Chrissy Stroop starts a three-part series for The Conversationalist on the failure of “respectable” Christian evangelicalism in America.

If a large, powerful body of Christians insists that backing a strongman credibly accused of sexually assaulting numerous women in order to grab power is Christian behavior, then, empirically, it is Christian behavior. Religions are complex cultural systems with traditions and texts that are subject to communal mediation and interpretation, which means that well-meaning liberals who dub Christian Trump supporters “fake Christians,” fail to see that authoritarian Christianity is just as “real” a version of the faith as any sort of progressive or liberationist Christianity. Meanwhile, “respectable” commentators like Wehner who mostly agree in substance with the majority of white evangelicals’ illiberal Christianity may see Trump support as a bridge too far, but their cries to this effect fall on deaf ears among their more uncouth brethren.

Pair with yesterday’s link to a discussion of white Christianity’s undone reckoning with its historic racism.

Robert P. Jones, adapting from a forthcoming book, writes that white Christianity in America continues to have some unaddressed reckoning to do with its role in racism and slavery, and some uncomfortable but lingering effects of that role.

In my day job, I am the CEO and founder of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts research on issues at the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. I’m a social scientist by training and have always been fascinated by the ways in which beliefs, institutional belonging, and culture impact opinions and behaviors in public space. I strive to conduct research and write as an impartial observer. In our work at PRRI, we’ve found that white Christian groups—including evangelicals, mainline Protestants, and Catholics—consistently hold views that are at odds with African American Protestants’ views. The attitudes of nonreligious white Americans, conversely, tend to be more aligned with African Americans’. For white Americans, the data suggest that Christian identity limits their ability to see structural injustice, and even influences them to see themselves, rather than African Americans, as a persecuted group.

Emphasis added.

Mine Furor might deem churches to be “essential places that provide essential services”, but I’d think twice if your God or gods value your presence in a particular man-made structure over your sacred life. That said, he doesn’t actually care about the worship; he cares about being able to punish Democratic states.

Addenda

  1. Apparently the official White House position indeed is that people can only “pray to their gods” this Sunday if they are allowed into specific physical buildings.

Link Log Roundup for May 14, 2020

In this edition: autism and actual masking, dining with mannequins, genetic drift, ousting Burr, cats and coronavirus, a new giraffe, black churches, reopening Oregon, COVID-19 and the brain, Oregon restaurants, the post-pandemic commute, bicycles, disability claims, the sage grouse, lockdowns and history, “Obamagate”, walking a trail, test failures, the privilege of escape, Multnomah County, the last Blockbuster, public shaming, and an invasion of goats.

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Welp.

At least three separate pastors have died in recent days after testing positive for the new coronavirus, including two who raised concern that the virus was being used as a tool of the devil to manipulate the masses or silence Christians. One thought God would use His infection to spread the Gospel or give him “a little rest.”

Some of what’s been piling up in my RSS and newsletter apps while I’ve been struggling through a two-day depression that hopefully social distances from me today.

  • Inga Saffron explores the role of Philadelphia’s public spaces during the pandemic (and asks why we don’t pedestrianize our streets).
  • Chrissy Stroop examines the defiance of authoritarian Christians in the face of social distancing orders.
  • Nancy LeTourneau outlines the Republican principles which complicated the ability of a Republican government to respond to the pandemic.
  • Aaron Gordon suggests an opportunity in bailing out transit agencies: fix how they are funded.