The "Christians" are coming! The "Christians" are coming!

You can look it up: I’ve posted about the Christian Warriors. People can laugh it off as a joke. It is not.

Exactly right - Trump is a tool. An arborist doesn’t care if he wanted a green chain saw but ended up having to purchase an orange one instead. The saw still cuts the tree into little pieces.

Absolutely not! I welcome your contributions, and don’t hold back. If Discourse has any comments, tell it to butt out. The purpose of the SDMB is to engage and fight ignorance. Holding back isn’t the way to do that. Stick around and let’s continue to hear from you.

I know of no European country where anyone is forced to belong to a faith (though I grant that until relatively recently, in some countries the Catholic church had a dominating influence over education and family policy) .

Where there is a state church, it is obliged to be available to all, and has a more visible presence in (largely ceremonial) affairs of state. But no-one is forced to join any religious organisation or practice.

I’m assuming you mean the fact of a state religion seems to preclude any sort of “Christian dominionist” movement, or even an effective form of organised religious pressure on government and legislation. For the liberal democracies of western Europe, I’d agree. Recent developments in Poland and Hungary give some cause for concern, but I wonder how genuine the religious aspect really is

The Church of England is by defintion a state church (and Bishops have representation in the Upper House), but hardly a state religion. In fact (as a member) I think it’s about as liberal as can be!

But, hey: I guess we’re not European any more.

Can anybody point me to a list of countries that have religious leaders in their legislatures? There’s Iran of course, but any others?

Thank you for clarifying that for me, it was poorly phrased.

Several years ago when my ex-wife and I were involved with an organization called People to People International we hosted visitors from many places, but mostly Europeans. In one particularly busy stretch we had a group of collage aged kids from Switzerland followed by collage aged kids from Italy, and then another group of high school kids from Italy had their plans fall through and our group was asked to pick up the slack because we were so practiced.**

The Italians did speak at some length about “having to proclaim membership” in the state religion for certain reasons (which I cannot recall at all- perhaps to obtain travel documents, or receive scholastic scholarships? I simply can’t recall.) They made a point of mentioning that almost NO ONE in Italia was actually a person of faith despite almost everyone proclaiming association with the Church of Rome. In addition, they told us that Americans were seen as curious - or even gullible for their faith that was in no way coerced.

The Swiss kids (one of them was a bit older, the aunt of one of the girls and she was an unofficial chaperone it turned out), especially when they found out the wife and I were Lutherans, made a point several times of telling us they were Protestants. At the time we were not aware that in Europe followers of Luther are known as ‘Evangelicals’ (despite a formal liturgy that is almost identical to the Catholic Mass) and that followers of Calvin are known as ‘Protestants’ (I have no idea what their services are like in Europe). In those days in California we used those terms pretty interchangeably to indicate “non-Catholic”.

Our one other experience with PTPI visitors discussing religion was with an interpreter who accompanied a Russian artist (painter, and later it turned out carver and sculptor). She told us that since the fall of the Soviet Union churches were opening back up, and that elderly relatives were excited to belong to and attend church without trouble or suspicion from the party. So she took her aunt and was quite disappointed as her experience with the Orthodox Church was mostly lighting candles and watching the clergy parade incense around ceremonially. (We later speculated that she did not visit during an actual service and had simply observed what amounted to down time.)

** For folks who share a border, Swiss and Italians could not be more different. The Swiss were our first group and we were kind of making it up as we went along; we had all the visitors meet their host families at a mall, stow their luggage, then gave them some free time to browse the mall before dinner. Meet back here in an hour and a half at 6:60 pm and we will have dinner together in a restaurant, we told them and they broke into small groups and went off in different directions. At 6:22 we were nervous- no Swiss to be seen in any direction! By 6:30 they were all present and accounted for and very deferential about picking a restaurant. The entire rest of the trip followed that pattern; the phrase Swiss timing took on a new meaning for us.

