Opinion

In supporting Trump, evangelicals are reaping what they’ve sown (COMMENTARY)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with co-headliner Jerry Falwell Jr., leader of the nation’s largest Christian university, during a campaign event at the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa, on Jan. 31, 2016.

(RNS) There are a lot of theories to explain why large swaths of evangelicals seem to like a narcissistic, vulgar, misogynistic, intolerant, and angry reality TV star who behaves like a school yard bully and has a temperament that is diametrically opposed to the meekness, humility and prudence necessary to lead the free world. I will not rehearse them here.

But as a historian it is also my job to take a longer view — to look deeper into the American evangelical past in search for answers. Is there something inherent within American evangelicalism, as it has developed over the decades, that has led so many born-again Christians to vote for Trump?

I think there is.

In 1994, Mark Noll, a history professor at evangelical Wheaton College published “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.” The book began with what is now a much-quoted phrase among the evangelical intelligentsia: “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” Noll then went on to describe a deep-seated anti-intellectual impulse that has long characterized American evangelicalism.

Ten years after it was published, the editors of Christianity Today claimed Noll’s book “arguably shaped the evangelical world (or at least its institutions) more than any other book in the last decade.”

On one level, Christianity Today was correct. The evangelical mind is doing better these days. Young evangelicals now see the pursuit of an intellectual life as a legitimate Christian calling. They are contributing to a vibrant renaissance of Christian thinking about history, politics, science, nature, and the arts.

But the scandal still exists.

Conservative Protestants have a long way to go if they want to rid themselves of the anti-intellectual populism that Noll lamented almost a quarter century ago. Evangelical churches and colleges have failed to educate people on how to think Christianly about their role as citizens. They have failed to teach their constituencies Christian habits of acting in the world that allow them to make meaningful contributions to American democracy. Is it any wonder that so many evangelicals have cast votes for Donald Trump?

Part of the responsibility for bringing a more thoughtful understanding of politics and culture to everyday conservative Protestants rests with evangelical intellectuals.

It would be nice if evangelical scholars could play a more sustained role in their churches, but often times they are either too busy writing monographs or too tired from teaching students and serving their academic institutions to help people in the pews think more deeply about these issues.

And then there are the evangelical colleges. It is often unclear how these institutions serve the larger evangelical world. Christian philosopher and educator Richard Mouw tried to explain their impact in 1995 when he wrote: “Tens of thousands of young people in Christian evangelical colleges and seminaries are receiving a trickle-down effect from their professor’s work. These are future laypeople.”

I am sympathetic to Mouw and those who hope for an intellectual trickle-down effect, but such an approach does not seem to be working.

Evangelical students are no longer interested in studying the humanities.

Enrollments in humanities fields — history, philosophy, literature, theology — at evangelical colleges have experienced a precipitous decline over the last decade. Yet these are disciplines that teach evangelical young people how to live together with their deepest differences, reflect on the purpose of life, think critically about the world, cultivate moral courage, make evidence-based arguments, and recognize that life does not always fit easily into binary categories.

These are the subjects that raise the kinds of questions that go to the heart of a Christian education. They help us see the world from the perspective of others and teach us humility as we ponder our place in the expanse of human history. They help us to understand the common good and to serve it. They make us informed citizens.

Unfortunately, today we are training evangelicals for our capitalist economy. We are not training them for life in our democracy.

Many Christian colleges are just trying to keep the doors open. Physical therapy and accounting majors bring in a lot of tuition revenue. If students do not want to study the humanities then these institutions are happy to offer programs — ever more programs — they will want to pursue.  Such colleges must bow to consumer needs in order to survive. Give them what they want, not what they need.

Evangelical churches and their pastors are also to blame. How many evangelical churches have created spaces where conversations can take place about how to apply the Christian faith to culture, politics, art, nature, or our understanding of the past and its relationship to the present?

I am not saying these topics need to be addressed during Sunday morning services. This time and space needs to be reserved for Word and sacrament. But certainly some of our megachurches could make room for this kind of training.

In the end, I do not have much patience for evangelical leaders who are shocked and surprised that so many people support Donald Trump. We have reaped what we have sown. We evangelicals can, and must, do better.

