Dinos and Demons and Swedes, oh my! In the span of just a few days last week, American evangelicals made headlines for lying about who discovered some dinosaur bones they stole; for telling inspiring teenage activist Greta Thunberg to read the book of Genesis and stop worrying about climate change; and for accusing Democrats of worshiping “the demon god Moloch.”
The man behind the latter two stories, Pastor Robert Jeffress of 13,000-member megachurch, First Baptist Dallas, was also in the news for threatening the possibility of civil war (though he now denies that’s what he meant). Of course, the more flamboyant Christian Right leaders have a pattern of stochastic terrorism, just like the (arguably illegitimate) president they’ve rallied around who amplified Jeffress’s barely veiled threat via Twitter.
Stochastic terrorism may seem to be a far more serious matter than the first three cartoonish behaviors mentioned above, but they all stem from the same authoritarian ethos and ideology shared among the vast majority of America’s white evangelicals. Evangelical authoritarianism is a problem that the American mainstream as a rule fails to treat with the seriousness it demands, in part because it’s easy to laugh at the antics of a Robert Jeffress while assuming that conservative evangelicals who cultivate a more respectable image are not only genuinely less theocratically oriented, but also more representative. Both assumptions are highly dubious.
Interesting article about the cognitive dissonance required to support the anti-science Young Earth Creationist flavor of Evangelical Christianity – which has reared its ugly authoritarian head under Trump.
Is Evangelical Radicalism a threat to America?