Betrayed

Betrayed is the only word I can think of that summarizes how I feel about conservative evangelicals supporting, defending to the death, and voting for Donald J. Trump and the GOP in toto. I realize that many of you evangelicals like to think that you vote GOP because of the pro-life issue. But, in fact, you are not actually pro-life. You are pro-birth. You are pro-infant. Because if you were truly pro-life then you would care about all of life -- the lives of refugees, the lives of LGBTQ people, the lives of minorities, immigrants, and the undocumented.

But you are hypocrites. You only care about your lives. You protect those in the womb. Good for you. The unborn need protecting. But what about the already-born? What about the suffering? What about the marginalized? What about people of color who are feared at first sight? What about refugees fleeing from horror and tyranny, oppression and brutality, running from their homeland in order to save their own lives? All I have heard from you Trump supporters, evangelical or not, is how you want "America" back. What America? Your version of a white America? An us-four-and-no-more America? A "Christian" America?

You are traitors to this country. The message on the Statue of Liberty, a quote penned by Emma Lazarus, sums up the nature and core principles of America: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door." Is this the message of Donald J. Trump, Trump supporters, and conservative evangelicals? No! These individuals are anti-America; they are traitors; they have betrayed our values and principles of being a refuge to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe the free air of a brave and uncompromised melting pot America.

Today's conservative evangelicals, like Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, David Barton, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Richard Land, Ben Carson, Gary Bauer and James Dobson, want a "Christian" America. But, of course, they assume themselves fit for defining Christianity -- a so-called Christianity that would force LGBTQ people back into the closets of inequality -- a so-called Christianity that would predominate politics, the government, social policies, favoring churches, and pushing into the background the faiths and non-faith of the rest of Americans. This corrupt and wicked version of so-called Christianity is communism. Look up the definition of communism: the nature of communism is what the Religious Right wants, only they want to be the leaders who bring about the social-religious structure, as they garner for themselves power, authority, control.



Allow me this irony. The Calvinist Puritans of England fled England because they could not garner favor from the State or the Church. They were not content with religious freedom in England, as they were allowed to worship in their own segregated churches, but they fawned a persecuted complex that motivated them to the New World. So they fled England for the New World, established their own churches and government, and vied for the same manner of control as that from which they fled. They fled the State-Church framework, complained of tyranny and persecution, only to establish for themselves the exact same State-Church framework from which they fled. But there is much more to this story.

Conservative evangelicals today, in the same vein nearly four hundred years later, are vying for the exact same power and control as their Puritan forefathers. Evangelicals in general may think that evangelical leaders like Franklin Graham, James Dobson, Gary Bauer, Ben Carson, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Richard Land, Robert Jeffress and a host of others are fighting for religious freedom, the pro-life (actually, pro-birth) cause, and for what is "right," according their particular understanding of "rightness," but what they are truly intent upon is power and control. That so few see through the veil of evangelical corruption in politics and religion is utterly disturbing: it is mind-boggling and soul-shattering.

Contemporary evangelicalism has betrayed us; it has betrayed believers, the society at large, as well as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus never commanded believers to fight culture wars. We are to have one mission: make disciples of the nations (Matt. 28:19). Instead, corrupt evangelicals like Franklin Graham, the late Jerry Falwell, Sr., Jerry Falwell, Jr., James Dobson and a host of others, have taken to the political stage, attempting to gain power, authority, and control -- and they do so in the name of Jesus Christ, the very Savior who commanded His followers not to lord power, authority, and control over others! (Matt. 20:25; cf. 1 Pet. 5:3)

Evangelicals have betrayed the evangel, the Gospel (Good News of Jesus), and one of two options will prevail. Either believers in Jesus Christ who oppose this evangelical corruption will take back the name "evangelical," properly defining the word by living out the Gospel, in the form of making disciples, and by fighting for justice, for equality, for the marginalized, oppressed, suppressed and abused; or evangelicalism, as it remains today, will evolve from bad to worse. The only way to mend a betrayal is to assume the attitude of Jesus when He was betrayed: redeem the error. This will entail naming the error, naming the ones guilty of the corruption, and then reclaiming what was corrupted.

ABOUT WILLIAM BIRCH

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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.