Pastor Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz, says that God allows terror attacks “because of transgenders and theory of evolution.” Cardinal Caffarra, speaking May 19 to the Rome Life Forum, to 100 family values leaders from over 20 nations, warned that Satan is hurling “ultimate and terrible challenge” at God by society embracing gay families. In his speech, the Italian cardinal warned that we are now facing a “frightful war” on marriage and the family but urged the faithful not to be afraid, to witness to Christ, as the victory is “already won.” Meanwhile Jerry Falwell Jr., denounced any Republican congressmen — including his fellow white evangelicals — who does less than support Trump 100 percent. He hurled what he considered to be the ultimate insult at them by calling them “moderates.” Moderates Falwell said, “make my blood boil!”
To Falwell to be called a moderate is an insult.
United in their extremism and hatred of the Other these evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders represent the new “ecumenism.” It’s not about theology but power.
This is the ecumenism of shared hatreds. Purity of faith (what used to be called “correct theology”) is no longer the point. Unity found in shared hatred is the point.
They call this “Family Values.” These days Family Values have been stretched to include:
- denouncing climate change as a hoax
- “standing up to the gays”
- forcing transgender people to use bathrooms they don’t want to use
- slashing health care for the poor
- deconstructing social services
- banning Muslims
- expelling Hispanics
- rolling back regulations that protect clean air and water
- using voter registration laws to exclude black voters
- destroying the social safety net
- promoting gun ownership
- denying science
- undermining public schools
- being anti-universities
- making the media an enemy
- believing conspiracy theories
- rejecting proven facts as “fake news”
- attacking women’s rights
- resurrecting Jim Crow by supporting mass incarceration in FOR PROFIT prisons
- making sure billionaires get more tax cuts while denying health coverage to poor people
In these denunciations and “stands” evangelicals and Roman Catholic conservatives have found a new unity. Theology — in other words believer’s ideas about Jesus and what we think he said as reported in the Bible and church traditions — is no longer the key issue for these believers. Political power over others is the issue that unites.
When I was a child — being raised in a fundamentalist evangelical mission — my parents Francis and Edith Schaeffer, worked to get Roman Catholics “saved.”
As I describe in my memoir — CRAZY FOR GOD: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back — my parents considered all Roman Catholics as “lost.” Dad used to travel from Switzerland to Milan Italy once a month to conduct “the only Christian Bible study in Italy.” By the word Christian Dad meant to describe fundamentalist evangelical Protestants just like himself- or as he’d say “real born-again Christians.” Everyone else was lost and the Other.
The concept of the Other persists. But American Evangelicals have however redrawn their lines of exclusion. Now Roman Catholic white conservatives who voted for Trump are “in” and “saved” (as it were) while Hispanic evangelicals who believe in Jesus the “right way” but who voted for Hillary are “out” and “lost.”
These days the Other isn’t perceived as a lost person who needs Jesus, but as a political enemy who needs (in Trump’s famous words) a “punch in the face.”
For instance the Trump-supporter and president of the largest evangelical college Jerry Falwell Jr., reserves special scorn moderates in the Republican fold. “I think evangelicals have found their dream president,” Jerry Falwell Jr., said. He added that he’s not happy about the “moderate Republicans in Congress” who seem to be obstructing the President’s agenda. “These moderates just make my blood boil,” Falwell said. “These moderates pretend to be conservatives, they woo conservative voters, and then they’re not conservative when they get in office. So that part just makes my blood boil!”
The “moderates” Falwell hates include the few white evangelicals in Congress who are slightly more inclusive and slightly more compassionate than the hardest line far right fundamentalists who now control the Republican Party.
At any other period of history these moderate evangelical Republicans would have been perceived as far right extremists. But today they are moderate by comparison to the “mainstream” Republican Party that is no longer even an American-style political party but rather a collection of white supremacist fascist Nazi-style oligarchs in service to billionaires.
As for religious leaders what they are saying these days would have been unimaginable back in the day- for instance when I was a religious right leader as my father’s nepotistic sidekick in the 1970s and 1980s. But today this is the new “normal.” For instance, religious right activist “Coach” Dave Daubenmire declared on his “Pass The Salt Live” webcast on May 31, 2017 that America needs “a more violent Christianity.” He cited President Trump and Greg Gianforte (the GOP congressional candidate whop attacked a reporter) as examples of violent men who are properly “walking in authority.”
“The only thing that is going to save Western civilization is a more aggressive, a more violent Christianity,” he said.
