Under Attack from Fundamentalist Pirates, Evangelical Baptists Refused to Give Up the Ship

In Nashville, Evangelicals clashed with toxic fundamentalists—and Evangelicals prevailed

If I had to summarize a complicated, important week at the Southern Baptist Convention’s meeting in a single sentence, it would be this: In a series of contentious confrontations, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination confirmed that it is (for now) more Evangelical than fundamentalist. And that outcome is good news for the church and the nation.

To explain what I mean, let me back up a moment and define my terms. It’s important to understand what “Evangelical” really means, and that requires going back to pre-exit poll Christianity.

How did exit polls corrupt our definitions? When most Americans think of the term “Evangelical,” they’re not thinking so much as a set of theological presuppositions but rather of the sub-group of Americans who respond “yes” to an exit-poll question, a very imprecise exit-poll question. For example, here it is, in 2020:

The problems with the question are obvious. Immediately you lose any sense of the racial diversity of American evangelicalism. Black and Hispanic Evangelicals are lost in “all others,” and they’re far more politically diverse than white Evangelicals. In addition, the question papers over tremendous differences within “evangelical” and “born-again” Christianity itself.

Thus, the word “Evangelical” became primarily a political category, obscuring the historical meaning of the term and eradicating a distinction that is still deeply salient within American Christianity—the cultural, theological, and political difference between evangelicalism and fundamentalism.

I grew up in fundamentalism. I converted to evangelicalism. The difference is profound but often opaque to those who are outside the “born again” (rather than Mainline) Protestant tradition. After all, both the fundamentalist and Evangelical branches of “born again” Christianity believe in the authority of scripture. Both branches are generally politically conservative. That’s why it’s just wrong to frame the differences between the two as “right versus left” or “conservative versus liberal” or much less as a battle between “conservative versus ‘woke.’”

Instead, I’d frame the difference in a number of different ways—“grace versus law,” or perhaps “open-hearted versus closed-minded.” In an earlier newsletter, I described fundamentalists as possessing “fierce existential certainty.” The fundamentalist Christian typically possesses little tolerance for dissent and accepts few sources of truth outside of the insights that can be gleaned directly from the pages of scripture.

As I’ve argued before, I don’t think you can understand the far-left or the far-right without understanding fundamentalism:

Far-left fundamentalism often manifests itself in the illiberal zeal of the so-called “Great Awokening.” It’s a secular version of the religious intensity of the far religious right, rejecting alternative worldviews with the same ferocity that religious fundamentalists reject secular sources of truth.

You can often distinguish fundamentalism by its emphasis on righteousness and its obsession with the idea that compromise anywhere is compromise everywhere. That’s a key reason internal arguments are so ferocious. Give an inch on young earth creationism, and you’re abandoning scripture. Give an inch on, say, the “the extent to which we can benefit from secular psychology in biblical counseling,” and you’re declaring that scripture is insufficient as a guide for life and faith.

Because compromise is so catastrophic, fundamentalism often manifests itself in Christian politics through a series of moral panics, where issues assume apocalyptic importance. Teach evolution in schools, and we’ll face God’s wrath. God abandoned our nation when we lost school prayer. Gay marriage is the point of no return. Critical race theory threatens the foundations of the church and the republic. 

Evangelicals will often share the fundamentalist’s cultural concerns (which is why the distinction between fundamentalism and Evangelicalism is often opaque to those outside the church), but not their political or cultural intensity, nor their apocalyptic fears. Evangelicalism more readily embraces doubt and difference. It is more open to sources of knowledge outside the church.

To stick with the critical race theory example for a moment, the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2019 Resolution 9 on CRT and intersectionality is a classically Evangelical document. It states that “general revelation accounts for truthful insights found in human ideas that do not explicitly emerge from Scripture.” Yet it also declares the truth that “critical race theory and intersectionality should only be employed as analytical tools subordinate to Scripture.”

