The reality of the religous right

Okay, Michelle Goldberg is back on my good side with this column about the religious right:

The people who are most disturbed by such theological contortions are earnest evangelicals who fear the disgrace of their religion. Trump’s religious champions, Michael Gerson writes in The Washington Post, are “associating evangelicalism with bigotry, selfishness and deception. They are playing a grubby political game for the highest of stakes: the reputation of their faith.”

I sympathize with his distress. But the politicized sectors of conservative evangelicalism have been associated with bigotry, selfishness and deception for a long time. Trump has simply revealed the movement’s priorities. It values the preservation of traditional racial and sexual hierarchies over fuzzier notions of wholesomeness. [emphasis mine]

“I’ve resisted throughout my career the notion that evangelicals are racist, I really have,” Balmer told me. “But I think the 2016 election demonstrated that the religious right was circling back to the founding principles of the movement. What happened in 2016 is that the religious right dropped all pretense that theirs was a movement about family values.”…

But it seems absurd to ask secular people to respect the religious right’s beliefs about sex and marriage — and thus tolerate a degree of anti-gay discrimination — while the movement’s leaders treat their own sexual standards as flexible and conditional. Christian conservatives may believe strongly in their own righteousness. But from the outside, it looks as if their movement was never really about morality at all.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to The reality of the religous right

  1. R, Jenrette says:

    “But from the outside, it looks as if their movement was never really about morality at all.”
    Not about morality at all but about control of other peoples’ lives….and maybe profit in some cases.

  2. ohwilleke says:

    I do think that some of the family values stuff is a misguided response to the collapse of marriage among blue collar Americans, even though the actual cause of this collapse is the stagnation of the economic prospects of the blue collar man relative to the blossoming prospects of his female counterparts due to the Civil Rights movement. Recognizing a problem but misdiagnosing its cause en masse, is very normal behavior.

  3. Nicole K. says:

    Jerry Falwell Jr: Jesus said that if you lust after a woman in your heart, it’s the same as committing adultery,” Falwell said. “You’re just as bad as the person who has, and that’s why our whole faith is based around the idea that we’re all equally bad, we’re all sinners.” To defend Trump, Falwell seems to be taking the position that no Christian has the right to criticize anyone else’s sexual behavior.

    If that’s true, why am I as a transgender person automatically unwelcome in almost every evangelical church that exists? I routinely get stopped by evangelicals who do not even know me that feel like they are doing a good deed explaining why God believes I am a disgusting pervert and if I really believe in God he will save me from my disgusting desire to live honestly and without the crushing emotional pain of living an unending lie. I don’t believe that the great power in the universe, who presents himself as a loving God, really intended my life to be continual isolation and pain. But apparently who I am is worse than just about everything else anyone can do.

    As someone who cares very much about my faith in the Christian God, these continuing unsolicited interactions are the most frequent and frustrating unwanted behavior I deal with. If I were not secure in who I am and what I believe, I am pretty sure that I would not be able to handle it as nicely as I do. I refuse to argue or engage with these people because it is futile and that only encourages them to continue their good deed ministry. I say as little as possible and move on as quickly as I can. It is not worth it to do anything else.

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