“Evangelical” is just another word for “hypocrite”


It’s time to face the facts, evangelicals.

This week dozens of prominent evangelical leaders gathered at conservative Wheaton College, in Wheaton, IL, to address the “grotesque caricature” of their faith in the Trump era. The organizer of the gathering, Doug Birdsall, told the Washington Post that under Trump’s leadership, the term “evangelical” has taken on too many negative associations, especially when it comes to racism and nationalism. The goal of the gathering, then, was to address these concerns while returning the word “evangelical” to its core meaning. Rather than a political pariah, an “evangelical” is simply “a person who believes in the authority of the Bible, salvation through Jesus’ work on the cross, personal conversion and the need for evangelism.”

Nah, that’s not what an “evangelical” is — an “evangelical” is a manufactured identity where the most important part is not the religious side, which is merely used as a prop to signal “purity” and in-group membership, but all the political baggage that has come to the forefront.

This is what “evangelical” has come to mean: a total lack of principle. Corruption. Christianity is the perfect example of a whited sepulchre, to use their own language against them.

The amazing thing is that it wasn’t atheists who created that image of them — they did it to themselves, no assistance necessary. It doesn’t take a cartoon to caricature these people.

U.S. President Trump, center, bows his head during a prayer while surrounded by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, right, faith leaders and evangelical ministers after signing a proclamation declaring a day of prayer in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. Trump declared Sunday, September 3 a national day of prayer for Hurricane Harvey victims. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Now some evangelicals are looking for a way out.

If evangelicalism ever wants to play a more positive role in social and political life, perhaps it’s time its leaders acknowledge that its public image isn’t a “grotesque caricature,” but the thing itself. There’s a weighty theological term and disposition for taking an approach that comes to terms with such hard truths but attempts to chart a new path beyond them: repentance. If that doesn’t happen, then Daniel Schultz is probably right: the meeting at Wheaton will not have accomplished much of anything.

Here’s a weighty theological term for you: apostasy. Get out.

Comments

  1. nomdeplume says

    Those images of prayer/ “bible study” in the Oval Office of the most powerful country on the planet are simply terrifying. A group of people with enormous power with eyes closed thinking they are talking to an imaginary being.

  2. dixonge says

    I don’t know if he was there that day, but our former pastor has been a regular in that office. He was in our wedding. We house-sat for him. We always thought of him as a man of character. Uncompromising.

    Obviously he is now just living proof of the fact that Evangelicalism is a religion of conservatism, not Christianity.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DQ4RLHGUEAAVdsO.jpg

    White House just released this photo of Faith Leaders meeting with the President yesterday. We had a very spiritually profitable meeting. pic.twitter.com/5wl8SEeSUp— Jim Garlow (@JimGarlow) December 12, 2017

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  3. Matt G says

    There’s hypocrisy, there’s shameless hypocrisy, and then there’s right wing Christian hypocrisy.

  4. kestrel says

    Ha. I’ve been wondering about this very thing. So, right wing Xtians/evangelicals/whatever: If this is you guys letting your “light shine before men” how are we supposed to tell the difference between you and the average “sinner”? Because the “sinners” are coming out way ahead of you here in all that light-shining stuff.

  5. willj says

    Their politics are more of a religion to them than their religion is. In their parlance: they’ve sold their soul to the devil, and after their huge support of a depraved scumbag like Trump, they have zero credibility.

  6. davidc1 says

    Any of you heard of a British film “Heavens Above” released in 1963?
    It makes fun of the way the Church of England is /was pally with Business .
    It stars Peter Sellers ,and before he found a god ,Malcolm Muggeridge in a cameo .
    I think it is funnier than Life Of Brian .
    PS ,Muggeridge came up with the idea for the film ,ironic that he along with a Bishop debated two of the Monty Python mob following the release of their film.

  7. unclefrogy says

    it is a sad fact that evangelicals do not hold a monopoly on hypocrisy. I do not know of any religion in which the priests when they begin to acquire any power are not corrupted
    in the past we would have to wait for single works of art and time now the contemporary photos are readily available truly astounding,
    uncle frogy

  8. birgerjohansson says

    That libertarian dude who ran against Johnson in ’64 had their number. He spoke out about their hypocrisy even though they were allies.

  9. ck, the Irate Lump says

    unclefrogy wrote:

    I do not know of any religion in which the priests when they begin to acquire any power are not corrupted

    This can be generalized all the way up to organizations and leaders. How corrupted an organization becomes will depend on what measures were put in place before the power was obtained, and how well they are enforced. I think religious institutions might fall into this trap more often because enforcement is often left up to god, and he seems to be an absentee enforcer as far as I can tell. Worse still is that the leader is often seen as the spokesperson for the enforcer, so the rules can be changed at will.

  10. says

    salvation through Jesus’ work on the cross

    An interesting turn of phrase. I don’t remember Jesus being described as “working” on the cross. He just kept turning the other cheek until they had him nailed up. And why was it such a big deal if he knew that w/in three days he’d be reanimated & sent to Heaven?

