The Video Podcast of this Post
You can watch, listen, read or any combination of these. The video podcast below is of the entire post (10 minutes).
Central to our getting along with each other is our willingness to give and take, right? I mean, in all of our relationships, we compromise in an effort to give everybody something they want or need. We practice this art of compromise in our business deals, in our marriages, in most of the decisions that we make. We even have to compromise with ourselves, don’t we? For example: not many of us can afford to buy all of the things we want or sometimes even need; so, we compromise.
And if you have teenagers, well, you’re a master of the art of compromise. We work to make sure that everybody walks away with something they feel they can live with, something that feels fair to them. It’s the American way: fairness. Compromise.
But there is one group for whom this doesn’t apply. They will not compromise. Period. It’s their way or no way. As my daddy would semi-jokingly say to me when I was a kid, “It’s my way or the highway.”
They don’t just refuse to compromise, they demonize, literally, the whole idea of compromise. They actually believe compromise is wicked, is evil—that’s what they say.
As you can imagine, their marriages don’t last. In fact their divorce rate is the highest in the nation by far.1 Women must do what their husbands say. That’s not open to discussion. And, perhaps as a consequence, physical and emotional abuse is high in this group.
As they have taken over the Republican Party, that party is no longer the deal-making, all-for-the-good-of-the-nation, let’s-be-reasonable party. It’s the party of obstruction. And, if you’re not going to do it their way, they will refuse to even fund the government. They will shut it down: my way or the highway.
This is a small, fanatical group, this do-it-my-way-or-else group. And these people appear committed to destroying the game board if you don’t play by their rules. And folks, this is the group that brings us Mike Pence.
They are religious zealots, what I believe most Americans would view as religious extremists. If most Americans bought into their extremism, well, their churches would be bursting at the seems. But… They aren’t.
For about 30 years now, they have been hell-bent on making government do their agenda. No compromises. You see, 30 to 40 years ago, the “big, bad, godless” government infuriated them in a huge way. And they will have their revenge.
If you’re not a religious person and want nothing to do with religion, I can’t stress enough that you need to know about these people and their fanatical history, their special brew of piety, politics, and prejudice—their religious agenda. You need to read the 4 pieces I’ve written about the Pence political ad that put him in the Vice Presidency. You need to be vigilant to protect your personal rights to be free of religion—if you so desire.
He intends to make us all live by his religious beliefs. Mark these words, because I’m telling you, he will not compromise on that. Compromise in not in the DNA of the evangelical fundamentalists.
And if you’re a person of faith, a person deeply committed to living by the golden rule, a rule that transcends all faith traditions, you need to understand how a person of deep personal religious conviction got so far off track as to endorse the morally indefensible Donald Trump, to join him, to stand beside him.
Does his joining forces with Trump mean Mike Pence has compromised his moral standing? I’m going to suggest not. Remember compromise is not in his DNA. And I would suggest that his deep commitment is really, fundamentally, no longer to faith practice or moral standing at all. I would suggest he now uses faith and morality as the ultimate cloaking device for greed and power, just like his boss.
Perhaps at one time… but the good has been lured into and consumed by the bad. Some might liken it to the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Donald Trump, on the other hand, well, he’s just the wolf in wolves’ clothing. Actually, I think of him more as a Tasmanian Devil. Have you seen those things?!
In these four articles, I lay out my case. I try to do so carefully, accurately, factually. You see, I spent about the first 3 decades of my life in this evangelical movement. I saw it up close and personal. I know how these people think, what they say, what they do, and how they begin to actually believe their own deceptions.
But, more than just taking my word for it, I provide a number of important footnotes, many from the valuable work of others much more knowledgeable than I. The footnotes are essential and would greatly inform a second reading of the four posts.
POST ONE: Mike Pence’s Speech to Churches
This is a general introduction to the speech Mike Pence made that caught me so off guard because it is so masterfully written and exquisitely crafted to get good church people to do the indefensible: embrace a racist agenda that has profoundly deep roots in religion.
POST TWO: Conned By a Christian?
In this post I pull back the curtain on the truth: a look at the large segment of the church that marinated in racism for over a century. Racism and Donald Trump are not estranged. And this is the seed that brings us to the third post.