In other words, while there are things Christians can learn from critical race theory, scripture is still supreme. When CRT conflicts with scripture, then scripture rules.

The fundamentalist rejects this framework. Just as with secular psychology, secular concepts like CRT—springing often from non-Christian scholars—are deemed corrupt to their core. There is nothing we can learn from them that we can’t learn by applying scriptural principles, and thus must be rejected, root and branch.

Moreover, in part because Evangelicals are more comfortable with doubt and difference, they’re often more ecumenical and less prone to see doctrinal differences as dealbreakers for cooperation and fellowship. My introduction to evangelicalism, for example, occurred at my law school Christian Fellowship, where Baptists worshiped side-by-side with believers from virtually every Protestant denomination and tradition.

In my fundamentalist upbringing, many of our leaders wouldn’t have labeled that gathering “Christian.” They would have labeled it a misbegotten fellowship of the lost.

Few fundamentalists are quite that exclusive now, but you can see why fundamentalists often express a deep discomfort with pluralism and experience a constant sense of emergency. Someone is always pulling on a thread of the faith somewhere, and pull hard enough on any thread, and you risk unraveling the entire fabric. Political disputes assume outsize importance. Political differences become intolerable. 

Evangelicals often also have a higher view of grace than fundamentalists. They emphasize God’s grace more than God’s rules and are more prone to focus on God’s mercies than God’s judgment.

To see the difference, I’m going to quote below one of the most famous passages in all of scripture—the story of the woman caught in adultery—and I’m going to bold the most salient words to the Evangelical and italicize the most salient words to the fundamentalist:

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn yougo, and from now on sin no more.”

Evangelicals and fundamentalists both believe every word of the scripture above, but the Evangelical pastor will often emphasize that while sin is real, no sin is beyond the grace of God. The fundamentalist pastor will often emphasize that while grace is real, don’t doubt for a moment that God hates sin. “Sin no more” were the last words, and thus the core operative command.

Is this too much background? Not at all! There’s one last thing—while fundamentalist influences wax and wane in born-again Christianity (indeed, in most faiths), they often grow in strength in times of social conflict and cultural upheaval.

Do you wonder why legalistic “purity culture” grew in influence in the 1990s? Buffeted by the sexual revolution, families sought certainty and security. Purity culture beckoned with a clear, easy-to-understand path to righteousness and a (presumed) formula for a healthy, happy marriage.

Moreover, the emphasis on single issues and big battles appeals to a certain “hold the line” heroic mindset. It speaks to the heart of those who are drawn to strong stands and dramatic fights. At the risk of nerding out, think of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in this famous dialogue in Star Trek: First Contact:

Before the SBC meeting, perhaps the most insightful preview of the coming conflicts came from my friend Trevin Wax. He identified three big questions that divide Baptists:

  1. Do Southern Baptist churches unite primarily around doctrinal consensus or missional cooperation? 
  2. Should we engage secular sources of knowledge with a fundamentalist or an Evangelical posture?
  3. How politically aligned must Southern Baptists be in order to cooperate together?

Note how each either explicitly (in question 2) or implicitly centers around the fundamentalist/Evangelical divide. And how were those questions answered? In virtually every case, the SBC took the Evangelical approach.

First and foremost, in its presidential election, it rejected the more-fundamentalist, culture war candidate of the far-right Conservative Baptist Network, Mike Stone. It also rejected Al Mohler, the legendary head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mohler isn’t just a seminarian, he’s a leading cultural commentator who consistently takes on the left in matters large and small.

Instead, the convention narrowly elected Ed Litton, a man known far more as a pastor than a culture warrior and who is also known for his efforts at achieving racial reconciliation within the SBC. It also left Resolution 9 intact, failed to adopt any clear condemnation of CRT, and it watered down a pro-life abolitionist resolution that would have wholly rejected any incrementalist approaches to ending abortion.

