Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hillary and the UMC

"Progressive Christians" predictably attack Trump but don't attack Hillary. To a great extent, there's been a similar asymmetry among evangelicals and conservatives. That's because evangelicals/conservatives take Trump's candidacy personally in a way they don't take Hillary's candidacy.  No one's liable to mistake Hillary for a representative of the conservative movement. So evangelicals/conservatives don't feel the need to explicitly disassociate themselves from Hillary, since that's taken for granted. Likewise, the conservative movement has had a voice in the GOP, whereas it has no voice in the Democrat Party. So, once again, evangelicals/conservatives are more alarmed by what is happening under their own roof (relatively speaking). For evangelicals/conservatives, Trump's candidacy ignites an in-house debate in a way that Hillary's does not. Trump's candidacy triggers an identity crisis regarding the future of the GOP and the future of the conservative movement, in a way that Hillary's does not. That's one reason many conservative pundits have neglected to make the case against Hillary.

There is, however, an interesting parallel. Hillary is a United Methodist. So is Ben Witherington and Bill Arnold. They represent the conservative wing (by Methodist standards) of the UMC. 

To my knowledge, conservative spokesmen for the UMC like Witherington and Arnold haven't distanced themselves from Hillary in the way that many evangelicals have distanced themselves from Trump. Why is that? Witherington has distanced himself from Trump, so why not Hillary? Why not publicly repudiate her as an authentic representative of the Methodist tradition? 

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