Some on the religious right will thunder that this as a result of a secular “war on Christianity.”
“Christians and Christianity are mocked, belittled, smeared and attacked,” declared an essay on Fox News’s website, plaintively titled, “How Long Will I Be Allowed to Remain a Christian?”
This mockery of Christians is, as I’ve written many times, both real and wrong. But a far bigger threat to the “brand” of Christianity comes, I think, from religious blowhards who have entangled faith with bigotry, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. For some young people, Christianity is associated less with love than with hate.
“Pompous right-wing political chest-thumping, and an unwillingness to listen on matters like climate change or racism, has contributed to a perception by millions that Christianity is irrelevant, or worse yet, a threat to progress,” the Rev. Richard Cizik, the leader of a group of self-described “new evangelicals” with moderate views, told me. “That’s a real burden to carry going into the 21st century.”
Cizik, who was fired from the National Association of Evangelicals in 2008 after he expressed support for civil unions for gay people, added that Christianity’s reputation suffers from backward views on women’s issues and from the unwavering support among evangelical hard-liners for President Trump.
“Trump has played them like a fiddle,” he said.
It would be difficult to imagine a president more at odds with Jesus’ message than Trump, a serial philanderer and liar who has persecuted refugees, divided families, exploited the poor and allegedly committed sexual assaults. When Trump in 2016 was asked to name a favorite part of the Bible, he muttered “an eye for an eye” — a reference to an Old Testament passage that Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, specifically renounced.