To understand the magnitude of these votes, black SBC pastor Dwight McKissic tweeted this (he had previously threatened to leave the denomination):

In short, as I wrote last week, fundamentalist Baptists charged into Nashville behind pirate flags pledging to “take the ship.” They failed.

The reasons are many and complex, but this explanation—also from Pastor McKissic—resonates:

It’s also true that leaders like outgoing president J.D. Greear courageously stood and fought, with the conviction all too many fundamentalists claim that Evangelicals lack, for an inclusive SBC that is dedicated to racial reconciliation, abhors sexual abuse, and rejects political litmus tests:

Greear called on white Southern Baptists to “stand with their brothers and sisters of color as they strive for justice.”

He also implored Black and Hispanic pastors not to give up on the denomination as it works through its struggles.

“To our leaders of color, many of you are struggling to stay in a convention you think cares little about you: we need you,” Greear said to a standing ovation. “There is no way we can reach our nation without you.”


Greear also lamented the reputation the SBC has gained as a political organization.

It’s never good when that happens, he explained. “Anytime the church gets in bed with politics, the church gets pregnant, and the offspring does not look like our Father in heaven.”

And he decried not just partisan litmus tests but also the cruelty of political combat:

The exaggeration and lies many of our entity leaders have had to respond to, it makes us smell like death even when our theology is squeaky clean. I hear from Latinos and African Americans wondering why they would want to be part of this fellowship.”

It has to stop, he said. “We are great commission Baptists. We have political leanings. But we are not the party of the elephant or the donkey. We are the people of the lamb.”

The SBC not only reconfirmed its commitment to racial unity, it also took a decisive stand against sexual abuse. The “messengers” (delegates) to the convention decisively rejected the Executive Committee’s attempt to control the investigation into allegations the committee mishandled allegations of sexual abuse.

Instead, as Baptist News reports, they voted to “wrest control of the already announced investigation from the Executive Committee and put it in the hands of a task force to be named by new SBC President Ed Litton.”

That vote lead to a powerful moment—when survivors of sexual abuse embraced after years of courageous advocacy. At long last, transparency and accountability seemed possible:

The SBC meeting represented a victory—especially for those who (to quote one Baptist pastor) hoped to see the convention become “conservative in our convictions but liberal about our love.” But it’s a victory in a battle, not the conclusion of the war. The closeness of the presidential election was a symbol of the strength of fundamentalism, and further cultural conflict and cultural upheaval may strengthen it more still.

But J.D. Greear is right—no church should define itself as the “party of the elephant or the donkey,” and the more that any church does, the more that political disputes will assume apocalyptic importance, the more that American intolerance will grow, and the more that Christians will confuse the pursuit of the biblical justice (which every Christian should seek) with the pursuit of Christian power, which history has shown is often wielded in oppressive and punitive ways.

A healthy American culture needs a healthy church, whether that church leans left or right. As John Adams famously declared, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

He knew that “religious” did not always imply “moral.” By standing with victims of sexual abuse, by defeating the effort to turn the SBC into an adjunct of a thoroughly Trumpist GOP, and by standing against racial division, in a crucial moment the SBC gave the nation hope that a commitment to a faith carries with it a commitment to morality, and that morality can be centered in both justice and grace.

One more thing …

I want to show you concretely what it means to differentiate between open-hearted evangelicalism and furious fundamentalism in American politics—and to show that while a battle was won, the war rages on.

First, here’s Dana McCain at the SBC, speaking about her pro-life convictions with courage and with compassion.

Twitter avatar for @ejmayo15Eric Mayo @ejmayo15

This is what I was referring to. @dhmccain is a boss! #SBC21 Image

Next, here’s the apocalyptic rage of intolerant, illiberal Christians on full display while they vent their fury at a former vice president whose “sin” was drawing the line at destroying the republic in his service to Donald Trump:

In the collision between these worldviews, I know exactly which one needs to prevail.

