wupper, I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings by mentioning it, but in my view it's important to present clear, correct information to English learners. 'Criteria' is the plural. 'Criterion' is the singular. If everyone else were to jump off a bridge, that doesn't mean you should feel obliged to follow.
I'd like to come back to the complicity of conservative evangelical and Catholic Christians with the outgoing administration. As far as I can tell, they too made a Faustian bargain with the devil.
They glibly assumed that
the human rights of embryos and fetuses,
the freedom of large corporations, and
the control of judicial appointments
were more important than
the human rights of grown women, living children, hospital patients, senior citizens, nursing home residents, homeless persons, minorities, persons with disabilities, prisoners, college students, factory workers, farm workers, refugees ...
Even though I too would prefer to reduce abortions to the absolute minimum -- if possible simply by better access to contraception -- I simply can't fathom that kind of short-sighted, heartless political stance.
But conservative commentators like David Brooks and Michael Gerson have not shied away from the issues of religious responsibility, and of how to reconstruct a society with more trust and more genuine care for others. I hope that, amidst all the political furor, some people are still reading open-minded religious points of view.
How White Evangelical Christians Fused With Trump Extremism
A potent mix of grievance and religious fervor has turbocharged the support among Trump loyalists, many of whom describe themselves as participants in a kind of holy war.
Trump’s evangelicals were complicit in the desecration of our democracy ...
The practical effects of the fascist occupation of the U.S. Capitol building were quickly undone. The symbols it left behind are indelible.
A Confederate flag waved in triumph in the halls of a building never taken by Jefferson Davis. Guns drawn to protect the floor of the House of Representatives from violent attack. A cloddish barbarian in the presiding officer’s chair. The desecration of democracy under the banner “Jesus Saves.”
This post-apocalyptic vision of chaos and national humiliation was the direct and intended consequence of a president’s incitement. It was made possible by quislings such as Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who turned a ceremony of continuity into a rallying cry for hatred and treason. In the aftermath, Republican legislators who still don’t support President Trump’s immediate removal from office by constitutional means are guilty of continuing complicity. ...
The coming weeks will see a gradually arriving reckoning. Political leaders who sought access and influence over the past four years through a political alliance with insurrectionists and domestic terrorists are responsible for unleashing insurrectionists and domestic terrorists. This is true of some Federalist Society conservatives, who cared only about judicial appointments. It is true of some economic conservatives, focused only on tax and regulatory policy. And it is true, above all, of Trump evangelicals, who sought to recover lost social influence through the cynical embrace of corrupt power.
I come back to this group repeatedly, not only because I share an evangelical background and resent those who dishonor it, but because the overwhelming support of evangelicals is the single largest reason that Trump possesses power in the first place. It was their malignant approach to politics that forced our country into its current nightmare. As white nationalists, conspiracy theorists, misogynists, anarchists, criminals and terrorists took hold of the Republican Party, many evangelicals blessed it under the banner “Jesus Saves.”
Jesus had something to say about political deals with the devil: “Get behind me, Satan!” My point is less theological: The political and religious costs of a tight evangelical alliance with violent bigots and crackpots were easily foreseen. I and many others foresaw and foresaw until our fingers ached at the keyboard. Yet Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., Robert Jeffress and the others either shut their eyes or shared in Trumpian hatreds. “There has never been anyone,” said Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, “who has defended us and who has fought for us, who we have loved more than Donald J. Trump. No one!”
“We didn’t vote for him to be our pastor or our husband,” explained Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America. “We voted for him to be our bodyguard.” But what if the bodyguard you hired turns out to be a brutish, bigoted, narcissistic, authoritarian thug who wants to burn down any democratic institution he can’t control? Perhaps the moral character of political bodyguards actually matters. Perhaps evangelicals should not be hiring bodyguards in the first place, but rather supporting moral leaders who seek the common good. ...
The collapse of one disastrous form of Christian social engagement should be an opportunity for the emergence of a more faithful one. And here there are plenty of potent, hopeful Christian principles lying around unused by most evangelicals: A consistent and comprehensive concern for the weak and vulnerable in our society, including the poor, immigrants and refugees. A passion for racial reconciliation and criminal justice reform, rooted in the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity. A deep commitment to public and global health, reflecting the priorities of Christ’s healing ministry. An embrace of political civility as a civilizing norm. A commitment to the liberty of other people’s religions, not just our own. An insistence on public honesty and a belief in the transforming power of unarmed truth.
What would America be like if these had been the priorities of evangelical Christians over the past four years — or over the past four decades? It would mean something very different, in that world, to raise the banner “Jesus Saves.”
2020 Taught Us How to Fix This
Our current model of social change isn’t working. ...
This is the year that broke the truth. This is the year when millions of Americans — and not just your political opponents — seemed impervious to evidence, willing to believe the most outlandish things if it suited their biases, and eager to develop fervid animosities based on crude stereotypes.
Worse, this was the year that called into question the very processes by which our society supposedly makes progress.
So many of our hopes are based on the idea that the key to change is education. We can teach each other to be more informed and make better decisions. We can study social injustices and change our behavior to fight them.
But this was the year that showed that our models for how we change minds or change behavior are deeply flawed.
It turns out that if you tell someone their facts are wrong, you don’t usually win them over; you just entrench false belief. ..
People change when they are put in new environments, in permanent relationship with diverse groups of people. Their embodied minds adapt to the environments in a million different ways we will never understand or be able to plan. Decades ago, the social psychologist Gordon Allport wrote about the contact hypothesis, that doing life together with people of other groups can reduce prejudice and change minds. It’s how new emotional bonds are formed, how new conceptions of who is “us” and who is “them” come into being.
The superficial way to change minds and behavior doesn’t seem to work, to bridge either racial, partisan or class lines. Real change seems to involve putting bodies from different groups in the same room, on the same team and in the same neighborhood. That’s national service programs. That’s residential integration programs across all lines of difference. That’s workplace diversity, equity and inclusion — permanent physical integration, not training.
This points to a more fundamental vision of social change, but it is a hard-won lesson from a bitterly divisive year.