“I Can’t Defend My People”: Opting Out of Evangelicalism, Post-Election

an empty carpark on a wet day
an empty carpark on a wet day

November 8th was, for so many of us, the death knell for any claim white evangelicals as a group had on caring for “the least of these.” It wasn’t a trickle, but a landslide of white evangelicals who helped to usher the real-life Biff Tannen to the seat of power.

My social feeds have been full of expressions of disillusionment, like those of  Yolanda Pierce and Brandi Miller here on RD. And indeed, as we see from the roundup of responses below, evangelical voices from across the spectrum have expressed everything from shock to bitterness to a public renunciation of the faith tradition they had considered their own.

As our sensibilities are further pummeled in the run-up to inauguration day, will we see divisions deepen? One thing is certain: the sense of betrayal expressed here so powerfully demands a response.

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Katelyn Beaty, an editor at Christianity Today, wrote in the Washington Post:

When it comes to the Bible and Jesus and evangelism and service, the 81 percent and I share the same DNA. Although recently I have wished it were otherwise, evangelicals are my people. But this time, this election, I can’t defend my people. I barely recognize them.

 

Reporter Sam Thielman wrote at The Guardian:

White American evangelicals, who produced me, and among whom I must count myself, have thoroughly demonstrated how little we care about our representation of Christ to the world, how gleefully willing we are to put our own interests and grievances above the teachings of Jesus. And we have done that where we always do it: in the voting booth.

Pastor and author Skye Jethani expressed on his website:

Look at what you have become—little more than a political identity with a pinch of impotent cultural Christianity. You’ve become a category for pollsters rather than pastors, a word of exclusion rather than embrace…What was admirable about your name has been buried, crushed under the weight of 60 million votes. I am no less committed to Christ, his gospel, and his church, but I can no longer be called an evangelical.