One last thing …

Ok, this is an old classic, but JJ lives in my neighborhood, and I ran into her just the other day. She and her husband are delightful folks, and this song is just a wonderful expression of the grace that drew me out of fundamentalism and into the faith is centered around the marvelous mercy of the cross:

Interview with John Fea, author of BELIEVE ME

So there was certainly the policy.
And then on the other hand, you had the character issues.
That evangelicals would sort of sell their moral authority to speak truth to the world
for a handful of Supreme Court justices or this or that social or cultural issue; for
me, the fact that this man had a history of all kinds of . . . involved in the porn industry,
he was crude, he disrespected women.
The things he said about his opponents, we could go into specifics about that.
I’m a believer that there needs to be some kind of moral fabric to a republic in order
for the republic to work.
Now, where you find that morality, we could debate that question; I’ve written a little
about that elsewhere.
But a moral republic needs some kind of moral leader, some person of character, and he was
not it.
And I think you could make an argument against him, not even a Christian argument; he’s just
not good for America.
But yet evangelicals were so driven by their culture war.
Win the culture war, get the justices we need, elect the right guy; this kind of model, “playbook”
I call it in the book, this playbook for winning the culture that they were willing to overlook
all the character flaws and that was the second thing of course that bothered me.
I think it bothered a lot of other evangelicals.
I think that character issue bothered most evangelicals, whether they voted for Trump
or not, but ultimately the playbook: how to win the culture wars by electing the right
justices, the right congressmen, and the right president was so overwhelmingly strong and
had been so inculcated, so indoctrinated into the way evangelicals today think about politics,
that I should have seen it coming.
I should have seen this–if you look at the past 15 years, this was all building up to
this point.
Now, I think, I tend to think of this as kind of a last gasp of the old Christian Right;
I think that most of the people who voted for Trump came of age during the late ’70s
and ’80s when people like Jerry Falwell and the Christian Right were articulating this
playbook for how to win the culture for the first time.
I think the average Trump voter is 57 years old.
So I do have hope, especially as I look at young people in Christian colleges, like Messiah
College where I teach, who are much more interested in different kinds of questions related to
justice and social ills and those kinds of things in terms of how they exercise their faith.
But I think, I hope this is, I think I see this as a last gasp–I think in the book I
call it–I occasionally teach a course on the Civil War.
Some of your viewers might remember the last great engagement of the Battle of Gettysburg:
Picket’s Charge where the Confederate, Confederacy made one last charge before they were–and
almost were successful–before they were beat back once and for all.
Those who know their Civil War history know the war went downhill from that point.
I hope that’s what happened, that’s what’s gonna happen, that’s what we’re seeing here.
So, as I look back, I looked at the last 50 years, I saw all of these grievances that
evangelicals believed were happening, whether they be sexual politics: abortion; the ERA, the
Women’s Rights movement.
Evangelicalism has always been a patriarchal culture.
I think there’s a reaction to that.
I think there was a reaction to integration, racial integration, desegregation.
I think there were prayer in public schools, Bible taking out of the public schools, prayer
removed from public schools.
I think there’s this perfect storm that emerges in the ’60s and ’70s that prompts people like
Jerry Falwell and others to establish again this kind of political playbook to win the
culture back.
And Trump proved that, just how powerful that playbook really is and continue–was, and
continues to be, even to the point that someone like Donald Trump could win.
Again, I’m writing primarily to evangelicals in this book.
I think there will be a secondary audience of American religious historians, people who
are interested in American religion who want to take a peek into what evangelicals are
talking about.
I think there’s some good history in the book, though, too.
One of the things I try to unpack is show how there’s always been a dark side to American
We can talk about the way in which evangelicals have been on the front lines of anti-slavery,
social justice movements, international poverty relief, all of these kinds of things.
And we need to celebrate that I think; I’m not one of these people, who–I am an evangelical,
so I rejoice that evangelicals are doing these things.
But there’s also a dark side.
Even as someone like Lyman Beecher, who I write about in the third chapter, even as
he is fighting slavery, he’s also one of the leading nativists.
He doesn’t want catholics coming in and undermining his protestant nation.
So this story goes back a long way and I think what Trump does, is he appeals to the worst
side of evangelicalism in its 2, 300-year history.
Every time evangelicals are not representing the true virtues of their faith, where they
fail, I think Trump seizes on that history.
This is a history that defended the institution of slavery.
This is a history that had such certainty about what is true in the fundamentalist movement.
This is a movement that prevented, didn’t want certain kinds of immigrants coming into
the country.
There’s a long history of this.
I’d like my fellow evangelicals to at least be exposed to that history.
I think when ordinary evangelicals, lay men and women, think about evangelical history