 (John Fea teaches American history at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa. He is the author, most recently, of “The Bible Cause: A History of the American Bible Society.” Follow him @johnfea1)

 

About the author

John Fea

82 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • “[The humanities] are the subjects that raise the kinds of question that go to the heart of a Christian education. They help us see the world from the perspective of others and teach us humility as we ponder our place in the expanse of human history. They help us to understand the common good and to serve it. They make us informed citizens.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating here:

    What some people call “PC”, I call civility — which I believe is essential to civilization. What some people call “moral decline”, I call the social contract. Not the adult type. The de-self-centering, learn-to-share, 2-year-old type.

    What I see dividing our country is otherization. “Us” vs. “Them”. When we’re not actively, hostilely, sometimes even violently opposing each other, we are relentlessly, unyieldingly competing against each other — all the time — rather than collaborating with each other.

    Collaboration seems to be regarded as capitulation these days. So we ignore our unity, our commonalities. We deny our shared needs, our shared goals. We disparage the entire concept of sharing. To us, collaboration and sharing are vices, not virtues.

    We have convinced ourselves that “We” are better than “They”. We’re more important. Our values are superior. Our goals are more worthy. We deserve more. In fact, we deserve all.

    I believe this self-righteous “Us” vs. “Them” narcissism has been growing in direct proportion to the equalizing of civil rights in our shared country, and has accelerated greatly and shamefully since the election of our first black President, and even more so since marriage equality became the law of the land. After all, sharing includes respect, and “We” cannot abide that. We view sharing respect as “oppression”. We view the increasing loss of our “traditional” privilege over others — whites over blacks, men over women, straights over gays, rich over poor, Christians over other-believers — as infringing on our rights and freedoms, as government tyranny, as an unholy war against our values.

    “We” angrily defend, By Any Means Necessary, what we consider to be ours and ours alone. We call our unconscionable offenses against others “patriotic”, “our sacred duty”, “God’s will”.

    “We” are throwing a nationwide political, economic, religious, corporate, antisocial tantrum. Share? No. No! NO!

    And whom are “We” seeking to lead us? One who “shares our values” and “fights for us”. One who will help us forge and force a new morality, based on an eleventh Commandment: Us and only Us. This is our destiny. This is our future.

    This is “Our” movement. We’re having our movement in public. And it stinks.

  • I would disagree with at least one thing in this column. THE TITLE.

    No, we are all of us, every American, reaping what the evangelicals have sown. We reaped Shrub, whose two undeclared wars have depleted our treasury, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, the social displacement of millions more, and the destabilization of the entire Middle East, including the rise of Isis and al quaeda. We reaped our do-nothing congress, who never bothered to declare or defund those wars. We reaped a Supreme Court that declared that money is speech, corporations are people, and business is a religion.. Or was it the other way around?

    In supporting trump, a four times bankrupt, three times married, two Corinthians so called Christian, and one-person-center-of-the-universe, self proclaimed adulterer and luster after money and women, the evangelicals have shown us that this was never, ever about sincere religious belief, but about power, money, dominion, control of the other, control of women, control of them uppity homos.

    All that 2Rump is promising is what Mr. kEy has outlined below– you get to get your power over those other people back, you get to have the government enforcing your purely theological concerns on those other back.

    And. The evangelicals and dominionists are buying it, lapping it up, just as they did when Shrub promised it.

    Or as Sinclair Lewis put it, when fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.

  • “trump, a four times bankrupt, three times married, two Corinthians so called Christian, and one-person-center-of-the-universe”

    Ben, you’re a man after my words-and-wordplay-with-a-message-on-top-loving heart. (I’m glad one of us is literate — the Sinclair Lewis quote rings disturbingly true. Bummer.)

  • Fox News and all the other alt-right spewers of anger and intolerance have done a number on the GOP in my humble opinion. How tolerant are your parishioners? In my neck of the woods, they are often about as tolerant as Trump’s message. The lack of compassion from the GOP message in all branches can be unsettling at times and in-turn has created the demagogic lane for a Trump to exploit. A narrowing view of the world, (us v. them) will lead to narrowing wins. I mean no disrespect by my comment and I think your commentary was honest and enlightening. Regards.

  • …Meanwhile, Trump’s Corporate Right makes record profits while/by eliminating American jobs through automation, offshoring, and H-1B visas (used to hire non-Americans due to “a lack of qualified Americans”).

    — And the Voting Right pledges its undying support to Trump?

  • And while we’re discussing all of the things the evangelicals support of Trumpism has cost us, let us not forget the rise of ignorance as a virtue, with their constant attacks on evolution, responsible sex education, history as knowledge, and gay people as human beings. Trump makes ignorance as a virtue his business model.
    .

