Here are the court evangelicals on display:
I have no problem with Trump issuing a declaration of prayer. Presidents have been doing this for a long time. And the good people of Houston need as much prayer as possible.
But it was hard for me to watch Trump go around the room, ask individual faith leaders to say something flattering about his spirituality and his handling of Harvey, and then watch them oblige. This is what court flattery looks like.
As historian Peter Burke puts it in his book The Fabrication of Louis XIV: “…some courtiers and some writers sang the praises of Louis for the sake of their own careers, hitching their wagons to the sun.” (p.12).
When I see photo-ops like this it is hard for me to believe that the court evangelicals are speaking truth to power.
Today I told one of my classes that the culture wars is ultimately about how one understands American history. Notice Gary Bauer in this video talking about “turning back” to God, the Christian roots of the country, and the “shining city on a hill.”
Robert Jeffress praises Trump as a healer of our nation and invokes the phrase “Make America Great Again” in his prayer. Let’s remember that “Make America Great Again” is ultimately a historical statement.
It was universally acknowledged, that American was essentially a Christian nation, until fairly recent decades. History bears this out.
Number one, it has not been “universally acknowledged.” That is just fact. Second, we need to define “Christian nation.”
Lee Ann says
Are these all Christian leaders?
Being a Christian nation means, as the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) put it in 1870, “The union of church and state is indeed against our American theory and constitutions of government; but the most intimate union of the state with the saving and conservative forces of Christianity is one of the oldest customs of the country, and has always ranked a vital article of our political faith.” You will be hard-pressed to find anyone contradicting this until recent decades. Even Jefferson above tacitly affirms it.
Presbyterians from 1870 may agree, but Anabaptists since the Reformation vehemently disagree. So, do you want to call it a Presbyterian nation instead of a Christian nation?
Anabaptists are not a big influence in America. The big three for most of our history were Congregationalists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians. These three denominations covered most of the population during the founding period and well into the 19th century.
Mickey Weems says
Selective Protestantcentrism on display – no room (nor love) for Catholics, disregard for other Protestant denominations in 1870. Also, these rather arrogant forms of Christianity were tightly bound with institutional racism and American imperialism – far cry from Congregationalists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians today. Thank God, the notion of a “Christian nation” has changed.
The PCUSA General Assembly didn’t exclude other Protestant churches from being an institutional, social, and moral influence on America. I merely stated the fact that Presbyterianism was one of the big 3 founding denominations influencing the American cultural and political establishment. It is without question that America was founded as a Protestant nation. Not all of us Presbyterians have bowed the knee to Baal.