Sunday, December 10, 2017

What kind of Christianity is that?

Speaking of Calvin...

So obviously what stopped me there was the "tenants" of the faith ("Of course not," I want to say, "they despise people who pay rent, they follow the landlords of the faith"), but it also struck me that there's a theological error there; the tenets of the faith of conservative American evangelicals are completely consistent with supporting Trump.

That's the problem. You can't get anywhere by telling them Trump is a bad man because this increasingly Calvinist denomination doesn't believe there's any such thing as a good man; man is born totally depraved. Nor is there any necessary relation between the kind of depravity a man displays in his character and the work God has selected him to do; Trump's idea that he should be judged in terms of all his "winning" sounds right to them, the manifest sign of his predestined status.

We started seeing this years ago, in the 1980s, in the scandals inside the church of Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, in which the faithful didn't see these men's sexual escapades as disqualifying for the ministry but instead thrilling dramas of sin and redemption. In the same way what Trump may have done in the distant past (e.g. when he was in his 60s, at the time of the Access Hollywood video) is of no relevance to the heroic things he may be doing now, singlehandedly protecting us from the vicious enemies surrounding us, except to the extent that if he was that bad then, the fact that he's so good now illustrates God's awesome power to exalt the weak and humble the great, or something.

Fox News was suggesting God had punished the Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn for criticizing Trump a couple of days ago:

They later deleted the tweet, but the Washington Examiner kept the idea in their headline:

And then, it's not exactly relevant, but there was the Alabamian in the Frank Luntz focus group who thought,
Forty years ago in Alabama, there’s a lot of mamas and daddies that’d be thrilled that their 14-year-old was getting hit on by a district attorney.
It's just not the kind of nice, earnest, naggy but well-meant Christianity you mostly see on television. These people are in a different moral world.

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