Rejoicing and Weeping After Election 2016

Our latest post is from Dylan Pahman.

The end of our long, tiring, and often vitriolic presidential election season in the United States came last Tuesday when Donald Trump became our new president-elect. Trump won more electoral votes but lost the popular vote, the fourth time in U.S. history such a result has occurred. The race was close, tempers were high, and reactions have ranged from apocalyptic despair to unexpected jubilation and everything in-between. How should Christians – regardless of how, or even if, they voted – respond? Continue reading

How to Deal With Erratic Corpulent Ginger Authoritarian Much-Married Rulers: Options for Christians in Public Life

Note: Some of these Options are better than others.

The Wolsey Option

Through an excess of personal ambition, tie your whole career to the favor of an unpredictable and potentially vicious master. Lose his favor anyway.

The Cromwell Option

Facilitate your master’s bizarre, persistent and destructive attraction to a sexy fascinating Pepe-meme generating femme fatale whose appeal has to do with the pleasure of transgression, leading to huge rents in the social fabric and the overturning of established norms of behavior.

The Edward Option

DOUBLE DOWN

The Mary Option

ROLLBACK

The More Option

If, in the context of your work, it is conceivable that you might receive a 3 a.m. order to… oh, hit this button, say; deploy that weapons system… and that refusing such an order could potentially trigger a court martial, rehearse saying the following phrase: “The King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

The Elizabeth Option

Keep your own counsel. Don’t deliberately alienate anyone.  Bind together a fractured nation full of mutually antagonistic, mistrustful and confused people. Carve out a space for the preaching of the Gospel. Reform, with moderation and prudence. Seek the common good. Trust God. And survive.

Susannah Black received her BA from Amherst College and her MA from Boston University. She is associate editor of Providence Magazine and of the Davenant Trust’s journal Ad Fontes, is a founding editor of Solidarity Hall (which now appears as The Dorothy Option on Patheos), and is on the Board of the Distributist Review. Her writing has appeared in First Things, The Distributist Review, Solidarity Hall, Providence, Amherst Magazine, Front Porch Republic, Ethika Politika, The Human Life Review, The American Conservative, and elsewhere. She blogs at Radio Free Thulcandra and tweets at @suzania. A native Manhattanite, she is now living in Queens.

#NeverTrump and President Trump

This will be the note I sign out on this year. I’ll be off the next seven weeks but we’ll continue to publish other authors during that time.

In the build-up to the 2016 election, American evangelicals were a pessimistic bunch. We racked up an impressive (and depressing) run of unfavorable court rulings and legal battles, featuring photographers, bakers, and florists. These defeats all ran parallel to our biggest cultural defeat, the Obergefell decision. In addition to this, we saw our standing in the Republican party fall sharply as the party nominated a candidate who by every traditional standard held by the religious right was an abysmal failure. (The fact that we supported him anyway will almost certainly teach the GOP that evangelical voters will go with them no matter what. This realization, of course, robs evangelicals of all their political capital that they might use to influence the GOP.)

Add to that the ever-growing number of “nones” that Pew and Gallup found in their religion surveys, the remarkably hostile response to the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, this summer’s Supreme Court ruling against many state-level abortion regulations, and the alarming court case in Massachusetts that would result in the policing of religious speech from Christian ministers and, well, things looked grim. Continue reading

Courage, St. Crispin’s Day, and the 2016 Election

It’s a fortunate quirk of our calendar that this year St Crispin’s Day, the day on which Henry V led the English to victory against the French in 1415 and made immortal in Shakespeare’s “Henry V,” fell two weeks before the presidential election, a day on which a sizable portion of our nation’s evangelicals will demonstrate precisely the sort of cowardice Henry’s words so beautifully condemn. Continue reading

How Evangelicals Can Build a Responsible Political Witness

Our latest contribution on this year’s election comes from Dr. Greg Forster.

Russell Moore is right that self-appointed evangelical political leaders are destroying the credibility of American evangelicalism by endorsing Donald Trump. One implication, which Moore doesn’t speak to, is the urgent need for American evangelicals to develop a responsible political witness. These charlatans and hucksters are only able to get into the spotlight because of the vacuum left by the absence of an authentic gospel presence in our culture’s civic forum.

Yes, it’s dangerous to try to build a political witness for the church. The failure of the Religious Right, the bankruptcy of social conservatism and the scandal of evangelical leaders selling their souls for Trump all point to these dangers.

Yet it is fear of these very dangers that has prevented responsible leaders from building an authentic gospel witness to politics. That paralysis has created the vacuum within which fools like James Dobson and Tony Perkins, glory hounds like Eric Metaxas and prostitutes like Ralph “I Need to Start Humping in Corporate Accounts!” Reed operate. Continue reading

On Voting and Civic Participation: A Response to Wayne Grudem

I’m delighted to publish this incisive review of Dr. Grudem’s Trump endorsement written by Drs. Matthew Arbo and Jeremy Kidwell.

This has been a strange and bewildering year for American politics, and for certain segments of the American church. Some commenters have felt confident to call the church’s reaction to the general election a “schism” in the religious right—quite strong language. The candidacy of Donald Trump has been inordinately mystifying for many of us, Christians included, but “schism” is far too vague a diagnosis in attempting to capture the state of this discourse, just as “religious right” is a rather unimpressive sociological descriptor. We would like to suggest that this and a great many other takes on “evangelical politics,” reflects a troubling confusion about the nature of Christian political citizenship that has finally been drawn from the background into the foreground of political discourse. This confusion is on clear display in Wayne Grudem’s 19 Oct piece “If You Don’t Like Either Candidate, Then Vote for Trump’s Policies.” Continue reading

Betraying Politics: The Mystique of Public Life

This is a fun week—for the second time in as many days, we’re debuting a new writer here at Mere O. It’s a delight to be able to publish this guest piece from John Shelton.

“Everything begins as a mystique and ends as a politique,” observes French essayist Charles Péguy. In other words, that which begins as a pure idea—mystic, even transcendent—devolves into profane politics, the slow grind of policy divorced from any sort of sanguine idealism. The politique politician is an automaton, swayed by the slightest breeze of public opinion and party leadership. Such a man considers himself to be “eminently practical.” If he is always choosing an evil, at least it is the lesser of two. He takes what he can get; he desires the possible and worries not over the good, the beautiful, the true. He scoffs at Plato, even Aristotle. His man is Hobbes—Machiavelli, if he is forthright. He esteems them not for their realism but their cynicism. Such humdrum pessimism is fit cover for this man without a chest. Continue reading

The Five Stages of Evangelical Grief

I’m pleased to publish this guest post from new Mere O contributor Brian Mesimer.

I was recently at a church conference where one of the plenary addresses focused on the role of the Christian in the public square. The speaker, a Christian philosophy professor, said all the right things a Christian professor should say in that kind of lecture. And yet nothing he said made me feel remotely comfortable about the place of evangelicals in the public sphere. I suppose that part of that feeling came from my concern about the coming collapse of evangelical politics after Trump’s inevitable loss. My therapist’s imagination, however, wouldn’t let me stop there. I couldn’t help but think that our strategic planning for 2020 or our concern over whether or not the Benedict Option is viable is a bit premature. Continue reading

7 Theses on Evangelicalism After Donald Trump and 2016

In the aftermath of the many scandals of the past week and a half, which began with the Trump tapes, and the consequent loss of endorsements for Trump (and the increasingly appalling support for the man), now is a good time to take stock of where evangelicalism is as a social movement in America and what our post-Trump future will be.

Continue reading