Monday, December 25, 2017

Political Christianity on Christmas Day

Christmas has been weaponized.   The political right found a good political issue.

Click: 30 Seconds. Taking on Atheists
It rallied the team.  It was good politics.  The intended victim was Democrats.  

The Christian right's embrace of Trump is one of the great political triumph's of recent politics.    Trump created a voting block of some 25% of the electorate--white self-identified evangelicals--and some 85% of them voted some for Trump.   

They voted their politics, and they linked their politics to the idea of anti-abortion and state sanctioned primacy of Christianity.  In the Republican primaries Ben Carson and Ted Cruz rivaled Trump for this issue.  Cruz had run for Senator from Texas as a champion of political Christianity and continued it in the Presidential race.  The voters preferred Trump.  The Christian right transferred their support to Trump.

Fox: Christmas Morning
Trump worked for that support.  He promised to transform the courts.  That was the prize for the Christian right.  He got the early support of Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham and heir to his legacy.  Trump echoed the Christian nationalism theme of Bill O'Reilly on Fox, a Christian warrior in the perpetual "War on Christmas."   

Fox settled in on Trump.  Trump had his team:  Fox, Breitbart, the Christian right, and then the GOP.

Trump understood that Christmas was a symbol of public establishment of Christian primacy.  Nativity scenes in parks, civic tree lighting, public office closures, school holidays: Christmas was affirmation that Christianity was on top, the normal and traditional thing, America great, again and still.   It was not one of many.  Yes there are Jews, and yes there are Muslims, and yes there are non believers but Christmas was special.   Therefore Christians are special.

Christianity is the default.

Oppose "leftists."
Today is Christmas and conservative media has a story to tell on Christmas morning.  

Jesus is back on top, with a champion in the White House.  The good people of America have elected a Republican who has confronted secularism and joyously celebrates real Christmas.  Donald and Melania in the White House.   

Tradition. Christianity. Trump. The GOP.  Jesus. 

Jesus has taken sides.  No one overtly puts a "Vote Trump" button on Jesus' robes, but the political right has linked itself to Christian primacy.  Vote Christian; vote Trump. Vote GOP.

Christian voters are bought in.  Some 90% of white self-identified evangelical voters supported Mitt Romney in 2012.  Some 80% supported Roy Moore in the Alabama special election.  

Merry Christmas
The liberal Christian church--the Matthew 25 church of outreach to the poor, the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned--is politically quiet.   Silent Night. Whatever spirituality they practice is nearly invisible.

The visibly political Christian church embraced nationalism based on race and  national origin. It won. The most segregated time in America is 11:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning.  The white Christian church won, and this is their first Christmas morning.  Previous presidents celebrated the Christmas tree lighting and sent Christmas greetings.  It was a tradition of continuity and inclusion.     

Inclusion is political, and it lost.  Trump celebrates Christmas as victory.  Jesus and Trump won big.  


Rick Millward said...

Emphasis on white.

All you are noting is that the bigotry of these folks "trumps" their religion. African American churches practice a form of Christianity much closer to the true values. Their faith and biblical interpretation gives them hope and a strong community that among other things was the foundation of the civil rights movement.

The white evangelical movement isn't a religion. It's a business model.

Anonymous said...

The theological hypocrisy of the white evangelical movement is stunning, and disappointing. Trump is just the wily benefactor of three decades of opportunistic faux "Christians" like Ralph Reed and Graham Jr. and Robertson manipulating the flock for their own power and greed--and a prominent seat at the GOP table. Might even go back to Graham Sr. fawning over Nixon and blessing his slaughter in SE Asia.
And how tragically ironic that absolutel non-Christians like Reagan and Trump are the beneficiaries of this mass manipulation of people who believe themselves "good Christians." Even Dubya, who played at being "reborn," was used by people like Karl Rove, who laughed at how easily duped evangelicals are.
Excellent point on the silence of true Christians, the ones who actually follow the teachings of Christ. Voices like Sojourner's Jim Wallis seem to get quieter and quieter.
Hell of a thing, on a Christmas morning.