LGBTQ Magazine

Twitter Responds to Gerson's Essay on White Evangelicals and Trump: "Trump Age Is Revealing What Has Been Central to the Movement" — "Segregation and the Subjugation of Women"

Posted on the 12 March 2018 by William Lindsey @wdlindsy
Gerson seems to imply that race is something that became negotiable in evangelical politics, when it was the organizing factor.— Carol Howard Merritt (@CarolHoward) March 12, 2018

Some of the most interesting conversations in the realm of religion and theology these days are taking place on Twitter and other social medial platforms — and certainly not in the churches and their academies. Case in point: the Michael Gerson article on white evangelicals and Donald Trump to which I pointed you yesterday is now being discussed and critiqued vigorously on Twitter, and I'm finding much of the commentary exhilarating. Here are some threads and individual tweets to which I'd like to draw your attention:
First, an excellent thread by Carol Howard Merritt, from which I've selected some of the most salient tweets (including the tweet at the head of this posting): 
My thoughts on the Gerson piece... Overall, I appreciated it. It was good to see an evangelical wrestling with the overall state of affairs.— Carol Howard Merritt (@CarolHoward) March 12, 2018

His framing of racial issues is problematic though. The religious right coalesced as a political response to desegregation. Randall Balmer writes a lot about this.— Carol Howard Merritt (@CarolHoward) March 12, 2018
It's why Evangelicals turned away from Jimmy Carter, a Sunday School teaching Southern Baptist, to the divorced and remarried, Ronald Reagan. They blamed Carter for taking away Bob Jones U's tax exempt status, because they refused to desegregate.— Carol Howard Merritt (@CarolHoward) March 12, 2018
In the same way, Gerson seem the religious right's treatment of women as an aberration, rather than a defining feature.— Carol Howard Merritt (@CarolHoward) March 12, 2018
While Gerson wants to say that racism and sexism are recent aberrations that started with Trump, it runs much deeper. The Trump age is revealing what has been central to the movement.— Carol Howard Merritt (@CarolHoward) March 12, 2018
That is segregation and the subjugation of women.— Carol Howard Merritt (@CarolHoward) March 12, 2018
And a thread by Jack Jenkins:
1. The more I read this Michael Gerson piece in the Atlantic on evangelicals and Trump, the more problematic it becomes.
E.g., how does he not discuss Islamophobia, or how white evangelicals hold disproportionately negative views of Islam?— Jack Jenkins (@jackmjenkins) March 12, 2018
3. Gerson also says evangelicals “are risking their faith’s reputation on matters of race” with Trump.
But honest question there: post-Civil Rights era, did white evangelicals (or most U.S. white Christian groups) really have a “good” reputation on race as a group beforehand?— Jack Jenkins (@jackmjenkins) March 12, 2018
A valuable tweet from a larger thread by Jemar Tisby:
A more serious issue with Gerson’s analysis is the relegation of race and racism to a tertiary concern. In reality, evangelical stances toward slavery, lynching, segregation, affirmative action, and other race-related issues tells the story more accurately than any other.— Jemar Tisby (@JemarTisby) March 12, 2018
Diana Butler Bass' good take in a single tweet:
This is what happens when a great truly magazine like @TheAtlantic doesn't really understand religion -- they publish what is essentially an apologia for evangelicalism based in a romanticized view of history.— Diana Butler Bass (@dianabutlerbass) March 12, 2018
Chris Stroop's similar take on Gerson's analysis:
Better described as an extended exercise in self-pity and gaslighting by a conservative Evangelical who wants to escape culpability. #EmptyThePews #Exvangelical— Christopher Stroop (@C_Stroop) March 12, 2018
Rachel Held Evans draws attention to an essay by Chris Ladd at Forbes on why white evangelicalism is so cruel, noting that it fills in pieces missing in Gerson's analysis:
...And this piece fills in some of the missing history on evangelicalism & race the Atlantic piece left out, including an eye-opening old quote from Billy Graham:— Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) March 12, 2018
Chris Ladd tweeted just a few minute ago that Forbes had yanked his essay from its site with no explanation for why this action was taken. He has now republished the essay here. I shared the following excerpt from his essay earlier today on Facebook, and have been trolled by a right-wing white evangelical man who did not like what Chris Ladd has to say — and I suspect that it's the reaction of people like this troll to the piece when it appeared on Forbes that may account for Forbes' decision to yank Chris Ladd's piece. Which means it's very much needed, doesn't it? Here's what I shared from Chris' essay that provoked the troll's reaction:
White evangelical Christianity has a bottomless well of compassion for the interests of straight white men, and not a drop to be spared for anyone else at their expense. The cruelty of white evangelical churches in politics, and in their treatment of their own gay or minority parishioners, is no accident. It is an institution born in slavery, tuned to serve the needs of Jim Crow, and entirely unwilling to confront either of those realities.

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