If Trump isn’t a wake up call to Evangelical Christians then I don’t know who else could be

I’m an Evangelical Christian, but I’m British, so please don’t think I’m a Republican.

However, I am surrounded by countless Republicans who seem utterly shocked and surprised that someone like Trump could rise up to be the Republican candidate.  They, like me, find him abhorrent.

Let’s not forget though, that the Republican party has been the nasty party for quite sometime.  It is well known that it has received millions from the gun lobby so that gun controls remain impotent.  Likewise the party has stymied every effort by Obama to expand health coverage.  Most Europeans view healthcare as a human right and find the American attitude to it pretty disgusting.

As with Trump, the Republican party is already mired in contradictory positions.  Pro-life but also pro-gun, pro-life but anti-healthcare.

Frankly, I am tired of republican voters, who claim to be Christian, acting surprised that Trump looks likely to represent them.  For too long they have turned a blind eye to the nastiness of the Republican party and now they are getting the candidate they deserve.  Stop acting surprised and wake up.

Better late than never

It has been ages since I last wrote something on here, it has been hard to pin down everything I have been thinking about and form coherent points.

In a previous post I promised an observation on why I believe there to be greater solidarity in Britain. I think it is to do with our schooling. Pretty much everyone goes to a school outside the home, unlike the USA, and shares a common experience. Uniforms help too. I can’t help but observe that the American preference for home schooling and small, mostly Christian, private schools, is detrimental to society and only adds to the ‘us/them’ dichotomy seen everywhere from politics to gated community.

Another realisation I have regrettably come to, and why at times I can finding living in the USA so depressing, is this.  Living in fairly atheist Britain, as part of what is essentially a Christian minority, I had always believed that if there were more Christians the country would be better. Yet I come to America where the percentage of practicing Christians is far higher and find ugly arguments over guns, xenophobic reactions to the plight of refugees and men, such as Ted Cruz, who calls himsef a Christian, with an agenda that is utterly different to what I believe is on Jesus’ heart (poverty anyone?).

I think it’s time to go home.

Why am I doing this? The questions I would like answered.

So, why am I writing this blog?  There are a few questions I want to discuss out loud and in public in the hope that maybe some others are wondering the same things and have some wisdom to share.

I am British and live in the US right now.  At a recent dinner at my house my husband and I had invited two other couples.  One of the other couples was British and non-Christian, the other was American and Christian.

Throughout the evening the American Christian couple made endless comments that I disagreed with, they showed contempt for any efforts I made to save the planet and were pro-guns.  They hated Obama and assumed I as a Christian would too.

On the other hand, the non-Christian British couple were anti-gun, took steps to reduce their carbon footprint and thought Obama great.  In short, we had far more in common with our non-Christian fellow Brits than the American Christians.

So my question is not who is wrong or right, but rather why do Christians from not so different cultures differ so much?  How have we come to such polar opposite conclusions about important matters?  Does culture hold more sway over us than our faith?  Shouldn’t it be the other way round?

These questions and others are what I wish to write about in this blog – in short, the intersection of culture and faith and the impact it has on us.

Patriotism but no Solidarity

One of the themes that I think might recur on this blog and to which I don’t have an answer to yet, is to do with my observations of American people whilst living here in the US (I am British and have lived here for one year).

Patriotism is extremely high in the US, there are flags everywhere, my children swear allegiance to the flag every morning at school and many churches display the American flag next to the cross.  Yet, despite this and what I can’t explain, is that solidarity among Americans is very low.  You see it in their attitude to inequality, which is incredibly high, and how they generally want the the lowest possible taxes.  I have never heard anyone speak in favour of using taxes to address inequality.  Similarly, the idea of them curbing their lifestyle in order to reduce their carbon footprint – for the sake of others – is never mentioned.  I do all sorts of things to reduce my carbon footprint, drive a small car, use my own bags, not using a tumble dryer, and so forth, but I have almost never heard an American Christian mention these, let alone do them.

I am far from perfect, and I know many people in Britain that do far more than me to act in solidarity and for others, but I think it is fair to say that in general British people have a far higher sense of solidarity with each other, and with people across the globe, than Americans do.

There is a famous quote about American churches, that describes Sunday morning as the most segregated part of the week since whites, blacks, latinos, etc all worship separately.  Clearly then the church is not a source of solidarity either in America.

I would love to understand why solidarity and fraternity are missing.  I can think of one chapter written by David Hulme, a leading International Development specialist, who believes that Comic Relief has had an enormous impact on the way British people think about and have compassion for the rest of the world.  I am incredibly proud, as a British person, that the first Comic Relief was held in the USA this year – it is one of our best exports.

I don’t think that alone explains the lack of solidarity, especially in light of the high patriotism, that there is in the US.  Any ideas anyone?