Wednesday, December 20, 2017

NYT: Fox News Producing Fake Evangelicals

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A New York Times column is suggesting that Fox News is creating a new people group---"Fake Evangelicals."

The article is titled, "America's New Religion: Fox Evangelicalism."

The writer of the column describes the new evangelical way of thinking as being influenced by the "nationalistic, race-baiting, fear-mongering form of politics enthusiastically practiced by Mr. Trump and Roy Moore...and encouraged through conservative social commentators on Fox News.."

Amy Sullivan, author of "The Party Faithful," writes in the New York Times op-ed that "A new breed of evangelicals are more influenced by conservative-leaning cable outlet Fox News than the Bible."

She says, "This emerging religious worldview---let's call it 'Fox evangelicalism' is preached from the pulpits of conservative media outlets like Fox News."

"It imbues secular practices like shopping for gifts with religious significance and declares sacred something as worldly and profane as gun culture," she writes.

She says those who listen to Fox News---and others like them, "become a malleable religious identity that can be weaponized not to just complain about department stores that hang 'Happy Holidays' banners, but more significantly, in support of candidates like Trump and Roy Moore..."

Amy Sullivan, Jim Wallis, Tony Compollo, Rob Bell and a list of other religious Left progressives are quick to judge evangelicals---and Christians in general who supported Trump. Keep in mind it is this group who have also come out in support of so-called "same-sex marriage" and are at least silent on the issue of abortion if they can't quite take a public stand for life.

How can a Christian not believe in the sanctity of life?

Sullivan questions the motives and thinking of evangelicals who supported Trump, while she, Wallis, Compollo, Bell and the rest of them fully supported Barack Obama who stood against every social issue evangelicals stand for---marriage, traditional family, the sanctity of life, etc. And they supported his mantra that America was not Christian, was not exceptional, and was not special---rather a place often to be loathed.

And apologized for.

They also supported Hillary, who believes as Obama did, and promised to extend his legacy if elected.

Sullivan wrote, "Never in my lifetime have we had a Potus willing to take such a strong outspoken stand for the Christian faith like Donald Trump"...noting that Franklin Graham, Pastor Robert Jeffress, Jerry Falwell Jr. and others said, "God intervened in our election" last fall, yet she says they are "hypocrites because they supported a man who is pretty much the human embodiment of the question 'What would Jesus not do?' "

She says these kinds of testimonials "confound the critics" and makes her case that essentially people who did not support Obama and Hillary are doing harm to the cause of Christ, the Christian church and the brand of evangelicalism.

Amy's attack on evangelicals on this issue is not isolated just with her, her claims are being parroted by many in the religious Left.

Her claims are not only hypocritical but factually wrong.

Research by Paul A. Djupe et al. for the website Religion in Public has found that as Trump secured the Republican nomination, evangelical support for him grew, even among those who did, in fact, fit the attributes of belief and practice of biblical evangelicalism.

In a forthcoming volume of "The Evangelical Crackup?", Andrew Lewis finds that in late Spring 2016 evangelicals were less likely than other Republicans to consider from the Republican nominee should Trump be the choice.

Support for Trump in November was much higher among frequent attenders to church as compared to non-attenders by almost 20%---suggesting that the most committed white evangelicals are the most Republican.

Sullivan's "Fox Evangelicals" piece comes about a month after Charisma Media Founder and CEO Stephen E. Strang's new book, "God and Donald Trump" was released.

In an interview with The Christian Post, he explains that evangelical support for Trump came with the recognition that he was imperfect.

Strang referenced Franklin Graham's comments when he told the Christian Post earlier that evangelical voters had no better choice when it came to the 2016 election.

He said, "Like Franklin Graham said 'we're not electing a pastor-in-chief, we're electing a commander-in-chief,' noting that we have had several past presidents who were absolutely imperfect."

Strang says he believes about 10 years ago "Trump cleaned up his act" and has been "certainly moving our direction" when it comes to both public policy and personal practices.

Trump, he says, really enjoys being with evangelical Christians and being prayed for. He says the Trump evangelical advisory board is still very active and very strong---it wasn't something that Trump cast aside after he was elected---as some do.

In a December 14 interview with The New York Times, Strang argued that evangelicals who argue that support for Trump is tarnishing the image of evangelicals are "fake Christians."

He said, "My impression is that people who feel that way, who talk about tarnishing the brand, are not truly believers, they're not with us anyway."

Later, he added, "I don't know how familiar you are with the term 'backslidden'.' If you turn your back on Christ, they are backslidden. I don't want to judge these people," he said, "but..."

In terms of "Truth," we are living in perilous times. The "Truth" is not only attacked by the secular culture but often by those who are considered in the church.

This is a time to be both vigilant and discerning---and very prayerful.

And to be informed.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.