  • Yes, I’ll agree that one of the biggest disappointments of the campaign is that the Evangelicals didn’t reject Trump as thoroughly as the Mormons did.

  • “Evangelicals” have done more harm to the witness of Jesus than any movement in Christian history. They are the “goats” mentioned by Jesus in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. These deluded people who think of themselves as totally Pauline in their preaching and teaching are so blinded by their bigotry and anti intellectualism they forget his admonition that without Love all doctrine is manure!

  • this essay seems to be strenuously avoiding an immensely relevant topic. the topic, the question, and the problem, it seems to me, is that the essential business of the evangelical church is furthering the evangelical church. certainly, you can reference pockets of intellectualism here and there – there are intellectuals, and institutions that host intellectuals and pass their influence on to young evangelicals – but by and large what the evangelical movement really DOES is make every attempt to see that its general culture and specific beliefs are maintained in the next generation. we all know about churches that engage in their various worship practices but don’t pass their culture on intact … they’re called churches that no longer exist

    the business of furthering evangelical culture has historically not been a very intellectual one, and the mechanisms it successfully employed were evolved to suit a situation that no longer exists. so … it seems to me that a call for intellectualism, in evangelical colleges and elsewhere, might be avoiding the deeper problem: that making evangelicalism more compatible with intellectualism or college culture or modern social media might be more change than the culture can absorb and still be the same thing; but not making those changes might doom the movement to further decline

    the course of this problem seems to have been set generations ago because the general thrust has been determined propagation rather than intellect and education [or at least, the assumption that forcing the youth to parrot dogma IS education], but the author talks about shoring up the intellect of the movement as if that doesn’t inherently change the movement

  • Really excellent comments are offered here and I appreciate the thoughtfulness. I have something to add to G Key’s explanation of the “us v. them” problem. It is Justice.

    I copied this quote, which was part of a larger interview. I’m very disappointed that I didn’t include the name of the speaker in the copy. My apologies.

    “Justice is the foundation of a trusting society. It’s the foundation of going forward and making a life. Justice is an enormous issue for this country.”

    There is a great number of people in this country who feel they have little or no access to real justice. These are the people of limited means who cannot access political justice; the people of color for whom criminal justice is twisted and deformed; the people who are unable to obtain economic justice. In short, the people who are not straight white males do not receive real justice. If one cannot access justice, what options are left? Violence, hatred, suffering, illnesses, poor life quality.

    Justice in the United States is unjust.

  • About 30% of evangelicals vote Democrat; Trump and Cruz fairly split the remainder.

    If Hillary is as bad as Trump [or worse, since she’s an explicit ally of abortion and “transsexuality”], one can accept John Fea’s premise and conclude that perhaps 2/3 of evangelicals are moral imbeciles.

    But not to accept his conclusions: who’s to blame? It can also be validly argued that it’s because most evangelicals attend public schools, where Christianity is abolished and secular humanism reigns, as well as the fact that Christian churches are forbidden by the government [via the IRS] to discuss politics.

    Trump vs. Hillary would be a logical result.

  • You’re not forbidden to speak about politics. You can do so to your heart’s content, as long as you are willing to pay the taxes that the rest of have to pay. Personally. I think you should all put your money where your mouth is, rather than the reverse.

    That does put a different slant on it, don’t it?

  • Oh yeah! I just checked one of her books out of the library. You must be a fan too. Thanks Ben.

  • You think it’s a self-evident truth churches should be taxed. I do not.

    You think it’s self-evident truth non-profits should not do politics. I do not, and I think enforcement is so subjective and selective [Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, African-American churches, whathaveyou] that the concept is far more likely to be abused than be a good.

    And this is the least part of my argument anyway. For the sake of discussion and common sense, I withdraw it.

  • I don’t believe churches should be taxed. But I also have a far more restrictive view of religious organizations which are not churches. A church is there for the purposes of holding religious services. It is not an amusement park, television production studio, financial instrument, lobby group, or public service provider.

    Too often holy rollers abuse the privilege afforded to churches to engage in tax fraud for ventures having nothing to do with the providing of religious ceremony/service.

    “where Christianity is abolished and secular humanism reigns, ”

    This statement is beyond silly. Secular humanism ensures that Christianity cannot be “abolished”. Secularism is what is what protects the church from the state and the state from the church. Of course if your version of Christianity is of the dictatorial theocratic variety, you probably have issue with the whole concept of religious freedom. Your views won’t be supressed. But your ability to act on them in a public or political manner will be somewhat limited.

  • American Evangelicals are ALWAYS being duped by false prophets

    Fixed that for you.

  • I also have a far more restrictive view of religious organizations which are not churches

    I have an accomodationist view, as I believe the Founders did. The word “church” does not appear in the First Amendment. “Religion” does, and the free exercise of religion is not restricted to churches.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

    And actually, our discussion was about restricting the free exercise of religion in churches via the tax code! You seem to be at least sympathetic to my demurral.

    As for the rest of what you wrote, it is based on an arguably false premise.

    The Mythical “Wall of Separation”: How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy, and Discourse

  • Now turn the rant and tell us just why evangelicals should vote for Clinton. Is she in any way a better Evangelical choice?

  • “where Christianity is abolished and secular humanism reigns, ”

    This statement is beyond silly. Secular humanism ensures that Christianity cannot be “abolished”.

    Where Christianity is abolished, which it is now, in our public schools. Pls read charitably. I did not say the US government abolished Christianity.

    As for

    I also have a far more restrictive view of religious organizations which are not churches

    The word “church” does not appear in the First Amendment. Your “restrictive view” is not supported by the Constitution.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

    “Free exercise” is key here. As well as

    or abridging the freedom of speech

    which IRS restrictions on free speech from the pulpit clearly do abridge.

  • Please don’t pretend you know a thing about 1st amendment religious rights when you deliberately ignore and omit the Establishment Clause which prohibit using government apparatus in furtherance of religious belief. In your case Christianity being illegally endorsed in public schools. Christianity does not own our government. Your disregard for the religious rights of others is duly noted.

  • There is no one more bigoted and divisive than the Liberal Leftists. Liberal President Obama has created in America a great them – us reality when he was elected under promises to bring us together.

  • Nope. That’s not what I said at all.

    I said that you are free to talk politics IF you are willing to pay taxes, same as any other business, corporation, or entity. No special rights for the religious. I know that religious entities don’t like it if they they think someone is getting special rights.

    I don’t see the process being abused, except perhaps by those organizations unwilling to abide by the laws that govern all of us.

  • Nope, it wasn’t about restricting the free exercise of religion via the tax code. The law says you can believe what you want. It also says you can stay out of politics outside a very limited purview if you don’t wish to pay taxes like everyone else.

  • I said that you are free to talk politics IF you are willing to pay taxes

    Yes, I know what you said. I don’t agree that one should have to pay taxes in order to exercise the right of free speech.

  • Except for the group who seek to legalize discrimination under the color of law and “deeply held beliefs”. As far as I can see I don’t see anything coming from Obama or progressives seeking to limit the civil liberties of others. But it is becoming a regular thing for conservative fundies. Even though by and large the GOP rank an file does not appear to be interested in such an agenda. Evidently these forms of bigotry were not as big a draw as racism and xenophobia.

  • You are quoting David Barton nonsense on “The Myth of Separation of Church and State”? What a load of bovine effluence. Your link is nothing but pure fiction from a notorious 1iar. Barton’s nonsense is so bad that in some circles a standard unit of dishonest discourse is referred to as a “Barton”.
    http://candst.tripod.com/boston1.htm

    You do not have an accomodationist view, you are a theocrat who seeks to entangle government in the support and furtherance of your faith. People who decry secularism are simply saying that they support sectarian discrimination.

    Without the separation of church and state, there is no free exercise of religion. You have already noted that you have no regard for the religious beliefs of others hence your support of blatant sectarian discrimination in the form of school prayer. Separation of church and state prevents the state from favoring a given faith to the exclusion and discrimination of others. Something you obviously not only have little problem with but think it is your privilege.

    Your whole argument is based on a self-serving and entirely nonsensical 1ie. How can you protect free exercise of religion when the government is deliberately excluding minority faiths from consideration in its acts? You can’t. But as long as its your faith, you don’t care.

    Taxes are an act of government and its compliance are an act of law. So where religion intersects with tax codes, the establishment clause is very much a part of it. Churches don’t get tax breaks because it is their right under the constitution. It is merely operation of legislation on the subject. They get tax breaks as a way to keep churches out of the apparatus of government. So they are not represented by government. (No taxation without representation).

