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Thread: The danger of White Evangelical Christians in the US

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    The danger of White Evangelical Christians in the US

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/u...gtype=Homepage

    Rather than put this in the political forum, I thought it might be more interesting to discuss the more harmful aspects of conservative religion here.

    First, let me say that I'm not saying that all White evangelical Christians hold the same views or act like the mob that invaded the US capital recently. My own parents were conservative Christians and my mother was devastated when Trump became president. She was also upset with her Christian friends who kept trying to persuade her for years to vote for Republican candidates, so this claim isn't about the small percentage of White American evangelicals who aren't as harmful as some. But, as a group, they are becoming as potentially dangerous as any other extremist religious group. The danger comes when religious groups stop supporting the SCS, and start believing that their personal beliefs and moral claims should be pushed on the rest of us.

    Before self-proclaimed members of the far-right group the Proud Boys marched toward the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, they stopped to kneel in the street and prayed in the name of Jesus.

    The group, whose participants have espoused misogynistic and anti-immigrant views, prayed for God to bring “reformation and revival.” They gave thanks for “the wonderful nation we’ve all been blessed to be in.” They asked God for the restoration of their “value systems,” and for the “courage and strength to both represent you and represent our culture well.” And they invoked the divine protection for what was to come.

    The presence of Christian rituals, symbols and language was unmistakable on Wednesday in Washington. There was a mock campaign banner, “Jesus 2020,” in blue and red; an “Armor of God” patch on a man’s fatigues; a white cross declaring “Trump won” in all capitals. All of this was interspersed with allusions to QAnon conspiracy theories, Confederate flags and anti-Semitic T-shirts.
    Prior to the presidential election I saw many Jesus 2020 signs in an exurban areas not too far from my home. I wondered why they were often near a Trump sign. Do evangelical Christians who supported Trump see him as their savior? As a person who was raised to believe in Jesus as savior, Trump would never have been equated with Jesus back in those days. So, I'm both mystified and appalled that such a large percentage of White evangelicals seem to be equating Trump with Jesus. The Jesus I was taught to believe was a more compassionate person who didn't judge others who were different, although there are many contradictory things in the Bible, I was always taught to emphasize the more positive sides of the Christian myth.

    This potent mix of grievance and religious fervor has turbocharged the support among a wide swath of Trump loyalists, many of whom describe themselves as participants in a kind of holy war, according to interviews.
    I do wonder what the few conservative Christian members that we have here think about this. How did this happen? What can you do to try and discourage such behavior? Is there anything that more moderate believers can do to change the sordid reputation of Christianity, that the actions of these people are having on your religion?

    The following quote is just one example of many describing one of the people who went to DC. She also tried to blame the violence on Antifa without any evidence.


    Lindsay French, 40, an evangelical Christian from Texas, flew to Washington after she had received what she called a “burning bush” sign from God to participate following her pastor urging congregants to “stop the steal.”

    “We are fighting good versus evil, dark versus light,” she said, declaring that she was rising up like Queen Esther, the biblical heroine who saved her people from death.
    That would sound delusional to most any thinking person. To me, it sounds like the rantings of a deeply disturbed mentally ill individual.

    “You can’t understand what happened today without wrestling with Christian Nationalism,” Andrew Whitehead, a sociologist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said on Wednesday, adding that white evangelical movements have long at least tolerated far-right extremism, well before Mr. Trump. “They provided the political and theological underpinnings of this, and it has allowed anarchy to reign.”

    In a Facebook video shot in Washington on Monday night, Tennessee pastor Greg Locke referred to himself as part of the “black robe regiment,” a reference to American clergy who were active in the American Revolution. At a rally the next night, Mr. Locke preached to a crowd of Trump supporters in Freedom Plaza, predicting “not just a Great Awakening, but the greatest awakening that we have ever seen.”

    The riots on Wednesday, carried out by a largely white crowd, also illustrated the racial divide in American Christianity.
    I've always thought it was weird that most churches tend to be racially segregated, with few exceptions. I remember singing the little children's song, "All the children of the world" when I went to church as a child. It was about how Jesus loved children with all different shades of skin. So, why after over 2000 years, are Christian churches so segregated, resulting in a movement that is often racist?


    Abigail Spaulding, a stay-at-home mother of 15 who traveled to the rally with friends from her church in South Carolina, broke down in tears as she spoke about her fears for her children under a Biden administration. She said her husband had explained to their children that when Mr. Biden is sworn in as president, “they can take the Bible and call it hate speech and throw it out.” And she had other worries about Mr. Biden, drawn from Facebook and Twitter — all of which were false.
    How does religion make some people so delusional as to think that Biden or any president for that matter is going to take away their Bibles? Biden is a Christian himself, just not an evangelical. But, even an atheist president would respect religious freedom. What happened to those evangelical Christians like Jimmy Carter who respected the SCS but still practiced religion privately while not being critical of those who had different beliefs?