The Italian kids were . . . not quite so precise! By then we had the system down, host families and visitors meet in afternoon, free time to shop followed by communal meal, then home again (jiggity jig!) This group, once their luggage was in the host family’s car and they could wander on their own sat in a group and smoked and chatted incessantly. After twenty minutes most of them had left the immediate area in small clusters – cliques had fully formed on the plane ride from Italy it seemed. At six-thirty there were NO Italians, not one. About 6:45 -6:50 they started to trickle in and it was after seven before they were all there or accounted for (apparently that hour and a half had not been enough time to address bathroom issues!) So finally about 7:20 we are choosing a restaurant. This is a pretty upscale place with twenty choices; there is a flurry of very fast Italian all spoken at the same time if memory serves, and they pick the most expensive place with linen table cloths and service people by the dozens in the most polite way imaginable. “May we eat here at this place?” We are seated quickly which is a relief, us locals are hungry and many have long drives ahead of us. Menus are offered and waters are brought for all, bread baskets are being offered when another flurry of Italian erupts- and then they ask us: “May we try that place over there?” Half of us said yes, the other half said no. Two young girls and a matronly host wife stay at a much smaller table and the rest of us move along with a fifty dollar bill for their trouble (most expensive water I ever drank!). We went to another place and were about to be seated when I started to realize this might happen again. We stepped out of line and the host families spoke privately. We let the retired college professor relate the news- wherever we sat next was it, no more in and out!

Of course the place we were in was not chosen so good call on that. They wanted to go to Johnnie Rockets and we were a bit surprised. We warned them it was very expensive for what you got and it was mostly the setting that was the appeal. They were fine with that and we sat at adjacent booths as no large table was available. If you have dined there you know the staff does a little dance number once an hour making it a 1950’s dinner with a show experience. The kids were blown away by the spectacle of it all! They told us that back home even small cafes all had linen table cloths and fancy servers in tuxedos, and what is more, it was not unusual for neighborhood restaurants to have very valuable paintings by old masters on the walls. But they didn’t have dancing waitresses! We were loud and intrusive to other diners but no one seemed to care but another spat of very fast Italian clued us that something else was up. They hunted for nickels like crazy because a specific song was on the jukeboxes.

At the first note of this song (which played about six times because each time it didn’t play next they kept selecting it over and over again), they jumped up and did a fully choreographed dance to the song (and this is the first time in decades I wish I could recall what song it was). By the end of the song the staff were flashing the lights off and on and all the other stagecraft they used to enhance their own dance numbers. About half the tables got free food and it was an absolute hoot! The quiet girls and the matronly host had finished their meals and joined us before the second time the song played and the whole show was even more polished by then. We talked about that night for years.

I guess the moral of the story is: each of these kids was a professing Catholic due to societal pressure, but none of them had any real faith at all . . . oh, and that Swiss kids and Italian kids were not very similar in any regard!

To get back to the OP, perhaps it has evolved to the point that European countries have “Official” religions, but state religions were a real thing in days gone by and very much on the mind of the founders of the U.S. Without opening up an entire side discussion, I believe the siege of La Rochelle might have been the result of a European state religion exercising its power.

My point with the pastor friend was that places which require membership in religious groups tend to do extremely poorly as far as genuine adherence and sincere belief. This was not disputed and in fact derided as lacking good old American freedom. (Freedom to be exactly like me and believe exactly as I do by my observation. My point when I typed the poorly phrased portion that was quoted was that I knew most American Christians are against state or official religions [even Christian ones] and that despite the opposition, they are trying to accomplish the same thing here in our government. It was just one of many things I brought up to get him to see that his efforts to base United States governmental policies on “Christian” morals are the opposite of what he really wants or believes in. But he and others like him cannot see they are forcing their own values on others, they cannot see the coercion inherent in their efforts. They only see what they want to see which is their GOD in control of the whole United States on the way to global domination for Christendom. Makes me wonder why these people need a rapture when they are working so hard to establish a theocracy for their god on the existing earth.)

My apologies for the distraction to the discussion and thank you for the opportunity to tell my little adventure in international relations with youngsters from Western Europe despite it being only tangentially related to the topic of discussion.

