Hijacking ‘Evangelicalism’

There are myriad grievances being lodged under the guise of white evangelicalism, but I have yet to find an objective definition of what white evangelicalism is.

To assert, imply, or infer that all white evangelical Christian supporters of Donald Trump and Roy Moore are racists and white supremacists, while excusing black evangelical Christians who supported Barack Obama, a man who openly advocated for such unbiblical policies as homosexual marriage and partial-birth abortion, is tantamount to hijacking what evangelicalism truly is by uprooting it from its theological foundations and relegating it to merely a political philosophy.

 

As increasing numbers of professing Christians subscribe to a gospel of social justice – a fundamental tenet of which is the resurrection and prosecution of past sins committed primarily by white evangelical Christians against black people whether by commission or omission – the term ‘evangelical Christian(ity)’ has become synonymous with historical and present-day attitudes of white oppression and white supremacy in America, whether perceived or real.

But a fundamental problem with this perspective is that it paints an entire ecclesiastical population, white evangelical Christians, with a very broad and subjective brush, having judged them collectively guilty of harboring such sinful attitudes solely on the basis that they are white and evangelical.

Ironically, seldom, if ever, is the term ‘evangelical’ used in that same context when referring to Christians who are black. Unlike white evangelical Christians, black Christians are considered just, well, Christians, and under that generic descriptor are generally not held to the same standard of attitudinal or ideological scrutiny as their white evangelical brethren.

Yes, they are brethren (Gal. 3:26-28).

As is often the case when engaging in discourse on such topics as white evangelicalism and, specifically, the influence white evangelicals are having in shaping the current socio-political vista in America – a reality many social justice advocates, especially though not exclusively, find concerning – objective terms and definitions have proven difficult to come by.

But if this matter of white evangelicalism is to be discussed in a spirit of intellectual honesty, it must first be objectively defined so as to be understood in context as opposed to a subjective and nebulous idea that is open to interpretation. In other words, the question must be asked: what exactly is ‘white evangelicalism’ anyway?

There are myriad grievances being lodged under the guise of white evangelicalism, but I have yet to find an objective definition of what white evangelicalism is.

And if there is such a thing as white evangelicalism – as there surely must be given how incessantly the term is used within social justice circles – the logical deduction must be that there also exists such a thing as black evangelicalism, and Asianevangelicalism, and Hispanic evangelicalism, and Latino evangelism, and so on, until every conceivable ethnic association with the term evangelicalism has been identified (if such a thing were even possible). 

Though not openly acknowledged by many who are considered to be among the social justice elite, the truth is that much of the acrimony being aimed at white evangelical Christians is rooted in a deep-seated anger over the level of support Donald Trump received from them as a voting bloc and, likewise, for conservative Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for United States Senate from Alabama.

But I find this indignation, such as it is, to be somewhat hypocritical, as the support received by Barack Obama from black voters in both 2008 and 2012, many of whom were professing evangelical Christians, far exceeded what both Trump and Moore received from white evangelical voters in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

So why, then, is it so problematic to some that white evangelical voters cast their vote for the candidate(s) of their choice, when black evangelicals did the exact same thing – and to an even greater degree?

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