Under His Eye : If Conservative Evangelicalism Gets Its Way

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One of the most important questions facing our time in history is this, “If right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity had its way, what would the world look like?”

Despite how various Evangelicals might respond to this question, perhaps the best vantage point for an accurate discernment of the answer is to observe pivotal moments in history where conservative Evangelicals (as a whole) have actually won their desires. For nothing reveals the true content of one’s aspirations like the results they bring when successful.

Or perhaps, we could examine their commonly held beliefs and the future those beliefs envision. For in the end, the true sum of one’s faith can be found most clearly within the true impact their faith desires, regardless of what they may or may not claim to confess. We are responsible both for what we believe and the future those beliefs ultimately bring forth. Are we not?

Most recently, one of the prized accomplishments of conservative Evangelicalism is the election and continued support of Donald Trump as President. Say what you will about the politics involved, the bottom line is this—his character, priorities, and leadership are clearly creating a world where the wealthy become richer, the poor become more vulnerable, greed is expanded, bullying is desensitized, corruption is protected, white privilege flourishes, elitism is unleashed, minorities are further marginalized, racism is energized, sexism is normalized, the LGTBQ community is increasingly demonized, and right-wing Christian conservatism is prioritized.

Yet sadly, this is not by chance.

In fact, among many conservative Evangelicals, these are tacitly received as nothing less than welcomed results. For if this presidency was the first occasion in which conservative Evangelicalism has had influential success towards the fruition of these same kind of deplorable realities, then this moment in history would be less profound. However, from the slavery and lynching of black people to the belittlement and abuse of women, conservative Evangelicalism has long resulted in the increased spiritual justification of some of the most evil atrocities ever committed on planet earth.

In fact, now we have an administration, like never before, that increasingly creates economic systems that blatantly benefit the wealthy and exploit the vulnerable, brutally splits families with children apart who are seeking asylum in our country, aggressively sides with Israel in order to further the fulfillment of “biblical” prophecy, threatens to pull news press credentials over “negative” coverage, belittles and thwarts people with disabilities, and has dismantled highly important LGBT-protecting policies, all in the name of undoing the leadership and legacy of our first black President.   

Yet sadly, once again, this is not by chance.

Conservative Evangelicalism teaches its followers that faithfulness to God leads to financial prosperity and wealth. Having pastors with six figure salaries, churches with multi-million dollar facilities, and followers with luxurious lifestyles are seen as a reward from God not a departure from the ways of Jesus. In the mind of conservative Evangelicalism, if you are struggling financially or devoid of financial abundance, it is likely that some aspect of your faith life is askew. Ministry and Christian “success” is largely defined by the increase and accumulation of “more”—more money, more power, more influence, more campuses, more staff, more baptisms, more attenders, more speaking engagements, more followers on Twitter. In the world of conservative Evangelicalism, more is never less, more is always more—even at the expense of others.

Conservative Evangelicalism sees people primarily as spiritual projects for the ultimate goal of conversion into their faith system. Even helping the poor and hurting is largely seen as a means to a faith-serving end that builds their kingdom with more converts and satisfies their obligations of obedience to their faith. Poor hurting people are ultimately helped only to the extent in which it somehow serves their faith system. In fact, within conservative Evangelicalism, poverty (and even hardship) is often deemed as a result of unfaithfulness and wrong belief.

Conservative Evangelicalism manifests a territorial greed that desires to conquer people, groups, communities, perceived enemies, and the planet at large, not for the purpose of serving humanity selflessly, but rather garnering its submission to their faith system.  

Conservative Evangelicalism largely portrays Jesus as a white man. Not just a white man, but a white man who is a Republican, gun-owning, racist homophobic nationalist who is wrapped in the American flag.

Conservative Evangelicalism manifests a good-old-boy-club mentality for white male heterosexuals that gives them a hypocritical privilege, license, and authority over women, often leading to their sexualization, discrimination, control, and abuse. In fact, the only sins that truly matter in conservative Evangelicalism are the ones that are different from theirs and enable them to condemn those who would threaten their white male heterosexual Christian privilege and power.

Conservative Evangelicalism declares the Bible as being the infallible word of God and their interpretations exclusively faithful and accurate to the discerning of its meaning and truth.

Conservative Evangelicalism interprets the Scriptures as condemning the LGBTQ community, labeling them as “abominations,” cancers to our society, enemies of procreation, and deviants destined for hell.

Conservative Evangelicalism once asserted a biblical justification for black slavery and murder, and the demonization of interracial marriage.

Conservative Evangelicalism portrays a god who is justified in killing his enemies, destroying entire of groups of people, and sentencing disobedient non-believers to a hell of eternal torment.  

Make no mistake, what we see unfolding before our eyes is nothing less than the manifestation of the dsytopian dreams of much of conservative Evangelicalism. No matter how much they might sprinkle it with spiritual glitter and dress it up with stage lighting and smoke machines, the finish line of their faith understanding is a violent Armageddon that ushers in a kingdom where anything that does not prosper white, male, heterosexual, conservative Christian power and privilege is eradicated from the earth. Spiritually rationalized racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, nationalism, greed, violence, and hypocrisy are all merely pieces of a much bigger puzzle.