I wouldn’t agree with that. If, a decade ago, you had asked fundamentalist American Christians, “Who’s your dream president? Describe him, what does he look like?” I doubt their answer would be “I want a divorced fat-fingered vulgarian who once body-slammed someone in a WWE event and lives in a penthouse in Manhattan and does his career in TV, cheats contractors out of their pay, is mired in scandal, knows almost nothing about the Bible and says “Two Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians” and is in his 70s and looks seedy and tweets like a whiny preteen and perhaps doesn’t even know what “theocracy” means, but at least pwns the libs, yes, that’s the man!”

They’d probably say something like, “I want a handsome tall guy in his 40s or 50s who speaks impeccably and knows his Bible inside and out, has no skeletons in his closet, knows his pre-trib/mid-trib/post-trib eschatology, had a long career in the military with lots of medals, son of a preacher, farmer or military hero, has seven kids, and pwns the libs hard and will instill a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in America.”

Trump was a case of “any port in a storm” for religious conservatives. He wasn’t ideal, but there was nobody else coming even close to what he was offering, so they took him. But given a choice between him and a true Christian Dominionist/New Apostolic Reformation leader who would go Taliban mode, they’d definitely have taken the latter.

Depending on how you define “Leader”, “have” and “Legislature”: Myanmar? Buthan? The Holy See? Saudi Arabia? Pakistan? Afghanistan? Israel? Turkey? Most of America South of Mexico (look up their abortion and divorce laws if you don’t know what I mean, and the real estate the church owns)? Fifty years ago: Spain for sure. Today: rather not.

And I still maintain that NOTHING matters to them but his complete and total amorality - everything else, his 5 kids with 3 women, his short fat vulgar fingers - may not have been the packaging they imagined, but they don’t CARE about that anymore than they’d care about the color of their gun case.

The article has a very offensive headline, but Evangelicals are far from the only group doing this. The article points out a “translation” that changes the designation of Jesus from son to child and God from father to parent so it seems the bible can be almost a Betty Crocker recipe that you can spice as you see fit. Just add curry for a South Asian version, garlic for Italian, or . . . wow, I should really know more about cuisine!

I always knew different sects of Christendom emphasized different verses of the bible, but I didn’t know they set out to customize the words themselves to support certain doctrines. Back when I was associated with The Church of God (Cleveland Tennessee), it was a common joke that some old timer would stand up during a Sunday sermon and proclaim that if the King James Bible was good enough for Peter, and James and John . . . if it was good enough for Jesus hisself, well by gum it is good enough for me!!

That was sort of my point. Wherever there is a sanctioned religion of any sort- if it is called a state religion, or an official religion, or the government is itself a religious institution the number of true adherents is abysmally low! Most Christian leaders will tell you that Christianity suffered when Constantine changed the policy of Rome from feeding Christians tom lions - to making it an acceptable religion and eventually the official religion and becoming one himself. Those being fed to lions tended to be quite sincere. Those who became Christian when the nation’s leader became one, maybe not as sincere.

Didn’t the 2016 primary have several of these guys to choose from???
Either Cruz or Rubio had a parent who was a minister (perhaps both). And while Romney belongs to a sect which considers itself Christian (but most hard-core believers tend to think of as a cult) he was the poster boy you describe and he fell flat on his face BECAUSE (in my humble opinion) he ran to the base which was NOT his major appeal. John McCain was similar in that he had broad cross over appeal but the party insisted he play to the base and they both got spanked for playing their weaknesses rather than their strengths.

But when they told Trump to run to the base - - baby, that base came alive!! Proud Boys, KKK, oath Keepers, GRU and KGB agents, alt right kooks, survivalist kooks, conspiracy theory kooks, and who else . . . ?? Oh yea, fundamentalist Christian Evangelicals!

And I do not mean to knock your faith, I rather admire those who are open to debate and engage the subject. But I do believe you are either inaccurate or misremembering the 2016 cycle. Trump was hugely supported by Paula White and Jeffress who had no idea how much access to power and how unbelievably indebted Trump would become to them. They loved him for exactly the reasons Ann_Hedonia said they loved him for what he could give them- Supreme Court Justices and and access to the West Wing.

I don’t think it’s quite the same. None of Trump’s 16 Republican rivals exuded the same “own the libs” vibe that he did. And starting from the Obama era onwards, owning the libs has become by far the number one Republican priority. Cruz tried, but he was weak at it, really weak.

