On Facebook I posed five questions for the 81 percent of voting evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump. There was some sarcasm to be sure, but my questions were not tongue-in-cheek. There were serious.
1. You voted for Trump because you are pro life, but after the baby is born, unless it’s like you, your enthusiasm for that life wanes. If my mother knew I was transgender and wanted to abort me, you would have fought for my life. But now that I exist, you bar me from your church, or from leadership in your church. Do I have that right? Yeah, I thought so.
2. That guy on the airplane from Charlotte to Denver who called me a c—, if he were to run for president, and was willing to tell you what you wanted to hear to be elected, you’d vote for him because that’s what love does?
3. You really believe the last shall be first, and the first shall be last? Because that was a pretty high price to pay for the notion you’ll get the Supreme Court justice you want.
4. About the sources from which we get our news, did none of you watch Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom?
5. And finally, seriously, you really don’t know how dangerous a DSM-V narcissist can be?
My Facebook page is public, and a few old acquaintances challenged me for my sarcasm. One asked, “What happened to your generous spirit?” It is a fair question. My generosity does not extend to serious threats to freedom and democracy. There is a time for generosity and a time for outrage. This is a time for outrage. Each of my five questions was based on personal experience or current events.
1. I have too many sad examples of the first question, but I will present one that is more positive. I was asked to speak with the leadership council of a large evangelical church. At the meeting I was assured if I were a member of their church, I would be welcomed with open arms. I told them while I appreciated their support, I remained suspicious. I asked if I would ever be allowed to preach in their church. Lights went off in lots of caring eyes when they realized there were limits to the breadth of their open arms. I said, “Anything other than full membership, including leadership, is bait and switch.” They got the point and began the hard work of examining just how open they truly are. Most churches that rejected me would never have been so open to hearing from me. In fact, of the thousands of churches I knew in my former faith community, I have not received an invitation from a single one.
2. This year, on a flight from Charlotte to Denver, the passenger in 1C started to jam my bag into the back of the overhead bin to squeeze in his suitcase. Since my laptop was in my bag, I politely asked him not to do so. He kindly acquiesced. His seatmate in 1A, however, decided it was an opportunity to belittle the only woman in first class. As he passed my seat he said to his friend, “Yeah dude, don’t jam her bag, she might freak out.” That’s when he punctuated his misogynistic remark with the “c” word. (For the record, I did not let it go. I gave him a few choice words that caused the guy to drop his gaze to the floor and not dare to look in my direction for the entire flight.) Since the election, those kinds of comments have been on the increase all across our nation.
3. A former megachurch pastor, known for his character and gentlemanly spirit, told his blog readers he would vote for Donald Trump because we needed a Supreme Court justice who would be anti-abortion and “pro-family.” At the time I seriously wondered if he might be in the early stages of dementia. On November 8, I discovered it was not dementia at work for him or other evangelical leaders. They had reached the conclusion that when it comes to abortion and LGBTQ issues, political power is more important than placing a person of character in the White House.
4. The Washington Post and New York Times reported that Edgar Welch entered a restaurant in Washington, D.C. this past weekend and fired a shotgun. He had believed a fake news story about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring in the back of the restaurant. The restaurant owner said he assumed he had been targeted because he used to have a friendship with a former right-wing journalist who became a supporter of Clinton. I thought the plotline in the final season of Newsroom was a tad beyond the pale when it suggested the potential power of fake news. Guess I was wrong.
5. People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, about one percent of the population, have a sense of entitlement and superiority, as well as an insatiable need for admiration. They will promise virtually anything to earn your admiration, but then will endlessly disappoint you with their lack of genuine concern for you. They are terrible relationship partners, and as parents they endlessly thwart their adult children’s attempts to differentiate, often by enmeshing them in the power structure of the family system. That is because they only see their children as an extension of themselves. With their lack of concern for the welfare of others, they can suck the energy from a room. I was falsely under the impression most Americans understood how dangerous narcissists can be. I was clearly wrong.
I am not sure how to respond to this election. As someone raised in an evangelical environment, I am not alone. An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal talked about the large number of people leaving evangelical churches in light of the support for Trump.
I want to be hopeful and write about what is possible, but I am frightened for America. Millions do not seem to understand the peril in which we have placed our nation. I know you are tired of hearing about the election and you want my writing to be focused on the grace and hope that rises from the rubble. Eventually it will. But not yet.
And so it goes.