January 10, 2014

The problem with evangelical tribalism is that it isn't religious at all

Fred Clark has had a lot of good posts of late.  In this one, he noted that Hobby Lobby may consider birth control a violation of their religious liberty, but they have no problem doing business with China where they force women to have abortions.  Or hell, the one where Franklin Graham chastised Christians for for not supporting racism enough.  

But this one seems to take the cake.  For years, I was told that Israel was God's chosen people, and that we as a nation had to stand behind them (even when they attack civilians).  Evangelicals have supported the current Israeli regime's bloodlust toward Iran and would cheer them to war any day.  But here is the funny thing, evidently Israel has a very pro-choice approach to abortion--far more than we have here, yet the evangelical response is to support Israel and badmouth Obama.

Leighton made the point years ago that the conservative response was tribal, and that has been an incredibly useful lens through which to view modern politics.  Yes, politics.  Evangelicals like to claim that they are Christians first and foremost, and conservatives only second.  They hate it when we point out that they seem to be a permanent committee for the RNC.  Yet, their response to almost every moral or political question is to side with the Republicans. They have opposed healthcare for the sick, and food for the hungry, after all.

But this abortion issue was supposed to be their line in the sand.  Republicans who dared cross that might not get their support.  But Israel has exposed that to be a lie.

Conservative Christians aren't Christian first.  First and foremost, they are part of a conservative political machinery focused on achieving political power, undermining social safety nets, cutting regulations on worker safety and protecting the environment, and making sure that the rich and powerful remain rich and powerful.  WWJD?

1 comment:

leighton said...

The China example is perfectly consistent if you notice that the actual opposition isn't to abortion itself, but to women being the ones who decide to have abortions. China forces women to have abortions? No problem, because women don't have control there.

In most apocalyptic fantasies I'm familiar with, Israel is supposed to be reprobate to justify its annihilation when the end finally comes, so that's also pretty consistent. Appalling, and something that should immediately disqualify anyone who believes it from public office or positions of authority, but internally consistent.

Not that any of this is a defense of absurd beliefs, of course. What I'm struggling to explain is the complete absence of symptoms of cognitive dissonance in most people I know who champion all these things. There has to be some hermetically sealed perspective from which all this makes sense, or at least doesn't immediately repel all thought and feeling and life.