by Paul Moomjean
Growing up, I was raised in a fundamentalist evangelical Pentecostal home. President Ronald Reagan was just starting his presidency and Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart were household names. Christian culture was easily my most influential culture. Over the years my understanding of the Christian faith has evolved and shifted to other concerns, but I still deeply hold onto the core of the Christian faith. So it hurts me deeply to see the evangelical church deep dive into absolute nonsense and right-wing conspiracy theories. With ex-president Donald Trump hijacking the white Christian right, they have become a party of people worried more about hating their enemy than loving their neighbor.
Recently, former Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a Faith and Freedom Coalition to jeers and boos, and was called “traitor” for not reversing the election results. To boo someone for embracing truth and a free democracy feels dirty and nothing within a Christian worldview. Pence is a classical Christian conservative. For him to be treated like a criminal only shows how far the white Christian right have devolved. Anyone claiming to be a Christian that also feels the election was stolen holds the opposite of the values Christ taught about loving your neighbor, your enemy, and giving unto Caesar what is his. These actions are a Frankenstein monster of alt-right Alex Jones/Sean Hannity politics and coming closer to Westboro Baptist actions.
Mediaite 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 Jan. 6 — refusing to oppose the Electoral College votes that certified President Joe Biden’s victory — is a sin for which there seems to be little forgiveness.”
Notice the religious language? That’s what is happening as white evangelical Christians forsake true religion of loving the widows and orphans for new spirituality, being a political power.
While white evangelicals continue to believe the lie that the election was stolen, they also seem hellbent on rejecting science, therefore possibly slowing down the reopening they so desperately cry openly about.
The Washington Post reported, “In recent weeks, plummeting vaccination rates have put President Biden’s goal of getting at least 70 percent of adults partially inoculated by July 4 in peril. As of early June, every state was down at least two-thirds from the April peak of 3.4 million shots a day, particularly in the South and Midwest. Government, community and health leaders are putting renewed attention on those hesitant to get the shot. Among the most reluctant: White evangelicals.”
I just don’t understand this, unless they view the vaccine as an acceptance of President Joe Biden’s presidency. The rub is that the vaccine was created under Trump’s presidency. It’s their leader’s cocktail to protect us.
The Washington Post goes on: “A March poll by the nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute found that White evangelicals ranked highest among those who are religious and refusing to get vaccinated. Forty-five percent of white evangelicals said they would get the vaccine, the second-lowest acceptance of any religious affiliation behind Latino Protestant groups.”
I understand the Latino opposition, in that they have been treated awfully by the previous administration. But why would white evangelicals be so anti-science, when this is the one way to restore the reopening of the country? This attitude reaches beyond our borders as well.
“In parts of Africa and Asia, the church is growing; in countries like Uganda, 85 percent of the population are Christians. Where do they get their info? It’s largely from the U.S. faith leaders,” said Curtis Chang, a consulting professor at the Duke Divinity School and founder of the “Christians and the Vaccine” project. “Leaders of the church need to wake up and realize the vaccine is not an isolated issue; it reflects the deeper divisions and dysfunctions Christians have and how it relates to the greater society.”
In their petty political opposition, white evangelicals have created a vacuum where they will simply spew nonsense, and that nonsense is traveling across the globe.
Jesus walked the Earth healing people and loving them for being truthful. Right now the white evangelicals are against both of those things. And because they hold Trump in such high esteem. We have a word for when a person trumps the actual religion. It’s called a cult. Hopefully, they realize this soon before Jesus returns, reminding them about the punishment of worshipping false gods.