Evangelicalism in the United States

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Evangelicalism in the United States is an umbrella group of Protestant Christians who believe in the necessity of being born again, emphasize the importance of evangelism, and affirm traditional Protestant teachings on the authority and the historicity of the Bible .

He (Billy Graham)...demonstrated what fortunes could be made, and what human glory could be attained, by transforming evangelical Christianity into a patriotic corporate entity. ~ Bob Moser
For Pompeo’s audience, the rapture invoked an apocalyptical Christian vision of the future, a final battle between good and evil, and the second coming of Jesus Christ, when the faithful will ascend to heaven and the rest will go to hell. ~ Julian Borger
White evangelicals are the political base of today’s Republican Party... Many white Christian evangelicals in the United States have long believed that America has a God-given mission to save the world. ~ Jeffrey Sachs

Quotes[edit]

  • In setting out the Trump administration’s Middle East policy... Mike Pompeo made clear to his audience in Cairo is that he had come to the region as “as an evangelical Christian”... [His] ...primary message in Cairo was that the US was ready once more to embrace conservative Middle Eastern regimes, no matter how repressive, if they made common cause against Iran... His second message was religious... He talked about “America’s innate goodness” and marveled at a newly built cathedral as “a stunning testament to the Lord’s hand”. Vice President Mike Pence and Pompeo both cite evangelical theology as a powerful motivating force. Just as he did in Cairo, Pompeo called on the congregation of a Kansan megachurch three years ago to join a fight of good against evil. “We will continue to fight these battles,” the then congressman said at the Summit church in Wichita. “It is a never-ending struggle … until the rapture. Be part of it. Be in the fight.”... For Pompeo’s audience, the rapture invoked an apocalyptical Christian vision of the future, a final battle between good and evil, and the second coming of Jesus Christ, when the faithful will ascend to heaven and the rest will go to hell.
  • Evangelicalism is on a collision course with a culture that is rapidly liberalizing on two areas that define evangelical theology: their view of homosexuality and the role of women in the life of the church. Nearly 80% of Americans under the age of 35 support same-sex marriage, and just 8.8% believe that women should not be able to preach. That leaves the white evangelical church a choice. First, it could stand on doctrine and say that fidelity to orthodox evangelicalism is worth the price of potentially shrinking in size. There is integrity in this path. I’ve had many evangelicals tell me, “God does not care about public opinion polls.” As a social scientist who is also a pastor, I’m sympathetic to the view that God can change hearts.
    Alternatively, evangelicalism could begin to slowly shift its stance on issues like women pastors and same-sex relations... Work by Paul Djupe found that while 90% of evangelicals believed that their house of worship forbade homosexuality in 2007, that has dropped to 65% in 2020.
    • On LGBT and women's equality, stark statistical reality is coming for white evangelicals, Ryan Burge, Religion News Service, (7 August 2020)
  • Evangelicals, in religious terminology, believe that Jesus Christ is the savior of humanity. They have a long history in America, and include a number of different groups... After the schism among the Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians in the 1850s over slavery, conservative denominations like the Southern Baptists — who defended slavery through their readings of scripture — came into being... Evangelical denominations formed from... splits in the South were usually comprised of people who had made money from slavery or supported it. After the Civil War many were more likely to have supported the Ku Klux Klan and approved of (or participated in) lynching. The burning cross of the KKK, for instance, was a symbol of white Christian supremacy, designed both to put fear into the hearts of African Americans and to highlight the supposed Christian righteousness of the terrorist act.
    During the civil rights movement, many white evangelicals either outright opposed Martin Luther King Jr. or, like Billy Graham, believed that racial harmony would only come about when the nation turned to God. in the 1970s, evangelicalism became synonymous with being "born again" and also against abortion and, with the rise of the Moral Majority in the late 1970s, they began to seek not only moral, but political power.
  • After 9/11, many evangelicals vilified Islam and created cottage industries and ministries promoting Islamophobia. And when Barack Obama was elected president, they regrouped, bought guns and became Tea Partiers who promoted fiscal responsibility and indulged in birtherism, promoted by no less than the son of Billy Graham, Franklin... Still, evangelicals have worked to make a good show of repenting for racism. From the racial reconciliation meetings of the 1990s to today, they have dutifully declared racism a sin, and Southern Baptists have apologized again for their role in American slavery — most recently in 2018 via a document outlining their role.
    • White evangelicals love Trump and aren't confused about why, Anthea Butler, NBC News (27 September 2019)
  • Since Jesus came to the earth the first time 2,000 years ago as a Jewish male, many evangelicals believe the Antichrist will, by necessity, be a Jewish male. This belief is 2,000 years old and has no anti-Semitic roots. This is simply historic and prophetic orthodox Christian doctrine that many theologians, Christian and non-Christian, have understood for two millennia.
    • Jerry Falwell, Quoted in "Religion, Politics a Potent Mix for Jerry Falwell" by Steve Inskeep in Morning Edition on NPR (30 June 2006)
  • Look closely. Those are evangelical leaders and pastors — people who represent America's various streams of fundamentalist Christianity — venerating a president who, I think it's safe to say, reflects none of the qualities Jesus is believed to have embodied. It has become almost banal to recite Trump's ugly, vulgar, misogynist, racist mendacity, and yet here he is in an official White House photo, an image clearly meant to invoke the Last Supper, in the midst of an ecstatic laying on of hands... It is no exaggeration to say many evangelicals consider Trump an anointed figure; a clearly venal man somehow chosen by their God to rescue America from venality. Eighty-one per cent of white evangelicals voted for him in 2016... Most Americans — 65 per cent, according to PRRI — may now find Trump's behaviour undignified and damaging to the presidency, but not white evangelicals. They are, in fact, the only religious group in the survey to disagree... White evangelicals, for example, are in general keenly alert to Trump's white nationalist, nativist leanings. When he orders families separated at the southern border, most white evangelicals are right there with him... When he invites children visiting the White House to help build his border wall with their own personalized bricks, his loyal white evangelicals are right there with him.
  • He (Billy Graham) was not so much "America's pastor" as its greatest evangelical entrepreneur – the man who launched a whole separatist (and lucrative) Christian media culture, who laid the foundations for megachurches and prosperity ministries, who brought Jesus back into American politics. He was a public-relations savant, a shameless sycophant who whispered sweet nothings to power in lieu of hard truths. He demonstrated what fortunes could be made, and what human glory could be attained, by transforming evangelical Christianity into a patriotic corporate entity. If that's not American, by God, what is?
    • Bob Moser, The Soul-Crushing Legacy of Billy Graham, in Rolling Stone, (23 February 2018)
  • White evangelicals are the political base of today’s Republican Party... Many white Christian evangelicals in the United States have long believed that America has a God-given mission to save the world. Under the influence of this crusading mentality, US foreign policy has often swerved from diplomacy to war. It is in danger of doing so again.
    White evangelicals represent only around 17% of the US adult population, but comprise around 26% of voters. They vote overwhelmingly Republican (an estimated 81% in 2016), making them the party’s single most important voting bloc. That gives them powerful influence on Republican policy, and in particular on foreign policy when Republicans control the White House and Senate (with its treaty-ratifying powers). Fully 99% of Republican congressmen are Christian, of whom around 70% are Protestant, including a significant though unknown proportion of evangelicals.
    If biblical literalists like Pompeo remain in power past November, they could well bring the world to the brink of a war that they expect and perhaps even seek.

See also[edit]