Evangelicals for Trump, Why?

Elizabeth Neumann, lifelong Republican, served as a senior advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration from 2017 to August 2020. She left her position to support the Biden candidacy because she found Trump’s language and actions racist and that his failed leadership made America less safe. She went on to form RePAIR (Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform) with colleague Miles Taylor (recently revealed author of The Anonymous letter from 2018) in order to return to principles-based governing in the post-Trump era.

Neumann describes herself first and foremost as a follower of Jesus Christ and voted for Trump in 2016 primarily because of his support of evangelical issues. She was educated at Trinity Christian Academy. The changing of her support from Trump to Biden took a thoughtful reexamination of her faith and convictions. I have seen Elizabeth interviewed several times and have nothing but the upmost respect for her, her honesty and her candor. When she was asked why she supported Trump in the first place, she listed three issues; abortion, religious liberty and the support of Israel. I understand a pro-life stance, but need some clarification on religious freedom and the support of Israel.

The first Amendment of the Constitution of the United States protects religious freedom by guaranteeing the right to religious belief and expression, and it guarantees that the government neither prefers religion over non-religion nor favors particular faiths over others. This is commonly referred to as separation of church and state.

One of the issues cited by those who feel their religious liberty is compromised is the rights of religious schools and institutions to be protected from discrimination claims based on their employment practices. For instance they want the right to not hire or to dismiss people from the LGBTQ community without legal ramifications. They also don’t want to lose tax exempt status for engaging in what others consider discriminatory admission practices. Two other examples may be the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple and the county clerk who refused to give a legally granted marriage certificate to a same-sex couple.

Certain faith communities assert to their believers that their religious liberty is imperiled by claiming that the government is going to dictate what they can believe, even though that is definitely protected under the law. Many times these hyperbolic views circulate within these communities and those outside (including mainline Christians) are unaware of these grievances.

Trump’s public answer to these grievances was to claim that he made it okay to say “Merry Christmas” again and a photo-op of him awkwardly holding a Bible outside a church, not to mention quoting from “two” Corinthians. More importantly, his administration added three conservative Supreme Court Justices, one spot stolen from Obama and one probably stolen from Biden. He also packed the lower courts with conservative judges (many reportedly unqualified). As a result, civil rights, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights are all in peril due to the perceived violations of the religious liberty of just a quarter of the population.

Seemingly, this minority feels their liberty is violated when they can’t impose their views and beliefs on to others. Since there are thousands of Christian denominations in the United States, there is not one unified set of beliefs in America. Separation of church and state must be maintained to protect the rights of all.

The support of Israel is based on Christian Zionism which believes that the gathering of Jews in Israel is necessary to fulfill the Biblical prophecy of the second coming of Christ and the subsequent rapture. This is why Trump moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is that simple.

Some, maybe many, evangelical Christians have removed themselves from the general population by isolating themselves in church-based communities, only consuming conservative media sources, home schooling their children or sending them to Christian schools, primary and secondary sometimes. They are retreating from our quickly changing culture that can be at odds with their beliefs. They felt so strongly that they were willing to elect a morally, mentally and ethically damaged man to the presidency. I hope that they vote for decency, truth and respect this time around, like Elizabeth, and that we can work on making our world a better place together. Also know, there are a lot of really good people out here in the general population, some of us, maybe many of us, are fellow Christians! Remember love casts out fear.

Libertarian: Freedom without Responsibility?

Libertarian is a relatively new term for me. It can be left or right. The superficial view I have of American Libertarians today is like a teenager who wants total freedom but thinks he doesn’t have to take out the trash or clean his room or contribute to his household. He certainly doesn’t want to help his little brother with homework because that would impinge on his absolute freedom. He takes for granted the structure and resources in which he comfortably lives and exercises his freedom.

Libertarians support a free market economy (which is not really free but legislated to favor the few) and are anti-public institutions. Everyone is on their own. They don’t want a minimum wage and they don’t want to help those in need either. They are not concerned with the common good only what they can take.

