Saturday, July 07, 2018

Why Empathy Will Not Work

A good number of people were surprised at the lack of feeling many Americans seemed to have regarding ripping children from their mother’s arms at the border.  Some felt this maneuver by Trump and his administration would finally activate the empathy of their fellow citizens.

I knew it would do no such thing.

I regularly hear pundits talk about our need for conversation with those with whom we disagree.  We need to hear them.  We need to find common ground.

Nice sentiments.  Reasonable sentiments.

But it won’t work.

The bulk of Trump support comes from Christian Evangelicals… and people who have never traveled in those circles cannot imagine how far gone these folks really are.

Because people hear the word Christian before Evangelical, they assume Evangelicals have at least some concern for the poor, the downtrodden, the outcast.

That assumption is wrong.

I spent most of my life as an Evangelical.  Evangelicals have one goal… turn them into us.  Everything is about conversion.

Jesus went to the poor, downtrodden, and the outcast because they were poor, downtrodden, and outcast.  Evangelicals go there because they are the easiest to convert.

Behind every bit of Evangelical help is a sales pitch.  And the pictures taken while helping play great at fundraisers.

But surely, they must have some empathy.  How can any mother watch children ripped from their parents and not feel something?

Again, we are dealing with Evangelicals.  They are taught that everyone outside their group is an enemy.  Enemies who deserve what is coming to them.

I was on a thread at John Piper’s Facebook page.  He is a prominent conservative evangelical preacher and author.  There was a debate going on about John Piper’s comment that if his kids turned from God, God would be justified in sending them to Hell.

One woman in the conversation said (I paraphrase from memory),

“My son became an atheist.  He has this life to turn back to Jesus.  I don’t resent God if He sends my son to Hell, I blame my son for leaving God!”

When pressed further on this point, she said,

“On the day God condemns my son to Hell, I will stand up and declare God righteous in His judgment!”

Don’t be surprised if you can’t get a woman like this to shed a tear for a child at the border.

Evangelicals have been trained since their youth to look for someone to save them.  They do not blink at the thought that everyone outside their group will be tortured for eternity.  Others are the enemy.  Others deserve this.

So, no, what has been going on at the border has not affected them.  Listen to Evangelicals talk.  They will say that those crossing the border deserve this.

And if you think taking children at the border is as bad as it is going to get, buckle up.

There is no reasoning with an Evangelical Trump supporter.  There is no argument that will work.  There is no empathy string to pull.  They have been waiting for this moment their whole lives, nothing will dissuade them.

Our only hope is to get out there in record numbers and stir up the vote.

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