4b0dd54ce389b61?section=politics. Accessed 8 November 2016.
2. The Washington Post, Philip Bump, 'Donald Trump took 5 different positions on abortion in 3 days', 3 April 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/04/03/donald-trumps-ever-shifting-positions-on-abortion/. Accessed 11 November 2016.
3. Politifact, 'Donald Trump's file', http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/. Accessed 8 November 2016.
4. Politifact, 'Hillary Clinton's file', http://www.politifact.com/personalities/hillary-clinton/. Accessed 8 November 2016.
5. Independent, Feliks Garcia, 'Ku Klux Klan announces Donald Trump victory parade as white supremacists celebrate nationwide', 10 November 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ku-klux-klan-parade-north-carolina-donald-trump-celebration-president-elect-white-supremacists-alt-a7410671.html. Accessed 11 November 2016.
6. Al Jazeera, 'Reports of racist attacks rise after Donald Trump's win', 11 November 2016, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/11/reports-racist-attacks-rise-donald-trump-win-161111035608375.html. Accessed 11 November 2016.
7.Harold Marcuse, Martin Niemöller's famous quotation: "First they came for the Communists ... ", http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/niem.htm. Accessed 11 November 2016.
8. ABC News, Michael Vincent, 'Pope Francis says Donald Trump is 'not Christian' because of immigration policies', 19 February 2016, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-19/pope-says-trump-not-christian-in-views-over-immigration/7182544. Accessed 11 November 2016.
9. National Public Radio, NPR Staff, All Things Considered, 'Pastor Max Lucado Baffled Over Evangelical Trump Supporters', 6 March 2016, http://www.npr.org/2016/03/06/469371887/pastor-max-lucado-still-baffled-over-evangelical-trump-supporters. Accessed 11 November 2016.
10. Religion News Service, Emily McFarlan Miller, '14 Conservative Christians who are not supporting Trump', 21 June 2016, http://religionnews.com/2016/06/21/7-conservative-christians-who-are-not-supporting-trump/. Accessed 11 November 2016.
11. The Christian Post, CP Editors, 'Donald Trump is a scam. Evangelical Voters Shoul Back Away', 29 February 2016, http://www.christianpost.com/news/donald-trump-scam-evangelical-voters-back-away-cp-editorial-158813/. Accessed 11 November 2016.
12. The Huffington Post, Lilly Workneh, 'Countless Acts of Hate Have Been Carried Out Since Trump's Win', 12 November 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/countless-acts-of-hate-have-been-carried-out-since-trumps-win_us_5825ee38e4b02d21bbc86211. Accessed 12 November 2016.
12. The Washington Post, Michael Gerson, 'Evangelical Christians are selling out faith for politics', 23 June 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/evangelical-christians-are-selling-out-faith-for-politics/2016/06/23/f03368de-3964-11e6-8f7c-d4c723a2becb_story.html. Accessed 11 November 2016.
13. Yourdemocracy.net.au, Gus Leonisky, 'doing enough... ', 23 June 2016, http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/32193. Accessed 11 November 2016.
Updated 12 November 2016