POST THREE: Still Outraged by the Big Con
This post introduces us to the true origin of today’s evangelical fundamentalist movement of which Mike Pence claims to be a part. What is that origin? Utter resistance to integration. When forced to choose between having integrated schools or tax-exemption, never compromise. It’s not in their DNA. Stand your ground and wake to the call to take over the government instead.
POST FOUR: Selling Your Soul
In the final post in the series, I write about the direct link, the straight line from the leadership of today’s evangelical fundamentalist extremist’s documented agenda to Mike Pence and Donald Trump. I also include what some folks in church will find to be a shocking historical fact: that evangelicals were, in the not too distant past, a progressive movement that fought hard and made astonishing progress for those who were on the margins of society, for the least of these. They believed deeply and worked hard to make the nation a better place for the less fortunate, the people of whom Jesus personally spoke.
I believe that knowing the truth, the facts, is essential to inform our efforts to preserve our democracy and keep religion personal and not national policy. The religion du jour might be white, evangelical, fundamentalism today, which some could tolerate. But what will be next if theocracy is permitted today?
Or, you might completely disagree. But you won’t know until you read my series on Mike Pence’s political ad in America’s churches. It’s long, I know. But it’s totally worth checking out.
Don’t just take my word for it. Check out these sources:
- Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009
- Marriage in the United States
- 15 Ways to Predict Divorce
- Hey Fox, What About This “War on Marriage?” Divorce Rates Are Highest Among Evangelicals is the article that sparked my curiosity.
- U.S. Divorce Rates for Various Faith Groups, Age Groups, & Geographic Areas This article provided these very informative resources below:
- “Christians are more likely to experience divorce than are non-Christians,” Barna Research Group, 1999-DEC-21, at: http://www.barna.org/ (Barna no longer has this report online. However, a review of the report is at: http://www.adherents.com/)
- AANews, Posting #699, issued by American Atheists on 2000-JAN-2.
- Michael Inglis, “Survey of the Unification Church 1982 marriages,” at: http://www.unification.net/
- “Bible belt has nation’s worse divorce rate,” CNN.com, 1999-NOV-12. Online at: http://www.cnn.com/ (Cache copy as of 2000-FEB-11. The page has since expired.) A similar report is at: http://www.divorcereform.org/
- David Crary, “Deep in the Bible Belt, a counterattack on the nation’s worst divorce rate,” Detroit News, 1999-NOV-11, at: http://detnews.com/
- “Survey provides profile of Protestant Pastors,” 1998-JAN-6, at: http://www.barna.org/
- “Divorce statistics collection: Summary of findings so far,” Americans for Divorce Reform, at: http://www.divorcereform.org/
- “Fresh Thinking Needed on Divorce Issues,” Jesus Journal, at: http://www.jesusjournal.com/
- John Rossomando, “Born-Again Christians No More Immune to Divorce Than Others, Says Author,” CNSNews, 2002-JAN-21, at: http://www.cnsnews.com/
- Donald Hughes, “The Divorce Reality.” 109 pages. This is an eBook written from a positive, conservative Christian. It can be purchased and then downloaded from Theatron Media at: www.Bookstore.TheatronMedia.com
- William V. D’Antonio, “Walking the walk on family values,” The Boston Globe, 2004-OCT-31, at: http://www.boston.com/
- James Veverka, “The moral hypocrisy of the Bible Belt,” Stop The Religious Right, undated, at: http://www.stopthereligiousright.org/
- Arland Thornton, “Children and Marital Stability,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 39, #3, 1977-AUG, Pages 531-539. Abstract at: http://www.eric.ed.gov/
- Aandrew Cherlin, “The effect of children on marital dissolution,” Demography©, Vol. 14, #3, 1977-AUG, Pages 265 to 272. Abstract at: http://links.jstor.org/
- “Bible Belt Leads U.S. In Divorces,” National Center for Policy Analysis, 1999-NOV-19, at: http://www.ncpa.org/
- “U.S. state divorce rates…including 2004 data.” Divorce Reform, at: http://www.divorcereform.org/