3 out of 5 white evangelical Christians are poisonously stupid


Jan 6, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; Protesters at the United States Capitol as the U.S. Congress meets to formally ratify Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 Presidential election on Jan. 6, 2021.. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY

But there are some good ones, principled ethical Christians who are appalled at the direction their congregants have taken, like Jared Stacy.

Jared Stacy is still processing his decision to leave Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Va., last year. Until November, he was ministering to young parishioners in their 20s and 30s.

But in the four years since he had joined the church as a pastor, Stacy had found himself increasingly up against an invisible, powerful force taking hold of members of his congregation: conspiracy theories, disinformation and lies.

Unfortunately, they’re outnumbered by the bad ones.

The lie is so powerful that a recent survey by the conservative American Enterprise Institute shows that 3 in 5 white evangelicals say Biden was not legitimately elected.

Among them is Pastor Ken Peters, who founded the Patriot Church in Knoxville, Tenn., last year.

“I believe that right now we have an illegitimate president in the White House and he was not elected by the people,” Peters told NPR. “I believe the truly ‘We the People’-elected, should-be president is residing in Florida right now.”

On its website, the Patriot Church is described as a movement: “a church interceding on behalf of her nation.” That movement has a name: Christian nationalism. Some conservative evangelical circles have incubated and spread these kinds of conspiracy theories — some of which have led to violence – for years.

These people have totally ruined some perfectly reasonable words, like “family” and “patriot”, that have now become red flags to let you know that what follows is only hatred and paranoia and selfishness.

(By the way, I don’t trust the American Enterprise Institute, so it is entirely possible that white evangelicals aren’t as generally wretched as their poll suggests.)

Comments

  1. consciousness razor says

    By the way, I don’t trust the American Enterprise Institute, so it is entirely possible that white evangelicals aren’t as generally wretched as their poll suggests.

    There have been other polls….
    YouGov (Jan. 24 – 26): 72% of Republicans think Biden didn’t legitimately win
    Associated Press (Jan. 28 – Feb. 1): 65% of Republicans think Biden didn’t legitimately win

    Also, somewhere around 76% to 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump.

  2. blf says

    By the way, I don’t trust the American Enterprise Institute, so it is entirely possible that white evangelicals aren’t as generally wretched as their poll suggests.

    No idea, but suggestive data points (from memory, and from memory, not from AEI): Something like 75% of current thug-members believe the election was stolen (albeit teh thugs have also been loosing members (in droves?)). Something like 80% of white evangelicals who voted voted for hair furor. Which is also the same percentage (80%) of people who believe hair furor won that assert hair furor has no responsibly for the Jan 6 insurrection (I did look up that last one, Views on the rioting at the U.S. Capitol, Pew, Jan 15).

  3. benedic says

    Dr Johnson once wrote that: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” He specifically meant those that use the word to cover up another agenda.
    All that needs to be said about these holy men.

  4. says

    Christianity is already conspiracy theory and lies. Nobody should be surprised that a lot of christians are haring after a new set of lies. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump is an apostle or a saint 500 years from now.

    Most saints got killed by the Romans in gruesome ways (allegedly) so maybe Trump’s sainthood depends on him getting thrown out of a plane or something….?

  5. blf says

    @5, “Most saints got killed by the Romans in gruesome ways (allegedly)” — just a quibble, nothing serious, but… most?

    An admittedly quick search did not find any numbers I’d consider reliable, albeit a few thousand is suggested (e.g., c.3,000). There also doesn’t seem to be any reliable count of the number of saints — it appears to depend on how one defines “saint” and does the counting — albeit c.10,000 is a number that keeps popping up. Using those two numbers, then not “most”, albeit perhaps “most deliberately-killed saints”?

    If one means “martyrs in antiquity” — “martyr” presumably defined as someone who was deliberately killed because they were thought to be a xian (again, definitions are quite slippery and seems to depend on who is doing the defining / counting) — than since there are estimates of millions of Roman-killed martyrs, I suppose “most” is plausible? Nowadays, there are claims of thousands of martyrs per year, Are there really 100,000 new Christian martyrs every year? (BBC, 2013).

  6. davidc1 says

    @6 I heard from a bloke down the pub that St Francis is the patron saint of British Motorbikes .