Playing a clip of Trump shoving aside the prime minister of Montenegro at a recent NATO summit so that he could stand in front of the group of assembled leaders, Daubenmire heaped praise on Trump for showing that “he is large and in charge.”
“Look at him,” Daubenmire screamed gleefully while watching the clip. “They’re all little puppies, ain’t nobody barking at him … He’s walking in authority. He walked to the front and center and they all know it, too, man. He just spanked them all.”
Trump’s behavior is an example for the church, Daubenmire said. “The Lord is showing us a picture of the authority we should be walking in.” Daubenmire then cited Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte’s assault on a reporter the day before he won a special election in Montana as another example for the church.
“People are sick and tired of it,” he said. “They’re saying, ‘Yes, a fighter! Go, dude, go!’ … Who won? The dude that took the other dude to the ground.”
“That should be the heart cry of Christian men,” Daubenmire said. “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of God has suffered violence and violent men take it by force.”
Their violent god is not Jesus but the ever more toxic legacy of power and wealth, Ayn Rand.
The ecumenism of shared hatred crosses other former religious barriers too. White American evangelicals love Vladimir Putin and his anti-gay stand. Thus they love the far right white nationalist Russian Orthodox Church that supports Putin, as he launches his police to beat and kill gays and political opponents.
As noted in New York magazine, “Trump and his alt-right fan-base are hardly the only Americans who deeply admire Vladimir Putin: He has a fairly large fan club among politically active U.S. Christian conservatives.”
Evangelical leader Franklin Graham, National Organization for Marriage leader Brian Brown, and American Family Association spokesperson Bryan Fischer, all love Putin. His homophobia and Islamophobia has made Putin one of the Christian right’s favorite international figures.
Putin’s attacks on “gay propaganda” have been particularly heartwarming to Christian-right voters. Here’s Franklin Graham positively man-crush gushing about Putin during a trip to Russia:
I very much appreciate that President Putin is protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda. If only to give them the opportunity to grow up and make a decision for themselves. Again, homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children. I believe that President Obama (and I’ll repeat, he’s a very nice person) is leading America down the wrong road. He’s taking a stand against God.
Caffarra, the archbishop emeritus of Bologna and Billy Graham’s deranged white nationalist Trump-loving daughter and Billy’s even more deranged son all believe that this time in history is a decisive confrontation fought over marriage and the family and sexuality. God and Satan are at war over sex. Putin, the murderer of political opponents and journalists is fine with them because he hates and fears gays too.
“At the root of this is the work of Satan, who wants to build an actual anti-creation,” Cardinal Caffarra said. “This is the ultimate and terrible challenge which Satan is hurling at God. ‘I am demonstrating to you that I am capable of constructing an alternative to your creation. And man will say: it is better in the alternative creation than in your creation.’”
The Graham daughter and leader of AnGel Ministries in North Carolina said during an appearance on right-wing pundit Steve Deace’s radio show, that God has abandoned America because of transgender rights. The US is under the judgment of God in part because “we embrace of the theory of evolution,” which started “this downward spiral away from God.”
Or as the cardinal added in his presentation: “There is no truth” in Satan, “who seeks to kill truth in the heart of man by inducing” him to unbelief.”
Satan is therefore always working against the Lord’s strong force of attraction to himself, seeking to “neutralize” it. And this battle within the human heart becomes manifest in society and culture, leading to “the culture of the truth and the culture of the lie.”
The “culture of the lie” is the “ennoblement of homosexuality,” the cardinal said, which “in fact denies entirely the truth of marriage, the mind of God the Creator with regard to marriage.”
Marriage has a “permanent structure” in the mind of God because the union of man and woman is the “human cooperation in the creative act of God,” Cardinal Caffarra said.
The World Congress of Families, a global network of anti-LGBT and anti-abortion activists held this year’s global summit in Budapest, Hungary.
Event organizers hailed Hungary’s strongman leader Viktor Orban as a pro-family “hero.” Orban addressed participants on Thursday with what the Guardian called a “typically pugnacious speech” that accused the European Union of being “dominated by a ‘relativising liberal ideology that’s an insult to families.’” More from the Guardian:
The four-day pro-family extravaganza—which will be attended by 3,000 delegates and will include events at the national parliament and other venues of symbolic importance—is the latest episode in Orban’s quest to position himself as a self-styled defender of “European Christian values”, a role he has used to justify his Fidesz government’s draconian treatment of mainly Muslim refugees and migrants.
