That old-time religion

I grew up surrounded by evangelical Christians. They were an unsavory bunch. If I had a dollar for every time some evangelical who knew nothing about me — other than that I attended Catholic mass, as I used to do — told me I was doomed to everlasting torment in hell for not accepting Jesus as my personal savior, I’d have over $500.00.

If I had a dollar for every time an evangelical asked me, what is it exactly that Catholics believe about Jesus, I’d have $0.00.

There were liberal evangelicals in the South in the old days. One, anyway, a preacher in Tennessee, who was rather famous for siding with civil rights marchers back when I was marching myself.

You know how many of what we might call common or garden variety evangelicals supported civil rights equality for Americans of all colors and creeds there were? Zero. Nil. Nada. Not any.

I bring this up because of late there has been a barrage of writing by liberal evangelicals. Some, like Randall Balmer, grew up outside the South in evangelical traditions that were derived largely from German sources and had almost no similarities with Southern Baptist evangelicalism, which was the kind I grew up with. (By liberal I mean the 19th century traditions of individual autonomy, political equality, and social reform, all concepts unknown in Southern churches.)

But of late a few have emerged from the holy roller traditions I grew up with.

Today, for example, Politico has a long piece about Jen Hatmaker, a Texas preacher’s wife who had an enormous following until she questioned Trumpism. That’s when the death threats began.


That’s the evangelicalism I know: violent, bigoted, ignorant.

And, almost as if it’s a plot, the N.Y. Times has a personal statement today by its evangelical reporter (I will bet not one critic of MSM “fake news” knows — or will believe — that the Times has such a reporter) denouncing the irreligiosity of what she calls “Fox evangelicalism.”


There have been similar pieces in other papers, and I doubt not, in the church press. I found these two especially well thought-out.

These outliers are still outnumbered many times by the old-line evangelicals.