they celebrate this providential idea.
“God is with us!
God is doing great things through people.”
And I think that’s important.
I think God does obviously work in this world and uses people in this world.
But also the reality of human sin: evangelicals are not immune.
If anyone knows better, it’s an evangelical who believes in this conversion experience,
one’s saved from the consequences of sin, becoming born again or becoming–accepting
Jesus, or whatever that looks like.
So, I want them to see there is a darker side to the history that Trump is tapping into.
Am I going to convince the 81% that they made a wrong decision?
Most I probably will not, but I do believe there are some fence-sitters out there, people
who maybe held their nose and voted for Trump.
Maybe they need to think through exactly, they may be open to thinking through a little
bit more, in terms of what this man represents and what the policy decisions he is putting
forth represent.
And hopefully it will force evangelicals–maybe “force” is too strong a word, but it might
encourage evangelicals to think more deeply about political engagement.
And when a politician comes along and says, “Let’s make America great again,” he’s ultimately–or
she, in this case he–is ultimately making a historical statement.
So I think evangelicals have to be careful.
When was America great?
Let’s go back and think about that.
What does Trump mean when he says, “Make America great again?”
And before you start using these evangelical catch-phrases like “reclaim” and “restore”
and “let’s get back to” and “let’s bring back the way it used to be,” we need to think more
deeply about what, exactly what it was like back then, how it used to be.
So I think even if the book forces evangelicals to kind of rethink even their phraseology
and how they, what they say when they enter the public sphere, public square, I think
that will be a contribution in some ways.
I’ll be happy if that happens.
So I think race plays an important role in this book.
I think that’s a contribution here.
There’s a lot of reasons why evangelicals voted for Trump.
Sexual politics I think is a big one.
I think race is also an issue.
There is a certain degree of, still a certain degree of fear among white evangelicals that,
not only African Americans, but Hispanics; America’s becoming less white, there’s been
a lot of good sociology written about this lately about the “end of white America.”
So I think this is, the white evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump, the 81% of white
evangelicals, are responding to these changes with a sense of fear, with a sense of nostalgia
for a white world in which they held power.
So I think this is part of the story, part of the appeal of Donald Trump.
Let’s try to, when they say, “Let’s make America great again,” you talk to most African Americans,
the best time to live in America is today.
They don’t want to go back.
And I’ve had some great conversations over the years with African American evangelicals
and worked with them on things and I talk a little bit about that in one of the chapters
of the book about this idea that we are somehow a Christian nation that we have to get back to.
No African American wants to get back to when we were supposedly a “Christian nation.”
So I think this appeal–and again, you see it in the history.
Whenever there is some kind of significant cultural change, whether it be religion, race;
I mean, I’m half Italian.
When my Italian family came over, they were of a “different race.”
They were southern Europeans.
They weren’t WASPs.
So this same kind of racial rhetoric, as well as the anti-catholic rhetoric.
Whenever there’s a cultural demographic change in society, largely through immigration, or
some kind of slave rebellion where the slaves are threatening to overthrow the racial hierarchy
of the South, sadly, evangelicals are always at the front of that resistance.
Mostly white, middle class evangelicals.
I think that’s what you’re seeing again now.
Our culture is changing.
We’re becoming less white, we’re becoming more religiously diverse.
I think the 1965 Immigration Act which allowed non-Western men and women into this country.
They brought their religions with them, they brought their culture with them.
And I think Donald Trump stepped in and said, in a very conservative, populist way–which
we’ve seen throughout American history, maybe most recently Pat Buchanan, but there were
others in the 20th Century–and said, “We are going to make you happy again.
We’re gonna give you the kind of world that you once knew as a kid.
We’re gonna make America great again.”
And I think that is very much tied into these racial, cultural, ethnic changes.
For a long time, evangelicals have been, if not leading, very much at the forefront of
racism in America.
I would argue historically–really more as an evangelical, I would argue–it’s a failure
of their, it’s a failure of faith.
I think evangelicals have these resources, all Christians have these resources: the dignity
of all human beings.
I think it’s most important, but also evangelicalism specifically…
I remember hearing Mark Galli, the editor of Christianity Today, talking about all these
Christian scholars that appeal to the Imago Dei which is we’ve been created in the image
of God, and thus everybody has dignity, everybody has worth: racism is not an option as a result
of that, if everybody has dignity.
And there were people in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries who were making these arguments,
so it’s not as if I’m sort of taking my 21st Century view on this and superimposing it
on the past.
There are others who were more consistent on this.
But Galli said for evangelicals, it even goes deeper than just the Imago Dei, or it’s more
thorough than that, in the sense that, if we believe Jesus died on the cross for our
