Uncommon Sense

December 27, 2018

Fear Mongering for Fun and Profit

The Atlantic magazine published an article this last April with the intriguing title “The Last Temptation,” subtitled “How evangelicals, once culturally confident, became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least traditionally religious president in living memory.”

I didn’t finish the article but it started in the same vein as so many others, with Donald Trump and his high percent of the evangelical vote. The article did suggest, though, that there had been some kind of sea change in evangelical attitudes over the past half century. One paragraph summed up their opinion:

“The moral convictions of many evangelical leaders have become a function of their partisan identification. This is not mere gullibility; it is utter corruption. Blinded by political tribalism and hatred for their political opponents, these leaders can’t see how they are undermining the causes to which they once dedicated their lives. Little remains of a distinctly Christian public witness.”

Finally, we get to the crux of the matter. Things changed when some “elites” decided to convert Christian conservatives into a political force. Believe it or not, early on most American Christians thought that the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling was a good thing, that such decisions should be left to families in consultation with clergy and health professionals, that government shouldn’t be involved. Abortion did not become a “wedge issue” until it was forged into one.

Similarly, as in all other political “mood shifts,” the usual motives involved were: money, power, and fear. In the case of mobilization of evangelicals as a political force, fear was the chosen tool. Evangelicals were and are taught that the world is becoming an ever more sinful place, when that conclusion is far from the truth. They are taught that there is a “war on Christianity,” that morals are sinking fast and that something must be done! Older citizens living in suburbs came to fear Black criminals over the much greater threats to their safety.

All of this was perpetrated, of course, by religious and secular elites, to serve their interests, not the interest of ordinary citizens, Christians or not. George W. Bush is famous (infamous?) for brushing off the Religious Right’s demands for “more” from him by saying “those people are never satisfied.” All they had gotten was a paltry office and a president-appointed officer.

The only resolution of this awful set of circumstances is for all of us to admit that we have been “played” by our political leaders. They all need to be replaced, based upon their records. While it may not be possible to expect complete honesty (within some limits) from our leaders, wouldn’t it be refreshing if we got some? Certainly fear mongering and lying continuously need to be shamed out of existence.


  1. US evangelicals are a really easy target, too. I mean, they are, by and large, brain haemorrhagingly stupid. Terrifyingly stupid, in fact.


    Comment by john zande — December 28, 2018 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

    • Do you think their ideology rots their brains?

      On Fri, Dec 28, 2018 at 2:52 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 28, 2018 @ 9:02 pm | Reply

      • Doesn’t help, but it’s a perfect storm of ingredients in that cake.


        Comment by john zande — December 29, 2018 @ 3:32 am | Reply

  2. I keep seeing the claim that morality in US society is in decline. It’s bizarre. Nothing that’s going on in the US today can even remotely compare with the moral horrors of slavery or the Indian genocide. Failing to see this is as big of a moral blind spot as their craven endorsement of Trump.


    Comment by Infidel753 — December 30, 2018 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

    • That claim is, of course, propaganda. Church leaders can awfulize with the best of them. We have access to media reports from all over the world. Imagine how little support those churchmen had when all they had was local newspapers.

      A survey in the recent past had little old ladies living alone listing their greatest fear that a black man was going to break into their house and rape them. In the spectrum of events that could happen this was near nonexistent, but with enough propaganda, people will believe the damnedest things.

      On Sun, Dec 30, 2018 at 6:11 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 31, 2018 @ 10:17 am | Reply

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