August 14, 2019 | Reading Time: 3 minutes
Actually, White Evangelicals Are Sadists
To them, being punished for being gay, trans or "illegal" is divine justice.
I continue to believe too many people outside the world of white evangelical Christianity give too much credit to actors inside that world. Normal people, let’s call them, continue to look at this world believing they understand it, probably because they hold in common a variation of the Christian faith or because they read about the teachings of Jesus, which are essentially the teaching of equality and human rights.
Normal people, including virtually everyone in the Washington press corps, continue to look at white evangelical Christians as if they are just one of a multitude of groups within the constitutional order of a liberal democracy that fights hard to advance its principles and protect its interests. And indeed, leading figures of evangelical Christianity have spent years and years building an organizational structure that gives exactly that impression: that all they are doing is what everyone else is doing.
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But they are not doing what everyone else is doing any more than Patrick Crusius was doing what the average gun owner does. Though gun owners may hold opinions you might disagree with, most are mindful of rules and procedure. They believe they have the right to bear arms. They fight to exercise that liberty. But most do not believe they have the right to take matters into their own hands. Patrick Crusius, however, felt “the Mexican invasion” posed a threat to America so great it demanded extraordinary political action in El Paso. His goal wasn’t legitimate politics. His goal was murder.
I do not mean to suggest that the political goals for white evangelical Christians is murder. I do mean to suggest the goal is not what normal people tend to believe it is.
Normal people, working inside the normal American system, fight hard for something. They see an objective—say, tax cuts or a new law protecting the quality of drinking water—and they work toward that end. White evangelical Christians do not fight for things. They fight against things. I’m not talking about fighting against, for instance, tax increases. I’m talking about fighting against a human being’s right to be what that human being wants to be in this life. White evangelical Christians fight against that right, because they deny that some human beings are as human as they are.
Democracy demands recognition of the legitimacy of everyone who participates in a political community. White evangelical Christians, however, do not recognize the legitimacy of various out-groups. They do not recognize various out-groups as consisting of human beings. Out-groups, by dint of being out-groups, consist not of people but aliens, criminals, perversions, animals, or some species of subhumanity.
White evangelical Christians deny viciously that some human beings are as human as they are.
These out-groups include women defying the authority of the “natural” hierarchy of the sexes. (They use birth control or seek abortions.) These out-groups include anyone on the LGBTQ-plus continuum defying the authority of the “natural” binary of straight cisgender men and women. These out-groups include brown people defying the authority of federal immigration law. White evangelical Christians do not demand punishment for these people breaking the laws of Man and God. They demand punishment for these people being who they are. They derive pleasure from the punishment of sin. Being punished for being trans, for instance, is divine justice.
They are not doing what everyone else is doing, because their goals are not rooted in democratic legitimacy or even devotion to Christ’s teachings, which, as I said, are essentially the teaching of equality and human rights. Their goals are rooted in sadism—in the pleasure, sanctified by God, that’s derived from the suffering of others. And their goals are rooted in the resentment that the sadism historically afforded to them, and that was once codified into law or at least socially acceptable, no longer is. Normal people should stop giving white evangelical Christians the benefit of the doubt.
Ralph Reed is one of the leaders who helped build an organizational structure over decades that gives the impression to normal people that white evangelical Christians are doing what everyone else is doing in American politics. Reed told the Post recently that white evangelical Christian voters support Donald Trump’s bid for reelection because, he said, they believe the president will fight for them no matter what.
Trump looked to many like a protector, a brash culture warrior who would take their side. “He said, ‘I’m gonna fight for you. I’m gonna defend you,’” said Ralph Reed, the chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Georgia, which will distribute millions of voter-guide pamphlets at churches to drive evangelical turnout in 2020.
He gets it.
Yes, he does.
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.