I could be wrong with this view, let me know why I am wrong.

Uphold Separation of Church and State

It is undemocratic, unconstitutional and un-American to legislate a national religion. The United States is based on freedom of religion meaning the government will not impose any religion upon us. We are free to practice the religion of our choice or no religion at all. We must uphold the separation of state and church.

My parents, born in the 1920s, would always defer to people who served God. They would automatically see them as selfless people who were not interested in wealth or power. They were to be admired as their focus was to humbly serve others. My parents would never question the motives of these servants of God who were unmoved by worldly pleasures and things.

How can SOME, not all, of today’s politically active “servants of God” be pro-big business at the expense of workers who are now forced, in many cases, to struggle to feed their children, anti-LGBTQ / marriage equality when we know that people are born different, against healthcare for people who need it, against abortion for rape, incest and even when a woman’s health is at risk and ignore climate change when according to the Bible humans are to be the stewards of the Earth?

It seems that money and power have infiltrated some of the humble selfless servants of God admired by my parents. I fear extremism will adversely effect our lives as these radical Christians claim that their religious liberty is violated when they can’t impose their religious views on others. And the “packing” of the courts under the Trump administration will empower them even more. History shows that religious extremism can be dangerous and destructive.

I am a practicing Methodist and experience great comfort and strength from my church family and hope that my presence and actions bring the same to others. I am by no means condemning Christianity, just the violation of the Constitutions’ tenet of separation of church and state. The Bible can be and has been interpreted in thousands of ways and to have one way enforced by law is outlandish, un-American and a violation of everyone else’s religious liberty.

Vote for freedom!

Trumpism Explained By Christian Nationalism?

Trump has turned the world upside down and is dismantling our democracy while 40% of the population cheers him on. I estimate that 15% is made up of white supremacist, hate groups, militias and average folks who watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh, while the other 25% are Christian nationalists. The anti-feminism patriarchy and nationalism appeals to extremists (white supremacists, hate groups and militias). And simple Christianity appeals to the average folks (simple as opposed to the underlying unseen radical Christianity of Christian nationalism). So this explains Trump’s base; Christian nationalists, extremists and unwitting average folks.

I had heard of the religious right, but I had never heard of Christian nationalists until I read The Power Worshippers: Inside the Rise of Christian Nationalism by Katherine Stewart. The connection between Trump and the Christian nationalists explains his actions that I find undemocratic, unAmerican and destructive. Trump was a blank slate with no political ideology. His only driving force was “what’s in it for me?” Steve Bannon was aware of the rising cultural nationalism and religious nationalism in the U.S. and around the world and counseled Trump during the campaign to adopt this ideology. Trump’s authoritarianism was built in.

Christian nationalists believe in a literal, strict interpretation of the Bible and only in their version of Christianity and want our government to be based in their narrow Biblical Worldview. They believe in a revisionist history (full of falsehoods) that claims the United States was founded as a Christian nation (that happened to be white) without the ideal of separation of church and state. They believe in a church/state fusion. They are anti-democratic (pro-autocratic), anti-environmentalism/science/psychology, anti-pluralistic, anti-multicultural, anti-immigrant, anti-Union/worker’s rights, anti-government regulation, anti-public school/public assistance, anti-feminism/equal rights/abortion/marriage equality/LGBTQ rights, and anti-Enlightenment thinking. They are patriarchal believing women should submit to their husbands and not work outside the home and homeschool the children.

This movement is funded by American oligarchs, plutocrats and billionaires (including Betsy DeVos, the Mercer’s, the Koch brothers and many other greedy powerful people and foundations) who prefer autocracy to democracy. In an autocracy, the will of the people is not represented and it allows the super wealthy to act with total freedom at the expense of everyone else, without regulation or taxation. The absolutism of the Bible worldview causes the followers to shut down their critical thinking skills and to allow or cheer on the tearing down of the government that protects them from the greedy, power grabbing, ultra-conservative one-percenters. They don’t want to pay workers livable wages and they don’t want to provide public assistance either. They want a master/servant hierarchy. They are more motivated by money and power than Christian principles.

