I just finished reading John Fea’s latest post for Sojourners, “Evangelicals, this is how republics fail.” I’m still thinking through what I think and feel about it.
Viewed from within the evangelical community, it seems to stretch the accepted orthodoxy of Trumpism and de-facto Republican politics.
From a post/ex-evangelical perspective, it still seems too constrained and only looks to other evangelicals for guidance - and even ‘moderate’ or ‘liberal’ evangelicals (by 2020 standards) do not offer much of a theological or political alternative.
What are your thoughts? Share here or on Twitter. I’m @brchastain on there.
Yes, I see what you mean Blake. The de facto Republican politics jump out right at the beginning when the pro-Trumpian friend pushes back with "What about Democrats?" and Fea responds "of course they are (hypocritical liars). The "of course" is a nod to Republicanism being the only acceptable mode of political expression for believers and the Democrats as being de facto enemies. Fea seems unwilling or incapable of standing up to his friend by noting that Trump's level of deceit is unparalleled. This insiders/outsiders tribalism is much of the reason I deconstructed from evangelicalism.
Further, he fails to see the level of danger inherent in Trumpism. "Donald Trump will be gone one day'" is a remarkably naive take on the crisis our republic is in because of Trump's authoritarianism. Donald Trump may very well not be gone for a long time if he is allowed to continue his authoritarian ways by his Republican supporters in the Senate, who often have been elected by evangelical voters. Trump could easily declare himself president for life. Who would stop him?
Thanks for the thought provoking article and discussion.
By "stretch" do you mean "challenge?" I'm not quite sure what you mean there.
What you are calling the "post/ex-evangelical perspective" is simply one that looks outside that enclave for useful insight, direction, and analysis relative to a failed and broken culture that has betrayed it. By his own words, this is Fea's position. Yet he doesn't even think of drawing on figures and resources outside the fold, probably for the same reason you assume that would be an antithetical, anti-Evangelical perspective. But when you're trying to engage in self-criticism, maybe outside perspectives would help?
This reads like a safe rant that risks nothing and mainly circles around Fea positioning himself with his preferred stable of canonical Evangelical influencers as the people who should be heeded and promoted when Trump is gone. He still seems to be committed to the idea that Trump is an aberration, and things were pretty good with the Reagan and Bush I-II administrations. A lot of it just seems unhinged to me.