This is put on display perhaps in no more profound fashion than through the current television show produced by Hulu, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based of the novel by Margaret Atwood. This prophetic drama puts forth many images, occurrences, and realities that can be easily seen as reflecting the dystopian fruition of the fundamental beliefs and values of right-wing conservative Evangelicalism.  

The truth is, this powerful show does not require a suspension of current reality to understand its message, but merely a gaze into the future of what could be if conservative Evangelicalism continues to gets its way.

In fact, what should be most alarming to us all is this—if conservative Evangelicals were asked to publicly denounce every action and faith confession of the oppressors in “The Handmaid’s Tale” that they believe are contrary to their faith system, I suspect many would find little of which they could accurately object and honestly deny. In fact, nearly everything displayed in this prophetic drama is already currently taking place in one form or another, largely at the hands and influence of right-wing conservative Evangelicalism.

Read the Bible the way they read the Bible. Pray the prayers they pray. See the world the way they see it. Believe in God the way the believe in God. Spiritually justify what they spiritually justify. Then you will see, through a simple glance down the hall of its future, the kind of world conservative Evangelicalism envisions. For if conservative Evangelicalism gets its way, make no mistake, this is what the world would look like. To be sure, being “under his eye” won’t point us to the face of Jesus, but rather to the face of their evil.

Keep your soul vigilant, these are dark times for sure, and they’re only getting darker. Hear the call of Jesus upon your heart, “take up your resistance and follow me.”

America will die at the hands of men who exchanged a brown Jesus for white Christianity, and quite frankly, it’s beginning to seem like that’s just part of their plan—if they get their way.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

photo courtesy of Hulu

27 Comments

  1. Spot on.

  2. Hopefully what the Trump/Evangelical movement will show to all Americans and the whole world is that the real American enemy comes not from someone outside of our country but it comes from within. Selfishness, scapegoating, and laziness are all byproducts of fear based religion and these are the things that could take this country down. I hope what we are witnessing is the death rattle of that system. As we become a more pluralistic nation it is only a matter of time before the white Evangelicals will become the minority in the country add it is scaring the crap out of them. It is my hope that the darkness we are presently in is not of the tomb but of the womb. We are a country that is waiting to be born. All we have to do is grow up and realize that the only thing preventing us from becoming great, an example to the rest of the world, is to overcome our laziness and vote the deplorables out of office. We need to send a message that the fear and cold that comes from within the hearts of some Americans is no longer acceptable.

  3. Phyllis Browne

    May 16, 2018 at 3:01 am

    YES!!! Thank you, Chris, for having the willingness and the courage to hold up the light of hard won faith so that it shines like a beacon and cuts through the darkness that surrounds us today.

  4. Brilliant!

  5. If the everyday evangelical scares you, do a little reading on Christian Reconstructionism. This group believes in Theonomy which is when the church and state are the same. If that’s not bad enough, they hold to Old Tetament morality laws. I have actually seen a discussion where the question was posed “if your son comes to you and says he’s gay would you stone him yourself or turn him over to the magistrate and let them stone him?” They were dead serious. Take the handmaids out of the Hulu show and the group that runs Gilead is already here in America, and growing.

  6. I’ve been watching Handmaid’s Tale. It is scarily prophetic. And you, my friend, are a voice crying in the wilderness of evangelical Christianity! Brave on, Bro!

  7. 1 Timothy 6-10 “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”

  8. It’s probably already too late to prevent Gilead from coming to be. I sent you an email on how it will probably happen, how likely it is, and how there’s so little we can do to stop it.

  9. Russ Richards

    May 16, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    The above captioned commentary is exactly why I eschewed the tenets of conservative Evangelicalism in the mid 1980s. I was myself a right wing Republican until I did, indeed, look down that hallway of where my faith was leading me. Then I saw the world of the Handmaid’s Tale. And that caused me to build empathy for others (something I lacked as a conservative but which was the root of Jesus’ teaching). Today, I consider myself a progressive Christian in the mold of Sojourners’ founder Jim Wallis.

  10. Well stated! I deconverted from fundagelicalism over the past few years. While scary, this piece could certainly describe our future. Thank you!

  11. As I consider myself to be both conservative and a Christian, I am astounded at your description of me. Maybe spend your time explaining your attributes and less trying to explain mine. Honestly, I don’t know where you came up with your descriptions—maybe you spend way too much time with the wrong folks.

  12. Wow. Thank you for this. I am not a Christian or anything else, but I believe people should be able to believe what they want, as long as it doesn’t lead to harm or repression of others. I am well familiar with the Bible, New and Old and religious practice and I agree with you that we are moving to a dangerous place, especially with the conflation of church and state that seems to be happening more now. We have to keep believing in whatever our positive beliefs are (personally, I believe in the Force) and keep this scourge from taking over.

  13. The end result is that in a booming economy with record corporate profits, we are taking care of the rich and white, while ignoring everyone else as much as possible.

  14. A chilling thought that’s occurred to me recently: the far-religious-right’s goals and ideas don’t make any sense at all in terms of the Gospel of Christ. One thing that does seem to make all those contradictory ideas cohere, however, is if, in their rhetoric, one replaces the word “Christ” with the word “capital” and the word “Gospel” with the word “patriarchy.”

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