  11. consciousness razor says

    It’s surprising how often Christianity or religiosity in general (when it is not “hypocritical” or “corrupt”) is apparently taken to be a good thing, even in the OP and several comments. Presumably, that’s not really what you want to say, but at times it does seem to be the implication.

    When for example they very sincerely care about hating gays, that’s bad. When they genuinely believe their Bible or their God is an authority on morality, that one should have faith and spread it to others, that it’s right to root out heretics and nonbelievers, when they act on such beliefs consistently and effectively, without wavering or waffling or while being the slightest bit pragmatic … none of that is any fucking good. That’s when they’re doing such things “correctly,” so to speak, and I’m at least somewhat satisfied to the extent that they don’t do that shit. It’s not much, but I’ll take what I can get and don’t see a need to complain about it. It’s weird that anybody thinks that they should.

    If they’re insincere about those kinds of views, not living up to those standards or ideals with what we ought regard as sufficient integrity or whatever, then that doesn’t somehow turn a good thing and “corrupt” it into something bad. That shit was already bad, and they wouldn’t have made it worse by doing less of it.

    To put it differently, I don’t get why I’m supposed to have been in the mood to say that I’m okay with them pounding our heads with their Christian/Biblical/religious/craptastic version of morality but I’m now in a position to complain that they’re not doing it well enough. That’s definitely not what makes me upset, and it just seems confused to try to score some kind of a point against them along those lines, if one doesn’t actually have an attitude like that. It’s just point-scoring, at best, but are you sure it’s not an own-goal?

    I mean, I can understand telling a believer “look, these religious leaders you’re following … they don’t really mean it. It’s a lot of bullshit which has to do with something else, like money or power or whatever.” But having said that, assuming you’re even addressing such a person, you should add that they had better not really mean it, because it would be a problem if they did.

    What you shouldn’t claim at this point in the conversation is that real/non-corrupt/non-hypocritical “Christian values” consist of being opposed to (as the comic suggests) “greed, bullying, conspiring, boasting, lying, cheating, sloth, envy, wrath, gluttony and pride. Others TBA.” All manner of good, reasonable views have supposedly gone out the window, because there are now supposedly “exemptions” that the corrupt hypocrites are allowing, rather suddenly and recently. And it’s a supposed to be a problem that they condone lewdness, vulgarity, profanity, adultery, and so forth (note that “sexual assault” is casually tossed into this bizarre list, as if it were anything like fucking profanity). I don’t what else to say, except that is just fucking preposterous. Oh, and it has something to do with Trump – need to find a way to complain about him again too, I guess, although it isn’t clear what the fuck he has to do with anything.

    Sure, religious leaders are full of shit and have ulterior motives – this by the way has been an obvious and rather weak point that people have made for centuries, well before fucking Trump came along. People who were “anticlerical” and such, yet who also had no shortage of awful religious views that we shouldn’t endorse. So, that shouldn’t be a source of confusion, but it would be very counterproductive for people to be lead into thinking that an honest or ”real” form of religion would somehow make the problems go away. Or, if they didn’t accept bullshit a la Trump and genuinely were more conservative/traditional or more dogmatic (not less!), then that would somehow fix something in their religion that we had a good reason to complain about. That’s definitely not how I’d want anybody to respond, as some are apt to do, and it’s not obvious that I’d be accomplishing anything worthwhile with that kind of argument anyway. At best, it doesn’t sound like you’ve got the message straight in your own mind, if this is where you end up.

    If you just thought it looked like a good opportunity to pounce on them, for anything whatsoever that you could muster up, even if hypocritically (and ironically) it wasn’t a genuine concern of yours (e.g., condoning fucking profanity), then for fuck’s sake maybe just do it a little more carefully next time, eh?

  12. microraptor says

    nomdeplume @1: Well, if it’s any comfort, the idiot in the middle barely has enough imagination to consider that he exists, much less anything more.

  13. rietpluim says

    Rather than a political pariah, an “evangelical” is simply “a person who believes in the authority of the Bible, salvation through Jesus’ work on the cross, personal conversion and the need for evangelism.”
    This description fits virtually every Christian in the world.
    Never knew the Pope was evangelical.

  14. rietpluim says

    BTW I think the reason why evangelical ministers love Trump so much, is that he flatters their egos. They are about the only group of people he shows some respect for. Of course, they are already flattering their own egos by Doing Gods Work On Earth which is the Most Important Thing One Can Do (which also justifies their exorbitant incomes) and a real relief when one’s ego is fragile.

  15. archangelospumoni says

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/magazine/how-liberty-university-built-a-billion-dollar-empire-online.html

    Read this one about Liberty University, Jerry Falwell’s goofus kook weirdo worthless p.o.s. pseudo-school. Read about how they learned to milk the federal cash spigot for on-line classes and suckers who pay good money for worthless on-line crud.
    It is impossible NOT to come away with an even lower impression of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell’s son currently running the show, and Drumpfh’s suckers, rubes, fools, and losers.
    On a smaller note, Michelle “Batshit” Bachmann went to Liberty University law school

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