This is a short entry in the series I’m writing about my breakup with Evangelicalism. You can find the first entry here.
Yesterday I posted a Voter’s Manifesto – mine. You can read it here.
Morning after in America
It’s the morning after an election in America, and the pundits have only just begun to wag their jaws about the implications of yesterday’s voting. Blue wave? Red wave? Referendum on Trump?
I’m not here to discuss it, y’all. I’m done.
I’m at the stage in the breakup with Evangelicalism where all the ways in which my former lover acts like an ass confront me. Especially when I’m trying not to think about it.
It’s like when you run into the friend of an ex, and he tries to make the argument that “Bobby is a great guy, you know?” as if that made Bobby’s douchey behavior toward you irrelevant. “I mean, he’s trying, ok?”
As if rampant nationalism, racism, xenophobia, a lust for power, and idolatry of individualism and the “self-made man” and capitalism weren’t warts on the face of the Gospel. “Evangelical” literally derives from the Greek word that we translate “Gospel,” euangelion. What’s sad is that I see the clear connection between evangelicals’ theology and their actions at the voting booth, arising from deep-seated racial and cultural fears, and from long-standing racism that’s buried so deep into evangelical culture that it’s hard to notice unless you tune your eyes to see it.
I’ve realized that I’m well and truly over this breakup. I have nothing against “Bobby’s” friends. I’m not severing ties with anybody. I don’t need other people to agree with me or follow me out. You do you, and stand before God with a clear conscience for your own actions.
I’m still puzzled, though I’ve given up trying to understand.
Like how the hell Evangelical women can feel like this for a man who belittles and demeans women almost non-stop:
I don’t need my Evangelical friends to explain why they picked the side of the “culture war” that makes as its goal the disenfranchisement of non-cisgender, non-heterosexual people….. or rejection of people seeking asylum and respite from oppressive regimes whose origin is closely tied to over-zealous American foreign policy…. or an absolute loyalty to an anti-abortion stance above actual policies that reduce abortion.
Or how the combination of these Culture War factors drive intense support for a president whose “base” is energized by race-baiting and xenophobia.
Fear is ugly
“There is no fear in Love, for perfect love casts out fear,” as the Apostle John wrote. I can’t sanction refusing to see beyond apparent moral infractions to take care of people in need.
“Who is my neighbor?” Jesus shut down that sanctimonious shit from the Pharisees. You can’t play games with the great commandments. Love God and Love your neighbor. You don’t get to choose not to love because you’re afraid of who they are, because they got pregnant without being married first, because you don’t approve of gay love, because you don’t like their atheism or Islam, because you think they’re lazy and unmotivated.
The quote above comes from a great interview with a National Geographic photographer who was asked to document the Squirrel Hill synagogue shooting last week. She’s from Pittsburgh, so she had initially resisted the assignment to work in her hometown. But she went out anyway and captured powerful images.
Her graduate thesis focused on hate crimes, and she interviewed Fred Rogers as part of her research. He asked her this question: “Is your neighbor worth loving?”
Cuts to the heart of the issue, methinks.
I live in one of the reddest states in the South. South Carolina Republicans won nearly every race yesterday, with only a couple exceptions. (Article)
It’s hard to believe in change when the momentum around uniting Jesus with the GOP is like digging something out of cured concrete.
But I have faith.
My faith in the core tenets of Christianity informs my priorities, and voting is actually about priorities rather than moral absolutes. I believe that many Americans can learn to see a way to vote for priorities that don’t disenfranchise others in our nation.
Maybe I’m a fool, I don’t know. One can hope.