Evangelicals & Politics

An “Exposing leftism… push-back night!” was held on a Friday evening in January at Covenant Church (3506 W Princeton Ave, on the near north side). The video of the event posted on Facebook (see link below) is a chilling example of a malignant form of Christian Fundamentalist, Old Testament Evangelicalism wedded to regional politics. I’ve watched it twice. I’ve written about it, and I cannot get it out of my head.

[Click here to watch the video: https://www.facebook.com/ccspokane/videos/558229091429169/ or here https://jxindivisible.org/2020/02/covenant-church/ for my commentary.]

Evangelicalism is not a monolith. The Covenant Church lies to the far right end of the Evangelical spectrum, but a far right which, cloaked as general “Christianity”, has outsize regional political influence. The lecture I recommend below is focused on the history of the broader movement of which Covenant is a particularly glaring part.

The “Exposing leftism… push-back night!” night at Covenant Church was a program dedicated to defending Matt Shea. Two of the folks who took the stage at this church event were Gabe Blomgren (who says on stage that he works for the John Birch Society) and former Spokane Valley Councilman Caleb Collier. These two are the hosts of “Church and State,” available on Facebook and also on “ACN,” the American Christian Network of radio stations based in Spokane. On KSPO, 106.5FM, an ACN affiliate, you’ll find Matt Shea listed as an “outstanding…regional Bible teacher.” It should be no surprise that Shea, a Representative who refuses to speak with most local media that serves the constituents he is supposed to represent, spent nearly $20,000 of his 2018 campaign contributions (about a sixth of all the campaign money spent that year) on “Broadcasting” with ACN.

With that as a teaser I urge you to join me in attending “The History of Evangelicals in American Politics,” a lecture by Matthew Sutton next Tuesday, February 18. I heard Prof. Sutton speak once before on another aspect of Evangelicalism and found it very informative. He is the author of several books on the subject. Here are the details for Tuesday’s presentation:

  • WHEN: Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 6:30 pm
  • WHERE: Indian Trail Library, 4909 W Barnes Rd, Spokane, WA 99208
  • WHO: Matthew Sutton
  • HOST: Spokane Public Library

What follows is copied from the website linked below:

Explore the history and meaning behind a uniquely American movement: Evangelical Christianity. Evangelicals are the strongest religious voting block in America, despite being a relatively new coalition. How did they come to hold such power?

In this balanced and respectful talk, WSU professor Matthew Sutton traces the history of the religious right in America, from its early roots to its rise to power under Ronald Reagan and into the current era. Feeling concerned about the rise in secularism, evangelicals have taken to the pulpit and the airwaves to explain how Biblical end-times prophecies make sense of a troubled modern world. How does this history help us understand our current political system?

Matthew Sutton is the Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor of History at Washington State University. He received his PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara. His most recent book is American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism. Sutton has been featured on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and MSNBC’s The Last Word, among many other news shows.

Sutton lives in Pullman.

[Source link: https://www.humanities.org/event/the-chosen-voters-evangelicals-in-modern-america-2/

Keep to the high ground,

P.S. Click
https://www.facebook.com/churchandstate1776/photos/a.2012598342316636/2322837377959396/?type=1&theater  to see the lead photo for the Facebook page of Church and State. It shows three men, one with a copy of the Constitution, one with a Bible, and one with an assault rifle. I ask you, “Would Jesus prefer an AR-15 or an AK-47? Left to right, these men are: Caleb Collier (John Birch Society Coordinator), Asst Dir. Of Covenant Church, Shea Protege and co-host of Church and State; Ken Peters, the Pastor of Covenant Church in Spokane and Moses Lake, Pastor of The Church at Planned Parenthood, and Shea Lieutenant; and, finally, Gabe Blomgren, Asst Pastor at Covenant Church and TCAPP, co-host of Church and State, and Shea Lieutenant. These are not representatives of any Christianity I can identify.