Where do those values come from? It used to be, that's where churches (and less frequently in the USA synagogues, mosques and whatever) came in. People belonged to some religious tribe, even if only by inheritance and custom. They would likely say their values came from their religion. But affluent consumer capitalism eats conventional religion for breakfast and comes back at lunch to slurp any remaining tidbits. Some of us, myself included, still find wisdom in ancient rituals and teachings. But that old time religion ain't what it used to be for most.
For many of us, the unexpected catastrophe of a venal autocrat elected to presidential office might send us to check in what the religious values "professionals" are saying. After all, they say church attendance increased briefly after other recent traumas -- 9/11 and the Charleston massacre for example. And November 8 was certainly also trauma.
So I've collected some religious reactions here. It's all from people located somehow in the resistance chorus; I'm not interested in the chortling from the homophobes of Colorado Springs, Franklin Graham, or Jerry Falwell Jr. But I did want to see how some "religious leaders" were applying their values. There's a lot of pain in what follows.
The Rev. J. Gary Brinn is a UCC pastor in a small community in Maine (white people land). He's not sure his congregation has his back.
Since I practice religious observance within the Episcopal Church, I was particularly happy to read what the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings had to say. Her values led her (she's a big wheel in this quasi-hierarchal denomination) to admonish anyone inclined to easy accommodation.
I've been unable to find a convincing report of what percentage of white mainline voters chose our budding autocrat. I would expect this was a majority (even if a small one) -- white mainline Christians are, after all, white. And often relatively privileged, the apparent profile of a Trump voter. Jennings certainly got plenty of pushback on this article which appeared in the denominational press.
The people who are really hurting are Black evangelical Christians. Their white co-religionists voted by a margin of 81 percent for a man with a documented history of racial hatred. Eighty-one percent! That's pretty convincing evidence of something rotting. I've collected two of their cries from the heart. Dr. Yolanda Pierce teaches at Princeton Theological Seminary and is the Director of Black Church Studies.
Dr. Pierce questions her fully developed career path; Brandi Miller is a young campus minister in Oregon. She's through with the white church.
White Catholics can claim to belong to a church whose adherents did not give a majority of their votes to Donald Trump -- and they did, so long as you subtract out Latinx Catholics. Pew reports 60 percent of white Catholics voted Trump. At the National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winters excoriates the complacency of Catholic bishops who apparently don't mind.
No wonder the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, religiously speaking, are Millennial Nones, a cohort that finds its values without reference to religion. I suspect that the Trump era will force on them, especially the white ones, a need to clarify their own most rooted impulses. What matters to them? What guides their ethical choices and defines how they live? Hard times demand reflection on these seeming abstractions. This may occur without reference to religious leaders. Or Millennials may find new forms. I wish them the best.
Resisting what our fellow citizens have done remains a question of finding sustaining and orienting values somewhere. As a wise friend reminded me: