by Paul Moomjean
Growing up, I was brought up in a fundamentalist evangelical Pentecostal home. President Ronald Reagan had just started his presidency and Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart were household names. Christian culture was by far my most influential culture. Over the years, my understanding of the Christian faith has evolved and shifted to other concerns, but I still hold tight to the heart of the Christian faith. So, it pains me deeply to see the Evangelical Church delve deep into completely absurd and right-wing conspiracy theories. With ex-President Donald Trump hijacking the white Christian right, they have become a group of people more concerned with hating their enemy than loving their neighbor.
Recently, former Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a Faith and Freedom coalition to mock and boo, and was called a “traitor” for failing to reverse the election results. Boasting someone for embracing the truth and a free democracy is dirty and nothing in a Christian worldview. Pence is a classic Christian conservative. That he is treated like a criminal only shows how far the white Christian right has come. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and also thinks that the election was stolen is the opposite of the values Christ taught about loving neighbor, enemy, and giving Caesar what is his. These actions are a Frankenstein monster of right-wing Alex Jones / Sean Hannity politics and come close to the actions of the Westboro Baptists.
Media reports that the god of Christianity is Trump at this point: “But the Republican base is still very devoted to former President Donald Trump, and Pence’s apostasy on January 6 – refusing to oppose Electoral College votes which certified President Joe Biden’s victory – is a sin for which there seems to be little forgiveness.
Notice the religious language? This is what is happening as white evangelical Christians abandon the true religion of loving widows and orphans for a new spirituality, being political power.
While white evangelicals continue to believe the lie that the elections were stolen, they also seem determined to reject the science, thus possibly slowing the reopening they so desperately and openly mourn over.
the Washington post reported, “In recent weeks, falling vaccination rates have put President Biden’s goal of getting at least 70 percent of adults partially vaccinated by July 4 at risk. By early June, each state was down at least two-thirds from April’s peak of 3.4 million shots per day, especially in the South and Midwest. Government, community and health leaders are paying renewed attention to those who are reluctant to get vaccinated. Among the most reluctant: the white evangelicals.
I just don’t understand that unless they see the vaccine as an acceptance of President Joe Biden’s presidency. The catch is that the vaccine was created under Trump’s presidency. It’s their leader’s cocktail to protect us.
The Washington Post continues, “A March poll by the nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute found that white evangelicals ranked highest among those who are religious and refuse to be vaccinated. Forty-five percent of white evangelicals said they would receive the vaccine, the second lowest acceptance of any religious affiliation behind Latino Protestant groups. “
I understand the Latino opposition, in that they were mistreated by the previous administration. But why would white evangelicals be so anti-science when this is the only way to reopen the country? This attitude also transcends our borders.
“In parts of Africa and Asia the church is growing; in countries like Uganda, 85 percent of the population is Christian. Where do they get their information from? A lot of it comes from American religious leaders, ”said Curtis Chang, consultant professor at Duke Divinity School and founder of the“ Christians and the Vaccine ”project. “Church leaders need to wake up and realize that the vaccine is not an isolated problem; it reflects the deeper divisions and dysfunctions of Christians and how this relates to society as a whole.
In their petty political opposition, white evangelicals have created a vacuum where they will just spit out nonsense, and that nonsense is traveling the world.
Jesus walked the Earth healing people and loving them because they were truthful. Right now white evangelicals are against both of these things. And because they hold Trump in such high regard. We have a word for when a person trumps real religion. It’s called a sect. Hopefully they realize this shortly before Jesus returns, reminding them of the punishment of worshiping false gods.