  • Someone who quotes dominionist garbage about the Establishment clause is not someone who can be taken at their word at representing facts in an honest manner.

  • Ad hom, poisoning the well. I am no “Dominionist,” nor did I appeal to the Bible.

    In fact, I didn’t mention the Establishment Clause, which is a separate discussion, since “Congress shall make no law” applied only to the federal [central] government. Religion was left to the states.

  • Except it isn’t ad hominem. Its calling out to your prior misrepresentations of fact on the subject. That you posted something here in support of a thoroughly discredited source and continue to rely on its assertions.

    “applied only to the federal [central] government. ”

    Another material and dishonest omission. Since the 14th Amendment applies all of the Bill of Rights to state and local laws as well under the premise of equal protection under the law.

    This includes the entire 1st Amendment including the Establishment Clause. The idea of “state’s rights” when it came to personal liberties died in 1865 after a particularly nasty expression of disagreement over property rights. /sarcasm. The Federal Government has the last word on the subject of civil liberties.

    So how is the free exercise of ALL religions protected if the government is serving the sectarian ends of certain Christian sects such as mandated school prayer and putting up public displays endorsing one specific faith? It isn’t. That is if your definition of “free exercise” only applies to Christians (of a certain type). The Constitution unequivocally says that is never the case. So naturally separation of church and state protects all faiths.

    The fact that you linked to the nonsense about “The myth of the separation of church and state” means either you are deliberately misrepresenting issues of religious and political liberties or are just ignorant as to them. Either way, you have been entirely incorrect here.

  • Yes, you are talking the 14th Amendment and subsequent [and questionable] Supreme Court decisions. I was not.

    And now, I’ve had enough of your rudeness. I have misrepresented nothing.

  • “Yes, you are talking the 14th Amendment and subsequent [and questionable] Supreme Court decisions. I was not.”

    Which is why your entire premise is wrong. To omit such things would be to deliberately leave out material facts regarding the subject.

    If you didn’t want to be treated rudely, you should not have been so obviously dishonest.

  • You clearly didn’t read the link I provided above, which addresses the Supreme Court’s rulings or religion via the 14th.

    You did not read me thoroughly or charitably, since the 14th is addressed in full here:

    The Mythical “Wall of Separation”: How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy, and Discourse

    You owe me an apology for your undeserved personal attack. Since one is likely not forthcoming, good day. I’ve had my say; anything further is a waste of the readers’ [if there are any left] time.

  • Since early on, I provided a link to

    The Mythical “Wall of Separation”: How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy, and Discourse

    which explicitly addresses post-14th Amendment jurisprudence, your accusation of omission on my part is itself dishonest.

    This discussion no longer serves any purpose. I’ve had my say: those interested in learning more about the other side of the question can do so by reading the essay, written by American University professor Daniel Dreisbach, who has a law degree from the University of Virginia and a doctorate in history from Oxford–IOW, no ordinary right-wing Joe off the street. Peace.

  • Your article is based on a thoroughly discredited piece by a man who lacked even the most basic credentials to address the topic and frequently misrepresented and fabricated supporting evidence. All you are doing is quoting it one step removed from its original source.

    This discussion no longer serves a purpose because I am not taking your untruths at face value as you hoped. All one has to do is do a basic google search of David Barton and “Wallbuilders” to find this info.

    Your problem is that I already know your playbook here. Evidently far better than you do.

    Besides you failed to address how free exercise of religion can be protected without the separation of church and state. Of course you would. Because it can’t. That is unless you think only majoritarian Christian sects are entitled to free exercise.

  • You referenced 1iars, I caught you omitting material facts a couple of times. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  • reflect on the purpose of life, think critically about the world, cultivate moral courage, make evidence-based arguments, and recognize that life does not always fit easily into binary categories.
    Could it be because doing these things causes a cognitive dissonance with their very narrow world view that threatens their hyper-literal interpretation of faith and the flow of money into their pastors’ pockets?

  • “Where Christianity is abolished, which it is now, in our public schools.”

    I’m still trying to puzzle out what exactly this means. Public schools still hire Christian teachers, admit Christian students, allow student-led Christian clubs, rent their facilities to churches and other Christian groups and organizations — are we perhaps defining “abolished” differently?

  • Praise Jesus, for sure !!!!! GREAT SATIRE, Joe! Wow! — God expressing his prime causality, selecting Trump (move over, Jesus) and our minds (the dear Huckabees,etc.) having a direct connection (private interpretation, anyone? Bush?) to God’s Mind. Indeeeed!