The priority of preference goes something like this:

  1. Clean candidate who owns the libs (most desirable, in the eyes of the Rs)
  2. Dirty candidate who owns the libs (Trump - not as good as 1#, but still better than 3#)
  3. Any candidate, clean or dirty, who doesn’t own the libs (least desirable)

Trump was a 2#. All of his rivals were 3#. But nobody was a true 1#.

I guess it depends on what “amoral” means exactly. If someone has perfectly fine tax returns, never cheats on his wife, has a squeaky clean record, never even a ticket for speeding, but vigorously tries to suppress minority votes, pack the courts, gerrymander, establish a dictatorship and sabotage the opposition, is he a moral or amoral candidate (in the eyes of his base?)

Your belief as to what kind of candidate evangelical Christians would have approved doesn’t seem to be supported by anything they have actually said. Where is this reluctant support?

I had to read that WaPo article (the one in the OP) a couple of times, there was something that kept eluding me.

Then I realized this article said pretty much everything I’ve been saying for the past 6 months or so, except it used the euphemism “non-denominational fundamentalist church” for cult.

Many people don’t realize how far to the right these groups are, they make the Southern Baptist Convention and the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church look like liberal bastions, and in many cases they are offshoots of offshoots of churches that broke from these groups.

Here’s another WaPo article about some of these non-denominational Christians. It’s tricky and I don’t want to fall into a trap of believing that the actions of religious people are always connected to their religious beliefs.

Post January 6th, there was a lot of analysis done on the insurrectionists in an attempt to understand their motivations, where they lived, their political history, their employment history. But if religion was mentioned, the insurrection seemed to be framed as something they did in spite of their religion, not because of it, despite all the evidence to the contrary

What moral values do you want your gun to have?

(this is a rhetorical question)

Biblical prophets preached both good and bad news all throughout scriptures. And for that matter modern day church prophets, in my experience have done likewise. Do you think the end times is here prophets are saying that things are going to be just peachy thought the tribulation?

I’m not as familiar with the end-timers but if they’re anything like Harold Camping, they are probably mostly all frauds.

Some modern prophets like Sadhu Sendar Selvaraj have prophesied bad things before at least (such as Sadhu claiming a flesh-eating plague would happen in the Philippines, which didn’t happen,) but their not coming true is still an issue; false prophecy.

But overwhelmingly, what I see of many modern prophets these days is nothing but sheer tell-people-what-they-want-to-hear BS. Kat Kerr, Charlie Shamp, etc. are the epitome of this. Everything is always a Republican victory, monetary riches on the way, health and prosperity, etc. And zero accountability when their words are false.

I see a lot of what @Velocity sees. It’s not that the prophets only push good things happening, but that it’s always good news for their intended audience, and bad news for some other people. And, if their prophesy goes wrong for you, then you didn’t have enough faith or they modify the meaning of the prophecy.

I also see the people who would rather have supported a more Christian president, but went for Trump anyway. However, I also see a whole lot of people who seemed to have decided that Trump really is Christian, and that anything to the contrary was fake news. That’s actually the part that got me told I was “brainwashed by CNN” by my former youth pastor’s wife. A former mentor of mine who now runs a church had people on his Facebook talking about Trump being a prophet. He’s the one who quoted someone talking about “Trump the man vs Trump the position” after he lost the election. (At least they acknowledged he lost.) These same people are also antivax and antimask now.

The youth pastor’s wife actually was all happy that her three year old son asked them to pray that Trump would win the election in 2016. Back then, they claimed it was all about abortion. But, by 2020, he was supposedly the Christian candidate–and Biden was not.

It really does feel to me like there were a lot of people who were radicalized over these four years. They resolved their cognitive dissonance in supporting Trump and him being so awful by choosing to believe the bad stuff was all fake news.

Any discussion with them is far less reasonable than it was in the past.

That’s about the level of education, critical thinking, and sophistication that I attribute to the typical trumpy supporter.

Because Biden is a Catholic and, to some of the R base, Catholics are not Christians.