A Gospel Coalition article has taken aim at evangelical boomers who support and will vote for Trump, painting them as foolish, prone to conspiracy theories, inconsistent in ideology, and likely racist and xenophobic in some manner.
The article, written by senior editor Brett McCraken, seeks to discuss the generational voting divide between younger evangelicals and their parents. The writer opens up with this canon blast, framing the queries as facts to be assumed.
I’m hearing more and more young, conservative-leaning evangelicals express disappointment at the political behavior of their conservative parents—a growing concern that they’re being radicalized into the conspiracy-spreading far-right by a steady diet of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Ben Shapiro.
The correct response to these young evangelicals would be to rebuke them for such silliness and conspiratorial thinking, crushing and disabusing them of their propensity to propagate progressive talking points. Yet McCraken buttresses this scenario by providing another, remarking:
One young pastor shared that, as much as his peers want to glean from the wisdom of their parents’ generation, it seems there is little wisdom left. In the words of one pastor friend: ‘They’ve all given themselves over to the foolishness of America.’
Meet the New Conservatives
Pivoting to favorably quoting Michelle Obama about how American kids are being lied to by their parents about their values and can’t trust them anymore, in the context of voting and having wisdom, McCraken points out how Obama’s words “resonated with many young evangelicals” like Michael Wear.
Wear of course is a proud Democrat who worked for the Obama White House for several years as part of his faith-based initiative to get Christians to vote for Obama and to overcome arguments that he was “pro-choice.” He also worked in the office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, framing democratic policies in Christian language to make them palatable. Wear also founded the @ANDCampaign, a democratic organization that serves to disincentivize conservatives from voting for Trump while pretending to be politically neutral.
Is this what the Gospel Coalition understands “young, conservative-leaning evangelicals” to be?
The Shame is Palpable
Pointing out that he can see why some “Christian voters might find Trump the lesser of two evils,” McCraken says that the real disappointment and tragedy is that these boomer parents don’t find Trump evil at all, and don’t frame their vote as one between the lesser of two evils, but rather of good vs evil, or good policy vs bad. He points out again that “reasonable arguments for Christians to vote for Trump can be made” while being sure to add “as can arguments to vote for other candidates.” by which he means Democrat candidates.
Summarizing, we get the notion if your parents are listening to Ben Shapiro or Rush Limbaugh, don’t believe that Christians should vote for Biden the Baby-Butcherer, and don’t necessarily view a vote for Trump as a vote for “evil,” then it’s right to be disappointed but that you shouldn’t be disrespectful about it:
Seek to understand. Don’t assume the worst. Don’t instantly ascribe their political preferences to racism, xenophobia, greed, or some other vice. Be slow to chalk up their politics to idolatry. While their political leanings may indeed be partially rooted in sin and idolatry, recognize that yours likely are as well…
Instead of judging them, give grace, and engage in conversation.
Why is the correction being framed as racism or xenophobia necessarily being part of the conversation, as if those are legitimate, likely motivators for voting Republican?
The caution coming from McCraklen is that “racism and xenophobia likely are motivators, but be slow in that accusation – you’ll get there eventually, no need to be hasty.”
Furthermore, what is partially sinful about voting for the Republicans? Where’s the sin in that, O Great Gospel Coalition? Where’s the sin in voting for Republicans up and down the ticket, local, statewide, and national? And not even just voting, but how is having a “political leaning” an issue that is rooted in sin that must be examined and mortified? Why is grace needed, unless the underlying assumption is that political preferences like voting for the GOP are on some level sinful, racist, xenophobic, and seen as a way to score some filthy lucre? The posture is that the fears and grievances of these young pastors are assumed to be factual and true, and not hypothetical queries.
A Final Swipe
McCraken finishes with a caution that seeks to come across as fair and even-handed, but instead strikes as overwrought and indicting, a final potshot to assuage the righteous anti-Trump freedom fighters of their righteous emotions.
Immaturity is thinking your parents or grandparents are totally wrong about everything in politics and are wholly driven by sin-born blind spots. Maturity is admitting you are just as prone to blind spots yourself, even if they are different ones.
Again, what is being said is simple – your parents and grandparents voting Republican after being riled up by that conspiracy guy Ben Shapiro is a “sin-born blindspot” – but be humble because you have your blind spots, even if they are “different” ones and not “political ones” like theirs are.
Expect to see more articles like this from TGC as November 3 approaches.