Saturday, June 4, 2016

Christians and identity politics

But the fact that [Donald Trump] chose to make the media-driven Christmas wars a centerpiece of his argument to Christians shows that his real engagement is with identity politics, not religion.

Those recent words from Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. demonstrate exactly what’s always been wrong for the last 40 years with evangelicalism in the public square because cultural hegemony, not fidelity to Christ, was the issue.

If that weren’t the case, then the mixed messages coming from evangelicals — perhaps the majority of writers and leaders in the movement decrying Trump’s lack of consistent morality but a significant portion of the electorate supporting him — wouldn’t make any sense.

Of course, this is a new phenomenon, with arguably, Dionne also writes, “By some measures ... the most secular Republican campaign since the 1970s.”

That begs the question: Are so many of us hungering for victory regardless of a candidate’s actual positions that we’re willing to anoint someone as “God’s man” who clearly doesn’t represent any consistent faith tradition? I guess so.

But such confusion from evangelicals, who really began losing their clout during the Bill Clinton years and have barely registered a blip since 2006, should be a sign that we were chasing the wrong thing all along. Funny, but I don’t recall any outrage when conservative Republicans were engaged in financial or moral corruption — perhaps they naively believe that only liberals were capable of such.

Or perhaps they were simply being blinded by partisanship. And for the Christian, that’s the worst blindness of all.

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