A Glimpse of the Evangelical Id

paula white
Paula White

Perhaps I should put “evangelical” in quotes, because I don’t believe the prosperity-gospel preachers have any good news that you couldn’t get more simply from Oprah or a lottery ticket. If you’re looking for the good life, Christianity is the last place you’ll find it. But a lot of evangelicals apparently don’t see it that way.

A year ago, I would not have bothered to bring attention to the video I’m going to show you below. I thought of these folks as fringe figures who had little or nothing to do with evangelicalism. I’ve spent my whole life in evangelical worlds and I can’t recall anyone expressing any respect or support for these people. In fact, we’ve probably mostly thought of them as “so-called” evangelicals. Well, now I wonder if they were the mainstream and I was the fringe.

Brace yourself:

Several things stand out to me about this video.

–“We were sent here to takeover.” This is funny, but you should also take this seriously.

–The unabashed celebration of access. The mood here is, “Praise the Lord, we’re important again!” This is like the pastor with the new Cadillac when the congregation is proud of him instead of wondering why he’s taking all their money. Paula White can go into the White House “anytime she wants to!” And look, the President blurbed her book! If Paula is important, you’re important.

–The importance of a rhetorical posture against abortion without any need to actually pursue abortion-reducing policies.

–The overwhelming triumph of symbolism. What happens in the real world counts for nothing. Instead, let me just touch the pen with which President Trump signed a symbolic statement that didn’t actually role back the Johnson Amendment.

–Throughout this clip, I have no idea when they’re talking about the church, when they’re talking about the nation, or both. The conflation is deliberate. Don’t you know God made a covenant with America?

It seems obvious to me that these folks are promoting fake Christianity and making fools of themselves. But I’ve long since given up believing I have the pulse of mainstream white evangelicalism.

6 thoughts on “A Glimpse of the Evangelical Id

    1. This is a fascinating point. I’m not aware of such influence but that would definitely be worth exploring. As the religious right has increasingly become more ecumenical, I wonder if Mormon ideas about an American covenant have provided a common touchstone for people who otherwise disagree about theology. The origins and (surely multiple) roots of this covenant thinking is something I’d like to explore more.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s