Just a Few of My Friends

I am blessed to have a very diverse group of friends and acquaintances. Racially my friends are various hues of Black, White, and Brown. Culturally and ethnically they are African, Middle Eastern, Asian, Eastern European, East Indian, Northern European, Caribbean, Latin American, Native American, North American, and, (with tongue in cheek) Midwestern – like me! Educationally my friends represent the spectrum from unschooled, homeschooled, public schooled, private schooled, and with multiple university degrees at all levels. I have friends who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and trans. With regard to ability, my friends have a wide range of abilities and disabilities physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Politically my friends are Democrats, Republicans, Anarchists, Green Partyers, Socialists, and Libertarians. Religiously I have friends who are Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Mormon, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, agnostic, and atheist.

Some of my friends are Evangelicals who happen to be White and some are even White Evangelicals.

This last statement indicates there is a difference between being an Evangelical who is White and being a White Evangelical. That is my understanding based on my research and how I understand the research of others. In my previous blog White Evangelicals were broadly defined as being self-identified racially as White and as adherents to the core beliefs and values of Evangelicals. My point of reference for evangelical beliefs and values is the National Association of Evangelicals’ “Defining Evangelicals in Research.”

The Pew Research Center research suggests that White Evangelicals are differentiated from other Evangelicals by their consistent high approval ratings for Trump. In January of this year Trump had a net approval rating among White Evangelicals of 77%. It has since slipped five points to 72% in June. Still, the Pew Research Center found that eight in ten (82%) of White Evangelicals would vote for Trump or lean toward voting for him if the election were held “today” – at the time of the survey in mid-June 2020. In that same survey 17% of White Evangelicals said they would back Joe Biden, the nominee of the Democratic Party as of Tuesday night.

White Evangelicals are not alone as the only group of White folks supporting Trump. Pew found that the majority of both White Catholics and White Protestants also trend toward Trump. However, no group is more solidly in Trump’s corner than White Evangelicals.

Some of my White friends who are Evangelicals are among that 17% who will not vote for Trump. Within that group some are so discouraged by the politicization of the term “Evangelical” and its association with Trump that they have chosen to no longer identify as Evangelical. Many simply prefer the term “Christian” though their personal beliefs would indeed align with the criteria for being an Evangelical held out by the National Association of Evangelicals.

Why do I have suce a diverse group of friends? I do not know for sure but I feel like I am a lucky person. In part it may be because I am curious about people. I love to chat and get to know them…even just standing in lines at stores. In part it may be because these friends and acquaintances have assessed me and found me to be genuinely curious, friendly, and accepting, even when I do not fully understand. At least I hope that is a reason.

I value my friends and their friendship. At the same time, I do not always understand them. I am reasonably sure they do not always understand me.

In thinking and writing about White Evangelicals at this time it is part of my journey toward understanding. I get the White part because, hey, you are White and that is just how it is! I appreciate the Evangelical part because your spiritual journey has taken you into Evangelicalism even as mine has led me away from it. What I do not get is the overwhelming support of Trump by White Evangelicals given what is known and revealed about him by his family, friends, enemies, most objective observers over the past four years, and, of course, his own Tweets. His life, values, beliefs, behaviors, and actions appear antithetical to, even irreconciliable with Evangelical faith and values. This is what I do not understand.

My lack of understanding is the primary motivation for this exploration. I genuinely seek to understand. However, there is a secondary motivation. I am worried about my friends who are White Evangelicals who are steadfast in their support of Trump. I worry they are on a slippery slope which is leading them into places they never imagined it would be possible for them to go ideologically, morally, ethically, and, yes, even behaviorally. I know. That is a pretty gloomy forecast. Especially since that is where I am going to leave it for now. More later…soon.


Mailing the Vote

On a walk today I was listening to The NPR Politics Podcast where they featured a special broadcast of Life Kit’s “How to Vote By Mail.” It was one of the simplest, clearest explanations I have heard about the process of voting by mail. It is short – about 16 minutes. I encourage you to listen to it and then share it with someone else who needs the information.


Meet Randy Rainbow

Randy Rainbow (yes, his real name) is an Emmy-nominated comedian who has never had a television how. He has YouTube parody videos instead. A few have been featured in this blog and you have probably seen his material shared via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Now it is time to get to know him better. Following this interview by CNN is one of his latest song parody videos about the Democratic Party’s Vice Presidential nominee, Senator Kamala Harris to the tune of “Camelot.”


Chickenman – Episode 93 – Only 4 Left!

Benton Harbor (the former Chickenman) kicks off his campaign to become the Police Commissioner.


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep striving for justice, peace, and health for all.

Tom

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