Somebody sent me a link to this article today. The author is not anyone I’m familiar with, but then I don’t generally hang out on religious blogs.

Here’s the summary:  John Pavlovitz is upset because evangelical Christianity “sold out” and voted for Trump in a large percentage.  Methinks he’s an evangelical Christian who didn’t vote for Trump.

He doesn’t tell us who he did vote for, however.  He simply didn’t vote for Trump.

He says this:

The cost, is that the Church itself, though winning this political battle has lost the greater war for its humanity and its dignity. It has been fully separated from its namesake. It is no longer synonymous with Jesus. It is no longer good news for the poor, the marginalized, the hurting, the downtrodden. It is an exclusive brothel where power lusting white Christians fornicate freely.

He’s pretty brutal, as you can see.

But I really want to differ with him, substantially.

You see, I do not think that evangelical Christians “sold their souls” to vote for Trump. I wasn’t even surprised that they did it.

In the first place, the “soul” is a metaphor. Nobody actually has one. You are your brain. You aren’t some ghost in an organic machine.  But let’s leave that aside and simply accept the word as a metaphor.

For years now, Christianity has been losing ground.

click image to link to source

Even back in my religious days, I knew that mainline Christian churches were losing members, but we rationalized this by saying that those people were leaving those “modernist” churches to come to our pure, holy churches.  We didn’t understand that they were simply leaving.

When you leave a church, you go someplace.  Either you go to another church, as we did when we left the Fundy Church From Hell and went to the Not-So-Hellish Evangelical Church, or you do what we finally did and just walk right out the door and never look back.

The never-look-back bunch is about as numerous today as the church-swapping bunch.

Mainline Christian churches pretty much know this. They have been dealing with it for a long time, and they typically are more reasonable people than the fundigelical types, so they are learning to accept their position as a soon-to-be minority faith.  I’m speaking here about white Christians. The PEW data doesn’t differentiate racially.  However, the math is pretty clear. When white people become a minority in America, white Christians will also be a minority.

The non-hispanic white population of America today is 63% and falling.  It will take awhile (long past my lifetime) to get to less than 50% but it’s coming.  Add to that inevitable decline the rapid rise, at least for now, of the “nones” (including atheists and agnostics), and there is reason for Christians to feel, well, like they are losing ground.

And when you’ve spent your whole life accustomed to sitting at the head of the table, and being all generous and allowing the minority religions and if you feel really good, the evil atheists to have a seat at the table, or maybe a seat at the kid’s table in the other room, you don’t take it very well when you start to get the idea that you might not get to dictate the seating at all.

That’s what happened in 2008.  An uppity black guy won the presidency and horrified these folks.  Many of them have spent eight solid years being horrified. They are losing their place at the top of the ladder and it’s scary as hell.

In addition, they have spent decades being told, from the pulpits, that the Clintons are the most evil people in American politics. I know because I was there and heard them do it. Not just one church, but over and over again in every evangelical/fundamentalist church I knew anything about.  And Hillary was actually considered to be worse than Bill, because she didn’t understand that women shouldn’t “have authority” over a man.

So, when this election became a contest between Clinton and Trump, I knew there might be a problem. I did not foresee the debacle that it actually became (like most other people, I thought she’d win), but I knew it was going to be closer than it needed to be due to the evangelical vote.

I knew they’d do what John Pavlovitz laments and “sell out.”

They’ve always been sell-outs.


When I was younger, The Moral Majority in the form of Jerry Falwell came along and told them that they had to vote a certain way (Republican) because of abortion.  So they sold out the futures of living kids so they could feel all righteous and superior about embryos and fetuses.


They sold out the educations of countless children so that they could feel all righteous and superior about having their own schools, away from those less-than-desirable minority children.

nursingschoolrestoredThey sold out the futures of countless young women (I was one of them), telling us that we should aspire to be “keepers at home,” or if we absolutely had to work,  nurses or teachers.


They sold out the well-being, the happiness, and in many cases, the actual lives of their own children who were born gay so they could be thought “spiritual” by their fellow church members.

comment from somebody comparing a child embracing atheism to losing a child to cancer

They sold out their own kids if those children decided to have minds of their own and made decisions that weren’t in keeping with their lofty “biblical principles.”

I have spent this whole day, off and on, thinking about this and trying to come up with something, anything, that the fundigelical church in America has ever done that improved anyone’s life.  I lived among them, as one of them, until I was in my mid-forties.  And I can’t think of a thing.

