"Christianity will have power"? Yes, it's a nice phrase, but ... was one line in one speech in Iowa enough to elevate the speech into Donald Trump's version of a Cornerstone Speech vis-a-vis his relationship to the Religious Right?
The New York Times would have you think so, and with throwing in some breathless marketing Tweets, further confirms why I wouldn't pay to subscribe.
First, two of those marketing Tweets and my responses:
Uhh, no. I don't "need" anyone.Understanding religion requires reading @elizabethjdias, one of the best religion reporters in the business. She spent months on this piece explaining Donald Trump's support among white evangelical Christians and it shows. https://t.co/7VJissul9R— Marc Lacey (@marclacey) August 9, 2020
There you are, Mr. NYT National Editor Marc Lacey.Actually, no, I don't need Elizabeth Dias at all for "understanding religion." I'm an atheist with a graduate divinity degree from a seminary far more rigorous than Religious Right bible colleges, the type of person the Religious Right hates.— Nagasaki 75: Remember the FULL STORY 🚩🌻 (@AFCC_Esq) August 9, 2020
Sorry, but no translator needed, Ms. Deputy National Editor Yang.If you have found yourself baffled by white evangelical support for Trump, this extraordinary piece by @elizabethjdias is for you. This is journalism as translation, requiring literacy in multiple cultures.https://t.co/vxL3VmfNoM— Jia Lynn Yang (@jialynnyang) August 9, 2020
Here you are:
And, since I posted a link to my original Tweet thread in that Tweet, I'll use it as the basic for finishing up this post.Nope, not baffled. But?! Elizabeth Dias left stuff on the table, like not delving into the "martyr" mentality held by much of the Religious Right. (It's not quite as deep as Jehovah's Witnesses martyr mentality, but it's deep enough.) https://t.co/qrQLFPYHkq— Nagasaki 75: Remember the FULL STORY 🚩🌻 (@AFCC_Esq) August 9, 2020
First, per the header, yes, this is typical NYT bullshit, thinking it's discovered something new, when in reality it has not. Related to that is the quasi-bigfooting idea that if anybody else wrote about this in other media before, it didn't count because they weren't the NYT.
Second is the marketing of this geenyus to today's "consumers" (god I hate that word) of news. Trotting out two of your top editors to Tweet away shows that. It's also pretty heavy-handed. Laughably so.
First, before the Twitter thread, one more example of the NYT's alleged brilliance at being Captain Obvious? This:
The Trump era has revealed the complete fusion of evangelical Christianity and conservative politics, even as white evangelical Christianity continues to decline as a share of the national population.In reality, with data research sites like Pew having written about this for three or four years straight now, the "Rise of the Nones" (which is a broader issue than just the decline of conservative evangelical Xianity, and blogged about me three years ago, as well as last year) is yesterday's news. As for the "complete fusion" issue? Forty years ago, the Religious Right backed for president a man who had expanded abortion access while governor of California, who never went to church and who consulted astrologers. (Ronnie turned Nancy on to that, not the other way around.)
Now, onto my original Twitter thread, with this blogpost being added to the end of it after being finished.
See, that "bully" part is important. Per "The Rise of the Nones" issues, the Religious Right has been losing power for some time. Rather than sidle up to Hillary Clinton and her conservative DC prayer circle warrior background with The Fellowship, though, because she was pro-choice, and ignoring that Trump long had been so, they backed Trump.Cliff Notes "Christianity will have power"— Nagasaki 75: Remember the FULL STORY 🚩🌻 (@AFCC_Esq) August 9, 2020
1. White #ReligiousRight Xns used to be able to bully America as Trump bullied tenants
2. SCOTUS has #FirstAmendment rulings
2A. America changed
3. So, Rel Right became #snowflakes
4. Trump came as bully-saviorhttps://t.co/HG0FV7gHeL
The bullying? Bullying and shaming people into expression of religious belief in small town America, even in blue states (Galloway vs Town of Greece) was and still is a real thing. Remember, most members of the Religious Right hate atheists even more than gays, and may hate non-Christians, especially Mooslims, almost as much.
The hypocrisy? Detailed above with Ronnie and Nancy Reagan. The faux-martyrdom goes hand in hand, and parallels, to link back to the "Cornerstone Speech" 1861, the South's faux-martyrdom after Lincoln's election. Fortunately, the Religious Right isn't getting to totally write or rewrite the history of the last 50-60 years of American life as a new Lost Cause, though people like Dias may be helping.Cliff Notes "Christianity will have power" part 2— Nagasaki 75: Remember the FULL STORY 🚩🌻 (@AFCC_Esq) August 9, 2020
5. #ReligiousRight has long been hypocrites
5A. Being #snowflakes w/ back-of-hand-to-forehead martyrdom was used 2 justify doubling down on hypocrisy
6. Trump's sense of faux martyrdom was flame 2 moths 2/xhttps://t.co/HG0FV7gHeL
Trump has played the faux-martyr role to a T since HUD sued him and his dad 50 years ago for racism in apartment renting. He knows how to play an audience like a cheap fiddle.
This is true in conservative Catholic circles as well, something ELSE Dias left on the table. (Per the old phrase "cafeteria Catholics," there are conservative cafeteria Catholics, on the death penalty and gun control, just like there are liberal cafeteria Catholics on reproductive choice.)Cliff Notes "Christianity will have power" part 3— Nagasaki 75: Remember the FULL STORY 🚩🌻 (@AFCC_Esq) August 9, 2020
7. Unmentioned by [email protected] as secular #MAGA #TrumpTrain ppl touted idea of "own the libs," esp w/ Hillary Clinton running, many of the #ReligiousRight esp. leadership, dreamed of "owning the liberal Christians" 3/x
And last, one other thing Dias left on the table (well, there's yet more, but this covers the basics):
Remember, Trump's speech was in Iowa, January 2016, before the Iowa caucuses. On paper, Dominionist Ted Cruz and his Seven Mountains daddy were the ideal candidates for the Religious Right to back. So, why didn't they? (Pew notes that, in polling, the most devout among the evangelicals DID tilt Cruz, even though, overall, the Religious Right tilted Trump. Obvious deduction? Lots of these people may be sincere in their belief claims but don't go to church that often!)Cliff Notes "Christianity will have power" part 4— Nagasaki 75: Remember the FULL STORY 🚩🌻 (@AFCC_Esq) August 9, 2020
8. One other big issue Elisabeth Dias left on the table is the issue before the Religious Right backing Trump vs. Democrats; it's the 2016 primaries issue of the #ReligiousRight backing Trump vs. other Republicans. 4/x
And why didn't Dias ask any of the people she interviewed those questions, whether about who they backed in 2016's primary/caucus, or about how regular they were in their churchgoing?
And, National Editor and Deputy National Editor, why didn't her editor catch that?
Were I doing this as an Amazon book review? This would be like seeing a new book with five-star touts turning out to be three stars at best.