The Christian national movement is organized and mobilized indoctrinating children across the nation through after hours Bible studies held within the public school buildings and training pastors to convince their congregations to vote for far-right candidates who support their Biblical worldview. In turn, religiously conservative judges are appointed who will uphold this Biblical worldview in the courts so that, for instance, a county clerk can refuse to give a same sex couple a legally granted right to a marriage license, a baker can refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple and a pharmacist can refuse to fill a doctor’s prescription for a drug that will clear a partially miscarried fetus from a woman’s uterus even though she could die from sepsis if the medicine is not given, all under the idea that THEIR religious sensibilities would be violated.

The Christian nationalists movement is global with organizers working around the world to indoctrinate others. This is where the Russia connection comes in and it has little to do with a possible Trump Tower in Moscow. The Soviet Union was an atheist nation, but with the fall of communism Christianity and the Russia Orthodox Church returned. So Russia is now a white, Christian, patriarchal, autocratic nation fitting perfectly with American Christian nationalism.

This Christian nationalist absolutism has shut down bipartisan discussion and compromise in our congress. Our country was founded as a liberal democracy with government for the people by the people, not just one person or some people or one version of one religion!

Christian Nationalists want all “…to conform to a strict interpretation of the Christian faith” to have a country with “…a single religious identity.” It is “a political movement that seeks to transform the defining institutions of democracy in America… re-founding the United Stares to ‘biblical law.’” They think they are “fighting for salvation against forces of darkness.” This fear allows them to ignore all actual facts and truths. And this movement is now determining the future of the Republican Party! Attorney General William Barr seems to have been brainwashed by this dangerous thinking. There can be no other explanation for his undemocratic behavior.

I thought we just had an awful President. Now I find out he’s just an useful idiot, a puppet, for Christian nationalism bent on destroying our democracy and our freedoms. It is ironic that Trump supporters think they are great patriots protecting liberty, when in fact they are giving away their freedoms. An autocrat could take away their right to assemble, their right to bear arms, their right to free speech, among other rights. When the Christian nationalists take control, they may require short hair, shaved faces, suits and ties, and ban tattoos and memberships in any non-church groups. You don’t know what rights you’re giving away.

Trump, American billionaires, far-right Republicans, radical Christians, authoritarianism, autocrats and Russia are all connected to the decline of liberal democracy and the power of the NATO alliance which results in a windfall for the oligarchs of the world and a tragic loss for everyone else. Protect our freedoms as the founders intended by supporting separation of church and state, and fighting anti-intellectualism. Vote!!! Be informed. It has taken me three years to uncover the hidden forces of Trumpism. Just voting him out does not protects us, we must remain vigilant.

Who joins gangs and hate groups?

Former and recovered neo-Nazi, Christian Picciolini, states “Everybody in these movements are there because they are broken to a certain degree and they’re looking to project their pain onto somebody else.”

Joiners can lack power, status, appropriate mentors, healthy self-esteems, and a sense of family, identity and purpose and expected privilege.

They can feel there is a void in their lives. They may have felt a sense of abandonment in childhood, and may have been alienated and bullied. They are marginalized, vulnerable, and may have experienced childhood trauma, poverty, or mental health issues.

Joiners are looking for security, protection, belonging, camaraderie, attention, empowerment and acceptance. They want to air their grievances and blame others for their pain. They need a channel for their energy.

The rise of these groups is a symptom of our country’s decline in emotional and spiritual health. The emotional and spiritual health of our people is not being met. We’ve experienced a break down of family, and a breakdown of community (like the Moose Lodge and bowling leagues) and religious organizations. Many of our people are lost and are seeking for meaning and belonging, and are searching for the cause of their discontent. In their mind, it must be the other, those unlike themselves that are the cause of their pain.

Christian Picciolini says these people are broken, but I fear our country is broken. We need good paying jobs, well-funded schools, a culture that values and celebrates all work, and a rebuilding of community, faith centered and otherwise.