Yesterday, Sean McDowell posted a tweet about Joshua Harris no longer calling himself a Christian:
This prompted me to reply:
Randal: Let’s be precise, please. I don’t know where he’s at, but he said he’s not a “Christian” by conventional definition. He didn’t say “follower of Jesus”. & he positively referenced Julian (of Norwich?). I want to hear more about his doctrinal stance before drawing final conclusions
Sean: A Christian technically means a “Christ follower” but I see your point about the connotations and cultural attachments to the word as well. Fair enough.
Randal: Yes, as you know many people (e.g. emerging folk) seek to distinguish themselves from the cultural baggage that comes with “Christian” by choosing another denominator.
And that’s where my exchange with McDowell ended and my exchange with a Trump-supporting pastor began.
Marc Hamer: Yes, but unfortunately in doing so they reconstruct a religion to their liking that shares no resemblance to the biblical faith.
Randal: It depends. In many cases, the cultural baggage from which they seek to dissociate is that which shares no resemblance with the faith. Like MAGA supporters, for example. That’s some heavy baggage right there.
Marc: Examples I would give that are well known are Rob Bell, Brian McClaren, and in the UK, Steve Chalke. Sorry but they’ve reinvented the Christian Faith or in other words are idol worshipers. I also think you’re broadbrushung big time about MAGA supporters.
Randal: Are Jerry Falwell Jr. and Franklin Graham, two unflagging supporters and enablers of an amoral, racist, adulterous, misogynistic, xenophobic, demagogic politician, idol worshippers?
Marc: Looks like you’re drinking the main steam media coolaid. Try doing some primary source research instead of buying into the agenda laced misinformation from the MSM. Don’t be lazy.
Randal: Please be specific, Marc. With what do you take issue?
Marc: Your whole last statement sounds like it could be a quote from Mika Brzezinski on her MSNBC morning show. It’s an inaccurate and unfair characterization of all stated. Classic lazy labeling.
Randal: Sir, I asked you which label you would like to discuss first. Quit deflecting.
Marc: I don’t have all day to go back and forth. I would argue that all of the labels you’ve put forth as unfair characterizations in the context of the here & now. Many of them may have once applied to Trump but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt as we are all a work in progress.
Randal: Marc, you accused me of being lazy in leveling unsubstantiated charges. So I offered to defend each charge in turn. And now you have no time? So who is the lazy one? It’s that kind of hypocrisy that leads many people to dissociate from the term “Christian”.
Marc: I’m not being lazy, I have better things to do but to play along, you could start with the most overused accusation of Trump being a racist. When I have time I’ll respond.
And this brings me to my defense of the racism charge.
Randal: I was challenged by Pastor @marcreedhamer to defend the claim that Trump is racist. To do so, I will summarize a fact pattern which demonstrates over decades evidence of Trump’s racial discrimination toward visible minorities.
- First, in 1973 Trump and his father Fred were sued by the federal government for racial discrimination for refusing to rent apartments to black people. They settled out of court.
- Second, in 1989 the Central Park 5, all black/Latino teenagers as young as 14, were arrested and tried for the rape of a woman in Central Park. They were all later exonerated and the case was exposed as a massive miscarriage of justice. The government later settled for $41 mill. Back in 1989, Trump published a full-page ad in several New York newspapers calling for the execution of these teenagers. He has never recanted this position. As recently as June 2019 he insists on their guilt even though they’ve been fully exonerated.
- Trump has claimed that an American-born judge cannot rule fairly on a legal case because that judge’s ancestry is from Mexico. As Paul Ryan noted at the time, that is the definition of racism.
- Trump launched his campaign by stoking racist and xenophobic fears by describing Mexican immigrants as rapists and murders … and then adding “and some, I assume, are good people.” Some? You assume?
- Trump stated that there were “good people” within the crowd of white supremacists marching at Charlottesville.
- When asked to disavow the support of David Duke, Trump repeatedly declined to do so, demurring that he didn’t know who David Duke was. In fact, he knew Duke well.
- Trump called African countries “shitholes” and stated that he would prefer immigrants from Norway over immigrants from shithole African countries.
- For years, Trump promoted the birther conspiracy, suggesting, with no evidence, that America’s first black president was actually born in Kenya. He never apologized for promoting this racist theory.
- Trump told four non-Caucasian congresswomen to go back where they came from despite the fact that three were born in America and the fourth is a naturalized citizen.
- Trump calls Elizabeth Warren “Pochahontas.” He has joked about the Trail of Tears and valorized Andrew Jackson who led a genocidal charge against indigenous peoples. Vox has recently compiled multiple other examples of Trump’s racism.
- So as I said at the beginning, the issue is about establishing fact pattern, and this is a pattern extending back at least 46 years, one that repeatedly privileges whiteness and marginalizes non-whiteness. The evidence supports the charge: Trump is racist.
Now the question for every Trump supporter: what are you doing supporting a racist? And that brings me back to Pastor Marc:
Randal: So, @marcreedhamer, to return to our original conversation: some people prefer not to use the label “Christian” to describe themselves because they want to dissociate from self-described “Christians” who support a baldly racist president.
Next, should we talk about Trump’s disgusting misogyny, infidelity, and his multiple credible outstanding charges of sexual assault and rape?