Adolf Hitler is often used as an example of what happens to a society when traditional Christian moral and social values are abandoned. In reality, one of the reasons why Hitler was so popular with conservative Christians in Germany was precisely because he like Putin, promised to restore traditional morality. He opposed abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and just about everything else conservative Christians complained were ruining modern Germany.
These quotes of Hitler’s were complied byin “Adolf Hitler on Tradition: Quotes on Needing Moral Values.” They could have been spoken to wild applause at any gathering of white evangelical voters, or “family values” Catholic or “tradition-defending” Russian Orthodox bishops, or by Trump in a speech crafted for him by his evangelical advisors like Ralph Reed and Franklin Graham.
Hitler: Woman’s World is Husband, Family, Children, Home
Woman’s world is her husband, her family, her children and her home. We do not find it right when she presses into the world of men.
– Adolf Hitler, quoted in Lucy Komisar, The New Feminism
Hitler: Media Must be Cleansed of Sexual Filth
Parallel to the training of the body a struggle against the poisoning of the soul must begin. Our whole public life today is like a hothouse for sexual ideas and simulations. Just look at the bill of fare served up in our movies, vaudeville and theaters, and you will hardly be able to deny that this is not the right kind of food, particularly for the youth…Theater, art, literature, cinema, press, posters, and window displays must be cleansed of all manifestations of our rotting world and placed in the service of a moral, political, and cultural idea.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 10
Hitler: Decline of Christianity in Europe is Dangerous
While both denominations maintain missions in Asia and Africa in order to win new followers for their doctrine — an activity which can boast but very modest success compared to the advance of the Mohammedan faith in particular — right here in Europe they lose millions and millions of inward adherents who either are alien to all religious life or simply go their own ways. The consequences, particularly from a moral point of view, are not favorable.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 10
Hitler: Institution of Marriage Must Be Defended
A Volkisch state must therefore begin by raising marriage from the level of a continuous defilement of the race, and give it the consecration of an institution which is called upon to produce images of the Lord and not monstrosities halfway between man and ape.
– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 2
Hitler: Burn out the Poison of Immorality
Today Christians … stand at the head of [this country]… I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past … (few) years.
– Adolf Hitler, quoted in: The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872
To mention Hitler and the white evangelical Trump voters and conservative Roman Catholics in one article is no longer a stretch.
The white Trump voters embrace Putin. Putin is a mass murderer. He has his opponents killed worldwide. He was behind the shooting down of a Dutch civilian airliner to make a point. He invades small innocent neighbors. He is a plutocrat and at the heart of a kleptocracy. Putin is a thief and thus now a billionaire who has stolen his country’s wealth. He has an estimated net worth of $200 billion fortune, 58 planes and helicopters and 20 palaces and country retreats.
Those who love Putin’s “stand” for “morality” indeed love a killer and international criminal just as horrible, ruthless and immoral as Hitler.
As noted in the Washington Post,
The white right and Trump/Putin fascism share these attributes with Hitler:
Hyper-nationalism; Militarism; glorification of violence and readiness to use it in politics; fetishization of masculinity; leader cult; lost-golden-age syndrome; self-definition by opposition (Fascists defined themselves as the bulwark against various evils and menaces to the nation); Hierarchical party structure and tendency to purge the disloyal (“moderates) and Theatricality. In style and rhetoric, fascism and Putinism and Trumpism and white evangelicalism, are, like European 1930s fascism, highly theatrical.
Trump continues to hold election style ego-boosting rallies… even long after the election. Evangelicals revel in TV preacher hyperbole. Putin has crafted a celebrity cult around himself;f.
Aswrote in the Washington Post, “noted in Film and audio of Mussolini and Hitler these days make them seem like clownish buffoons, with their exaggerated gestures, their salutes, their overheated speeches full of absolutes and superlatives. Their rallies evolved into elaborate collective rituals for loyalists…. Trump does not strut across stages like a Mussolini, and Nazi-style torchlit parades are out, but his rhetoric fits the fascist style well.”
Franklin Graham, Putin and Jerry Falwell Jr., also use this Hitlarian method. And Trump, like Hitler, constantly calls things and people the worst or the best ever. His rallies feature repetitive chants. Even his studied frown of disapproval recalls classic Mussolini and Hitler poses.
White evangelicals love Trump. They love Putin. The mask has fallen from the family values Trump-loving religious right. The Putin/Trump-embracing global white religious right is not religious at all, but more purely fascist by the day.