Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Toxic Right-wing Pseudo Christianity, Part 2: “This Christian Nationalism is not of God.”

Cannon here. Before I continue with D-Jay's series, allow me to make one simple statement: If Bernie Sanders can somehow force this to happen, all is forgiven. I won't say another bad word about him, even though I've said plenty of bad words in the past. 
In the battle for additional Covid relief, our great advantage is, of course, the GOP leadership's concern over the Georgia races. I never thought the day would come when Georgia might give her presidential electors and two Senate seats to members of the Democratic party. But that unlikely event is now possible, thanks to two factors: Yertle's intransigence (which tars the Republican brand) and the Trumpian right's addiction to paranoia. If they think that voting is useless because the Georgia election is rigged, let us not disabuse them of this notion.
Here's an odd thought: If the filibuster did not exist, we wouldn't need a 60 vote majority in the Senate for the $2000 Covid bill. In other words, the filibuster may actually impair the GOP's ability to maintain a majority.
Speaking of the weird and paranoid ideas, Trump recently tweeted: “Breaking News: In Pennsylvania there were 205,000 more votes than there were voters. This alone flips the state to President Trump." 
The quotation marks were in the original, as if Trump were quoting an authoritative source. Turns out he simply concocted this "fact," which appeared nowhere else on the internet. 
Does the Trumpian right care at all about standards of evidence? If not, why don't they?
What follows may offer some insight into that question.

*  *  *

The Deprogramming Dilemma – 4

Toxic Right-wing Pseudo Christianity, Part 2
“This Christian Nationalism is not of God.”

By D-Jay

In my last article, I spoke a bit about the critical role being played by Toxic Right-wing Pseudo Christianity in supporting Trump and undermining democracy.

It’s the thing that allows the MAGA set to write off science, critical thinking and, ultimately, the very notion of objective fact itself as somehow unholy, as things that can, must, be avoided at all cost.

It’s the thing that allows fanatical followers of one of the most corrupt, immoral and, yes, unchristian men in history to feel that they are ones doing God’s work.  To be oh-so-smugly sure that God is with them and them alone.  That their opponents, no matter how thoughtful, considerate and kind they may be, are literal agents of the Devil.  That being, in their minds, established, anything goes.  If you’re fighting Satan and his minions, winning is all that matters.

These, along with the well-armed white nationalist militia crowd, are the shock troops of Trump.  The ones who would be all-too-willing to die…and kill…for God’s anointed huckster.

So how do we defang them?

How can we get them back off into the irrelevant lunatic fringe from whence they came, where they clearly belong, and from where they can’t do too much real damage?

If by “we” we mean those of us on the progressive side of the aisle, and by “them” we mean the real true believers of the Trump brigade, the sad answer might be not too much, at least not in the short run.

Even if we could somehow pierce the iron bubble of disinformation and delusion in which they live, they simply would not listen to a word we say.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that a small but growing number of people they actually might listen to are starting to find their voices.

Beth Moore, for example, is a very popular Southern Baptist author and speaker, and founder of the Living Proof Ministries. Earlier this month she tweeted:

I do not believe these are days for mincing words. I’m 63 1/2 years old & I have never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it.


And, most importantly, spoken in the dialect of the Christian right by someone many of them listen to and respect.

She was not alone. On the same day of Ms. Moore’s tweet, evangelical author and columnist David French posted an article on his Dispatch blog entitled, “The Dangerous Idolatry of Christian Trumpism.  He opened it by saying:

This is a grievous and dangerous time for American Christianity. The frenzy and the fury of the post-election period has laid bare the sheer idolatry and fanaticism of Christian Trumpism.

A significant segment of the Christian public has fallen for conspiracy theories, has mixed nationalism with the Christian gospel, has substituted a bizarre mysticism for reason and evidence, and rages in fear and anger against their political opponents—all in the name of preserving Donald Trump’s power.

And let’s not forget that there is one more oft-quoted source every last person on the Christian nationalist right claims to respect and believe. I mean, of course, Mr. J himself – Jesus.  There is a big debate in serious academic circles about whether or not he actually existed and which, if any, of the words attributed to him were really his. The fundamentalist Christian right, however, has no such doubts.  If it’s in the Bible, that’s it. That’s what he said.  Period.  Full stop.

The trouble for the TRWPCs (Toxic Right-wing Pseudo Christians), however, is that their holy book quotes him as saying absolutely nothing about their core issues of abortion and homosexuality, and what he does say appears to be in direct opposition to everything they stand for. 

The obvious conclusion one can draw from this is that the TRWPCs are not, in fact, Christians at all. They are members of a toxic cult.  One whose god is Donald Trump.

If they can just be made to pause for a moment and actually consider what some call the “red letter” passages in the Bible – the words attributed to Jesus himself.

In short, the fastest and most direct way for the TRWPCs to be defanged as a Trumpian tool of political power is probably for them to simply start thinking and acting like what they already claim to be – Christians.

For far too long, however, their toxic pseudo religion has been coddled and given credence and respect it doesn’t deserve in Christian circles. 

The time has come for people who actually do try to follow the precepts of Jesus, as they are laid out in the Bible to stand up and reclaim their religion.  It’s time for them to call out “Christian Trumpism” for what, in the framework of fundamentalist Christianity, it is – heresy and idolatry.  A sure path to hell if you believe in such things.

In a more mainstream way, I think that the genuine piety of people like Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg will be quite useful in our quest to defang the “religious” right.  While I don’t share their beliefs, I appreciate their sincerity and the fact that they are really trying to help “the least among us,” as Jesus is said to have instructed.  I hope that they and others of a similar ilk on the left or in the center will continue to wear their faith prominently on their sleeves.

