Friday, 18 November 2016

Why Christians Supported the Very Un-Christian Trump

How the faithful voted: A preliminary 2016 analysis | Pew Research Center

One of the most outstanding features of the American presidential election was the complete abandonment of any pretense of morality by the evangelical white conservative Christians in their eagerness to promote a white supremacist, misogynist, serial adulterer, self-confessed serial molester of women and public mocker of disabled people, to the top job. Almost as noticeable was the eerie silence from the black evangelicals and Catholics, even the hispanic Catholic leaders.

The evidence of this overwhelming abandonment of morals by Christians in general and fundamentalists in particular is shown in the preliminary analysis of the voting patterns by the Pew Research Center:

As these figures show there was a movement away from the Democrat Clinton towards the Republican Trump even in groups that are normally strongly supportive of the Republican right. Perhaps the most surprising movement was in the Hispanic Catholics who, whilst still being strongly pro-Democrat, never-the-less recorded an 8-point swing to Trump compared to support for Romney in 2012.

But the most significant figure here is that of those from amongst the white Christians who also identified as 'born again' or evangelical. A full 81% of these voted for Trump!

I have previously commented on how little Trump's behaviour, public and private comments, and policies resemble the things that most people would normally associate with good, upright, socially responsible and compassionate Christians. In fact, by any measure, Trump represents the antithesis of at least the public face of Christian morality.

So what was behind this craven abandonment of official principles in favour of someone who would embarrass your average psychopath if that were possible?

The hoped-for reward was of course the possibility of rolling back all the gains of enlightened secular humanists over recent years going back to the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. These achievements included gains in women's rights and gender equality, gains in LGBT rights, gains in right for disabled people; in fact gains across the whole spectrum of racial, gender, sexuality, age and ability discrimination so strongly oppose at all stages by the conservative Christian right.

But two of the major 'wrongs' the Christian right wanted to 'right' were the 'heinous' extension of available and affordable health-care to poor people and those born with congenital illness and disabilities, and women having rights over their own bodies and access to abortion services.

The conservative Christian opposition to making affordable healthcare available to all, especially the poor and disabled, is extraordinary given the supposed teachings of the founder of their religion, Jesus, who told them to love their neighbours as themselves, to care for and visit the sick and, like the 'Good Samaritan', care for those fallen on hard times. The curious thing is how those ideal are now the preserve of secular humanists and have not only been resisted by Christian fundamentalists but are now actively and vigorously opposed by them.

By any reasonable standards an objective observer might have expectes a couple of events in Trump's campaign to have led to a catstrophic fall in his support from Christians:

  • His public mocking of a disabled journalist's disability.
  • His recorded boasting about his sexual assaults on women and his habitual adultery.

Yet both these events saw an increase in his apparent attractiveness to Christians, even Christian women! It seemed at times as though Trump had entered the race as a joke or as a self-publicity stunt, never expecting to win, and was doing all he could to lose. Yet every loud-mouthed crude, vulgar and bigoted announcement, every lie, every abuse of women and minorities, every display of bullying and dictatorial tendancies, seemed to endear him even more to white right Christians. As the rest of the world looked on in astonishment wondering when his campaign was going to implode, white right Christians came flocking to his cause, black evangelicals fell silent and even Catholics said nothing despite his intent to victimise Hispanics, most of whom are Catholic.

To understand this, I think one needs to understand how identification with a religious group has little or nothing to do with shared ethics, morality or sociopolitical outlook but with group membership and in-group vs out-group mentality. What is presented as 'faith' is in reality an abdication of personal responsibility in favour of being told what to do from the pulpit and subscribing to handed-down ethics.

The cult leaders of course have a vested interest in not only maintaining the social divisions that maintain group cohesion but in actively encouraging them. They also have a vested interest in cosying up to those with the power to safeguard their privileges, especially those they think will be easy to manipulate or will owe them a debt of gratitude when in power.

So, we have the grotesque spectacle of those who publicly pretend to be kind, caring, compassionate and socially responsible, coming out strongly for someone who does and promises to make others do, exactly the opposite. The stink of hypocrisy absolutely pervades the place, just as it did in Europe in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. The Christian right has come out strongly for division, discrimination, victimisation and dehumanisation of minorities in the belief that this is what their 'faith' requires of them. It is required of them of course because their 'faith' is nothing more than the morality they've been handed when they abdicated responsibility for their own and gave control of their lives over to their cults' leaders, and their cult leaders are merely using Christianity as a cover for their own political agenda. It has nothing whatsoever to do with anything Jesus might or might not have done had he been real.

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  1. We live in a bizarre world of insane biblical proportions: Read and weep in equal measure:

  2. The extremely religious love to impose their will on the credulous and using an imposter to do so goes unnoticed by the gullible.


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