Trumpism and religion: God help us

Nobody is a better advertisement for atheism than Trump.

A man many evangelicals view, despite all his demerits, as God’s instrument for achieving their triumph. That’s how they justify backing such a person. But it’s actually ruinous for the religion they profess to serve.

So argues Jennifer Rubin in a recent Washington Post commentary. Writing about people “in the throes of white grievance and an apocalyptic vision,” seeing America under attack from socialists, immigrants, and secularists. Leading to “an ends-justify-the-means style of politics in which lies, brutal discourse and violence” are embraced. And their rejection of objective reality.

Also their rejection of democracy itself. A democratic culture means not just elections, but acceptance of a pluralism in which diverse voices all have legitimate roles. That in particular they hate, seeing it as a threat. Thus, for all their invocations of “patriotism,” they reject the very meaning of America — the ideas of the Declaration of Independence — in favor of exclusionary blood-and-soil white nationalism.

One might have thought the advent in 2021 of a more conventional, lower-key national administration, of serious purpose, would calm the waters. And that the horror of January 6, a violent attempt to overthrow American democracy, would be electoral poison for Republicans whose deity and his Big Lie instigated it. Yet the opposite has happened. The crisis of our democratic soul has intensified.

Rubin’s main focus is again on the religious dimension. She quotes Peter Wehner (an evangelical Christian and G.W. Bush advisor), discussing a recent speech by Donald Trump Junior. Its message, says Wehner: “The scriptures are essentially a manual for suckers.” Jesus’s teachings have “gotten us nothing.” Indeed, have handicapped prosecuting the culture wars against the left. “Decency is for suckers.”

This, Rubin says, helps explain “the MAGA crowd’s very unreligious cruelty toward immigrants, its selfish refusal to vaccinate to protect the most vulnerable and its veneration of a vulgar misogynistic cult leader.” While “their ‘faith’ has become hostile to traditional religious values such as kindness, empathy, self-restraint, grace, honesty and humility.”

Vaccine refusal not only does trash basic religious ethics, but also reflects a perverted notion of freedom, disregarding that freedom doesn’t mean a right to harm others. That harm is a reality vaccine resisters refuse to believe (killing them in droves). While it’s their dogma that the 2020 election was stolen — also thoroughly proven false. Together showing the astonishing depth of this insanity.

I heard one January 6er on the radio declare he’d taken “an oath to God” that Trump would remain president. “An oath to God!” he repeated, almost shrieking.

Religion is a fundamental divorcement from reality that paves the way for further ones. If you believe in heaven and hell, you can believe nonsensical anti-vax and election fraud lies. If you believe in the man in the sky, it’s but a small step to believing Trump is his instrument. The history of religion is full of suckers falling for what are obvious con men, blind to being manipulated for bad ends. That’s the Trump story.

Rubin’s key point is that while all this “has done immeasurable damage to our democracy,” it also “has had catastrophic results for the religious values evangelicals” supposedly hold. Their God-talk and Jesus-talk has become hollow, their belief systems hijacked by the rotten-hearted Trumpism that cheers making orphans of migrant children.

And this travesty does not go unnoticed by Americans with sanity still intact. It drenches religion in shame. Makes all its pious moralistic prattling a cruel joke. It’s a big reason why younger Americans especially are turning away from religion. Polls show numbers soaring for those saying their religion is “none.”

Republicans, with deranged ferocity, accuse Democrats of somehow, literally, wanting to destroy America. But Rubin concludes that evangelical Republicans are turning it into “a country rooted in neither democratic principles nor religious values. That would be a mean, violent and intolerant future few of us would want to experience.”

9 Responses to “Trumpism and religion: God help us”

  1. Don Bronkema Says:

    My comments twice deleted today. If this be the end, best wishes.

  2. rationaloptimist Says:

    I did not delete any comments.

  3. Don Bronkema Says:

    Reassuring. Thot you fed up w/respondent’s tek-variant of Thomas Browne. Could his now 160,000 page [11-meter] MS prefigure the quintigesimals ahead, conflated w/Singlang, Kongese, Afro-speak & suchlike? His college Year-I dottir vows assembling a team to publish the monster. Reality, soi-disant, is an illusion. Explain the struggle of man-machine w/a merely emergent kosmos & a Nobel is yours. Meanwhile, abas le fascisme!

  4. Don Bronkema Says:

    N

  5. David Lettau Says:

    Somewhere in one of his books Joshua Abraham Heschel wrote that Martin Luther King is proof that God has not yet forsaken the United States. If I were a believer, I would take the elevation of the orange menace of Mara-Lago to the highest office in the land as proof that Jehovah had not only finally forsaken us,but that he had turned us all over to Beelzebub. Where are the pastors and rabbis who used to speak and march for voting rights,civil rights, compassion? We humanists could use more Allies. As usual, they have united with the authoritarians and fascist in a bid for power. Jefferson’s tree of liberty is all we have ever really had. For want of nourishment ( the blood of tyrants, an informed and active citizenry) that tree languish’s. Given the lessons in election control that the Trumpist have learned from authoritarians like Orban of Hungary as well as Iran and China,it is likely 2022 will be the year the autocrats take over. Hope I am wrong.

  6. Don Bronkema Says:

    Winning by a fraction of 1% wood suffice in parliamentary system– 1776 was a blooper, no?

  7. David Lettau Says:

    I once had an Englishman ask me,”How do you like taxation with representation.?” The river of history would doubtless have cut different and interesting channels had the founders given us a Parliamentary system. The gentleman of 76’and 87’ were imperfect men who gave us imperfect documents and systems of governance, But in proclaiming the rights of man,and in giving us a republic whose laws were capable of amendment, I don’t think they goofed.I trust in stating the obvious I have not become a bore.

  8. David Lettau Says:

    Or are you referring to the musical 1776? That was a blooper.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    David, you never bore. Respondent’s curse is that he keeps turning wheel of history back & rolling it forward again to same greed, ignorance & homicidal savagery. We need a better wheel: how about syntelligent, planetary neuro-feedback–or is that too Borg-like? Upside: seamless efficiency would mean effort is not imposed but chosen. Reality seems to be a Deutsch-emergent phantom, whence even centurial dynamos are extracted via Scythe of Messor.

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