A Pastor's Response
Katherine Stewart begins the article with this statement; “Donald Trump rose to power with the determined assistance of a movement that denies science, bashes government, and prioritized loyalty over professional expertise. In the current crisis, we are all reaping what that movement has sown.”
I read the article. There were no substantive facts that supported her three criticisms of Christians.
She declares that Christians are science deniers who are skeptical about evolution and the conclusions being drawn from climate data. To support her claim she references a 19th-century statement that Christians were skeptical about Darwin’s theory.
Really? The 19th century?
She also conflates the celebrity seeking, crack-pot preachers who held services despite the warnings, with all evangelical ministers. Those are the everyday hardworking pastors and priests who accept scientific data, but do not deny the power of the Spirit. They do, however, choose not to test the Lord by flaunting caution for the lust of fame, but instead, find ways to serve their parishioners, comforting those who struggle without taking any credit or seeking recognition. Jesus, himself, when asked to throw himself off the temple walls and let the angels catch him thought it was a foolish act to tempt the Lord.
And, just to bring it forward to the 21st century, it isn’t only the Christians that are skeptical about the conclusions from the neo-Darwinian synthesis and the climate, it’s pretty much any scientist who has looked critically and honestly at all of the data.
As for bashing the government, I agree with her. Evangelical Christians do not seek a bloated federal bureaucracy but limited government which defends our freedoms without imposing radical and questionable laws that dismiss our beliefs. The killing of a vulnerable population, such as abortion; killing babies offends us.
Lastly, she bashes the religious right’s touting loyalty over professional competency because of Alex Azar and Ben Carson. Azar was deputy secretary at HHS under President Obama, and decidedly misstepped in understanding the infectious nature of Covid-19. The Whitehouse recognized that and benched him. Stewart implied that he was responsible for the lack of testing that should have been done at the onset of the pandemic, which by the way, the WHO did not recognize until March 11. It was the CDC in collaboration with the Coronavirus Task Force that decided to develop and distribute its own tests rather than rely on tests developed by WHO, and the development was hindered by regulations passed by previous administrations. As for the low infection and death rate in Germany that she uses as a standard for prevention strategy, Germany has 77,000 cases in a population of 82 million. We have 187,000 in a population of 327 million. You can do the math.
Ben Carson, on the other hand, felt that in early March, with less than 600 positive cases, healthy people could attend mass gatherings with little problems and said so publicly. With what we know today, sure that was a mistake, but to label him as an automaton promoting Trump at the cost of American lives is quite an overreach.
But overreach and fuzzy logic are what Katherine Stewart does and does well. Why? Because Katherine Stewart is a believer.
She’s a believer in the science that fits her ideology not the science that challenges it. Whether the theories she believes are valid, or how true or corrupt the data that supports them, it’s about the conclusions drawn that fit so neatly into her worldview.
She’s also a believer in a dualistic political ideology that she accuses evangelicals of promoting. She writes that evangelicals promote a religious nationalism that has “brought to American politics the conviction that our political differences are a battle between absolute evil and absolute good.” Well, isn't it? Does the idea that you can kill a child even after birth not strike the common person as an absolute evil and the preservation of human life an absolute good? Not to Katherine Stewart who believes abortion anytime for anyone for any circumstance is ok.
She’s a believer.
But I’m a believer as well. And my belief is in a God who made a wonderful world that has gone all wrong because we wanted things our way. And when we get that and look to him, he asks us to trust him to forgive us because he loves us all even those of us, like me, who least deserve it. He loves us enough to give his Son over to the cross to overcome our debt so that we can live with him forever.
I believe that the resurrection is our hope. May you be blessed this Easter in the knowledge that Christ is Risen!