It was explained to me, in very polite terms I should note, that I was completely wrong when I said modern evangelicals supporting Trump were promoting “a gospel of white supremacist rage and victimhood.” The evidence that I was wrong?
If you look at the Evangelicals For Trump website, you’ll see a number of African-American and Latino models sporting Trump products specifically designed for African-American and Latino supporters.
I’m willing to be convinced that I might be wrong. I’ve been wrong a LOT in my long, semi-wicked life, so I’m open to the possibility that I might be wrong about this. I did as I was asked to do. I looked at the Evangelicals for Trump website.
Okay, granted, the landing page (is that what it’s called?) shows a sea of white faces with one singularly Aryan-looking kid. But that’s just one photo. And besides, the proof I was told I’d find was about the products being sold. And hey, right there in the upper right hand corner is a ‘SHOP’ button. So I clicked on it.
Sure enough, a couple of pages in you can find black and Latinx models dressed in Trumpwear with slogans like ‘Black Voices for Trump’ or ‘Latinos for Trump’. There were also Trump straws (pack of 10 for US$15) and ‘Get Over It’ t-shirts and camouflage dog bandanas and Trump/Pence snowflake wrapping paper and ‘Women for Trump’ ball caps and Trump/Pence playing cards and Space Force bumper stickers and…
Wait. Snowflake wrapping paper? Space Force bumper stickers? How does any of that fit into evangelism? Trump plastic straws? I don’t get the religious angle here. So I went back to the landing page and read this description of the site:
Evangelicals for Trump will engage the Christian community to help re-elect President Donald J. Trump in 2020. Through re-affirming support for President Trump, evangelicals across the country will work to deliver a second term – ensuring that pro-life initiatives, religious freedom, and the appointment of conservative judges are kept as a top priority for four more years.
Well, okay. I know that ‘pro-life’ is code for ‘anti-abortion’ so I can see the religious angle in that, even if I don’t agree with it and think it’s hypocritical. I’m also aware that ‘religious freedom’ as it’s commonly used by evangelicals means the promotion of a specific style of Christianity along with the quiet, indirect suppression of non-Christian religions. I don’t think that’s very Christian, but it’s certainly ‘religious’. But conservative judges? That’s entirely political.
Why, on a website devoted to evangelical supporters, isn’t there any mention of more traditional Christian values? Why don’t we see anything about “Love your neighbor as yourself” or “If a man strikes you on one cheek, turn the other cheek” or “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”? Those are pretty fundamental tenets of Christianity.
Evangelical Christians claim they are called to spread the gospel — the teachings of a person who called on them to care about the poor, the suffering, and the outcast. Yet there’s no mention of the poor, the suffering and the outcast here. There’s no mention of morality or civic virtue. There’s only merchandise to be moved.
Why is this site promoting Trump rather than evangelicalism or Christianity? The answer is found in the small print.
This website, mobile application or other digital or online application or service is operated by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
Evangelicals for Trump isn’t a religious site; it’s a political site. It’s got nothing to do with Christianity or evangelicalism; it’s only about raising campaign money. Yes, there are black and Latino models wearing Trumpwear, just as my critic claimed. But they’re not included because modern evangelism supports diversity. They’re included because Trump will sell anything to anybody if he can make a profit off it.
Here’s a sad, ugly truth: Donald Trump corrupts everything he touches. He’s corrupted the Republican Party; he’s corrupted the Christian evangelist movement. There’s no better metaphor for that than Trump/Pence Snowflake wrapping paper.
Trump claims he made it safe for Christians to say ‘merry Christmas’ which is a lie on a massive scale. His followers insult liberals by calling them ‘snowflakes’ to suggest they’re delicate. The only reason this wrapping paper exists is so Trump supporters can believe in the illusion that they’re somehow ‘winning’ by insulting liberals. That’s about as far from the spirit of Christmas as you can possibly get — which makes it perfectly on brand for both Trump and modern evangelicalism.
Wrap religion in a thin sheet of hate and sell it to the gullible. There it is.
To preserve your tolerance credentials, please be aware that the evangelical community is visibly divided.
However, Christianity Today isn’t a nonprofit. It’s illegal for a religious nonprofit to advocate for or against a candidate.
Really if Trump weren’t standing with a foot on the neck of the nonprofit group at the IRS? All those preachers in those pictures would be losing their charitable status for their congregations.
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It’s absolutely time for evangelicals and Republicans to claim back their ideologies from Trump. Sadly, I’m not sure they can do it. It may be too late. It may be that the GOP and evangelicalism are too tainted by the current environment of hypocrisy.
I don’t belong to either entity, obviously, but I WANT there to be principled groups with whom I can disagree and still have civil discussions about our differences.
“I’m also aware that ‘religious freedom’ as it’s commonly used by evangelicals means the promotion of a specific style of Christianity along with the quiet, indirect suppression of non-Christian religions.”
Agreed. I would go even further to say that there is quiet, indirect suppression of forms of Christian belief that are not hetero-normative, hierarchical, and–dare I say it?–capitalist. Those nuns who didn’t want a pipeline running through their property? Forget it. Churches that are affirming of God’s children who are LGBT? They promote the homosexual agenda. Churches who believe they have a moral duty to provide sanctuary to immigrants? ICE is waiting outside.
Perhaps there is a new schism forming in Christianity: the Trump-Christian. Or maybe the Trump “Christian”?
I was raised on the Bible and feel that any evangelical who has embraced Trump is blinding themselves to the Gospel truth. Sadly, I know a fair number of otherwise decent people who have done just that. Why? I don’t know. The few times I’ve tried to engage in conversation about it, they change the subject as soon as they realize they will have to defend themselves with logic. #Sad
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