I should say that I am disappointed in evangelicals, but I have been wondering for a long, long time why I held on to hope they would find enlightenment on racism. But now whatever hope I did hold I jettisoned after I came to understand how in lockstep evangelicals were with Donald Trump.
Since Trump took office in 2016, evangelicals have abandoned the con that a leader must have a spiritual foundation. They put secular politics ahead of guidance from the good book.
As Christians, they should despise the hatred Trump preaches. They should detest his endless lies and his truth-twisting. They should rail against his naked greed, putting self above anything else.
Of the infamous Seven Deadly Sins, Trump abides every one of them. Yet what does that mean to the evangelical faithful who put their fortunes behind a man as faithless as an atheist?
To try to decide what is good in Trump takes no time, and if you try to list those traits in him, you can use a pinhead as your tablet.
His antipathy toward racial justice displayed itself even before he won the presidency. Trump’s language was that of a demigod, and he has governed like one, using the Oval Office to put his stamp on white supremacy.
Trump has made neo-Nazism fashionable, and white evangelicals have wrapped themselves inside his racist rhetoric.
While tempted, I will not, however, reach for the term “Klansmen” to describe these “good” people, but if other folk did, I will not pick a fuss with them. I see no purpose in putting a mirror in front of them and reflecting their hatred. People who refuse to look can see no racism.
America has a history of such racial myopia, said Robert P. Jones, founder and chief executive officer of the Public Religion Research Institute.
“Given this pervasive history, it is well past time for white Christians to reckon with the racism of our past and the willful amnesia of our present,” Jones wrote in an article for The Atlantic. “For most white Christians, this journey will be challenging because, as I have found, it is deeply personal.”
Racism, indeed, is personal, because its vileness forces evangelicals to dissect their white lives in ways they will find discomforting. They cannot hardly view themselves as hatemongers when they tote the Bible and recite biblical verses wherever they go.
Still, how do they square what the Bible says with what Trump does? Acceptance of sin is an absurdity.
Evangelicals once believed immorality disqualified a man from winning their support for public office. Actually, they fostered that immorality.
Claiming it was God’s will, evangelicals never condemned slavery. Nor did they ever condemn Jim Crow and lynchings.
In the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, evangelicals had chances to say something about racism. Instead, they kept silent about police brutality, legal injustices and discrimination, which turned states like Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas into the epicenters of racial hatred.
Now, in 2020, they can denounce political leadership that rolls back progress America has made on race. They can and should do what Trump has been unable to do: make America great.
I will see no such spiritual awakening come this Election Day, because evangelicals have too much in common with the godless Trump. They, too, hate Blacks.