    Adam Phillips, 44, a dry wall contractor from Robbinsville, N.C., had work and couldn’t come to Washington on Wednesday — “The Lord just didn’t see it fit,” he said — but he came to two demonstrations since November, the Stop the Steal march and the Million MAGA March.

    “It has been obvious for a while that Christians are under suppression, they are under scrutiny by everyone,” he said. “All of the things the country was founded on are under attack, they are trying to get the name of God out of everything, especially the name of Jesus.”
    The last quote is the part that always gets to me. I live in a small city of about 25,000 people. There are at least 80 churches in my city and surrounding areas, with several being White Evangelical mega churches. There are many majority Black churches and one that advertises as mixed race. I once saw a bumper sticker on a woman's car that read, "I'm Christian and I vote". Really? How in the world did so many conservative Christians come to believe that they are being oppressed, or suppressed? Where did this victim culture come from when Christians remain as the dominate religion in the US? Should the rest of us be concerned that this brewing theocratic movement will continue to rage for years to come? Will the better Christians among us try to persuade their peers to be more reasonable, or is it impossible to change people who have become a part of such an extremist cult?

    There's a lot more in the linked article. I just tried to post some quotes to give you an idea of what's going on in White evangelical communities.

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    I'm in the middle of Jesus and John Wayne(2020) by Kristin DuMez, which examines the linkup between evangelicals and the right wing; their embrace of patriarchy, militarism, and the backlash to the civil rights movement. The subtitle of her book is "How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation".

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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post

    Rather than put this in the political forum, I thought it might be more interesting to discuss the more harmful aspects of conservative religion here.

    First, let me say that I'm not saying that all White evangelical Christians hold the same views or act like the mob that invaded the US capital recently.
    Glad you said that. If you lumped all 'White evangelical Christians' into the same homogenous group then any response by me would have been superfluous.
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    and start believing that their personal beliefs and moral claims should be pushed on the rest of us.
    Yet you seem happy to have your personal beliefs and moral claims should be pushed on the rest of us.


    I am an Aussie. Do my 'white evangelical' views have any currency?

    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    Do evangelical Christians who supported Trump see him as their savior? As a person who was raised to believe in Jesus as savior, Trump would never have been equated with Jesus back in those days.
    He is a deeply flawed indidualy whose flwas are maostly public knowledge. Saviour?

    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    So, I'm both mystified and appalled that such a large percentage of White evangelicals seem to be equating Trump with Jesus. The Jesus I was taught to believe was a more compassionate person who didn't judge others who were different, although there are many contradictory things in the Bible, I was always taught to emphasize the more positive sides of the Christian myth.
    Looking from upside and across the Pacific, I too, am perplexed, puzzled and mortified.

    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    I do wonder what the few conservative Christian members that we have here think about this. How did this happen? What can you do to try and discourage such behavior? Is there anything that more moderate believers can do to change the sordid reputation of Christianity, that the actions of these people are having on your religion?
    My first thought has been to praise God that I am not in the USA and wonder what they put in the communion wine over there.
    How did this happen? - It happened because too many evangelicals forgot who they serve. We serve the Everlasting God, not a transitory political figure or system.
    How to discourage such behaivour? - I am at a loss to know really. Remind such persons who they serve and what he expects of them. Remind them as noted in Pilgrim's Progress we are travellers on a road towards another kingdom.


    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    “You can’t understand what happened today without wrestling with Christian Nationalism,” Andrew Whitehead, a sociologist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said on Wednesday, adding that white evangelical movements have long at least tolerated far-right extremism, well before Mr. Trump. “They provided the political and theological underpinnings of this, and it has allowed anarchy to reign.”
    Christianity and nationalism are like oil & water. Will never mix. Why bother trying to reconcile them into a incoherent mess?

    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    The riots on Wednesday, carried out by a largely white crowd, also illustrated the racial divide in American Christianity.
    That apparent racial divide is one of the most saddening aspects of American Christianity that I can see. I have never been there but my parents have travelled extensively and tell of the white and black only churches. Very few mixed. I have a niece who moved there about 14 months ago and she tells me of her anguish that the church she goes too is vast majority white. Non-whites do not feel welcome. Being a newcomer she sees it all too well. The locals seem unfazed by it. Despite careful observation we cannot determine how to get others welcomed.
    I am glad that that is not a major problem with evangelical churches in Australia. The churches that are whites only can be counting on a few hands. My own church moved from Anglo-European majority about 20 years ago. It is a blessing to worship with people's whose origins are from all over world.
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    . So, why after over 2000 years, are Christian churches so segregated, resulting in a movement that is often racist?
    Too many are needlessly and wickedly segregated.