sins, redemption, all human beings are worthy of redemption in God’s eyes regardless of
gender, race, class, and so forth.
So it moves even beyond just the creation to the redemption.
So I think evangelicals have an amazing set of resources in their faith to be able to
overcome these racial problems and, for a variety of reasons, they’ve failed to do it
because I think they’re overcome by fear in many ways.
They’re overcome by–and this deeply rooted idea that somehow we are an exceptional nation,
God has blessed us above other nations, that we are a new Israel.
In some ways evangelicals still believe they’re in this kind of contractual relationship with
God–Americans are–Evangelicals believe if we don’t keep a pure Christian nation we’re
gonna lose God’s favor in some ways.
So I think all of those really bad historical assumptions and theological assumptions–fear,
I don’t think–I love the Marilyn Robinson quote: “fear is not a Christian habit of mind.”
So there’s these kinds of psychological, theological errors, historical errors that get in the
way of us living out our faith with a sense of hope, with a sense of equality, with a
sense of what Martin Luther King called the “beloved community.”
I think there’s gonna be a lot of people, and there have been a lot of people who after
the election of Donald Trump–you know, I was close to this as well; I would even argue
at one point that I was there maybe for a few days.
I tended to work out my, what’s the word, angst or whatever about this kind of publicly,
so, if you follow the paper trail: two days after the election I’m saying, “Here’s what I’m still
thankful for!”
So, I’m still–I just gave a talk last week to the board of trustees of a Christian college,
and they gave me the assignment.
The assignment was this: What positive role has evangelicalism played in American history?
You know, that’s a tough question for a historian.
Especially after the previous question I answered about the dark side of evangelicalism.
That’s a tough question because we don’t tend to speak in moral categories, “It’s good” or
“bad;” no, this is what happened, and you guys parse it out.
But, I respect the people who have decided to leave evangelicalism.
A lot of my friends have, and people who–or at least, rejected the label, let’s put it
that way–some of my unofficial mentors have said it’s not useful anymore; let’s use the
term “evangelical” or “evangelicalism” to describe a historical movement, phenomenon,
but it’s become so politicized.
So you also have the examples of Princeton’s Evangelical Fellowship, their student group;
they took “Evangelical” out of their name.
You see a lot of big megachurches–and I think this happened before Trump, but they’re removing
the term “evangelical” because it has such political connotations.
I respect that; for me . . . and it’s really through a lot of discussions with my editor David Bratt
on this; he convinced me that I’m actually in the process of defending the term in this
I’m not willing to let it go to the politician, to the court evangelicals, or the 81%.
I think there’s something about “evangelical,” the word, the good news, the gospel, the authority
of the Scriptures, the cross, that’s worth defending, and worth saving from the way it’s
been so politicized.
So I think when you read this book, I think you’ll still see me kind of struggling with
this a little bit because I’ve always been a very uneasy evangelical since I converted,
I would say “got saved” at age 16.
I’ve always been uneasy because I was formed in another religious tradition that also had
a profound effect on my moral formation and upbringing.
while I remain uneasy with evangelicalism, I’m not willing to go all the way and say
I’m not going to identify with that term.
I think, I often find myself, since the election–as much as I’m a critic of what the 81% did by
voting for Trump, I get, the hairs on my arm raise, too, when I hear secular liberals
trashing evangelicals.
I want to say, “No!”
I get angry, too, at the kind of assault on evangelicals.
A perfect example of this is after the death of Billy Graham.
My natural instinct was to say this man lived a–he had flaws, we all have flaws; he could
have maybe done more in certain areas, but this man lived an honorable, God-fearing life as
I understood it.
Again, he had his slip-ups.
I actually write about some of his slip-ups in the book.
But I just thought the sort of secular liberal–whatever you want to call it–the anti-evangelical
assault on Billy Graham in some popular pieces was just way over the top.
And they were making criticisms that no right-minded historian would make.
Talk about the right and wrong sides of history and Graham was on the wrong side, and these
were people, a lot of them actually were former evangelicals with axes to grind, I’ll say
that publicly I think, you know who you are!
But, what fascinates me is someone needs to do a study of how the election of Donald Trump
influenced obituaries and other popular op-eds and stuff of Billy Graham.
Because some people are just connecting Graham to the court evangelicals and there’s some
truth to that, but the venom in a lot of pieces on Graham really got under my skin and that’s
maybe saying more about me than them, I don’t know, but that’s an example of where I will. . .
people are going to think I’m enemy number one after, public enemy number one after they read this
book, but I just want to affirm that I remain an evangelical.
I still believe in those things that evangelicals believe in and I’m always going to be a critic, too.
Insider/outsider kind of thing.
For those who left evangelicalism, or at least don’t want to associate with the term, I respect
that; I’m not going to try to write another book to win you back, and I think that’s a
fair position to take.
I’m just not going to take, I’m not one to take that position.

