Iran: Bombs and Bible-Thumping

I know we are all reeling from the capricious Trump actions against Iran over the past few days. But we also know what the work is we have to do. 

Below are four resources to help shape our messaging and action. It will be important for people to be in the streets at federal buildings and at their Congressional reps offices denouncing Trump’s action and demanding that Congress bring the Khanna-Gaetz Amendment to the floor for a stand-alone vote to cut any funding for war with Iran. (This passed with a bipartisan majority in June but was dropped from the final NDAA when it came out of committee.)

Trump is portraying his political assassination of Soleimani as “taking out a bad man” as if this were another rogue terrorist. It is not. Iran is a sovereign nation. Soleimani was the equivalent of our head of joint chief of staff and was a favorite to be the next president of Iran.

Trump’s calculation is that deadly chaos in the Middle East (with a concurrent national security crisis here at home) will maintain Republican lock-step in the Senate and unite his evangelical base with Manichean heresies about fighting evil and reheated apocalyptic fantasies for Christian Zionists on the restoration of Israel and the ushering in of the End Times. Trump’s “bombing and Bible-thumping” evangelical tour began last night at King Jesus International ministry in Miami.

We need your prayers, tweets, FB posts, videos, sermons, public talks, etc to amplify a focused response. We need our people to be knowledgable, strategic, and active. Please use your communication networks to educate and activate.–Rose Berger

1. Will We See Through the “Fog of War’ This Time? by Rose Marie Berger

2. Iran: Break the Cycle of Violence With a Just Peace Framework by Eli S. McCarthy

3. Blocking Trump’s War with Iran by the Authority of Faith and Congress by Jim Wallis

4. Call on Congress to bring the Khanna-Gaetz Amendment to the NDAA to the floor as a stand-alone bill to prohibit funding of a war with Iran by Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns

Alan Bean: Custodians of American civil religion?

Below I am excerpting an excellent article by Alan Bean reflecting on the unholy alliance between “aging white evangelicals” and Donald Trump and the changing American civil religion. Alan is executive director of Friends of Justice, an alliance of community members that advocates for criminal justice reform. He lives in Arlington, Texas.–Rose Berger

An excerpt from Last call for aging white evangelicals: The political marriage to Trump will collapse. What then? by Alan Bean (in Baptist News Global).

Alan Bean, Friends of Justice

>>Conservative evangelicals punch above their weight because they are custodians of American civil religion, a vision of America as God’s beacon in a dark world. Civil religion enjoyed bipartisan support during the Eisenhower years. For generations, American history and civics classes were exercises in self-congratulation.

For the past half century, however, our civil religion has been “deconstructed” by academics who see it as little more than a mask for white supremacy and the oppression of women and racial and sexual minorities. America, in this view, has a lot of explaining to do. College educated whites broke decisively for Hillary Clinton in 2016, the only white demographic to do so.

In response, aging white evangelicals have doubled down on the myth of American righteousness. In the hands of evangelical faux historians like David Barton, the old civil religion has become a great, sprawling story of God’s providential love for America with footnotes a mile long. Trump’s promise to make America great again dovetails perfectly with American civil religion in both its classic and expanded iterations.

In defending Trump, aging white evangelicals are fighting for their identity. The liberals have transformed a gleaming army of Christian soldiers into a rabble of bigots and fools. Evangelicals won’t take this demotion lying down, especially with Donald John Trump emerging as their champion. A civil religion designed to unify a nation now serves as a dividing line.

All this is quite by design. Trump’s political strategy comes straight out of professional wrestling. Half the crowd is hailing Trump as a Savior while everybody else is baying for his blood. The president has our attention, and that’s all he has ever wanted.

As the impeachment process so clearly reveals, the GOP is now the party of Trump. But the power behind the throne is a band of aging white evangelicals, the most powerful people on earth, and therefore the most to be pitied.

Like the biblical Samson, Trump will eventually bring the entire edifice of American conservatism crashing down around him. Some species of evangelical religion will ultimately rise from the rubble, but it will be greatly curtailed, politically irrelevant and, I pray, more recognizably Christian.

Sometimes it takes a cataclysm to advance the cause of Christ.–Alan Bean<<

An excerpt from Last call for aging white evangelicals: The political marriage to Trump will collapse. What then? by Alan Bean (in Baptist News Global).

What’s an Evangelical Feminist?

Anne Eggebrotten

Anne Eggebrotten, who teaches on women and religion at California State University, Northridge, recently published her article The Persistence of Patriarchy in Sojourners (July 2010). Anne is one of the founding member of the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus.

The EEWC grew out of the 1973 Chicago gathering of young evangelicals who eventually launched the Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern. Some of these folks went on to lead Evangelicals for Social Action. Among the participants were women concerned about the inferior status of women in Church and society and who called on the group to consider issues related to sexism from a Christian perspective.

At ESA’s second consultation in 1974 the women’s caucus was one of six task forces formed by participants to study such concerns as racism, sexism, peace, and simpler lifestyles. Thus our group was born as the Evangelical Women’s Caucus. EWC presented proposals to Evangelicals for Social Action on a variety of topics including endorsement of the Equal Rights Amendment, support for inclusive language in Bible translation and Christian publications, affirmation of the ordination of women, and criticism of discriminatory hiring policies in Christian institutions.

The first national EWC conference, held in 1975 in Washington, D.C., addressed “Women in Transition: A Biblical Approach to Feminism.” The conference attracted more than 360 women from 36 of the 50 United States and from Canada. Many of the speakers at this conference were also writing on this topic for The Post American, the predecessor of Sojourners magazine.

Since many people may not be familiar with the EECW’s work, I thought I’d post their mission statement below:

Mission: We support, educate, and celebrate Christian feminists from many traditions.

Purpose:
* to encourage and advocate the use of women’s gifts in all forms of Christian vocation.
* to provide educational opportunities for Christian feminists to grow in their belief and understanding.
* to promote networking and mutual encouragement within the Christian community.

Statement of Faith:
We believe God is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of all. We believe God created all people in the divine image for relationship with God and one another. We further believe our relationship with God was shattered by sin with a consequent disruption of all other relationships. We believe God in love has made possible a new beginning through the incarnation in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was and is truly divine and truly human. We believe the Bible is the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and is a central guide and authority for Christian faith and life. We believe the church is a community of people who have been divinely called to do God’s will, exercising their gifts responsibly in church, home, and society, and looking forward to God’s new creation.

We Are Christian Feminists:
* EEWC affirms that the Bible supports the equality of the sexes.
* We believe that our society and churches have irresponsibly encouraged men to domination and women to passivity.
*We proclaim God’s redemptive word on mutuality and active discipleship.
* We value inclusive images and language for God.
*We advocate ordination of women and full expression of women’s leadership and spiritual gifts.

We Are Inclusive:
* EEWC is evangelical because our formation was rooted in the belief that the Gospel is good news for all persons.
* EEWC is ecumenical because we recognize that faith is expressed through a rich diversity of traditions and forms of spirituality.
* We offer a community of safety for all who have experienced abuse, marginalization, or exclusion by Christian churches.
*We have discovered that the expansiveness of God calls us to be an inclusive community.

We Welcome You: EEWC welcomes members of any gender, race, ethnicity, color, creed, marital status, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, age, political party, parental status, economic class, or disability. Our biennial conferences sustain our spiritual connectedness and foster our learning about critical Christian feminist issues.

EEWC has a quarterly newsletter, Christian Feminism Today magazine that provides Christian feminist news, articles, book reviews, and inspiration. For more information, see www.eewc.com.