    Note fro the morbidly curious.
    I would not have voted for Trump in a fit.
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Here's a so-called white American Evangelical who definitely doesn't see Trump the way you suggest they all do. (William Lane Craig)

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?sto...d=52&__tn__=-R

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?sto...3228&__tn__=-R

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigers! View Post
    Glad you said that. If you lumped all 'White evangelical Christians' into the same homogenous group then any response by me would have been superfluous.

    Yet you seem happy to have your personal beliefs and moral claims should be pushed on the rest of us.


    I am an Aussie. Do my 'white evangelical' views have any currency?

    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    Do evangelical Christians who supported Trump see him as their savior? As a person who was raised to believe in Jesus as savior, Trump would never have been equated with Jesus back in those days.
    He is a deeply flawed indidualy whose flwas are maostly public knowledge. Saviour?

    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    So, I'm both mystified and appalled that such a large percentage of White evangelicals seem to be equating Trump with Jesus. The Jesus I was taught to believe was a more compassionate person who didn't judge others who were different, although there are many contradictory things in the Bible, I was always taught to emphasize the more positive sides of the Christian myth.
    Looking from upside and across the Pacific, I too, am perplexed, puzzled and mortified.

    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    I do wonder what the few conservative Christian members that we have here think about this. How did this happen? What can you do to try and discourage such behavior? Is there anything that more moderate believers can do to change the sordid reputation of Christianity, that the actions of these people are having on your religion?
    My first thought has been to praise God that I am not in the USA and wonder what they put in the communion wine over there.
    How did this happen? - It happened because too many evangelicals forgot who they serve. We serve the Everlasting God, not a transitory political figure or system.
    How to discourage such behaivour? - I am at a loss to know really. Remind such persons who they serve and what he expects of them. Remind them as noted in Pilgrim's Progress we are travellers on a road towards another kingdom.


    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    “You can’t understand what happened today without wrestling with Christian Nationalism,” Andrew Whitehead, a sociologist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said on Wednesday, adding that white evangelical movements have long at least tolerated far-right extremism, well before Mr. Trump. “They provided the political and theological underpinnings of this, and it has allowed anarchy to reign.”
    Christianity and nationalism are like oil & water. Will never mix. Why bother trying to reconcile them into a incoherent mess?

    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    The riots on Wednesday, carried out by a largely white crowd, also illustrated the racial divide in American Christianity.
    That apparent racial divide is one of the most saddening aspects of American Christianity that I can see. I have never been there but my parents have travelled extensively and tell of the white and black only churches. Very few mixed. I have a niece who moved there about 14 months ago and she tells me of her anguish that the church she goes too is vast majority white. Non-whites do not feel welcome. Being a newcomer she sees it all too well. The locals seem unfazed by it. Despite careful observation we cannot determine how to get others welcomed.
    I am glad that that is not a major problem with evangelical churches in Australia. The churches that are whites only can be counting on a few hands. My own church moved from Anglo-European majority about 20 years ago. It is a blessing to worship with people's whose origins are from all over world.
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    . So, why after over 2000 years, are Christian churches so segregated, resulting in a movement that is often racist?
    Too many are needlessly and wickedly segregated.

    Note fro the morbidly curious.
    I would not have voted for Trump in a fit.
    ?

    While I do appreciate your reply, you aren't an American evangelical, so this claim doesn't apply to you. And, my own mother, who is/was ( she's on hospice right now due to end stage dementia ) a White Evangelical Christian who despised Trump. As I said, not all such believers supported Trump, but initially it was about 80% who did and many still do. There are some in my vicinity who still have their Trump signs in front of their homes. Some in a near by area have those Jesus 2020 signs out, as well as other religious references near their Trump signs. But, I never judge people based on their beliefs. I have many Christian friends and we respect each other, regardless of our different beliefs.

    I respect you for not wanting to mix your religious views with government. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case in the US. My parents respected the SCS, but in the US, many Christians these days make the false claim that we are a Christian nation and that our country was founded on Christianity. That is a concern. I support religious freedom. I don't support any government based on theocratic values. It sounds as if you don't either.

    .Yet you seem happy to have your personal beliefs and moral claims should be pushed on the rest of us.
    Nothing could be further from the truth. I have never tried to convert a Christian to atheism, although I sometimes enjoy discussing my personal opinions in regards to religion. I only do that here, as this is the type of place where such discussions/debates are welcome.

    My morality is totally based on the concept of treating others like I want to be treated myself. This is a human universal, found in all religions and many secular philosophies throughout the history of human civilization. At the risk of being charged with "virtue signaling", I will just say that I've spent most of my life trying to be a caring, supportive person, while realizing that I have no right to claim moral superiority over others.

    I do believe in civil rights for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, IQ, level of education, etc. All humans should have the same rights, even prisoners should be treated humanely. People are products of their genetics, how they were raised and influenced in life. For that reason, I do my best not to judge others too harshly as I reject the concept of total free will. But, I'm derailing my own thread. I just wanted to defend myself in regards to your false accusation.

    As far as evangelical Christianity goes, I see nothing in it that is morally superior. Some evangelical Christians are decent moral people, while others seem to lack any semblance of morality. That group is hateful. They judge those who don't share their beliefs. These are probably the most likely who claim to be in a holy war, a war of good against evil. I doubt they can hep being who they are. I'm just concerned about the behavior of a large percentage of those who live in my country and how they have influenced it.

    From my perspective, I see conservative Christians as people who are often easily manipulated by powerful or charismatic individuals. My parents were converts when I was about 5. My mother, imo was easily manipulated by the emotional appeal of her religion. If one can believe in supernatural elements that have no valid evidence, then one can believe most anything. I think that is why Trump chose to pretend to be one of them. He knew he could manipulate these people by promising them conservative judges, and pretending that he cared about some of the issues that they do. It is horrific to see how many have gone to such extremes, even to the point where they would use violence against our elected officials. It's also puzzling how so many can consider themselves to be persecuted victims.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Here's a so-called white American Evangelical who definitely doesn't see Trump the way you suggest they all do. (William Lane Craig)

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?sto...d=52&__tn__=-R

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?sto...3228&__tn__=-R
    I never claimed that all White evangelical Christians were Trump supporters or supported the actions of those who recently tried to overturn a fair election or who attempted an insurrection. If you had read my OP carefully, you would have seen that. I've mentioned in other places in the forum that my own mother, who was a White evangelical Christian despised Trump. Sadly, many of her friends did support him. She is in a nursing home now nearing the end of life, which is why I used the past tense to describe her beliefs. People with late stage dementia are not cognitively able to hold to any beliefs, as their brain function deteriorates. Then again, my mom was an exception among many. She even stopped believing that my husband and I were doomed to hell for our lack of belief, so of course, there are some morally upright evangelicals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    If you had read my OP carefully,
    how would that help his persecution complex?

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    Nobody ever persecutes me, I'm not from theTrump supporting white evangelical 'community'.

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    @southernhybrid As a Baptist, I am considered to be an evangelical. But I have NEVER supported Trump. That stance has caused me more grief than you can imagine among the local faith community.

    It pains me deeply to see how so many people of faith idolize Trump. He has done nothing but lie from the start, and there is no convincing his followers of that. I even have immediate family members who have quit speaking to me because I point out that they are promoting incorrect “news”. They shared so many vicious attack pieces on Facebook that I had to put some of them on ignore for my own sanity.

    You said you live in a small city of about 25,000 – that is the population of my entire local county. The last I knew, there were maybe a couple dozen people of non-white race in the county. Many of the locals have never been over 100 miles from their home, much less been exposed to other races/cultures. They are firmly convinced that their worldview is the only correct one.

    Sadly, there is no convincing them that they are wrong about the election fraud claims or what they have been told Biden and the Democrats will do. Many of them support what that mob did at the capitol and when I told them it was nothing less than sedition they instantly attacked me for being “weak” and not realizing that “our country and faith are in danger!!!!”. The fact that Biden is a staunch Catholic only makes it worse; you probably know how evangelicals feel about them – for instance, my grandmother firmly believed that Catholics were the whore of Babylon.

    I have heard many people stating that Christians were under attack. My response to that is that they don’t know what it means to actually be under attack if they think they are being oppressed in our current culture. And yes, some of these people frighten me; they are not what I would call stable.

    I fervently wish there was something I could do or say to change these people’s perceptions – but if there is, I have not found it yet. All I can do is make it clear to everyone I know that this does not represent authentic evangelical belief and ask them to please not tar all of us with the same brush.

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    Yeah, this from a bunch that crows that the truth shall set ye free, that they have a basis of revealed truth, etc, etc. They don't understand The Boy Who Cried Wolf. What dupes they are.

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