Donald Trump the Divider of Evangelicals; The Kids Aren't Alright With It

Over the weekend, Mark Oppenheimer penned an op-ed criticizing Eric Metaxas for supporting Donald Trump. More than criticize Metaxas’ position, Oppenheimer expressed surprise that a Bonhoeffer biographer like Metaxas could overlook what seems to be an obvious fascist theme in Trump’s campaign.
Today, conservative writer and friend of Metaxas Rod Dreher accuses Oppenheimer of smearing Metaxas. However, he does it while agreeing with Oppenheimer that Metaxas is agonizingly wrong to support Trump.
This is a fascinating exchange (read both articles) and one that illustrates what feels like an impossible choice to many people this year. Trump’s pandering to evangelicals has divided the camp. We’re not seriously divided on Clinton, very few are offering a defense. However, when it comes to Trump, some celebrity evangelicals like Grudem, Metaxas and Falwell feel the need to not only vote for Trump but to convince others to do so. People like Russell Moore feel the need to keep people away from Trump.
Instead of feeding the poor, helping the broken and testifying, evangelicals are fussing about just how crazy and fascist Trump is. Is he just a little, or unacceptably too much? This can’t be a good thing.
Such shenanigans are not lost on many evangelical lay people, especially the kids. This morning I ran across this article by Amy Gennett. She makes a case that “the youth” are watching and don’t like what they see.

Over the last several months, I have lost respect for the Republican party, and I honestly thought that would be the biggest tragedy of this election. But the disappointing truth is this: I’m losing faith in Evangelicals.
And this is frightening. I am an Evangelical. I hold to Evangelical theology. I have attended not one, but two Evangelical schools. But I fear that we’re going to lose an entire generation because of the actions, words, and teachings of some Evangelicals. Including Wayne Grudem.

Teaching at a Christian college, I hear these thoughts often.
Grudem’s article raised the GOP flag and implied it was sin not to salute. Metaxas tells us we must vote for Trump or the whole nation drops into the abyss. Ms. Gannett continues:

Evangelical leaders are not just supporting nationalism, but are elevating nationalism to a Christian virtue. Many point back to the founding fathers as Christian leaders in our nation and impress upon us that we must support the constitution and protect our country because it is a Christian thing to do. We have deeply muddied the language between serving our God and serving our country. Forget the martyrs of the faith around the world, posters show us that soldiers make the “ultimate sacrifice.” As Christian millennials, we just can’t buy this. We look over our shoulders at our nation’s history and wince a little. We don’t have a lot of national pride because we are waking up to the immense on-going racism that exists in our nation’s systems, the horrors of early American history, and the tragedies around the world that happen because every country has nationalists. So when you equate nationalism with Christian virtue, we’re out.

Evangelical leaders need to wake up and smell the wisdom in this. Of course, there are evangelicals of all ages (I’m pushing 60) who are bolting from Christian nationalism. Ms. Gannett believes her generation is itchy to get away from it which could be one of the silver linings of this storm.

Rod Dreher on Doug Wilson's Scandal in Moscow

UPDATE: Doug Wilson has responded to Dreher’s article at American Conservative. Dreher then provides a helpful analysis.
 
In response to several requests, I have been researching Christ Church in Moscow, ID. As time permits, I have read blogs, court docs, and emails from concerned brothers and sisters about the church pastored by Doug Wilson. Most of what I have reviewed has been extremely disturbing.
With the publication of an article by Rod Dreher today, I may not need to do much more. On the American Conservative website yesterday, Dreher brought together many of the facts of the situation which involves child abuse and what appears to be a dysfunctional church in Moscow, ID.
In essence, it seems that the leadership at Christ Church in Moscow, ID have exercised extremely poor judgment in encouraging a serial abuser to pursue a kind of therapy via marriage. In the face of evidence that Christ Church’s pastor, Doug Wilson, provided remarkably unwise advice to the abuser and a young woman who married the abuser, Wilson has gone on the defensive. Cited by Dreher, Wilson said in defense of conducting this ill-fated therapy by marriage:

 Moreover, if everything is on the table, we do not believe the church has the authority to prohibit or “not allow” a lawful marriage.

To which Dreher countered:

Really? The church has no authority to prohibit a lawful marriage? I suppose same-sex couples in Idaho can show up at Christ Church and expect Pastor Wilson to marry them, then. This, and the claim that the church can’t withhold marriage from anybody, as long as both parties know what they’re getting into, is a pretty shameless example of passing the buck for a disaster. Wilson subsequently praised himself for the way he’s conducted himself in this matter, saying that persecution is a sign of his righteousness, and sneering that his wife celebrated the criticism coming their way by buying him a bottle of single-malt Scotch.

Wilson’s brazen self-defense is in contrast to a former pastor of Christ’s Church daughter church, Peter Leithart, who has apologized for his part in another case involving abuse.
Wilson has helped pioneer the classical schooling movement and has some disturbing views of American slavery. Wilson believes slavery, while not a moral good, was more benign than American abolitionists depicted. Lost causers and Confederate sympathizers love it.
According to some near the situation (speaking to me anonymously), things are getting more and more unsettled in Moscow with some of the empire unraveling. There might be more Scotch in Wilson’s future.
On a related note, Wenatchee the Hatchet has a post on connection between Mark Driscoll and Doug Wilson.
 

The American Conservative weighs in on the David Barton controversy

Today, Rod Dreher has a reaction to the NPR segment from yesterday posted at the American Conservative.

Go read the whole thing but here is the money:

Count me as a conservative Christian who is alarmed by this kind of thing. I hate it when secular liberals distort history to serve their own ends. The most egregious example I can think of was the drafters of the European Union constitution ignoring Europe’s Christian heritage; even Poland’s then-president, an atheist, denounced it as an outrageous ideological distortion of the historical record. History will always be contended over, of course, but the goal should be trying to make the study of history an exercise in finding the truth, not massaging the past to make it fit a contemporary political narrative. When conservatives and Christians do this, we are no better than those we criticize. I don’t want my children to learn politically correct history, from either the left or the right. You shouldn’t either.