Christian Evangelicals & the Roy Moore Love Affair
It’s been two weeks since that fateful night in Alabama when voters (thanks Black women) decided to send Doug Jones. While Jones proved nearly immediately the Democratic Party tendency to pimp Minority votes but ignore our interests, Roy Moore still refuses to concede the election. Write in votes have been counted and all precincts accounted for but Moore refuses to give up the ghost.
In a rambling video, Moore speaks about immorality, abortion, materialism, and same-sex marriage – going so far as accusing these things of erasing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. “We are indeed in a struggle to preserve our republic, our civilization, and our religion and to set free a suffering humanity. And the battle rages on,” he said in the four-minute video posted to YouTube. “Today, we no longer recognize the universal truth that God is the author of our life and liberty.”
How Evangelical of him.
“There’s already one loser: Christian faith.”
In his essay on the impact of the Alabama Senate race, Mark Galli wrote: Whoever wins, “there is already one loser: Christian faith.” Mark Galli is the editor of Christianity Today, the flagship of American evangelicalism that was founded by the Rev. Billy Graham. Galli continues on: “No one will believe a word we say, perhaps for a generation. Christianity’s integrity is severely tarnished.”
Make no mistake about it: WHITE CHRISTIAN EVANGELICALS gave overwhelming support to Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate, in the Alabama Senate race. You might remember Moore from such hits as “Racist & Religious Zealot,” “Misogynist White Guy,” and “Sure, She’s Only 14 Legally but aren’t we all God’s Children?: Tales of Sexual Assault of Teenage Girls.” Now other evangelicals are concerned that the open and avowed support of Moore has irreparably tarnished the Christian Evangelical brand.
There’s Good News & Bad News
I have good news and bad news for the Christian Evangelicals who share Galli’s sentiments. The Good News is that Roy S. Moore did absolutely nothing to tarnish our perception and image of Christian Evangelicals. The bad news for you all is that it remains untarnished because you have never been credible in our eyes and lived experience.
In fact, here are 6 times you’ve previously been found uncredible.
1. When Christian Evangelicals Fail to Care About Lives Outside the Womb
It’s no secret that a shining political and religious tenet of Christian Evangelicalism is anti-reproductive choice. From Hobby Lobby’s repeated interference in the wombs of its employees to those seemingly innocuous Foundation for a Better Life TV spots, Evangelicals continue to raise their battle cry against abortion. Nevermind that the “pro-life” biblical stance is actually not in the bible. Seriously, a group of people who claim the bible to be inerrant and infallible decided that the bible was saying something different about abortion between 1968 and today. The reality is that pro-life religious stances are a political strategy and not a biblical principle.
But while Evangelicals are all heart-eyes for fetuses, their love is cut as abruptly as the umbilical cord. This is evidenced by the numerous cuts to Medicaid (including the most recent Tax Scam Bill that awaits Cheeto Satan’s signature — one he’s currently withholding to avoid true impact of the decision in 2018, an election year) and the conservative right’s constant battle against same-sex parenting and adoption. Of course, it wouldn’t be White Evangelical Christianity if there wasn’t a sprinkle of racism.
United Medical Center, DC’s only public hospital, will NOT reopen its nursery and delivery rooms, hospital board has decided, leaving Southeast Washington without a local OB Ward for women to give birth or get prenatal care from specialists. Who does this impact most? You guessed it: the predominantly poor and Black residents of Southeast DC. How was this vote conducted? In a closed session. Not open to the public. because the District’s Open Meetings Act doesn’t allow a public body to vote on resolutions in closed sessions.
D.C. Council member Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7) states: “It says that, in terms of the allocation and equity of services, the people on the East End of the city are seen as not sufficiently worthy to have available to them one of the most important services a population can have.”
2. When Christian Evangelicals Refused to Condemn White Supremacy at the Southern Baptist Convention
With just the words “Southern” and “Baptist,” it should come as a surprise to no one that the voting body of Baptist Evangelicals fought vehemently against a resolution condemning white supremacy and the alt-right. Hell, it didn’t even make it to vote before the contentions amongst leadership. Submitted by Pastor Dwight McKissic, a Black pastor in Texas, would have never seen the light of voting day if not for tremendous public outrage and pressure. The SBC begrudgingly put the resolution to a vote but only after revisions to the statement.
Honestly, it’s an expected behavior. Or at least it should be, considering that the Southern Baptist Convention was founded EXPLICITLY TO SUPPORT SLAVERY. The deep racial tensions of the Baptist church are not novel or an ugly mutation of modern society. No, seriously:
In 1860, a Southern Baptist pastor from Virginia, Thornton Stringfellow, defended the institution of forced enslavement of millions of African men and women in Cotton Is King, and Pro-Slavery Arguments, with the full force of scripture: “Jesus Christ has not abolished slavery by a prohibitory command. … Under the gospel, [slavery] has brought within the range of gospel influence, millions of Ham’s descendant’s among ourselves, who but for this institution, would have sunk down to eternal ruin.”
