Wednesday, November 11, 2020

No Joking Matter

It was on Wednesday night, when things were already looking bleak, but not hopeless, for President Trump when in Orlando, Florida the President's religious advisor, Paula White, appeared with son Brad Knight and 

led a marathon prayer service at the New Christian Destiny Centre, calling on the almighty for divine intervention in the presidential race.

In a video widely circulated on social media by Right Wing Watch, the “prosperity gospel” pastor can be seen denouncing the “demonic confederacies” working against Mr Trump and declaring that “angels from Africa, from South America” are coming to his aid.

"Angels are being dispatched from Africa right now," she said, adding, "They're coming here."

Speaking in tongues, in which a person utters sounds thought of as a secret language unknown to the speaker, features in Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity, as well as other religions.

Joined by Knight, White led a prayer service also on Thursday night. Not only is she a White but preaches a prosperity gospel, a happy coincidence for Trump. On Thursday, she vowed her followers would "override" the will of man and "we overturn it, we overturn it right now, and it will be no more, it will be no more because it is our right by the blood of Jesus, and you will give it to us."

In the video below, if you can look beyond the childish laughter of Ana Kasparian- who lends a note of childish levity- The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur can be seen explaining

Apparently God loves Joe Biden because the sound of victory seems to be headed on to Joe Biden. And she says God chose so I guess God chose Joe Biden. So once Biden is declared the winner, Paula White and all those pastors are just immediately going to flip and go "well, that's it, God wanted Joe Biden, we love Joe Biden then."

I remember when they all flipped and were in favor of Barack Obama because God had chosen everything and they said God was going to choose in 2008 and they said God was going to choose in 2012. And he did- he chose Barack Obama.

A little surprisingly Uygur, a secular Muslim, largely nailed it.  The of se individuals will not claim to love Joe Biden. Nonetheless, most white evangelicals (as the term is generally understood by non-theologians), whether or not advocates of the prosperity gospel, do believe God chooses. Moreover, they maintain that God chose (even) Barack Obama, however few actually voted for him.

They believe, as it's most often characterized, that God is in control. To them, this means not only that God controls human activity in the same manner that a parent controls her child, in which some minor decisions are left to the child, lest she grow up hopeless and helpless. It means that God is determinative; the Almighty is intimately involved with everything and everyone and at every time. God not only can make the final decision but does so invariably.

Uygur reminds us of Jesus' legendary concern for the poor and maintains "media, Democrats, as usual, are so scared to point these things out." He continues in a mocking voice "We don't want to offend religious people, we don't want to offend religious people." Yet

If you can't make fun of that, what has this world come to. Do you have any courage? That is why we allow fundamentalists- not all religious people- run roughshod over us because they just throw the religion card.

There are serious consequences when Republicans run roughshod over Democrats.  The left- and most Americans- will pay for decades in part because of the unwillingness or inability to challenge the GOP on religion in the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. Democrats

trod extremely gingerly around anything involving Barrett’s religion or personal life. They instead sought to focus extensively on how her past comments suggest she might have prejudged cases on abortion rights and Obamacare.

In fact, the words “religion,” “Catholic,” “Christian” and “faith” were invoked in relation to religious issues about 80 times over two days of question-and-answer sessions with Barrett. Republicans and Barrett accounted for 75 of them; Democrats, only five.

Among the few times that Democrats did invoke faith, they praised Barrett for hers or sought to insulate themselves from the perception that they might be raising it as an issue.

It's probably tactically wise, except perhaps for professional comedians, to resist the urge to make fun of Paula White or other evangelical/Pentecostal Christians in favor of challenging them.  It is past time for media figures to ask such theologically and politically conservative Christians about the incidence of liberal or Democratic outcomes. A sample series of questions might be

-Was God responsible for the election of Joe Biden?

-If so, did you vote for him?

-If not, why were you defying the will of God?

That's only a start. But it's a necessary one, and cowardice is not a good look for journalists or a major political party.


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