Monday 18 January 2021

Christians Try the 'No True Scotsmen' Fallacy to Cover Their Embarrassment Over the Failed Coup D'etat

Fundamentalist Christians praying outside the Capitol, prior to their failed coup d'etat.
Michael Brown: Just Because Christians Rioted Doesn’t Make it a Christian Riot | Beth Stoneburner | Friendly Atheist | Patheos

In the finest traditions of evangelical Christianity, evangelist author Michael Brown is lying to his supporters again - and of course bearing false witness against others. He claims those who took part in the riot and failed insurrection on 6th January were not real Christians and, by implication that those who did take part were other than real Christians. Brown evidently takes Matthew 7:20, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them", at face value - ironically, since it is in the context of false prophets, not the actions of self-confessed Christians.

In his rush to distance himself and dissociate himself and his faith from the disgraceful events that should have every decent Christian now questioning what it is about their core beliefs that can provoke people to do such things, Brown delivered what can only be described as one of the best examples of the 'No True Scotsmen' fallacy seen for a long time. Only Michael Brown and his friends are real Christians; all the others, no matter how passionate they are in their beliefs, aren't.

True to the right-wing propaganda lie being promulgated - that it was socialists and antifa people who invaded the Capitol, not Trumpanzees inflamed by Trumps rhetoric and order to 'fight' to overturn the election result and prevent the House from ratifying the EC result, he smears antifa with:
One caller to my radio show told our listeners that he felt led by God to be at the event and to stand in front of the Capitol, starting at 9 a.m. All that day, in the freezing cold, he held up a flag saying, "We need You Lord."

And he said that, for hours, as the handful of people there turned into tens and then hundreds, then thousands, the atmosphere was peaceful and prayerful. It was only when a bus arrived at 12:30 p.m. with a new group of people that things shifted, as they began to challenge the police and call for an attack.

He was convinced they were antifa plants, but let's say they were actually white nationalist Trump supporters. Either way, the point is they were the ones who provoked the violence, not the thousands who were there to pray. (He was actually positioned where the fence was breached, so his perspective was invaluable.)

Other friends of mine who were there were beyond mortified by the events of the day. Every Christian leader I know was appalled.
It wasn't me! A big boy did it and ran away!

After first dismissing them as not Christians with:
This is not who we are. These are not the values to which we adhere. In that sense, this was not a Christian insurrection.

Brown then runs through a list of things the Christian Trumpanzee rioters did do:
Do I believe many of these same Christians have become caught up in a partisan political spirit? Absolutely.

Do I believe they should have been grieved at the unwise, if not incendiary, remarks of Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr. at the rally? Certainly.

Do I believe that, for many, there was an unhealthy mingling of patriotism with the worship of Jesus? Without a doubt.

Do I believe that many of these committed Christians had been misled by lies and exaggerations, including those of QAnon? Yes again.

Do I believe that this should be a time of great soul searching for those evangelical Christians who tethered their hopes to a man? Once more, yes.
Strangely for an evangelical Christian, Michael Brown seems unaware of the things other evangelical Christians said and are still saying.

Firstly, we have the evidence of polling organizations who showed that white evangelicals overwhelmingly supported and voted for Trump. As this Gallup News item shows:

White Evangelical Voters

There are two primary sources of information about voting by religious groups this year. One is a continuation of the traditional exit polls conducted by Edison Research. These involve stopping voters at actual voting places both on Election Day and during early voting periods, supplemented by phone surveys of absentee and early voters. The other is AP VoteCast, a massive effort to understand how people voted, carried out by The Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago. Their surveying uses a number of different sample sources, with interviews conducted by phone, by mail and online in the days and weeks before the election.

