It someone is a NeverTrump evangelical he will inevitably use slogans as if they are actual principles or arguments.
How do NeverTrump Evangelical leaders argue that it is some kind of sin or compromise to vote for Donald Trump or his policies? Most of them don’t argue that all immigration restrictions are wrong, but apparently enforcing the immigration laws we have is somehow opposed to the Gospel. “Nationalism” is a big sin because God loves all nations, but the fact that God loves all mothers doesn’t mean that a child should have no special attachment to his own mother and want to help her.
If you’ve started to think that these plattitudes or slogans are not intended as intellectual arguments but only emotional triggers, you may be on to something. Thomas Bradstreet writes at RodMartin.org on “The Sorry State of Evangelical Political Theology.”
Evangelical leaders have simply changed the nature of political socialization. It is an engineering of unity not through the development of a lowest-common-denominator political theology, nor a bare assertion of policy-goals, but by means of—and this is what I think these “principles” actually are—a collection of disparate slogans, themes, expressions, tropes, tweet-sized aphorisms, and one-liners by which people are signaled or cued due to socialization to support whatever political goal that accompanies them. It is a kit-bag of rhetorical devices. Mention one of these lines in association with some policy and the socialization kicks in to lend support to some policy or to reject some policy.
The average evangelical has no framework or theological system through and by which to evaluate these rhetorical devices. They are stuck in ignorance and channeled into right action by means of political socialization.
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