by Frank Schaeffer
Biden addressed the terror threat directly: a “rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat” is what he called it. But the new president is hamstrung by the lack of attention paid to evangelicals as the root of the lies that feed our White terror problem.
Recent opinion polls say more than a third of the total US electorate still believe that Trump won the November election. That is the White evangelical third of the American populations as a whole. America only has a terror problem because we have an evangelical delusion problem that feeds it.
The myth of the ‘stolen election’ endlessly repeated by White evangelicals is a rallying call for far-right terrorists
Most evangelicals aren’t terrorists themselves but it is the evangelical leadership that gave us Trump and is now enabling, feeding and nurturing his Big Lie. The bitter smell of Trump continues to hang in the air because he left the presidency never having conceded he lost the election and the White evangelical community of 60 million and their leaders are clinging to that Big Lie.
Without the evangelical base Trump’s lies would fade
The evangelical legacy of Franklin Graham and 60 million evangelical Trump-enablers of his Big Stolen Election Lie was manifest on inauguration day in the 7ft non-scalable fences and the war zone presence of national guard. The legacy of the “stolen election” lie will endure only because 60 million evangelicals still believe it and they have their churches and organizations ready-made as impregnable self-sustaining tax-deductible wealthy subcultures untouched by facts, truth or decency.
Current intelligence chiefs say they’re primed to have to deal with a lasting White Nationalist terror threat. This threat is there only because the evangelical subculture of millions is one vast echo-chamber of falsehood feeding extremists on paranoid mythology of victimhood and lost “religious liberty.”
At the center of our domestic terrorism threat is the belief that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged.” And evangelicals have organizations, churches, schools, colleges and TV and radio programs and Internet networks to keep the Lie alive.
That Lie will feed terrorism
The fact that Trump actually believes himself to have been wronged and persecuted finds resonance in the paranoia that already exists in the evangelical population about secularism and liberalism “taking away” evangelicals guns, Bibles, schools, freedoms. This guarantees future violence not by the majority of evangelicals but by the fringe they enable and stir up.
White supremacist groups
Into White evangelical life has come the even more poisonous influence of White supremacist groups, motivated by racial animus and wielding their Confederate flags inside the Capitol building. They used to be fringe. Now with 60 million White evangelicals they are mainstream because one huge voting block supports their lies if not their terror.
Given the millions of evangelicals who bought into the stolen election fantasy — as their evangelical leaders like Ralph Reed went along with Trump — if even a tiny fraction of them are drawn to the newly energized White supremacists this will be national security nightmare of monumental proportions. Chris Wray the FBI director Biden intends to keep told Congress last year that “racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists” are the main source of US terror. But what few admit is that without evangelical support of the false narrative, the paranoid lies that feed the terror groups would fade.
FBI resources reflect is the exact opposite of curbing White terror. Eighty percent of its counter-terrorism budget goes on fighting international terrorism (i.e., Islamist terror) and only 20% on domestic– i.e., White evangelical fed terror.
Identify individuals who have the capability of violence
How do you begin to identify individuals who have the capability of violence when they are embedded in such a vast mass of American citizenry? Start by telling the truth about the evangelical subculture of institutions that feed the lies that push the unbalanced over the edge by making the lies seem mainstream and “normal.”
For now the nation remains on alert but the question is this: Will The Big Lie about a “stolen election” outlasts the liar Trump? If it does it will be because evangelical leaders like Franklin Graham, Ralph Reed and thousands of American pastors perpetuate it and refuse to tell the truth to their people. And that keeps the violence-inducing lies out there and makes them “respectable.”