What the NY Times misses about evangelicals, faith and politics.
Elizabeth Dias and the NY Times attempt to answer a question that vexes Coastal Elites: Why do conservative Christians refuse to commit political suicide? (Here’s the article. Check it out.)
Shouldn’t Christians prioritize virtue signaling over winning elections? Because, that’s what the Times and progressives want. It wants Christian voters to say that personal immorality trumps immoral public policy. However, common sense and a long history of Christian political theology reject such nonsense. Christian political theology makes the best of a fallen, sinful world. Christian statecraft advances the highest good available from the choices at hand. This is why Christians can engage in just wars and even vote for sinful politicians.
Sinful policy matters a great deal more than the sinful character of an individual politician. That is not to claim personal sin is irrelevant; however, when the issue is the murder of countless millions of unborn babies and/or defending religious liberty, then the answer is clear. Policy matters. It matters a great deal more than how many times Donald Trump is divorced.
What Dias and the Times get right about evangelical voters is the sense of political siege. Conservatives in general and Christian conservatives in particular feel under assault. This is a result of the actions of secular elites.
Perhaps it is best summed up by Rod Dreher’s Law of Meritted Impossibility: “It’s a complete absurdity to believe that Christians will suffer a single thing from the expansion of gay rights, and boy, do they deserve what they’re going to get.”
The NY Times story chronicles the feeling of alienation from the rest of the nation. Christian values are besieged. Even, it seems, common sense is besieged.
And it isn’t even Christian’s under siege. For example, atheist Critical Theory opponent James Lindsay claimed 2+2=5 and it ignited a firestorm.
Lindsay’s post at his website New Discourses highlights the problems facing America. Math must be decolinized, the radicals claim: “the idea of 2+2 equaling 4 is cultural and because of western imperialism/colonization, we think of it as the only way of knowing.” Of course, Lindsay is now under assault as a “bully” for defending the truth of 2+2=4. He’s being “mass reported” by Twitter Woke scolds.
Is it any wonder conservative Christians feel attacked?
If Christians feel besieged by Leftists, it is because they are.
According to Dias, “The Trump era has revealed the complete fusion of evangelical Christianity and conservative politics, even as white evangelical Christianity continues to decline as a share of the national population. There are some signs of fraying at the edges of the coalition, among some women and young people. If even a small fraction turns away from Mr. Trump, it could make the difference to his re-election.”
Is Evangelical Christianity really in decline? Doubtful. It seems mainline denominations are. However, those denominations aren’t really Christian. They’ve rejected the key doctrines—so, if one doesn’t believe in Jesus—then they really aren’t Christian. (See: CT’s Evangelicals Show No Decline, Despite Trump and Nones.)
As for the fusion of conservative politics with Christian faith—it has always been this way, if by conservative, one means what the Bible teaches, ie: pro-life, pro-religious liberty, etc. Those are eternal values that never change.
Also, progressive values always lead to the collapse of the denomination. Study how conservative church goers abandoned the mainline denominations in the 1970s as liberal pastors attacked the Vietnam War. (You can find good secular research on this trend.)
But the narrative of decline shows the view (and hopes) of the Elites at the NY Times and even within Big Eva.
Unfortunately, a decent bit of reporting turned into a partisan hit job by the end. For example, “But even if he loses in November, mainstream evangelical Christianity has made plain its deepest impulses and exposed where the majority of its believers pledge allegiance.”
What? This is nonsense. Evangelicals pledge allegiance to the flag—not Donald J. Trump.
Trump is a politician—a flawed individual for sure, but a politician who will counterattack the lies of the mainstream press. In other words, he is not Mitt Romney or George W. Bush or one of a hundred other so-called conservatives who say one thing but secretly crave the approval of the coastal secular elites.
Trump has little in common with Ronald Reagan or Richard Nixon—other than the Elites despised all three of them and their voters. Yet, these voters acted wisely in 2016 and most likely will act wisely again in 2020.
Self-preservation is no vice.
While Christians may long for the Parousia, most have no intention of trying to speed it along by aiding mortal enemies—and like it or not, Democratic policies have all but declared open war on Christianity.
If Democrats and its allies at the New York Times want to win Christian votes, try some tolerance and stop advancing policies that selectively harm Christians.