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Whatever happened to Ivanka Trump’s child care tax credit?

One of the biggest disappointments for conservatives who believed that Trump could have offered a new, more reform-minded populist economics was the failure of the expanded child care tax credit offered by Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Marco Rubio.

It was an actual populist idea, geared to the working class, because it was refundable against payroll taxes. But not only did Republican leaders oppose it, they made sure it failed by requiring it to get 60 votes, unlike other amendments.

.. The tax bill might not be the kind of populist piece of legislation Trump promised during the campaign, but it does have a lot in it to make conservatives happy. Obamacare is unraveled; there are more tax breaks for people who home-school their kids or send them to religious schools; 

.. Maybe the most important thing Trump offers his supporters isn’t economic policy or any policy at all — it’s his racially charged Twitter feed and the cultural grievances it directs at immigrants, Muslims and millionaire black athletes.

Sure, Trump’s followers like the idea of having fewer tax brackets, said conservative Ben Domenech, publisher of TheFederalist.com, but, “What gets them riled up and active is the embrace of the culture-war issues — that Trump has shown himself perfectly happy to fight in a way that Republicans in a lot of other positions have been unwilling to traditionally.”

His tax bill is much more tilted to the wealthy than the tax bills of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. And his white-identity politics is much more raw and more central to his persona.

It’s as if the Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street and the wealthy get the policy, while Trump’s blue-collar base gets the Twitter feed.