False Shepherds


http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2018/01/false-shepherds.html#disqus_thread


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//They also managed to vote in a President that they seem to strongly approve of, who pandered to their predjudices at every opportunity — that doesn’t seem like genuine powerlessness to me…

A lot of people feel this kind of hand-wringing about poor white people being misled is an outrage and we should call them what they are: angry racist bigots who in the last few years had a small taste of what genuinely marginalized people have experienced for centuries and they don’t like it one bit — and instead of improving their empathy with the marginalized, they want a wholesale return to white heteronormative hegemony, and knowingly voted in a bully who looked like he would do exactly this…

Over a third of voters still approve of Trump, so apart from any moral concerns we might have of how to treat individuals we don’t agree with, there’s a pragmatic concern with how outright hostility and alienation between two such large groups is going to shake out in practice.//

False Shepherds
JANUARY 10, 2018 BY JAMES F. MCGRATH
Steve Wiggins wrote in a recent blog post:

//The modern Evangelical movement no longer adheres to the teachings of the carpenter from Nazareth. The issues on which he spoke plainly and repeatedly have been relabeled as “liberal” and therefore evil. If you can keep the Jesus brand, eviscerated of its core beliefs, you can gather a bloc of dupes who’ll flush their own healthcare and financial wellbeing simply because sheep will follow any shepherd. Ironically, the Bible itself warns of the dangers of following false shepherds. None of that matters anymore. And those who joined the group because of that Bible wonder now who they really are.//


 

 


…conservative Christians adamantly warn about the dangers of false teachers. They never seem to entertain the possibility that their favorite teachers who tickle their ears might be precisely the sorts of people the Bible warns about.

 

Apocalypticism, a kind of eschatology concerned with the end of the world, is usually a cry for help from those who feel like they have no hope of digging themselves out of the hole they’re in…apocalypticism is a desperate desire for some power to come and vanquish foes and put things right. If you feel powerless to change your situation, the apocalypse sounds like relief, a vindication against adversaries you can’t defeat on your own.
If you’re already safe, if you feel like you have some control over your situation, the apocalypse promises nothing for you but disruption and chaos—which is something to be feared, not embraced.
It’s the poor and powerless, the oppressed and afflicted who hang on to the faint strands of hope that apocalypticism promises—because they’ve exhausted confidence in their own ability to make meaningful change. Consequently, if change is to be had, it will have to come from somewhere outside themselves—from somewhere or something with the promise of strength to defeat the foes of those too beleaguered or helpless to do it themselves.

Donald Trump remains popular among two distinct sets of people: 1) those who long for a kind of savior, and 2) those who profit from people desperate for a savior.

 

The first group sees liberals and progressives who make fun of them and whom they believe (have been convinced?) are the source of their powerlessness and alienation from cultural respectability. The second group cynically plays on those resentments to rig the system that allows them to retain wealth and power.



It doesn't seem as though Trump voters are any more poor or powerless than anyone else. Genuinely poor people were if anything more likely to vote for Clinton. They also managed to vote in a President that they seem to strongly approve of, who pandered to their predjudices at every opportunity -- that doesn't seem like genuine powerlessness to me.

An example link, but there are plenty of analyses like this:

https://www.vox.com/policy-...

They do, however, feel as though they have been marginalized, and show a considerable amount of cultural and racial anxiety.

A lot of people feel this kind of hand-wringing about poor white people being misled is an outrage and we should call them what they are: angry racist bigots who in the last few years had a small taste of what genuinely marginalized people have experienced for centuries and they don't like it one bit -- and instead of improving their empathy with the marginalized, they want a wholesale return to white heteronormative hegemony, and knowingly voted in a bully who looked like he would do exactly this.

Furthermore, they say e.g. why should a poor black person, or a trans person, or a Muslim, or anyone who considers themselves a 
friend or ally of such people extend any sympathy or understanding to such people? It's asking them to be sympathetic and understanding towards their oppressors.

This of course contributes to the current climate of political warfare and almost complete lack of mutual respect. Over a third of voters still approve of Trump, so apart from any moral concerns we might have of how to treat individuals we don't agree with, there's a pragmatic concern with how outright hostility and alienation between two such large groups is going to shake out in practice.

But I think we have to be honest about who we are asking to sympathize with whom, here. And it's not educated costal (white? male? probably comparatively wealthy at any rate) liberals sympathizing with powerless, helpless, hopeless poor people.

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Author: charlesburchfield

I am an artist working primarily with collage.

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