  • The majority of Trump’s “evangelicals” are the barely twice a year church attending types and not the Sunday after Sunday in the pews type of those who are traditionally identified as evangelical.

  • Are you saying that all scripture is not given by inspiration of God, theopneustos or God breathed, not fit for doctrine, reproof, correction or instruction? if not please tell me which passages you think are?

  • While I’ve not read Richard Neuhaus’ book and thus have only the slightest familiarity with its premise, I think the greater issue here might be that you and I define “abolish” differently. The word’s most common usage is “put an end to, do away with, annul”. If Christianity were truly abolished — using that meaning of the word — in the public schools, it would not be allowed or tolerated on the premises. We would have no students preaching the gospel in school hallways as in West Virginia, no “Prayer at the Pole” events, no Fellowship of Christian Athletes clubs on campus, no churches renting the facilities, etc., etc., etc.

    The reason that this is an issue for me is that, the more this misconception is spread (“Chistianity is not allowed on public school campuses!”) the more Christian students are tempted to be silenced out of fear, rather than to make use of the freedom they have.

    Words matter, and should be used accurately.

    No doubt we both agree that public schools are hardly an environment that is encouraging or advocating Christianity. We can’t expect those who are not Christian to embrace or uphold the tenets of our faith. However, we should be accurate in describing the situation of our culture, rather than being alarmist and exaggerating. I’m sure that was not your intent.

  • You understood me just fine, then. I use the word in the same sense as CS Lewis’ “The Abolition of Man.”

    And yes, I’d say that Christianity has been abolished in the curriculum and this partially explains the large number of moral imbeciles our education system produces. “Neutrality” is never neutral.

    And this is not to say that Christianity should be taught as theological truth, only that it underlies the best of our American principles. As the putatively atheist philosopher Jürgen Habermas noted

    “Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct heir of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk.”

    Our kids will never hear stuff like that, thus discussions like this one, where you can cut the bald hostility toward Christianity with a knife.

    And thank you for your courteous reply, another anomaly in the proceedings here, and not unrelated.

  • The furtherance of Christian faith and belief had no place in public school curriculum to begin with. Doing so is establishment of Christianity as the official state religion. Something prohibited and hostile to constitutional religious liberties.

    Your quote is also garbage apologetic nonsense, since nothing in Christian faith or teachings promotes civil liberties. Especially the idea of treating all faiths respectfully. You probably don’t see it in schools because it is probably a fabrication. People like yourself want to claim democracy “reflects Christian values” but can never cite to anything specific to their faith which could support such a boast.

    I wonder where you copied and pasted it from. Quote mining is a common for of 1ying for those of an apologist/Dominionist bent.

  • thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
    Slay all the unbelievers– Deuteronomy 13-6
    Stay away from that shrimp cocktail.

  • The inability of the left to politely engage ideas outside its own cant is obvious here, and rather enforces the point. If there is a “scandal of the evangelical mind,” the scandal extends to anti-evangelicals as well.

    Neither was I addressing you; I was addressing Rebecca. I have no desire to wade past your rudeness and ignorance of the subject. Again, good day.

  • Your tone trolling is duly noted. But it does not make your posts any more honest in their representation of facts. If you find people revealing your dishonesty to be so distressing and uncivil, you might try being more truthful.

    You have a half baked premise to your discussions that you are unable to elaborate on. You expect credit to be given to Christianity for our system and freedoms. But you can’t say what was so specific to the faith to support such an idea.

    You pretend free exercise of religion is possible when the government endorses a single faith. But no explanation as to how that would work. You call the separation of church and state a myth, yet fail to acknowledge how it protects all faiths.

    Maybe when you don’t feel so bad mouthed to making up your own facts, you would see more civility.

  • If you were capable of civility, you would hear more from me. But there is nothing more miserable than an uncooperative interlocutor, esp a nasty one.

  • If you were capable of making an honest point, without quotemining, referencing cliched fictions or even elaborating on your own arguments, you might have something worth reading.

  • “public schools, where Christianity is abolished and secular humanism reigns”

    Are parents incapable of taking their children to church? Is there some obstacle erected to keep parents from taking their kids to church? Is there an obstacle preventing driving-age kids from attending church on their own?