    Or to give him his full name, Francis Barnet .

  7. whheydt says

    Re: davidc1 @ #7…
    St. Patrick is the patron saint of Engineers for having invented the worm drive.

  8. kathleenzielinski says

    Once the smoke clears and the realization of the sheer awfulness of the Trump administration sinks in, the damage done to Christianity because of its support for Trump will be incalculable. The orange haired bull has finally been shooed out of the china shop, but we are knee deep in shards that now need to be swept up. A group of Christianity-hating atheists, deliberately setting out to damage the church as much as possible, could not have done a more thorough job with a wrecking ball.

  9. raven says

    Stacy had found himself increasingly up against an invisible, powerful force taking hold of members of his congregation: conspiracy theories, disinformation and lies….

    Makes sense though.
    Fundie xianity today is just right wingnut politics with a few crosses stuck on for show.
    The crosses aren’t important any more!!!

    This is easily understandable.
    The xian gods might exist but probably don’t.
    Politics, power, and money do exist, are highly sought after, and quite useful.

  10. microraptor says

    For perspective, how does this compare to the number of white evangelicals who thought that Barack Obama was born in Kenya?

  11. consciousness razor says

    microraptor, #11:
    Pew asked a different but related question about Obama’s religion, in March 2009 and again in August 2010. Those who said he’s Muslim:
    White: 11%, 21%
    Black: 6%, 7%

    Republicans: 17%, 31%
    Independents: 10%, 18%
    Democrats: 7%, 10%

    White Evangelicals: 20%, 29%
    White Mainline Protestants: 10%, 22%
    White Catholics: 9%, 22%
    Unaffiliated: 6%, 13%

    Also, from this 2019 study on Evangelical-Muslim relations:
    — 61% supported Trump’s travel ban
    — 58% saw the “migrant caravan” as a threat
    — 57% approved of Trump abandoning the Iran nuclear deal

  12. davidc1 says

    @My post was a bit of fun ,didn’t know st pat was the patron saint of engineers .Thought it would have been snake charmers .LOL.

  13. says

    Christianity is already conspiracy theory and lies.

    Important point. Religions can’t really teach people critical thinking, because it would undermine their own dogma. Compartmentalizing will help somewhat, but the more curious members will still start asking inconvenient questions, like “why exactly aren’t we applying these principles to our own ideas?” and then the jig is up.

    You can’t reliably carve out one area of life and apply a different standard to it, although people certainly try and individuals might manage. However, over time and large groups of people, you will get creep, either one way or the other. Sure, the brain is flexible (allowing different attitudes in different contexts), but that works both ways (also allowing attitudes learned in one context to migrate to other contexts).

  14. blf says

    @13, “[I] didn’t know st pat was the patron saint of engineers.”

    I didn’t either, and part of my education was as an engineer — and later worked as such in Ireland ! (I wouldn’t expect such trivia to be part of the studies or the job, but it seems plausible it would come up in conversation at some point.)

    From the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), St Patrick — The Patron Saint of Engineering:

    […]
    “Although many are familiar with the tale of St Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland, it is also claimed that he was instrumental in the initial construction of Irish clay churches in the 5th century AD St Patrick has also been credited with teaching the Irish to build arches of lime mortar instead of dry masonry. It was these achievements that led to him becoming the patron saint of engineers.” Source: Engineers Journal [link to the source does not seem to be given !]

  15. whheydt says

    The bit about St. Patrick being patron saint of engineers was certainly intended as humor, which is how I encountered it many years ago. It being a riff on equating “driving the snakes out” being a “worm drive”. I hadn’t heard about the improved construction techniques. (I’m a fallen away Unitarian. Can’t get much farther from Catholicsim than that.)

  16. blf says

    @16, That’s how I first took it once I remembered there is a mechanical device called a “worm drive” — at first, all I could think of was the electronic memory (Write-Once Read-Many, e.g., a non-rewritable CD / DVD) — which does not compute, or at least suffered from an Out of Cheese Error. (Not that the mechanical device has any obvious relationship to either St Patrick or his time — it’s not entirely clear (after a quick search) when the mechanical worm drive was invented, albeit the closely-related worm gear was very possibly invented by (or known to) Archimedes, well before St Patrick.)

    I have no idea if the story of St Patrick and the improved construction techniques is anything more than legend. Unlike the snakes story, it at least seems plausible, as lime mortars where known at least as far back as 500 BCE and used by both the ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as in cathedrals (from Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge). Lime mortar was quite possibly introduced to Ireland during St Patrick’s time (Conservation of Architectural and Archaeological Heritage), albeit the date range cited is sufficiently wide it could also have been centuries afterwards.

  17. KG says

    the tale of St Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland

    Well that was nice of him – but does this mean there was a road tunnel joining Britain and Ireland in the 5th century? There’s been a recent spasm of suggestions that one should be dug, but it would be a lost easier if they just had to repair an exisiting one!

  18. Kagehi says

    @6

    than since there are estimates of millions of Roman-killed martyrs

    Estimated by whom? This is kind of the problem really. There is pretty much zero evidence of the vast sea of martyrs “killed by Rome”, at least who where a) killed by them for being Xian specifically, or b) before Rome turned Christian, and started killing other Christians – and I am not sure that really counts. There are more than a few in the ex-Christian, now anti-theist, category, who are extensively studies such claims, who would agree that there where vast numbers of such people. It seems rather to be one of the standard, ancient, tropes of Christianity, “People where willing to die, even if we can’t show evidence of any, or name any of them, for our faith in the long distant past!! How can you do less!?” And, it seems to be, at best, a wild exaggeration, and at worst – a total lie.

  19. blf says

    KG@18, Ah, yes, the proposed N.Ireland↔Scotland undersea tunnel described as:

    “The trains could be pulled by an inexhaustible herd of unicorns overseen by stern, officious dodos,” tweeted Simon Hoare, the Tory MP who chairs Westminster’s Norther [sic (thank you, Grauniad)] Ireland affairs committee.

    “A PushmePullYou could be the senior guard,” he said, alluding to the Doctor Dolittle creature with a head at each end of its body, “and Puff the Magic Dragon the inspector”.

    (Excerpted from Irish Sea rail tunnel plan derided as Doctor Dolittle fantasy.)

    I have no idea where St Patrick is supposed to have sent the non-existent snakes, perhaps just presuming it was into the sea to be eaten by some of those undersea railroad unicorns.

  20. davidc1 says

    To just make it clear ,Francis Barnett was a make of British Motorbike ,hence my little joke .

    @18 .Please don’t remind us .First that twatfaced twat johnson wanted a bridge from Scotland to N I ,built over a area where a lot ,I mean a lot of ammo ,gas shells and biological nasties were dumped in the Irish sea
    When that idea came to nothing he suggested a tunnel .
    His latest brain wave is a couple of tunnels using the Isle of Man as a sort of roundabout .
    I doubt any of it will come to anything ,jut an excuse for him to wear a hardhat and a Hi-Vis jacket .
    The way things are going Scotland is going to declare it’s Independence ,and N I will rejoin the rest of
    Ireland ,just leaving England and Wales .

  21. blf says

    Kagehi@19, No idea who has estimated that very vague amount. I strongly suspect you’re correct, “millions” is a xian fiction. I suppose the reason I mentioned it with insufficient caveats is a memory mistake; I recalled 4m as a commonly(?)-said guess of the total number of people killed in the Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre) alone, certainly not all xians nor because they were thought to xian. My mistake! That guessed figure is an order of magnitude less — 400,000 — which makes the “millions of martyrs” claim almost-certain nonsense. The 400,000 claim isn’t implausible, as damnatio ad bestias only lasted somewhere around 300 years, so assuming all 400,000 were killed by being thrown to the animals, that suggests an average of around 1300 executions per year — not impossible!

  22. KG says

    davidc1@21,

    Yes, but when the Republic of United Ireland is rejoined in the EU by the Republic of Scotland, the tunnel/bridge will come in very useful! But we’ll also need one under/over the North Sea, to connect these republics to civilization as FUK reverts to barbarism under the perpetual Johnsonian junta!

  23. davidc1 says

    @23 Yeah ,well they should pay for it then .Stena line ,the ferry company has already started running ferries from Ireland
    to France ,or adding to the number of sailings ,so they bypass England .

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