Fifteen years earlier, the Southern Baptist Convention had formed when a group of churches broke away from another loose association of Baptists, called the Triennial Convention. The foreign-outreach arm of the organization had forbidden a slaveholding church elder from becoming a missionary, saying it would violate the organization’s neutral position on slavery. After attempting to negotiate a compromise, 293 dissenting church leaders—representing as many as 365,000 Christians—met in Augusta, Georgia, and formed a new association that supported slavery.
So much for racial reconciliation, Evangelicals.
3. When Christian Evangelicals Remained Silent on Police Brutality
Since the state sanctioned murder of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, there has been a seemingly unending stream of Black men and women dying at the hands of United States police officers. Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Samuel DuBose to name a new. According to The Washington Post, in 2015 alone, there have been nearly 400 fatal shootings by police. Many of them were people of color.
Basically, there’s been plenty of opportunity to White Christian Evangelicals to speak up. Yet, it has repeatedly chosen not to do so (see #2 on this list). For years, the White Evangelical church has deliberately refused to acknowledge the pervasiveness of and its participation in the racism and racial bias of this nation.
In January 2017, Pew Research released the results of its survey regarding attitudes towards law enforcement. The racial division grew when Christians were asked to rate officers’ equal treatment of racial and ethnic groups. White evangelicals (68%) and white mainline Protestants (58%) were more than twice as likely than black Protestants (25%) to give cops a positive rating on this measure. It’s blatantly obvious that even a sprinkle of Jesus isn’t enough to mend the fences of Black folks’ incredibly different relationship with Law Enforcement — nor is shared salvation through Jesus Christ enough for white Christian Evangelicals to do work that removes the boots off the collective Black neck.
Of course, that silence is somehow shattered when Christian Evangelicals are reminded our intersectional identities of Black and Christian. Just ask Lecrae. He recently revealed that his sales dropped once he criticized White Evangelical silence on Black Lives. Yikes.
4. When 81% of Christian Evangelicals Voted for Sweet Potato Satan in 2016
No, really. 81% of White Evangelicals of “inerrant and infallible” biblical truths voted for Cheeto in Chief without the slightest hint of spiritual conviction or irony. The convenient cognitive dissonance is just delicious.
As I’ve previously stated, White evangelicals carry out the will and purpose of their evangelicalism: white nationalism. Evangelicalism is literally built on the idea of biblical inerrancy, a convenient tool to rationalize, nay, justify slavery among other ungodly oppressions. Bearing that in mind, it’s no wonder why 81% of White Evangelicals voted for the philandering misogynist. By electing El Presidente Basura, they carried out God’s will according to their literalist interpretation of the inerrancy of scripture.
You can read more about that here: White evangelicalism is white nationalism.
5. When Christian Evangelicals Asked Us to Lift Up Pedophile Pastors in Prayer
Just in case you thought Evangelical Hypocrisy was just some white people shit, try this one on for size.
In July 2017, Three Ohio Pastors, Rev. Cordell Jenkins, the Rev. Anthony Haynes and the Rev. Kenneth Butler, were indicted on conspiracy to sex traffic children. The US Attorney’s Office says Haynes began grooming a 14-year-old girl for prostitution in 2014. Prosecutors say Haynes introduced her to other men and all three of the pastors sexually assaulted her. Should they be convicted, they’d face life in prison.
And just how did the church respond? Much like you’d expect: requests to uplift the abusive trio in prayer “against the attack of the enemy.” Saints, it’s not an attack of the enemy. Predators and rape apologists simply don’t belong in the pulpit to continue harming others. No child or person should be harmed spiritually or physically because you don’t know the only appropriate sex is CONSENTING SEX WITH THOSE WHO CAN LEGALLY CONSENT. That ain’t the devil, that’s the damn law.
6. When Christian Evangelicals Fleeced Their Congregation for $1.2M
Pastor Terry Wayne Millender & First Lady Brenda Millender along with their comrade Grenetta Wells, were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money-laundering. Victorious Life Church in Alexandria, VA entrusted Millender with their spiritual shepherding and to do what is morally right concerning the business of the church.
Instead, the trio used folks’ completely blind love of all things sprinkled with Jesus to convince congregations to invest in their company that allegedly helped people in developing nations to start or sustain businesses. Instead, it financed a $1.75M home and other personal expenses. When questioned about their return on investment, they deflected to the 2008 financial crisis. Eric Brown, a former congregant and victim states:
“It didn’t really come as a shock—it was more of a sigh of relief,” Eric Brown, a former church member, told Fox 5 DC. According to the news station, Brown’s family was one of those who invested in the alleged fraud scheme, although they are not a part of the federal case.
“I asked him like, ‘Hey, that’s a nice car,’” Brown told the station regarding one conversation he said he had with Terry Millender. “He said, ‘Yeah, $100,000 car. If you save up your money, God’s going to bless you.’ Come to find out now, it was actually part of our money.”
Terry & Brenda Millender were convicted by a federal Jury in December 2017. They’ll be sentenced in March 2018.