By doing so, perhaps they will strip away some of the less radicalized white evangelicals by virtue of their example. 

To kill the Golden Calf of Trumpism, the support group needs to be shattered.  First by stripping away people on the edges still susceptible to reason, then by undermining the quasi-religious basis of its support, and finally by isolating the most radical elements and exposing them as the idiotic charlatans they are.

For some, the extreme challenges to the most extreme beliefs might be useful.  the TRWPCs are constantly throwing around accusations that this or that person on the left is somehow the Antichrist, but if you want someone who actually fit the profile, look no farther than their dear leader, Donald Trump. 

And, sure enough, several authors have done just that, penning books explaining just how in league with the devil DT actually is. 

Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, Jeff Bezos – in the unlikely event you are reading this, how about investing a few billion in the creation of an alternative Christian broadcasting network?  One that will feature all of the anti-right Christians mentioned above, and more, and help them to puncture the iron bubble of disinformation and deceit that leads so many lost souls to worship at the altar of Trump.

Now that is something that would really help the world!


Contributing factors to our democratic decline:

From the Right

Truth Decay – Destruction of the Ability to Distinguish Fantasy from Reality

Ever Worsening Demonization of the Media

Manufactured Distrust of Science and Expertise

The Iron Bubble of Disinformation

The Dark Money Conspiracy

Information Warfare Aimed at Us

Domestic Terrorism

Emergence of a Full-blown Cult of Personality

Ongoing Voter Suppression and Gerrymandering

Election Security

Continued Weaponization of Social Media

Toxic Right-wing Pseudo-Christianity


Sexism and a Pseudo-Macho Mentality

Putinism and the International Neo-Fascist Movement

Lack of Education in Civics and Critical Thinking Skills

Destruction of Crucial Democratic Norms

The Collapse of Good Manners and Propriety



From the Left (and Sometimes the Center)

OTT PC (Over-The-Top Political Correctness)

Inept Messaging

Lack of Media Investment


Surrender of Rural America Without a Fight

Failure to Call Out and Counteract Toxic Right-Wing Christianity

Failure to Call Out Right-Wing Racism, Sexism and Fascism for what it is, and Counteract it in Time

Framing Too Many Issues as Being Rooted in Race Rather than Economics and Class

Failure to Recognize Just How Bad Things Can Really Get

Forever Bringing Beanbags to a Knife Fight

Failure to Protect Critical Norms

*  *  *

Cannon here. Jesus did exist. All scholars in academia agree on this point. I invite the curious to consult Bart Ehrman's book on this topic, which I have addressed in previous posts. As for the historicity of any specific quotation -- well, that is a matter of debate, and I fear that the debate will never end. 


gadfly said...

So, even if Trump was correct about Pennsylvania's extra 200,000 votes, our President-gone still loses the national votes by 6,860,000 votes while losing 20 electoral votes still leaves Biden with 286.

BTW, the multiple recounts in the Keystone state were done by tracing recounts back to marked ballots while better-than-thou Texans rely on no tracing of ballots in a substantial number of precincts where Direct Recording Equipment without a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), are used, which translates to only an electronic review on many, many ballots,

Casbott said...

One other problem with the deprogramming is that vested interest in the Right Wing media bubble will be constantly pushing back and sabotaging the efforts to bring TRWPC's to their senses - because they don't want to lose their useful idiots/shock troops. They will even aim them at the Christian outreach as idolatrous, like fundamentalist Islamic terrorist groups that target moderate Muslim Imams that speak out in favour of tolerance.

A way to fight this and convince the RW media to help deprogramme them, and render them less of a threat to Mainstream and Liberal society in the meanwhile - aim them at the Right Wing that don't pass the Trump purity test.

Already there are stirrings of a Conservative civil war, if the TRWPC's start attacking traditional Conservatives as traitors, then the Conservative industry will suddenly help in the deprogramming themselves… when the snakes start biting them, they won't be continuing the snake breeding program.

All it will take is a few MAGA attacks on GOP members or FOX/RW media personalities and the RW media will damp down on the monster they created, giving the 'sane' Christians a chance to actually succeed with the deprogramming.

As well it will be karmic, poetic justice, and schadenfreude all rolled into one.

So in summary, a major first step in the deprogramming is encouraging dissent and civil war in the Right, and aiming the crazies at the powers in control of the narrative.

Anonymous said...

I fear for the First Amendment.

Period. Full Stop.

Freedom of expression via speech, press, religion, politics and protest was a tenuously workable, beautifully admirable principle on which to found and maintain a nation -- as long as there were "soft power" gatekeepers: mainstream editors, publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, educators, clergy -- and a general (albeit underlyingly patriarchal, hetero-norming, white-supremicist and wealth-idolizing) consensus of what was "decent, proper, moral and patriotic".

Then came the Internet.

And ANYONE could become a publisher to seduce the masses -- without fear of, or filtering by, GATEKEEPERS.

Thus the chaos that began to rend us asunder, even before the catalytic societal wounds of endless war, a widening wealth gap, Trumpism and the pandemic.

Tight censorship, more procrustean than any totalitarian regime of the past (thanks to AI/algorhythmical, 24/7 monitoring) will be here soon, and all opposition to "authority" will be massively, mercilessly and near-instantaneously crushed -- REGARDLESS of which ideology wins the current battle and rules supreme.

Yes, Orwell just got the date wrong.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to follow up a good post and two interesting comments with an OT link. As Casbottb suggests, finding ways of driving wedges between RW factions is a good strategy.

Lawrence Wright in The New Yorker on the Covid catastrophe:

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

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