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.)