The only thing I ever saw in fundigelical Christianity was a bunch of people imprisoned by fear and guilt and living with the dread all the time that people at the church would disapprove of something they did or didn’t do.

It was never “good news for the poor, the marginalized, the hurting, the downtrodden.”  And it has always been “an exclusive brothel where power lusting white Christians fornicate freely.”

This is not to say that there aren’t good, decent people who are evangelical.  There are.  There are good Christians. And there are shitty Christians. There are good atheists and there are some really crappy ones.  People are just people.

But what I have never met, ever, is a person who was good because he was Christian. The good Christians I’ve known are simply good people who would be good if they were Buddhists, or atheists, or Catholics or Methodists.

So, when evangelicals embraced Trump, they didn’t surprise me at all.  When they sold out to a man who embodies every single thing they supposedly reject, it didn’t surprise me at all.  When they gave away their entire country because baby Jesus values fetuses more than actual children, that didn’t surprise me one bit. When they value the opinion of Vladimir Putin because he excoriates gay people and that makes God happy, that didn’t surprise me either.

The thing that surprises me is that it seems to have surprised John Pavlovitz.






6 thoughts on “Excuses

  1. The idea that we could elect a woman for president sent the religious right white male and many females into a frenzy even worse than the frenzy leading up to and following Obama’s first term, his second term, and now his exit from the white house. To them, the white house is the “white man” house and the woman is only there as a decoration and as such, she must know her place. I don’t think the pro choice movement has nearly the disgust to many of those folks as equality in the workplace for women, including the right to report sexual harassment without consequences. If abortions were truly their driving force, then, for sure, taking care of existing babies and children would reign supreme. We know that isn’t the case because most of their complaints against the poor are the use of foodstamps, free lunches, and free healthcare. No one in the US is hated as much as the working poor who happen to also use foodstamps.

    Now they have Trump in office and his lack of ethics and morality doesn’t bother them one bit. What will they think in a couple of years when those very ones who elected him are bearing the burden of paying more taxes. I also wonder if they even care that if Obama care is taken away, all of those folks with preexisting conditions will go back to having no coverage for those conditions.

    If there is one thing I know about most Bible Thumpers is that they claim to read the bible, yet they know very little of what the bible really addresses, and their ability to critically analyze is just not in the realm of doable tasks. I’m not saying they are ignorant but they are certainly lacking the luster of the brighter stars. .

  2. This election has been a mindfuck. I’ve lost friends and family over it. By choice.

    “But it’s just politics…’s ridiculous to let it affect relationships!”

    Typically, this is true, but there are times in history when you have to make a stand. This is one of them. Makes me sicker and sadder than I can express, but this time it matters.

    The people who voted for Trump might not ALL be sexist, racist, bigots…..but MANY of the people who did vote for him were….and it’s difficult to ignore that. It was a hate campaign….and you embraced that. What does that make you?

    As a woman…..knowing full well that Trump publicly stated on the Howard Stern Show that he has no respect for women,……how can I look at someone the same way after they vote for him? I can’t. It permanently changes the relationship. Voted for Trump? You are forever among people I cannot respect. I’m not gonna wish you any harm, but I don’t want my life touched by your degree of lack of judgement. I cannot trust you again. Or respect you.

    It’s sad, and in a couple of cases, it’s seriously hurt my heart, but the only way I can move forward with self respect is to make those eliminations. You want to denounce that sad little man and admit you were wrong? I’m listening. I’ll give you that chance. You want to play apologist for him? Kindly go fuck yourself.

    Racism, bigotry, and sexism are not things I take lightly. Sexual violence against women is not something I take lightly. There is not middle ground on these issues. These things are wrong. And you did not stand on the side of right.

    And so, here we go….at the start of the mindfuck of an administration that will make a fortune for the National Enquirer with our reality TV mentally ill president.

    Do I feel hopeful for 2017? I do.

    Because everything you’ve said here about religion is correct. Religion is failing with our young people….and this election’s hypocrisy was the nail in it’s coffin. (and really, it’s the internet that killed religion…younger people just happen to use it more.)

    And you’re right about the dying out of the white majority. Will take a little time….but for the last couple years, we’ve had more babies born of mixed and other ethnicity than white babies in America.

