For the past few weeks, America has awakened to the growing analogy between Trumpism and segregation, between the Trump Republican base and the white bigot segregationists and their Jim Crow laws. I have noted the mirror imaging from the day Trump announced his presidential bid, and it has gained force every day since.
On July 22, the Washington Post published “Judgment Days,” an article on how the age of Trump has caused a Southern Baptist evangelical congregation in a small Alabama town to “reckon with God, President Trump and the meaning of morality.” The report includes extensive quotes from the members, including the following:
- “Oh, I feel like the Lord heard our prayers and gave us a second chance before the end times.” (How one of the Baptists views Trump’s election.)
- “Slavery was not as bad as people said it was.”
- Supporting Trump was “the only moral thing to do.”
- “My wife and I…rationalize the immoral things (about Trump) away.”
- “Obama was acting at the behest of the Islamic nation.”
- Abandoning God’s Commandments against lying and adultery to get anti-abortion justices on the Supreme Court is the Christian thing to do.
- God sent them Donald Trump. “I believe God put him there. He put a sinner in there.”
- “A true Christian doesn’t have to worry about” Trump being wrong.
- Trump was no worse than a long list of other American presidents from the Founding Fathers on.
- Love thy neighbor meant “love thy American (sic) neighbor.”
- Trump is needed because “we’re moving toward the annihilation of Christians.”
- What heaven will look like: “I’m going to be in my kitchen. I think it’s going to be beautiful to see all the appliances.”
We are also reminded: “The megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress has declared that Trump is “on the right side of God” and that “evangelicals know they are not compromising their beliefs in order to support this great president.”
This is the result of 2018 years of Christianity, and about 1500 more of Old Testament Judaism—the source of the 10 Commandments?
The Baptists’ comments pushed my button dead-on. As native Southerner, during the Civil Rights struggles of the 50s and 60s, I lived in a culture of flagrant Christian hypocrisy. The headlines blared with reports of the brutal murder of civil rights workers, frequent bombings of blacks’ homes and churches, police dogs and fire hoses used against peaceful demonstrators, adults spitting in the faces of black children desegregating a school, police brutally clubbing demonstrators on a bridge in Selma, and the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Underlying all this was the institution of segregation. “Good” Southerners would declare their commitment to “segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”—while declaring they had nothing to do with all that violence stuff.
And Christian churches during all this? They either declared that God and Jesus endorsed segregation, or they remained on the sidelines in blissful silence. You could lynch a black person on Saturday and be assured in church on Sunday that your immortal soul was headed for eternal salvation.
History repeats itself. The past three years of aggressive Trumpism show that the more religious you are, the more you believe Trump is Jesus’ agent on earth. America’s devout Christians play a big role in giving Trump an approval rating among Republicans at 90 percent.
Every time I see those poll numbers, I am reminded of the days when an overwhelming majority of Southern Christians avidly supported segregation as a perfectly acceptable way of life, no matter how many murders, beatings, lynchings, or bombings they encountered.
Rabid segregationists loved to listen to demagogic speeches full of hatred, venom, and insults–particularly if blacks were the targets. Racist jokes were the order of the day. Saying “Martin Luther koon” would get you a belly laugh. The attitude toward blacks was summed up as “a N-word in every woodpile.”
Today, we have Trump’s ravings about an immigrant in every wood pile, and virtually every tweet is full of lies, insults, venom, and divisive words. And the Republicans eat it up, no less than the segregationists cheering on the KKK.
And today, the more Trump lies, slanders, insults, and expresses racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic sentiments, the more Christians like him. We now have an additional criteria. The more Trump sucks up to the murderous, authoritarian brutal Putin, the more Christians swoon.
The Reverend Franklin Graham on Gays: Kill Them All
The Reverend Franklin Graham, one of America’s leading Southern Baptist clerics, recently delivered former president Jimmy Carter a stern message: God not only does not support gay marriage, God kills gays, according to the Bible.
The white supremacist group Breitbart recently quoted an interview former Carter had given in 2015, in which he had said he believes “Jesus would approve of gay marriage.” The Reverend Franklin Graham, one of America’s leading Southern Baptist clerics, promptly took to his Facebook page to say that Carter was wrong. Jesus didn’t come to promote sin, but to save us from sin. “The Bible is very clear. God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality.”
IndieDems simply repeats its standard response to good Christians condemning abortion, gay rights, and—in the case of Catholics—contraceptives: well and good, if your religion requires you to believe this. But—why can’t you denounce violating God’s Commandments against lying and adultery with as much fervor as you denounce abortion and homosexuality? Especially since Jesus told us explicitly to obey the Commandments, but said not one explicit word about abortion and homosexuality.
What we find obnoxious is not Jesus or Christianity, but what you really practice: cafeteria Christianity. You’ve gone through the Bible, picked and chosen the parts you like—and consigned the rest to oblivion. The parts you selected, you piously declare, are what religion is all about.
It’s Hypocrisy, not Christianity
This is not Christianity or any other religion. It is pure hypocrisy. It flourished during the days of slavery and segregation. It has been reborn under Trump and his Republican acolytes.
Trump’s racist views have not gone unnoticed – by Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin