Ask A Genius 387 – Eye for Eye, Graham for Graham, Evangelical for Evangelical
September 19, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, you were talking with me, off-tape, about young people. You were talking about how, for the most part, Evangelicals in the United States – in particular, the Dominionist/Reconstructionist form of it – have destroyed faith in faith, so to speak in the United States.
Rick Rosner: It is midnight. It just turned June 20th. We are in the middle of this taking kids away from people trying to show up in the US. They are up to nearly 2,500 kids separated from the families they’ve shown up with.
This is Trump’s deal. The whole country is in a tizzy. Because it seems to be super creepy and morally outrageous and feeling Hitlerish and fascistic. Then you have the others, the “20%.” They are still strong with Trump.
They say, “If you don’t want your kids taken away, don’t show up at our border.” Even though, it is legal to show up at the border and ask for asylum, but another thing the Trump administration is doing is understaffing the legal places you can go and ask for asylum.
People get frustrated in getting turned down 5 times in 5 days and try to go somewhere else, then they get arrested and their kids get pulled. It seems Trump is running a blackmail scheme. You go with him. You give him money for the border. You give him everything else he wants for immigration, then he will quit doing this stuff to kids.
Things are pretty horrible in the US right now. It is pertinent to what we have been talking about with what we call the hollowing out of religion, which is people turning away from organized religion but mostly people who still consider themselves part of organized religions while having a harder and harder time believing in all aspects of that religion.
What you and I both noticed based on our reading is that the younger people are demographically in the US, the higher percentage of them don’t have a religion. This has been attributed to, at least in what I have read and, I think, what you have read, the intolerance and hypocrisy of some of the preachier religions in the US: the Evangelicals.
20/30 years ago was when the Evangelicals were pulled into politics, in the Reagan Era. That is 35 years ago, and more now. Republican strategists realized that Evangelicals might be able to be mobilized to be a political force for Republicans, who were the family values or called themselves the family values party.
Evangelicals got pulled into politics. Then in the past 10 years, there has been an acceleration of Evangelicals, at least, abandoning demanding the politicians they support to follow their core values as long as those politicians support the things that the Evangelicals believe in, which are a lot of traditional things.
No gay marriage, anti-abortion, pro-Second Amendment, really straightforward and stereotypical values; it has reached an apex with Trump who is a horrible guy. He seems to be getting more horrible by the week.
In 2010, 21% of Evangelicals said that someone like Trump’s personal behavior didn’t matter as long as he supports what the Evangelicals support. In the past 8 years, since 2010, the number who says what a politician does in his personal life doesn’t matter has gone from 21% to 71%, and among white males has gone to 81%.
Apparently, younger people look at Evangelicals in this form of hypocrisy and are turned off from religion. Also, to some extent, the Golden Rule has decoupled itself from American conservative evangelism.
The historical trend in the Golden Rule is treating everybody as you would wish to be treated. The way that the footprint of the Golden Rule is spread is over the past centuries; more and more people have been included in people who follow the Golden Rule’s understanding of who other people might be.
That is, at first, maybe, the Golden Rule may apply to people within your own tribe, race, state, sect, or gender. You might only grant the status to people within your group. But through the march of history, more and more people have been included by reasonable people as people who deserve equal consideration: gay people, lately trans people, people of all different races and genders and nationalities.
We understand we have brains that work more or less the same way; we all feel the same emotions, even though our behaviors, orientations, and colors might be different. We all, essentially, have the same consciousness.
We all hurt and love. This Golden Rule consideration has been extended by reasonable, kind people to all sorts of other people and beyond people – to animals, to the extent that we think they can experience happiness, sadness, and pain.
Some of the traditional religions are trailing that understanding. Some of this understanding is science-based, as we explore the brain. Some of this Evangelical religion, and other religions such as strands of Islam and most of the major religions, is/are anti-science, which is not to say everyone.
But there is a big anti-science demographic among American conservative Evangelicals; a reserving of human consideration only for people who are similar to you. Young people who are strongly a part of the world are rejecting that.
I guess in an ironic or perverse way; religion is wrecking religion. Maybe, it has always been like that to some extent. But it certainly is happening right now in America, where people who are supporting Trump and his inhumane policies are probably turning off a lot of people who may have been fence sitters about conservativism.
If conservativism is not going to denounce this fascistic cruelty, they are going to lose people. How fast? How many? We will find out in the mid-term elections, which are about, now, 139 days away.
We will not find out exactly because of gerrymandering. For Democrats to win back the house of representatives, they have to get about 7% more votes in total and in the right places than Republicans do, because Republicans have a built-in advantage based on how they engineered the voting districts across America for Congress.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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