Mov­ing U.S. em­bassy to Jerusalem is ma­jor victory for Trump-lov­ing white evan­gel­i­cals

South Florida Times - - OPINION -

The re­lo­ca­tion of the U.S. em­bassy in Is­rael from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Mon­day, May 14, will mark a ma­jor tri­umph for white evan­gel­i­cals, who gave Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump 81 per­cent of their votes.

Trump sig­naled his in­ten­tion on Dec. 6, 2017, when he de­fied the wishes of 128 countries who, de­spite a black­mail threat by the pres­i­dent, voted for a United Na­tions res­o­lu­tion declar­ing as “null and void” the Is­raelis’ de­ci­sion to make Jerusalem their cap­i­tal.

Jerusalem is of par­tic­u­lar con­cern, as the “Holy Land” of Chris­tians, Jews and Mus­lims and the Pales­tini­ans’ hope that it would be­come the cap­i­tal of a fu­ture state. Now Trump is again de­fy­ing international opin­ion on Jerusalem.

His de­ci­sion is due partly to the fact that, of course, he likes to fol­low his own star. Another rea­son is the in­ternecine con­flicts in the Arab world, a stead­fast sup­porter of the Pales­tini­ans, which makes it dif­fi­cult for them to pro­vide a uni­fied front against the em­bassy move. Their in­ter­nal strife has be­come so se­ri­ous that the Saudi Crown Prince, Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, re­cently stated that Pales­tinian lead­ers have no choice but ac­cept what­ever peace pro­pos­als are avail­able, ac­cord­ing to news re­ports from a closed-doors meet­ing with Jewish lead­ers in New York dur­ing his re­cent visit to the U.S.

“In the last sev­eral decades the Pales­tinian leadership has missed one op­por­tu­nity af­ter the other and re­jected all the peace pro­pos­als it was given. It is about time the Pales­tini­ans take the pro­pos­als and agree to come to the table or shut up and stop com­plain­ing,” bin Sal­man is quoted as say­ing. “The Pales­tinian is­sue is not at the top of the Saudi gov­ern­ment’s agenda…There are much more ur­gent and more im­por­tant is­sues to deal with — such as Iran.”

But there is another ex­pla­na­tion, one closer home: Mike Pence and white evan­gel­i­cals.

“There’s a seg­ment of Chris­tian­ity that be­lieves the cre­ation of Is­rael was the ful­fil­ment of prophecy,” Pro­fes­sor Christo­pher Roll­ston of Ge­orge­town Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity told the BBC. “They believe there will be, ul­ti­mately, an apoc­a­lyp­tic age, re­plete with the Bat­tle of Ar­maged­don , the Mark of the Beast, that sort of thing.”

Me­gan O’Gieblyn, in an ar­ti­cle in Harper’s magazine, pointed to a role which Vice Pres­i­dent Pence is play­ing in trans­lat­ing Bib­li­cal be­lief into 21st cen­tury for­eign pol­icy and pro­mot­ing the idea of ex­ile or ban­ish­ment which evan­gel­i­cals see as the fate of Chris­tians in a world where they number 2.2 bil­lion.

Pence, a staunch evan­gel­i­cal, is seen as the mod­ern-day Daniel to Trump’s Cyrus, the pious, hum­ble ad­vi­sor to the mighty “em­peror” of the sixth cen­tury B.C., the “in­ter­ces­sor” to the “ruler.”

“It’s clear that Pence sees him­self as the de­fender of an im­per­iled re­li­gious mi­nor­ity,” O’Gieblyn writes. Pence, she says, had “tapped into the lan­guage of ex­ile and by the time he joined Trump’s campaign, he had be­come flu­ent…” in it. He “made for a fa­mil­iar fig­ure, a mem­ber of the tribe who would rep­re­sent them in the court of a pa­gan em­pire, a man who could en­cour­age an un­pre­dictable king to keep his prom­ises.”

Evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers such as the Rev. Franklin Gra­ham, son of the late evan­ge­list Billy Gra­ham, in Jan­uary de­scribed Trump as a de­fender of Chris­tian­ity, ac­cord­ing to a Huff­in­g­ton Post writer Carol Ku­ruvilla. “The world is at­tack­ing Chris­tians because they hate the name of Christ. And Pres­i­dent Trump has been de­fend­ing Chris­tians,” Gra­ham said on Fox & Friends on Sun­day. But Rep. Char­lie Dent (R-Penn), in late March told CNN’s An­der­son Cooper, “I don’t know how many in the evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­nity can rec­on­cile some of their po­si­tions at this mo­ment.…” If were [sic] Barack Obama em­broiled in a scan­dal in­volv­ing a porn star, “they’d be wav­ing a bloody shirt.” In the Bill Clin­ton scan­dal in­volv­ing Mon­ica Lewin­sky, “A lot of folks were pretty darn alarmed and out­raged and had a strong voice about it, say­ing ‘char­ac­ter counts.’ Now the shoe’s on the other foot, a lot of those same folks are pretty damn silent.”

The non-profit magazine Chris­tian­ity To­day echoed that sen­ti­ment in an ed­i­to­rial in Oc­to­ber: “Evan­gel­i­cals, of all peo­ple, should not be silent about Don­ald Trump’s bla­tant im­moral­ity.”

But an es­ti­mated 71 per­cent of evan­gel­i­cals still sup­port Trump, which ex­plains why an ini­tia­tive by some who are con­cerned failed to even is­sue a state­ment at the end of a two-day meet­ing in April, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the New Yorker by Kate­lyn Beaty, who at­tended the ses­sions.

Even Trump’s sup­port­ers ac­knowl­edge that he has ma­jor char­ac­ter flaws but evan­gel­i­cals ig­nore them so long as the “em­peror” can be per­suaded by the “in­ter­ces­sor.” They helped elect him; he is giv­ing them Jerusalem.

Clearly the in­tri­ca­cies of phi­los­o­phy and ethics are where this sub­ject matter is usu­ally found. How­ever, none of that is heard on the cor­ner, in beauty and bar­ber shops or the club. When black folks re­ally talk about Amer­ica as ‘a na­tion of laws,’ it cer­tainly is noth­ing like what you’d hear in school or some churches, because it’s caus­tic, al­beit truth­ful.

Black lives are full of law­less­ness. Our kids com­plain about how se­vere they are pun­ished in school for slight of­fenses for which white kids get less pun­ish­ment. Stud­ies con­tinue to show very high sus­pen­sion rates for black stu­dents, es­pe­cially for black boys. And where in Amer­ica have schools been in­te­grated with “all de­lib­er­ate speed” since the Supreme Court ruled in 1954.

Strat­i­fied black com­mu­ni­ties are pa­trolled mostly by white po­lice­men whose at­ti­tudes about black peo­ple are to­tally un­known by res­i­dents. Pow­er­ful law en­force­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions have a say in po­lice re­cruit­ment and pos­si­bly their place­ment. Most black res­i­dents believe them to be “an oc­cu­py­ing force” to con­trol black peo­ple rather than pro­tect them. White law en­force­ment of­fi­cers rou­tinely mur­der black men and boys because “I thought he had a gun.”

Years have passed and cit­i­zens of Flint, Michi­gan are still with­out drink­ing wa­ter while lo­cal and state gov­ern­ments con­tinue to dil­ly­dally. One pres­i­dent is­sues an Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der and its im­ple­mented only to be quashed a few years later by the next pres­i­dent, a dizzy­ing process to us cit­i­zens that we are told to swal­low because it’s just pol­i­tics. This game of laws and law­less­ness is to­tally or­ches­trated by plu­to­crats and oli­garchs, the pow­er­ful few.

White Amer­ica has a real abid­ing fear of non-white peo­ple, es­pe­cially black and brown peo­ple who they en­slaved. Fear is en­tan­gled with a na­tional move­ment to be armed with mil­i­tary-style semi-au­to­matic as­sault ri­fles and loads of am­mu­ni­tion. Through the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion (NRA), and all man­ner of white na­tion­al­ist groups, these peo­ple cite their con­sti­tu­tional right to bear arms.

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