Christianity is under siege in America. Not by Starbucks, with their Jesus-less cups, or department stores that wish customers “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” but by Christians themselves.
That’s the conclusion reached by Charles Mathewes, a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, in an article for the Washington Post. He specifically calls out white evangelical Christianity — the people who overwhelmingly support Donald Trump and the Republican Party as a whole.
When we’ve reached a place where good Christian folk think it’s a matter of major theological principle not to sell pastries to gay people but are willing to give pedophiles a pass, I think it’s safe to say that American Christianity today — white American Christianity in particular — is in a pretty sorry state.
He adds that white evangelicals hold beliefs that contradict their own message of forgiveness, compassion, and redemption. They love guns, hate immigrants, support the death penalty, ignore the poor, and turn a blind eye to race and gender issues.
For believers in a religion whose Scriptures teach compassion, we’re a breathtakingly cruel bunch.
Mathewes goes on to argue that Christians today are guided more by fear than by bigotry. They don’t want to lose the culture war and become irrelevant. But that, again, goes against their own beliefs. If God is really in control, and has a grand plan for each and every one of us, then what is there to worry about? Who cares if people stop saying “Merry Christmas” — shouldn’t God be bigger than that?
Doesn’t seem like it. The God worshiped by Christians who support Trump seems obsessed with accumulating power while keeping down everyone who doesn’t already have it.
In the meantime, I’ve never heard of anyone accepting Jesus because someone said “Merry Christmas” to them. I have, however, heard plenty of people reconsider their beliefs about Christians (if not Christianity itself) when they encounter worshipers actively trying to make the world a better place.
Mathewes has a point: “Christian persecution” is real. But that persecution isn’t coming from atheists or other believers. The people hurting Christianity the most are the followers of Jesus who worship the Republican Party platform far more than anything in the New Testament.