In the Trump phenomenon, we see there is a growing divide between ordinary evangelicals and evangelical leaders. Michael Lindsay’s class distinction is as relevant as it was when he first explored it.
Evangelical populists are working-class Americans who are pragmatic in their politics. One poll shows 63% of them rally behind Trump.
Cosmopolitan evangelicals are highbrow cultural elites in business, media, academia, and politics. According to World magazine, high-ranking evangelical leaders favor Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
They are supporters of the so-called Evangelical Immigration Table included the National Association of Evangelicals, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and the political arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.
When the Wall Street Journal reported, “Evangelicals push immigration path,” they mean them actually.
Last month, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, who is also a Catholic, came to Taipei for two interesting talks. In one of them Taylor laid out two models of secularism that in his naming are « the American model » and the « the French model. » Gauging each model by how faithfully they correspond to the democratic spirit of modern pluralistic society respectively, Taylor favors the formal and holds his critique of the latter.
In this interview La Croix conducted (my summary of it in Chinese here), you can clearly see how Pope Francis echoes Taylor’s call in his rejection of the French model of laïcité, namely, the political understanding of the government as the embodiment of the « counter-church, » whose role is to keep all pubic religious exercises at bay so as to minister to a « religionless » public square.
So as the French model prevails there, Pope Francis is also daring enough to call the French [Catholics] « the eldest daughter of the Church, but not the most faithful, » whose republic nowadays has downgraded itself to a « mission country, » rendering the land « a periphery to be evangelized. »
But he is convinced that there isn’t necessarily « a need for priests in order to evangelize. » Baptism, and the Holy Spirit whom the believers received upon baptism, should provide the motif to evangelize, which means « to go out, to take the Christian message with courage and patience. »
« The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of whatever happens in the Church, its motor. Too many Christians are ignorant of this (in their false reliance on and espousal of ‘clericalism’). »
A recent article by the economist addresses the problem of Christianity in South Korea’s [charismatic] megachurches, specifically, « prosperity gospel » and « tax-evasion » (the law in South Korea that exempts religious clerics from paying income tax is undergoing revision, which is welcomed by the general public but opposed by these ‘successful’ church leaders).
A few crucial facts that are also mentioned in this article include that
South Korea is the only advanced country that exempts its clergy from all taxation. Still, many Buddhist monks and Protestant pastors pay dues voluntarily on their personal incomes; all Catholic priests have done so since 1994.
In a recent poll of 1,000 South Koreans by the Christian Ethics Movement, a local reformist body, only two in ten thought Protestantism was trustworthy.
The capital, Seoul, is home to 17 [charismatic] mega-churches with over 2,000 members each. Ministers manage them like businesses.
But Pentecostalism is losing some of its appeal. Koreans are increasingly drawn to Catholicism, which they regard as more humble and serious. According to the latest census, the number of Catholics grew by three-quarters in the decade to 2005, to make up 11% of the population. Protestants were 18%.