Back when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson signed their compact with the political Devil, the words Evangelical Christian had a positive connotation. In becoming the Devil’s whores, often for very narrow religious reasons they have enabled the least rational and most extremist groups access to the political machinery. A machinery which lets those people define the laws under which the citizens of America must live under.
North Carolina became known as the most extreme state of the union this year, with the legislature refusing to expand Medicaid, curtailing unemployment benefits, putting hurdles on the right to vote and even potentially closing almost every abortion clinic in the state. One thing they didn’t quite manage to pull off? Establishing Christianity as the official state religion. However, that wasn’t for lack of trying. House Resolution 494 would have allowed the state to establish an official religion. The bill went down when everyone realized it would be in direct violation of the Constitution. No worries, though – North Carolina passed an absurd “no Sharia law” bill instead.
What do you do with a young, scared, pregnant teen who doesn’t want to name the father of her baby? According to the Mississippi GOP, you make her take a DNA test to determine paternity. Proponents of HB 151 argued the info could be used to prosecute statutory rape or obtain child support, as well as drive down teen pregnancy rates. Opponents worry that teens could be driven into hiding and away from hospitals when it’s time to give birth or miss out on prenatal care. Opponents lost; HB 151 was signed into law by Republican Governor Phil Bryant.
Here is what the Evangelical brand looks like from the outside:
Evangelical means obsessed with sex. Evangelicals are so desperate to fend off their own complicated sexual desires and self-loathing that they would rather watch queer teens commit suicide than deal with their homophobia. They abhor youth sexuality and female sexual pleasure to the point that they have driven an epidemic of teen pregnancy, unintended pregnancy and abortion—all because accurate information and contraceptive access might let the wrong kind of people (young unmarried and female people) have sex for the wrong reasons (pleasure and intimacy) without suffering for it.
Evangelical means arrogant. Wheaton College put Evangelical arrogance on national display when administrators decided to suspend and then fire a professor who dared to suggest that Muslims, Jews and Christians all worship the same God.
Evangelical means fearful and bigoted. While more secular Europeans and Canadians offer aid to Syrian refugees, Evangelical Christians have instead sought to exclude Muslims. They have used their vast empire of telecommunications channels to inspire not charity but fear of imminent Sharia in the U.S. and of refugees more broadly. They have urged that Latin American refugees be sent home so that we can build a wall across the southern border before they come back.
Evangelical means indifferent to truth. Evangelicals refuse to acknowledge what isobvious to everyone else, including most other Christians—that the Bible is a human document woven through with moral and factual imperfections. Treating the Bible like the literally perfect word of God has forced Bible believers to make a high art out of self-deception, which they then apply to other inconvenient truths. They rewrite American History, embrace faux news, defend in court the right of “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” to lie, and force doctors to do the same. The end justifies the means.
Evangelical means gullible and greedy. From televangelists and Prosperity Gospel to adulation of Ronald Reagan and Ayn Rand, Evangelicalism faces the world as a religion ofexploiters and exploited—both of which are hoping to make a quick buck.
Evangelical means ignorant. The only way to protect creationism is to keep people from understanding how science works and what scientists have discovered. As evidence accumulates related to evolutionary biology, insulating children requires aconstant battleto keep accurate information out of textbooks. Insulating adults requires cultivating a deep suspicion of science and scholarship, an anti-intellectualism that diffuses out from this center and defines Evangelical culture at large.
Evangelical means predatory. Evangelical missionaries prey on the young and ignorant. They have fought all the way to the Supreme Court to ensure they canproselytize children in public grade schools. Having failed to block marriage equality in the States, they export Bible based gay-hate to Central Africa, where gays are more vulnerable. Since Americans lost interest in tent revivals, evangelists now cast out demons, heal the sick and raise the dead among uneducated low-information people in developing countries.
Evangelical means mean. Opposing anti-poverty programs, shaming and stigmatizing queers, making it harder for poor women to prevent pregnancy, blaming rape victims,diverting aid dollars into church coffers, threatening little kids with eternal torture, supporting war, denying the rights of other species, . . . need I go on?
Laid out like this—sex-obsessed, arrogant, bigoted, lying, greedy, ignorant, predatory and mean—one understands why a commentator like Croft might say that TrumpisEvangelicalism. But reading closer, it becomes clear that Trump and Cruz and Rubio are not the problem.