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Friday, August 14, 2020

The Galli Report: 08.14.20

The Galli Report: 08.14.20

The Evangelical right, black poverty, QAnon, and raining rocks.

Mark Galli
Aug 14
Corruption on the Evangelical RightI wish I would have made one thing clearer in my now infamous 2019 December editorial in which I questioned President Trump’s moral fitness for office: when speaking about evangelicals who supported him, I was addressing only those evangelicals who had compromised their faith—that is, they had crossed the line from legitimate support for a political candidate to idolizing him; refusing to acknowledge, and even defending, his serious character flaws; and using messianic language to talk about him.  I wasn’t addressed the many evangelicals who felt caught between a rock and a hard place, and voted for Trump for prudential reasons, all the while holding their nose.
It’s the former group that is the subject of Elizabeth Dias’s New York Times piece, ‘Christianity Will Have Power’.  Dias’s anti-evangelical bias is evident, as it is in most her reporting on evangelicals, but overall it’s a good piece, using Sioux City, Iowa, evangelicals as a stand-in for many midwestern evangelical Trump supporters.  And she does get to the heart of the problem for many evangelicals: a lust for political power.  
One prominent member of this group has been Jerry Falwell, Jr. whose lust for power and worldly success I criticized when I was editor in chief of Christianity Today.  It’s encouraging to see that the board of Liberty University has had enough of his sub-Christian leadership, as detailed by David French in “The Decline and Fall of Jerry Falwell.”
A fuller picture of the Christian presence in Sioux City, Iowa, which is much more diverse than Dias lets on, comes from Lee Pitts, who teaches journalism at Dordt University.
What in the Heck is QAnon?With Marjorie Taylor Greene’s victory in the Georgia congressional primary, “QAnon is suddenly everywhere,” as Bonnie Kristian at The Week puts it.  Or as an earlier piece in The Week said, “QAnon goes mainstream.”  If you’re curious, I’d start with the latter piece.  Kristian’s piece also talks about the subversive attraction of the movement.  America has long attracted those of a conspiratorial bent, whose nonsensical ideas come and go.  While this movement seems to be gaining traction in the Republican party, and while some liberals seem scared to death of it, to me this seems less like a political threat than another aberration of American politics that will, like its forbears, fizzle out in time.
One Idea for Addressing Black PovertyI appreciated the many comments I received about the links I included last week about race and policing in America.  As many pointed out, there is no quick fix for poverty and violence in black neighborhoods.  One concrete suggestion on how to do that is explained in “Black Wall Street Was a Model For Building Strong Black Towns: Scholar Andre M. Perry looks to the promise of asset-based development in African-American communities.”  And to show that Perry’s suggestions are not pie-in-the-sky, the writer notes the work of Lecrae Devaughn Moore (better known as Lecrae), a Grammy award-winning hip-hop artist—and a devout Christian.  He’s investing in black businesses to help do the very thing Perry is talking about.
How Should We Say Hello?The handshake and the hug, thanks to COVID-19, have now been replaced with fist bumps and elbow taps, and sometimes just a wave. Here’s another idea that I think has both merit and a history: bowing.  As Philip Patrick points out, “The advantages of bowing, apart from the public health benefits, are that it is dignified and solemn.” Unfortunately, most Americans are allergic to dignity and solemnity.
Impossible! What seems impossible on earth is a reality on other planets.  Like the one where it rains rocks, and the one where winds gush at 5,400 miles per hour.  Take a look at this video to find out three more examples.  Only further proof that the heavens declare the the wondrous works of our Creator.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli

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