Sunday, December 24, 2017

Brief blurts about tribes and tribalism — David French (3rd of 3 about Christian evangelical tribalism)

In these two excepts from an interview session with Ross Douthat, David French never refers to tribes or tribalism per se — only to “pure, primitive partisanship — but what he says is still on point, paralleling points made by Jones and Douthat in the two prior posts. So I’m including French.

French: “I’m sorry, but the transformation of the evangelical public from the American segment most willing to hold leaders to a high moral standard to the segment now least likely smacks of pure, primitive partisanship, not high theological principle. Evangelicals aren’t coming around to using Natural Law at all. It’s pure instrumentalism. They’ve made an alliance of convenience. They haven’t made some sort of thoughtful intellectual shift.”

French: “I am very willing to be persuaded that he will ultimately be a better president than Hillary Clinton. I was opposed to both Clinton and Trump in the general election on the grounds that both were unfit — though in different ways. So I’m genuinely happy when Trump accomplishes good things, relieved when he tempers his worst impulses, and more than willing to give him credit when credit is due. For example, the success of the campaign against the Islamic State is an underappreciated part of his presidency.

“However, for the sake of encouraging or even achieving these policy wins, Christians cannot be seen to excuse lies, rationalize incompetence or impose double standards. A person can simultaneously say that Trump has accomplished good things while also seeking to hold him to a proper standard of conduct. My great disappointment during this first year of the Trump presidency is not with evangelicals who have rightly lauded, say, the Neil Gorsuch appointment, but rather with Christians who’ve defended, rationalized and excused conduct they’d never, ever condone in a Democrat. There are not two standards of morality depending on judicial appointments or regulatory reform.”

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