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Rachel Held Evans @rachelheldevans
, 13 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Since we're talking so much about white evangelicals and Trump these days, a short thread....
One of the most common questions I get from non-evangelicals when I'm traveling is, "How in the world do you explain evangelical support of Trump? You grew up in that world. Explain it to me. I'm baffled." They are asking sincerely.
As we've seen over the last few days there are a lot of ways to answer that question, but I always return to a single poll, highlighted here (vox.com/identities/201…) which I think explains the situation most succinctly....
The poll shows that white evangelicals believe that they are MORE discriminated against than Muslims, MORE discriminated against than immigrants, MORE discriminated against than LGBT people, and MORE discriminated against than AFRICAN AMERICANS. Think about that!
So this and other polls show that white evangelicals believe they are the single most discriminated against group in America. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is NOT a belief based in reality....
I think so many evangelicals have come to this belief based on two major factors: 1) self-segregation - racially & culturally - which as we've seen, goes way back & culminated with opposition to integration during the Civil Rights Movement...
...and 2) The NARRATIVE OF DECLINE. I grew up hearing A LOT about how the culture is growing more & more hostile to (white) evangelical Christians. We see this fear in everything from "The Benedict Option" to "God's Not Dead." (Ironically, it's a very profitable narrative!)
So even though white evangelical Christians are among the most popular religious groups in the country, enjoying representation from a large percentage of congress, benefiting from tax exemption & other perks, they see themselves as embattled & persecuted...
...Because *sharing* the public square (like, allowing other traditions to legally marry same sex couples & not forcing Jewish kids to pray Christian prayers in public schools) is seen as persecution. Loss of absolute privilege is equated with marginalization.
Donald Trump, for all his lack of savvy, was smart enough to play right into this narrative of decline, promising (white) evangelical Christians that he would "give you power again....EVERYONE will say Merry Christmas."
And because white evangelicalism has not yielded to the cries of people of color, immigrants, LGBT folks, etc--*actual oppressed minorities*--it acted solely in self-preservation & now gives Trump a pass for his racism/immorality in exchange for political favors.
That's my theory, anyway. A lot more can be unpacked theologically and historically, but to me, that poll is the single most revealing indication of what happened.
All that said, I have witnessed some amazing things - acts of mercy and kindness & justice - within evangelical culture. It’s not a monolith. There have been strong voices of dissent around this marriage to the GOP. And I remain grateful for the gifts evangelicalism gave me.
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