LGBTQ Magazine

A Reader Writes About Black Evangelicals Leaving White Churches: "I Am Still ASTOUNDED to Hear Stories Like This One. Trump Is God's Chosen One?"

Posted on the 10 March 2018 by William Lindsey @wdlindsy
Reader Writes About Black Evangelicals Leaving White Churches: Still ASTOUNDED Hear Stories Like This One. Trump God's Chosen One?
Brian Gallagher shared the article excerpted below in a comment yesterday, stating,
I am still ASTOUNDED to hear stories like this one. Trump is God's Chosen One? 
It appears that many choose a religious expression that is most compatible with prior beliefs, prejudices, and/or neuroses which eventually reveal themselves to be stronger than any adopted theologies or spiritual insights. 
I cannot accept that 'Trump is the Chosen One' comes from anywhere else.  
Donald. Trump. 
I'm with you, Bill - I will never forget this.

Because I don't think we can let ourselves forget the face that white evangelicals have shown the world through their well-nigh solid and exceedingly fervent support for the current occupant of the White House — who is for many of the rest of us a moral monstrosity — I want to highlight this article. Too many of us, including influential media gurus, who live outside the purview of the white evangelical world want to pretend that all of this is far removed from us, and we can be indifferent or superior to it, paying it no attention. My contention: we adopt that posture to our great peril and the great peril of the world as a whole. 
These folks are deadly serious, and they intend to rule the rest of us even as they dwindle to the status of a demographic minority. We cannot afford to pretend about them, to ignore them, or to act as if what they want for American democracy is a viable both-sides-have-good-points option. Here's an excerpt from  Campbell Robertson's "A Quiet Exodus: Why Black Worshipers Are Leaving White Evangelical Churches":
In 2012, according to a report from the National Congregation Study, more than two-thirds of those attending white-majority churches were worshiping alongside at least some black congregants, a notable increase since a similar survey in 1998. This was more likely to be the case in evangelical churches than in mainline Protestant churches, and more likely in larger ones than in smaller ones.
Then came the 2016 election. 
Black congregants — as recounted by people in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Fort Worth and elsewhere — had already grown uneasy in recent years as they watched their white pastors fail to address police shootings of African-Americans. They heard prayers for Paris, for Brussels, for law enforcement; they heard that one should keep one's eyes on the kingdom, that the church was colorblind, and that talk of racial injustice was divisive, not a matter of the gospel. There was still some hope that this stemmed from an obliviousness rather than some deeper disconnect. 
Then white evangelicals voted for Mr. Trump by a larger margin than they had voted for any presidential candidate. They cheered the outcome, reassuring uneasy fellow worshipers with talk of abortion and religious liberty, about how politics is the art of compromise rather than the ideal. Christians of color, even those who shared these policy preferences, looked at Mr. Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants, his open hostility to N.F.L. players protesting police brutality and his earlier "birther" crusade against President Obama, claiming falsely he was not a United States citizen. In this political deal, many concluded, they were the compromised. 
"It said, to me, that something is profoundly wrong at the heart of the white church," said Chanequa Walker-Barnes, a professor of practical theology at the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University in Atlanta.

And here's some Twitter commentary of mine that is not strictly speaking about the preceding article, but still apropos, I think, as we discuss it:
The great "accomplishment" (for want of a better word) of white evangelicalism in the U.S. is the success it has had in passing off a thorougly inculturated form of Christianity as radically orthodox and rigoristic. 1)— William D. Lindsey (@wdlindsy) March 10, 2018

The media have lapped up this reading of white evangelicalism and accepted with a total lack of critical awareness the claim of white evangelicalism that it alone is pure, real, demanding Christianity — by which all other Christians are to be judged and found wanting. 2)— William D. Lindsey (@wdlindsy) March 10, 2018

In reality, as those of us who grew up in cultures dominated by white evangelicalism know, it's the ultimate inculturated cheap-grace model of Christianity. People surprised by the unmasking of white evangelicalism under Trump have not been paying attention. 3)— William D. Lindsey (@wdlindsy) March 10, 2018

It reads the bible and interprets Christian tradition in a way designed to defuse the call to radical discipleship in the gospels, in a way designed to make white evangelicals as cozy as possible with exploitative capitalism, racism, militarism, sexism, etc. 4)— William D. Lindsey (@wdlindsy) March 10, 2018

Eight in ten white evangelicals could not have voted for the moral monstrosity in the White House otherwise, or continue to be his most ardent supporters. 5)— William D. Lindsey (@wdlindsy) March 10, 2018

(And, yes, there are equally inculturated cheap-grace models of Catholicism all around us in the U.S. — which is why six in ten white Catholics could choose to vote for the moral monstrosity in the White House and are as pleased as punch at their bishops' alliance with right-wing white evangelicals.)

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