For the better part of four decades, the religious right has followed a crude, but effective strategy in peeling evangelical Christians away from the Democratic Party. They have slammed Democrats in subtle and not-so-subtle ways as being anti-God at best and godless at worst. That strategy has worked wonders. Some areas of this country, especially in the South, give Republicans ludicrously high numbers when, on paper, they have no business voting Republican for anything.
The Donald Trump era has marked the high point of this tactic. Somehow, the nation’s so-called moral guardians convinced 81 percent of white evangelicals to vote for a man who plastered a private cell phone number on social media, mocked the disabled, condoned violence at his rallies, and reveled in degrading women.
Recently, one of Trump’s most loyal religious right supporters offered an unusually candid look at this strategy. In warning his followers about the Democrats, he explained that they are marching double-time toward being a godless party.
Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma magazine, perhaps the world’s largest charismatic/Pentecostal-oriented periodical in the world. For some time, Strang has used this platform to carry water for the far right. But he’s kicked this into high gear since the 2016 presidential cycle. He has penned two books that are not only paeans to Trump’s supposed success, but drive home the point the religious right has tried to make for three years–God, not Russia, hacked the election for Trump, and Trump is not just making America great again, but making America Christian again.
This is but one part of the false narrative the religious right has peddled since at least the summer of 2016. But another part is an updated version of the drumbeat we’ve heard from them for four decades–the Democrats can’t be trusted because they’re godless. Strang drove that home in a column for Charisma News, his Christian news site, on Tuesday.
Late last week, the Democratic National Committee passed a resolution acknowledging that religiously unaffiliated Americans are valued members of our society. The resolution stated that nonreligious Americans have been targeted for “unfair bias and exclusion,” and declared that Democrats do not believe any one religion has a monopoly on “morals, values and patriotism.”
Now who could have a problem with that? Well, a lot of fundies had a big problem with that. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, told Lou Dobbs that the resolution amounted to the strongest evidence yet that the Democrats have become godless. Watch here.
Jeffress claimed that “religiously unaffiliated” was merely code for “godless.” To his mind, this resolution was an announcement in capital letters that the Democrats have become “a godless party.” Strang appeared to agree, contending that this resolution was “a new low” for a party that now “gladly embraces godless values.”
Strang argued that Christians have been “silent for too long” about the growing trend toward a godless culture. As he saw it, the debate isn’t liberal versus conservative or Democratic versus Republican, but “right versus wrong.”
While claiming that Republicans have “largely given way to the deep state,” Strang claimed that the Democrats no longer have any room for “biblical values” with their support for abortion and LGBT rights. He claimed that Democrats can more or less “say what they want,” but Christians get raked over the coals for praying in Jesus’ name.
Strang went further in an edition of his podcast. Listen here.
Strang claimed that while we as Americans have a right to have no religion at all, the Democrats were “sticking a finger in the eye” of religious people with this resolution. How, pray tell, does pointing out that nonreligious people have been unjustly marginalized amount to sticking a finger in the eye of people of faith? He quoted Christian author Mary Colbert as calling for “godly leaders in the Democrat Party” to speak up against this supposed trend toward embracing godlessness
Well, Steve, before you lecture us about whether we’re godless, you may want to take a long, hard look at your own side. After all, if an NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll from earlier this summer is to be believed, 66 percent of white evangelicals still wholeheartedly support a man who still revels in degrading women. They wholeheartedly support a man who, at the very least, condones racism if he isn’t a racist himself. They wholeheartedly support a man who has a tenuous–at best–relationship with the truth. And on, and on, and on.
Strang bears considerable responsibility for your compatriots’ otherworldly loyalty to Trump. He claimed that demons are out to derail Trump at all costs. He believes the feds are ganging up on Trump in the same manner that they ganged up on Jim Bakker in the 1980s. He believes hat Trump is successful for no other reason that he upended Hillary Clinton. And he even defended Trump’s egregious tax dodges.
In other words, Strang has been working overtime to get Christians to bow and pray to the orange god he helped make. And yet, he sees fit to lecture Democrats about being godless. Pot, meet kettle.
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