    If you happen to be in the toddler demographic….the day is already here….white toddlers are no longer the majority of American toddlers. They’re still the largest demographic by far, but they don’t hold over half the voice of generation toddler 2016. That’s new. It’s an important change and it’s going to ripple as time moves forward.

    Mostly, I feel hopeful about 2017, because I’ve chosen to distance myself from the mindfuck that is our current news cycle and stay aware only of the most major events (as little as I can stand… desire to stay well in formed is at odds with my desire to remain sane…lol)

    I feel hopeful because 9 out of 10 of the kids I know are genuinely good people, including my own kids. I feel hopeful because my kids have had success in college, have found gainful employment, and seem genuinely happy with jobs that are of use to society. I feel hopeful because my marriage is good, my home is beautiful, my dog makes me laugh, and my best friend calls me most days. I feel hopeful because there are a few projects I do….that make a difference and are of use. I feel hopeful because there is still a huge world full of wonder after all these years, and because I’m still learning, and still finding things and people to fall in love with. I’m still creating. I’m still growing.

    I feel hopeful….because this, too, shall pass…..and when pendulums swing too hard one way in politics, they come crashing back in the other direction.

    I feel hopeful….because one of the really assholish pursuits of the church…..limiting women’s reproductive choices…..has taken a hell of a hit from the morning after pill, which can be bought by anyone, at any pharmacy, in any state…and because it only prevents implantation, it is not an abortificant and will not be touched by any insane laws these fools will try to pass in a dying gasp effort. And even if some southern state decides to ban it’s sale, that’s simply more sales for the eastern states who ship FedEx every day.

    You can literally get a morning after pill out of a vending machine on a college campus in Alabama. Ok, maybe not Alabama. But you can get it at Walmart there, it won’t be kept behind the counter…it’ll be on the isle….and you can use the self checkout. No id required.

    And I feel hopeful that a few of those people are going to end up denouncing the Supreme Ooompa Loompa Overlord in the end, and will admit they were insanely stupid for having supported him for a microsecond. A few of them are halfway there.

    Might get interesting for a while, though. Hang on to your butts.

  3. Sally, you are great and your post was great but I’m a bit confused by this part:

    “And when you’ve spent your whole life accustomed to sitting at the head of the table, and being all generous and allowing the minority religions and if you feel really good, the evil atheists to have a seat at the table, or maybe a seat at the kid’s table in the other room, you don’t take it very well when you start to get the idea that you might not get to dictate the seating at all.

    That’s what happened in 2008. An uppity black guy won the presidency and horrified these folks. Many of them have spent eight solid years being horrified. They are losing their place at the top of the ladder and it’s scary as hell.”

    Did Obama’s religion have anything to do with people voting for him? It didn’t even register with me and most of my friends. I don’t know what religion he belongs to, if any. If you asked me today I would guess Protestant but I don’t know for sure, nor do I care.

    BTW I voted for Obama twice- and oh boy, I’m sadder than sad to see him go. :(

  4. Very good points about the religious right. While I haven’t let go of my faith as of yet, I have a hard time labeling myself a Christian because I don’t want to be lumped in with those assholes. I’m a catholic, I still identify as one, mostly just to piss off other Catholics. I’m liberal because of my faith, not in spite of it. I believe in feeding and providing for the poor, I like my government to work for me, i believe education is invaluable and vital to a progressive society. I believe in freedom or religion- and that includes atheism and every faith (or lack there of) as long as it stays out of my government and my uterus. Until this election cycle, I could be civil to people who vote their “faith”, but anyone who claims to be a Christian and voted for the second coming of Hitler gets an earful. I just can’t with the hypocracy anymore.

  5. Might get interesting for a while, though. Hang on to your butts.

    Thank you, Julia, for a hopeful lovely comment. Just the right tone for a New Year’s morning. I too, know lots of really good teenagers. Bright, curious, ambitious, and beautiful. They are our hope for the future.

  6. Did Obama’s religion have anything to do with people voting for him?

    It didn’t affect those of us who voted for him. It was a huge factor with those who did not, or at least, it was the excuse they gave for opposing him. Don’t you remember all the rumors (that still persist) about him being Muslim? He’s Protestant, probably Baptist. Remember the uproar about his pastor who said “God damn America”? (I listened to that whole sermon, BTW, and agreed with the man.)

    But my point there wasn’t about his religion entirely. It was also about his race. White Christians just can’t take it that they are facing a time in the not too distant future when they won’t control anything at all.

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