Column: Tagging Evangelical Christians as a 'Polarizing Extreme'

December 13th, 2023 5:56 AM

In a previous epoch, Tim Alberta was a reporter for National Review, one of too many NR cubs who later joined the liberal-media zoo. Alberta is now at The Atlantic, one of America’s most intense producers of frothing leftist drivel.

It seems like every leftist network has welcomed Alberta to trash conservative Christians through his latest book, The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism. It’s touted as Alberta’s “deeply personal examination of the divisions that threaten to destroy the American evangelical movement. Evangelical Christians are perhaps the most polarizing—and least understood—people living in America today.”

Wait. No one in these interviews asks about the polarizing cultural extreme on the libertine left. That extreme is the leftist media’s address, at the corner of GLAAD Street and Planned Parenthood Avenue.

Interviewers loved Alberta’s funeral story. On the PBS NewsHour, anchor Geoff Bennett began: “I asked Tim about a searing moment he describes, when, at his own father's funeral, a church elder admonished him for not fully embracing Donald Trump as God's chosen leader.”

Is this an exact quote? Alberta answered: “Once I was able to process it, because it was a surreal moment, having just buried my father -- you're in this state of mourning and of shock, and not sure, is this even real?...If I could be treated this way, if I could be regarded as a member of the deep state, as an enemy of the church, as an apostate -- if I could be treated that way, then how are we treating those outside the church?”

On NPR’s Fresh Air, host Terry Gross also loved the funeral tale: “Let me back up and say that Rush Limbaugh started quoting you, and assailing you on his radio show. What was he saying about you?”

Alberta said “Rush Limbaugh was on his show describing some of my unflattering characterizations of Donald Trump and of the evangelical movement. Trump himself was tweeting about my book. I was getting a lot of threats, a lot of nasty email, a lot of criticism from right-wing media.”  So “people were asking me if I was really still a Christian, if I was on the right side of good versus evil…and all the while, of course, my dad is in a box a hundred feet away.”

Gross then asked, “If they saw that in you, the son of their pastor, you, who many of them had known your entire life, that -- what about people who they don't know? How easy is it to dehumanize them and just make them into the enemy?”

Funerals shouldn’t be a setting for political combat, which is why they love this funhouse portrait of conservative Christians. But Alberta wrote this book to argue that Trump-supporting Christians are apostates and enemies of democracy. PBS and NPR and the rest “dehumanize” conservatives routinely.

Alberta was bitterly angry at his pastor father for voting for Trump in 2016.  So what kind of Christian is a Hillary Clinton backer? Why is his pro-abortion “division” of evangelicalism not “threatening to destroy” it?

Alberta and his media helpers can’t seem to find the cultural context of our times. The arrival of “same-sex marriage,” naturally followed by twerking drag-queen performances for children, and graphically sexual books in school libraries, and “gender-affirming care” for minors aren’t reasons for Christians to feel something is slipping away?

Is nothing "extremist" about that? Do Alberta’s model Christians offer any remedy or resistance to these trends? No one asked.