Over the weekend, Mark Oppenheimer penned an op-ed criticizing Eric Metaxas for supporting Donald Trump. More than criticize Metaxas’ position, Oppenheimer expressed surprise that a Bonhoeffer biographer like Metaxas could overlook what seems to be an obvious fascist theme in Trump’s campaign.
Today, conservative writer and friend of Metaxas Rod Dreher accuses Oppenheimer of smearing Metaxas. However, he does it while agreeing with Oppenheimer that Metaxas is agonizingly wrong to support Trump.
This is a fascinating exchange (read both articles) and one that illustrates what feels like an impossible choice to many people this year. Trump’s pandering to evangelicals has divided the camp. We’re not seriously divided on Clinton, very few are offering a defense. However, when it comes to Trump, some celebrity evangelicals like Grudem, Metaxas and Falwell feel the need to not only vote for Trump but to convince others to do so. People like Russell Moore feel the need to keep people away from Trump.
Instead of feeding the poor, helping the broken and testifying, evangelicals are fussing about just how crazy and fascist Trump is. Is he just a little, or unacceptably too much? This can’t be a good thing.
Such shenanigans are not lost on many evangelical lay people, especially the kids. This morning I ran across this article by Amy Gennett. She makes a case that “the youth” are watching and don’t like what they see.
Over the last several months, I have lost respect for the Republican party, and I honestly thought that would be the biggest tragedy of this election. But the disappointing truth is this: I’m losing faith in Evangelicals.
And this is frightening. I am an Evangelical. I hold to Evangelical theology. I have attended not one, but two Evangelical schools. But I fear that we’re going to lose an entire generation because of the actions, words, and teachings of some Evangelicals. Including Wayne Grudem.
Teaching at a Christian college, I hear these thoughts often.
Grudem’s article raised the GOP flag and implied it was sin not to salute. Metaxas tells us we must vote for Trump or the whole nation drops into the abyss. Ms. Gannett continues:
Evangelical leaders are not just supporting nationalism, but are elevating nationalism to a Christian virtue. Many point back to the founding fathers as Christian leaders in our nation and impress upon us that we must support the constitution and protect our country because it is a Christian thing to do. We have deeply muddied the language between serving our God and serving our country. Forget the martyrs of the faith around the world, posters show us that soldiers make the “ultimate sacrifice.” As Christian millennials, we just can’t buy this. We look over our shoulders at our nation’s history and wince a little. We don’t have a lot of national pride because we are waking up to the immense on-going racism that exists in our nation’s systems, the horrors of early American history, and the tragedies around the world that happen because every country has nationalists. So when you equate nationalism with Christian virtue, we’re out.
Evangelical leaders need to wake up and smell the wisdom in this. Of course, there are evangelicals of all ages (I’m pushing 60) who are bolting from Christian nationalism. Ms. Gannett believes her generation is itchy to get away from it which could be one of the silver linings of this storm.