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Revelation: The real face of American evangelicals

SUSAN K. SMITH | 12/1/2018, 1:46 p.m.
I was troubled beyond words when I read that American evangelicals recently asked people to pray for the crown prince ...

Crazy Faith Ministries

I was troubled beyond words when I read that American evangelicals recently asked people to pray for the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, who is allegedly responsible for the vicious murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A delegation of evangelicals apparently traveled to Saudi Arabia and was welcomed into the Saudi palace, and they were heartened by the reception they received.

Their visit to the country and to the palace of the alleged mastermind behind Khashoggi’s murder was troubling in and of itself because of the heinous and horrific way that Khashoggi was murdered. America has historically taken the high road and advocated for human rights of people in other countries, even as it has denied those same rights to American citizens.

They reflected the mindset of the president, who refused to honor the conclusion of the United States intelligence community, which concluded that the crown prince was behind the murder, and instead decided that since the crown prince had denied his involvement, the United States should not do anything to negatively affect its economic relationship with Saudi Arabia.

While much of America cringes at this president’s apparent idolization of autocratic rulers of other nations, the evangelical community has seemingly accepted his autocratic tendencies.

The evangelical community has said little to nothing about his sexual indiscretions, about his embrace of white nationalists, about his sexism and racism and complete disrespect of American institutions, including the judiciary and the legislative branch of the American government.

Many evangelicals believe that God sent this president, that it was and is God’s will that this man dismantle the government as we have known it. They believe that this president is doing God’s will in all the policies, no matter how damaging they are to “the least of these” – a serious observation in that Jesus the Christ commanded those who believe in him to work for the well-being of that group of people.

While in the past evangelicals have asserted themselves as the moral voice of America – advocating for family values and a sort of unattainable purity of those who call themselves Christian – they have seemingly abandoned all of that as they have elatedly supported all that this president does, has done and stands for.

Highly critical of sexual indiscretions of politicians in the past, they have all but kissed the feet of this man who has a slew of accusations of sexual assaults that have been leveled against him. It doesn’t matter. The Rev. Franklin Graham chided Americans for even paying attention to the charges. What happened between the president and other women is nobody’s business, he said in speaking of the Stormy Daniels case.

Evangelical Christianity has long been problematic because it has been ineffective in denouncing racism, sexism and all of the other isms. Its positions on racial and sexual bias have led some Black theologians to question who God really is.

The late Rev. Dr. James Cone developed the genre of Black liberation theology because the theology posited by White theologians, a theology he taught, did nothing to quell the anxiety of Black and Brown people caused by an apparent indifferent deity. Cone struggled with how to reconcile the notion of a “good God” with the Anglo version of God and Christianity, which seemed to support racism.