    Do you think people too stupid to find churches if they so desire? There are churches all over the place. I live in Connecticut and there’s tons of churches even up here in the godless northeast.

    Look, if you can’t get people in to your church of their own free will, you don’t get to have the state coerce people into attending so they can be indoctrinated. You just don’t. First Amendment. You might refresh your memory about it.

    Church better, maybe you’ll get more butts in the pews.

  • And you rely entirely on a canned argument you don’t really understand.

    So how is free exercise of all religion protected if the government is officially endorsing one given faith?

  • So how is free exercise of all religion protected if the government is officially endorsing one given faith (ie no separation of church and state)?

  • We Christian clergy at http://LiberalslikeChrist.Org have the PERFECT solution to the teaching religion in public school impasse. We LIBERAL Christians will get our liberal friends to agree with all you conservative “Christians” that religion should be taught in all of America’s public schools if it’s OUR Liberals like Christ curriculum ! That way EVERYBODY’s happy !

    How about it ? Rev. R D

  • Not at all. Just saying plainly what your linked article was saying. That the separation of church and state should not exist. Also you started the conversation lamenting the loss of state sponsored Christianity in favor of secular government. I am not misrepresenting your position at all. Just going straight to the matter.

  • Lol. You are full of it.

    So tell me again how “Christianity was abolished by humanism” when school prayer was prohibited. The separation of church and state was what you were complaining about. You wanted official endorsement of Christianity in history classes through telling vague fictions.

  • “And this is not to say that Christianity should be taught as theological truth, only that it underlies the best of our American principles. As the putatively atheist philosopher Jürgen Habermas noted

    “Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct heir of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk.”

    Our kids will never hear stuff like that, thus discussions like this one, where you can cut the bald hostility toward Christianity with a knife.”

  • It’s a deliberate misquote.

    “Prominent German thinker Jurgen Habermas, who calls himself a methodological atheist, says that Christianity and nothing else is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy: the benchmarks of Western civilization. “To this day we have no other options: we continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter.”

    This is a bogus quote, as I’ve documented before. I now repeat the relevant portions from that blog post of mine:

    This quotation is phony, but is very popular among Christians…

    The misquote rewrites Habermas’s statement and changes its meaning:

    (1) Habermas talks about the historical origin of universalistic egalitarianism – not the foundation of human rights today.
    (2) Habermas mentions both Judaism and Christianity – not only Christianity.
    (3) Habermas says that there is no alternative to this legacy (“Erbe” in German) – not that we have no alternative to Christianity.

    Quote mining is a typical tactic of people lying for the Lord

  • please stop trolling me

    my quote is accurate, you are using the false one

    http://www.habermasforum.dk/index.php?type=news&text_id=451

    :: A warning against a misquote about Habermas and Christianity (03-05-2009 20:23)

    This is an updated version of my post from May 3, 2009:

    A serious misquote is circulating on the internet about Jürgen Habermas and Christianity. On a very large number of websites – mainly Christian blogs, but also in “Wall Street Journal” and “Foreign Policy” – you can read the following “quotation” of Jürgen Habermas:

    “Christianity, and nothing else is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [to Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter.”

    But this is a misquotation! The reference is an interview with Jürgen Habermas that Eduardo Mendieta made in 1999. It is published in English with the title “A Conversation About God and the World” in Habermas’s book “Time of Transitions” (Polity Press, 2006).

    What Habermas actually says in this interview is:

    “Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an auonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct heir of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk (p. 150f).”

  • please stop trolling me

    my quote is accurate; you are using the false one

    :: A warning against a misquote about Habermas and Christianity (03-05-2009 20:23)

    This is an updated version of my post from May 3, 2009:

    A serious misquote is circulating on the internet about Jürgen Habermas and Christianity. On a very large number of websites – mainly Christian blogs, but also in “Wall Street Journal” and “Foreign Policy” – you can read the following “quotation” of Jürgen Habermas:

    “Christianity, and nothing else is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [to Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter.”

    But this is a misquotation! The reference is an interview with Jürgen Habermas that Eduardo Mendieta made in 1999. It is published in English with the title “A Conversation About God and the World” in Habermas’s book “Time of Transitions” (Polity Press, 2006).

    What Habermas actually says in this interview is:

    “Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an auonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct heir of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk (p. 150f).”

  • Lol! You just demonstrated your prior version was truncated and a misrepresentation. One used by a lot of Christian apologists. Good job. 🙂

ADVERTISEMENTs