Tuesday, June 25, 2024

the last book I ever read (The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism by Tim Alberta, excerpt thirteen)

from The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism by Tim Alberta:

Once upon a time, Reed might have been right in observing that Christianity was getting a raw deal from the culture. But not today. Just as with the unraveling of the Republican Party, the Church had been destabilized from within, its fringe infiltrating the mainstream in ways that warranted systemic criticism. There was a reason Christian views writ large were now summarily dismissed as “inherently intolerant and undemocratic.” For generations, white evangelicals had been overwhelmingly supportive of both immigrants and refugees entering the United States; by 2020 they were, far and away, the least likely of any religious subgroup to advocate for either one. And this was not some outlying development. In the year after Trump left office, polling repeatedly showed there was one demographic group most likely to believe that the election had been stolen, that vaccines were dangerous, that globalists were controlling the U.S. population, that liberal celebrities were feasting on the blood of infants, that resorting to violence might be necessary to save the country: white evangelicals.

None of this justified the sweeping censure of tens of millions of people. Having spent Trump’s presidency traveling the country, meeting religious voters in small towns and big cities alike, I knew how many serious, sane evangelicals were still out there. These people have no place in the left-wing fever dreams that inform cable news punditry and op-ed pages. They are reasonable and realistic, making prudential political judgments that often reflect something quite limited about their core values, their commitment to others, their complex set of religious convictions. They are dismayed by the hysteria and hyperbole that has captured their movement and want nothing more than to reclaim it. Their character deserves respect and the crackup of the evangelical Church is not their doing.

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