Hi and welcome back! As the election counting continues, our hopes rise ever so slightly that our next four years won’t feature an incompetent lunatic in the White House after all. But waiting to find out either way sure ain’t doing anybody favors. Today, many of us ask: Can this election please be over sometime soon? But fundagelicals are handling the waiting game with far less than gracious lovingkindness.
Note: Fundagelicals are the unholy fusion of evangelicals with fundamentalists. This fusion occurred somewhere in the 1990s. Before that, both branches of Christianity looked down on each other for various reasons. Now, their beliefs are completely indistinguishable.
Also: Today is an off-topic wonderland!
A Glimmer of Hope.
As I write this, the election counts look almost exactly like they did last time we talked about the election results: Joe Biden sits on 253 electoral votes, while Donald Trump’s at 214 votes. Six states remain to be called, and as I write this four of them are trending toward Biden. At least two of those four looked for a long time like they would be Trump’s.
He’s taking this turnaround well, like the usual “stable genius” he keeps claiming to be.
Oh. Wait. No. He’s not dealing well with his growing awareness of potential defeat. Not at all. As the New York Times relayed a couple of days ago after Fox News declared that Arizona had begun trending toward his opponent:
Mr. Trump and his advisers erupted at the news. If it was true that Arizona was lost, it would call into doubt on any claim of victory the president might be able to make.
What ensued for Mr. Trump was a night of angry calls to Republican governors and advice from campaign aides that he ignored, leading to a middle-of-the-night presidential briefing in which he made a reckless and unsubstantiated string of remarks about the democratic process.
Meanwhile, his campaign has been freaking out alongside him. Their strategy for those swing states always involved tons of lawsuits and legal challenges, just like their Dear Leader has always liked. But they never actually worked out specifics. So nobody actually got on that task when it might have made a difference. So that’s not going well, either.
The Power of Prayer, Electric Boogaloo.
That’s all happening at the top. Lower down the stack, many of us aren’t handling this waiting game well.
And fundagelicals, poorly-equipped to handle stress even at the best of times, are handling it worst of all.
Out of everything else I will always remember about this week, the images of fundagelicals praying frantically at the doors of one of Nevada’s election offices will always stay with me. Someone made a satirical video of it that really covers the full extent of my scorn:
The short video is based on something circulating around social media. It depicts mostly-women in red MAGA hats on their knees, hands raised in the air like Jesus is holding them at gunpoint (back when I was Pentecostal, we prayed with our palms turned inward, and we did so specifically to avoid that look). The women audibly sob and beg Jesus to help Donald Trump win. I’m pretty sure at least one is speaking in tongues.
One woman in the video (in a black jogging suit and a white cap) even stands with her hands on the glass office doors themselves as she begs and pleads her imaginary friend to help her tribe out here. I guess she wants to make extra dextra sure that Jesus knows exactly what she’s talking about.
Hop to it, Jesus! Go be their ATM and sugar daddy! Give your toddlers what they demand! They’re undoubtedly following the magic spell’s correct formula here! These are TRUE CHRISTIANS™ and all, here! You swore you’d do whatever they ask, no matter what!
Logistics: Not Fundagelicals’ Strong Point.
How would these Christians’ prayers even work, anyway?
Jesus could magic up a few thousand or million votes out of thin air, which most official vote counters would consider voter fraud.
Or he could magically strong-arm a bunch of Biden voters into voting for Trump. But he’d have to do that in the past, since voting is now well and truly over, and against these voters’ wills, which again sounds like voter fraud. I think it’s illegal to force someone to vote in a way they don’t want to vote. (I just checked. Yes, it is totally illegal.)
These earnestly-praying Christians are acknowledging that Trump himself couldn’t win the election honestly, at any rate. He requires nothing less than the aid of an omnipotent god and the breaking of a bunch of voting laws to win.
They’re also acknowledging that they have very, very little actual faith in their god.
Do they think Jesus doesn’t realize that they want Trump to win? They seemed to understand that in 2016, anyway. Or does their god somehow not know exactly where that county in Nevada is processing votes?
Man. Y’all, I really hope that when I was Pentecostal and in my truest-bluest phase of belief that I was nowhere near being this ridiculously dense about the logistics of my prayer requests.
Maybe that’s why my prayers changed as they did.
Sidebar: Very Earthly Virtue Signaling.
It’s also entirely possible that these fundagelicals have chosen to hang out there to pressure vote-counters somehow.
When fundagelicals pray in public, they are virtue signaling almost every single time. They think they’re demonstrating the superiority of their tribe over all other tribes: Hey, look what they’re doing! in public! right out in front of everyone! they’re annoying everyone! and nobody can stop them or do anything about it!
Over the decades, fundagelicals have evolved tons of hand-waving around Jesus’ direct commands to them not to pray in public, much of it running along these lines. They twisted his direct command because they know how powerful virtue signaling can be, especially from a dominant tribe. Oh yes, fundagelicals need all the displays of power that they can muster, especially now that their cultural power is waning.
In authoritarian groups, all forms of power belong to the powerful. Refraining from using a form of power becomes an admission of weakness — and the people who admit weakness will be destroyed by tribemates who suffer way fewer scruples.
So even if Jesus directly forbade prayer in public, they will find a way to totally rationalize this action. They need public prayer — and for very earthly reasons.
Changing a Perfect Plan.
Fundagelicals almost universally believe that their imaginary friend has some big plan for the universe — and for every person’s life. When I was Pentecostal, my crowd believed that this plan had been set in stone from the beginning of the entire universe. And from the way they talk, it sounds to me like this is still a platform in fundagelicals’ beliefs. By those lights, absolutely nothing can happen or does happen that could possibly fall outside that plan. Ever.
But fundagelicals also believe — at the same time, amazingly enough — that humans can totally mess up that plan somehow by not cooperating with it. Along with this belief, fundagelicals believe that their god requires them to remind him, through constant prayer, to take various actions to ensure that the plan runs smoothly.
Lastly, they think that through their constant prayers, their imaginary friend can totally — and does totally — change his mind and alter his plan for them all the time.
It’s just crazymaking, it’s so dissonant and contradictory! But it keeps fundagelicals busy, I guess.
The rest of us will just keep chugging along in Reality-Land and making the best of this election waiting period as we can. At least we have Donald Trump and his followers’ increasingly-wackadoodle Hail Marys, schemes, and tantrums to keep us entertained.
No matter how this election turns out, fundagelicals’ own conduct will hopefully help non-fundagelicals remember just why we need to keep real power away from that crowd.
NEXT UP: Hopefully we’ll know a bit more about our nation’s immediate future tomorrow. The next topic will involve why unapproved sex is the very, very worst sin to a crowd that believes that all sins are completely equal! See you then!
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