Evangelical Extremists in the Cabinet

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Nearly half of Trump’s cabinet are evangelicals. The concept of separation of church and state is not meaningful to them. Their political beliefs are concomitant with their religious beliefs, particularly the more regressive ones. Cruel anti-abortion beliefs, efforts to decimate public schools, and LGBT enmity are a few.

The most influential evangelical in the cabinet is Mike Pence. His affirmation of his values is quite clear: “I am a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican in that order”. Where do the words “American” or “patriot” fit in? To what did he really pledge allegiance when he took his oath of office? But the main threat he poses to the country is his role as the de facto political leader of thousands or perhaps even millions of evangelicals whose beliefs are nearly identical to his.

His closest friend in the administration is said to be Betsy DeVos., Secretary of Education. Her vision for the nation’s schools is to “advance God‘s kingdom in schools.” She has spent at least two million dollars of her own money to encourage the state of Michigan to use tax money to pay for tuition at religious schools. Her commitment to public schools is reflected by never having set foot in a public school until her appointment.

But the most extreme and frightening evangelical in the cabinet is Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State. I listened to his speech at the Summit Church God and Country Rally of 2015. Paraphrasing Pastor Wright, a well known evangelical minister, Pompeo said “We have endorsed perversion (homosexuality) and called it an alternative lifestyle”. The most frightening thing about Pompeo is that he believes in the “End Days.” The central tenet is that Jesus will return to earth. Believing Christians will be welcomed into heaven and the rest of us will be left behind to endure the agonies of hell. Jews would be given the choice to convert or not. Thus, only believing Christians and converted Jews would be welcomed into the Kingdom of God. No other religion.

Worse, Pompeo, like most evangelicals does not fear it’s advent. In fact, he welcomes it because when it comes he can see Jesus. Pompeo, believing in the End Days, looking forward to the end of the world. And these evangelicals, with these beliefs, are among the most influential politicians in the world. It’s frightening to think about.

Written by Liz Dunn

Liz Dunn. Ph.D. has a Doctorate from Temple University and a Postdoctorate from Wharton school. She is a co-founder for Pennsylvania Women’s Campaign Fund and a co-founder for a women’s bail fund.

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  1. Sorry to be “that guy” but I have to point out that it is misleading to say “thousands or perhaps even millions” of Americans categorize themselves like Mike Pence. While I do not know that millions of Americans have literally vocalized their allegiance in that order, but about a quarter of Americans and 26% of American voters self-identify as evangelicals, and 80% of that group voted for Donald Trump. That means that of the 130 million voters in 2016, nearly 27 million were evangelicals who chose trump. As I said, technically, it is unknowable about how many people have expressed in those words their order of allegiance, but I would argue that it is safe to say that “millions, if not tens of millions” of Americans label themselves as such, rather than a mere few thousand. Underestimating the prevalence of the evangelical population has led to a baffled understanding of US politics to those living in less deeply religious corridors of the country –typically along the East Coast. Yet their weight has swayed numerous elections, and will likely do so for years to come.

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Evangelical Extremists in the Cabinet