The AP VoteCast survey shows that 81% of White evangelical Protestant voters went for Trump this year, compared with 18% who voted for Biden. The Edison exit polls estimate that 76% of White evangelicals voted for Trump, 24% for Biden.
Scenes from the protests in Washington on Wednesday
Photos: Elaine Godfrey
Source: The Atlantic
Of course, how people voted doesn't tell us anything about whether they supported or took part in the failed coup d'etat. For that we need to look at the behaviour of those who did participate in it. As this article by Emma Green in The Atlantic says:
The name of God was everywhere during Wednesday’s insurrection against the American government. The mob carried signs and flag declaring Jesus Saves! and God, Guns & Guts made America, let’s keep all three. Some were participants in the Jericho March, a gathering of Christians to “pray, march, fast, and rally for election integrity.” After calling on God to “Save the republic” during rallies at state capitols and in D.C. over the past two months, the marchers returned to Washington with flourish. On the National Mall, one man waved the flag of Israel above a sign begging passersby to Say Yes to Jesus. “Shout if you love Jesus!” someone yelled, and the crowd cheered. “Shout if you love Trump!” The crowd cheered louder. The group’s name is drawn from the biblical story of Jericho, “a city of false gods and corruption,” the march’s website says. Just as God instructed Joshua to march around Jericho seven times with priests blowing trumpets, Christians gathered in D.C., blowing shofars, the ram’s horn typically used in Jewish worship, to banish the “darkness of election fraud” and ensure that “the walls of corruption crumble.”

The Jericho March is evidence that Donald Trump has bent elements of American Christianity to his will, and that many Christians have obligingly remade their faith in his image. Defiant masses literally broke down the walls of government, some believing they were marching under Jesus’s banner to implement God’s will to keep Trump in the White House. The group’s co-founders are essentially unknown in the organized Christian world. Robert Weaver, an evangelical Oklahoma insurance salesman, was nominated by Trump to lead the Indian Health Service but withdrew after The Wall Street Journal reported that he misrepresented his qualifications. Arina Grossu, who is Catholic, recently worked as a contract communications adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services... Still, they will have far more influence in shaping the reputation of Christianity for the outside world than many denominational giants: They helped stage a stunning effort to circumvent the 2020 election, all in the name of their faith. White evangelicals, in particular, overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2016 and 2020. Some of these supporters participated in the attack on the Capitol on Wednesday. But many in the country hold all Trump voters responsible—especially those who lent him the moral authority of their faith.
We also have the evidence of the preaching by fundamentalist evangelicals who openly called for the overturning of the American presidential election result. Preachers such as:
  • Brandon Burden, pastor at KingdomLife in Frisco, Texas, who told his followers God had ordered them to:
    Take down the walls of Jericho. The Lord says your Jericho is Washington, D.C. That's your fortified city.
  • Pastor Greg Locke who told his supporters:
    God Almighty is about to dethrone Nancy Pelosi. It’s about to happen. He’s about to dethrone that baby-butchering mongrel, about to dethrone that woman. I’m telling you right now, if New York doesn’t repent, if New York doesn’t turn around, if New York doesn’t get right with God, if New York don’t recall that crazy, wicked, vile mayor and governor they got, you better know something: God’s gonna reach up, he’s gonna destroy that place. It’s gonna be desolate. It’s gonna be laid waste. God’s about to upset the whole apple cart. I’m telling you it’s gonna happen. I can see it. Like a chessboard, I can see it.
  • Self-proclaimed Prophetess of God, Kat Kerr, who told her deluded followers that God had burst into he bedroom shouting and screaming one night:
    Watch My hand move! Now that man is done with their process, I will put My show on, and no one will ever forget when that happens. There will be great celebrations in the streets of this country and around the world. That great victory has come on behalf of the body of Christ, on behalf of My America, that I’m not giving up to any enemy.
  • Pastor Mario Murillo of Eagle Mountain International Church, who told his dupes followers:
    You need to wake up! The Democratic Party is asking you to leave, forcefully. They took the flag out of their convention. They took God out of the pledge. They’ve made it eminently clear that they are the party of not Christianity, but of perversion, of late term abortion, which is nothing but the most barbaric form of human sacrifice in the modern era. There is no question that all of you watching are faced with the ultimate choice: Do I vote for evil, or do I accept God’s rescue?
And, as the New York Times reported:
Before self-proclaimed members of the far-right group the Proud Boys marched toward the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, they stopped to kneel in the street and prayed in the name of Jesus.
Not only was it indeed a Christian riot; it was a full-blooded Christian insurrection and attempted coup d'etat, egged on and encouraged by fundamentalist Talibangelical Christians and Talibangelist Christian 'prophets', in pursuit of their dream of a fundamentalist, Taliban-style Christian theocracy in America.

Of course, the best evidence that this was so will be in the forthcoming trials of those arrested when their true affiliations and political leanings are exposed in court. I'm prepared to bet that not a single one will turn out to be anything other than a Trumpanzee, evangelical Christian, even those who are deemed unfit to plead by reason of insanity.

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