Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

How Conservatives All Of A Sudden Became Against “Divisiveness”

I sat through eight long years of hearing president Obama criticized, mocked, and even outright slandered.

From allegations of secretly being a Muslim, spinning conspiracy theories about the location of his birth, to the ins-and-outs of daily Chicken Little claims that he was on a rampage to destroy the nation, I heard it all.

In fact, when his presidency started I was actually one of them. But long after leaving, they continued– in fact, the barrage of nasty being flung from the right lasted until his last day in office.

A case in point is our own beloved Franklin Graham. He’s used his family name to insert himself into the daily political life of the United States, and hardly missed a day trolling Facebook and whipping up a frenzy of fear against President Obama. When that got tiring, he moved on to Hillary Clinton. Eventually he decided to just double-down and make it all about the “godless progressive agenda.”

The reality is, the right spent eight long years railing against our president, offering neither support nor the common decency of acknowledging the common ground that can be found with just about anyone if you look hard enough.

In fact, in right-wing conservatism, it’s almost considered a religious duty and moral obligation to speak out in opposition to anyone who isn’t on board with the right-wing vision for America. It’s “speaking the truth in love,” so they say. In fact, those who don’t speak out, or perhaps take a more reasonable nuanced approached, are often accused of being complicit with very evils they claim to oppose.

But now that Donald Trump is president?

Well, now that Trump is president “speaking out” is rather frowned upon.

Instead, we’re told that it’s time to “get behind the president,” that it is “time for us to unify together,” and that we must support our new president. After years of non-stop criticism we’re told that now we’re supposed to shut up and unite.

The Franklin Grahams of the world who spent so many years opposing our nation’s first black present, now tell us we should do the opposite when it comes to our first orange one.

Speaking out, criticizing, warning– that’s stuff you do when their team is in power.

But when the script gets flipped?

Well, when power shifts hands, conservatives all of a sudden become against “divisiveness” and criticism, as if they had spent the past eight years in the Peace Corps or something.

My, my, it’s amazing how people change.

Often change is a great thing– I think one of the keys to a rich and fulfilling human experience is always being open to change, seeing things differently, and trying new ways. But in this case, that’s not what’s happening.

Folks on the right like Franklin Graham have never actually believed that we should “get behind the president” because they just spent eight years doing the precise opposite. They don’t actually believe we should be quiet, stop speaking out, and that we should avoid being divisive– they just want those who disagree with them to do that.

Few things in the world have the ability to unveil a hypocrite as much as the allure of political power.

In this case? Well, we’ve seen a group of people who just spent eight years opposing and slandering a president all of a sudden become people who are supposedly against dissent and divisiveness, people who believe in unity, and people who believe in giving a new president every opportunity to succeed.

In my opinion? I don’t think they’re fooling anyone other than themselves. Their calls for “unity” and to avoid divisiveness are nothing more than an attempt to clench down tightly on their new-found political power.

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

Join the resistance: Subscribe for posts and updates from BLC!

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  • In the case of Franklin Graham, I think he realized that becoming political could be a real cash cow to his ministry. His ministry depends of the “giving” of others. Creating fear and hysteria opens people’s pocketbooks. James Dobson did this for years in the 90’s and it worked.

    • And the other big cash cow is his Samaritan’s Purse shoebox appeal. Many of us in my region felt cheated and disgusted to learn that they put tracts aimed at muslim children in the boxes. Thankfully here in Wales, there’s a charity that distributes 30,000 boxes appropriately and indiscriminately in Rumania. I presume it’s his enormous ego that needs him to stay in the public eye – and keep the cash coming for his enormous salary.

  • Nailed it Ben—- think of the contrast in the way Obama handled ridicule, insults, racist taunts, and every effort to discredit him, as compared to Trump’s thin skinned tantrum with even the suggestion that his pompous claims might lack veracity. I already miss the civility, humor, class, humility, articulate, and genteel way Obama dignified the highest office in the land.

  • I’ve already begun to let my conservative friends know that I’ll show trump just as much respect as they showed President Obama. Fair’ fair.

    • I find the sauce we had on the goose last night makes a fine topping for the gander tomorrow. Fair is, indeed, fair.

  • I agree with your sentiments, and I want to thank you for your efforts in standing against Trump, and I want to share this post, but I can’t, for one reason: must we really use pejoratives like “orange” (or, frankly, any other physical feature) when referring to the president? Can’t we be above that? I’d love to share this post, and yet the pejorative here prevents me from doing so. 🙁 There are far better (and correct) labels that could be applied, and by using “orange” as you have done will allow others to easily dismiss your argument. Just a thought…

    • If the orange clown could demonstrate the ability to ignore petty insults, you would have a point, but he can’t. His dangerous insecurity and pettiness needs to remain on display for all to see, and we assist that by denying him the noble image he so desperately craves.

      • We can deny him the noble image he so desperately craves without mocking the color of his skin or his physical features. Seriously, if he were to be black and we were to mock him for his skin color, how well would that go down? We undermine our own argument and cause by going so low, and we become an easy target for conservatives to cry “hypocrite”. Why give them more ammunition? We can do so much better, and we can continue to put his dangerous insecurity and pettiness on display for all to see without stooping to such a level.

        • It’s different because black is a skin tone that is natural to humans, and orange is not.
          Edited to add: This was an ill thought out comment. Proceed to Kerri’s response and my re-direct please.

    • I agree. I would love to share, but that will automatically put the ones who need to read it on the offensive. I believe the way the author believes and I think this is a great article, but that one word is enough to take credibility away.

  • Do you really believe that as long as we have two parties that are starved for political power that there won’t be division?

    • Division is fine. Reasoned, rational dissent is great. It’s both the lies (biggest crowd EVER!) and the hypocrisy that are problematic.

      Look, in 2009 and 2013 the Republicans in Congress – actual representatives, not internet trolls – called for blocking every action, policy and idea from the last president – in the hope of making him unpopular, so they can retake the White House. They were supported by Republican-leaning pundits and think-tanks. Now, in 2017 those same people are calling for unity and demanding their opponents put their differences aside ‘for the good of the country.’

      Where was the good of the country when blind obstructionism was policy? Why is it patriotic when Republicans block a duly and popularly elected Democratic president, but divisive and anti-American when Democrats block a duly (but not popularly) elected Republican president?

      • Where was the Evangelical Right and Graham to speak against that behaviour of sabotage, Obstruction and deception and out right racist Lies about Obama’s BC? Hypocrisy is everywhere bigly.
        Gone are the days of country above self and party..

        • They were engaging in that sabotage. They were cheering it on, and declaring it patriotic. How anyone can miss the hypocrisy is beyond me, but people will.

      • It’s called politics. The Republicans could block the Democrats because the Democrats didn’t have the numbers in Congress. The Republicans have the numbers. They don’t need to call for unity, but they are.

        • The thing is, I’m hearing such calls from people not talking about Congress, but about citizens. In fact, I’m hearing it called for from the very people who were so upset at Mr. Obama’s election that they engaged in Tea Party demonstrations.

          Also, I’m talking about less tangible things. Things like people calling it an act of patriotism to block the President’s agenda when that president is Democratic, but calling it unreasonable and disloyal when that president is Republican.

          We all need to get past the mindless partisanship.

        • “‘It’s called politics.” Under Obama,but many Historian don’t recall that kind of vitriol. This time is seems personal, even on ideas that Republicans used to vote for, they would now say no…hence the Party of NO!!!

          quote “• Vice President Biden told me that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any bipartisan cooperation on major votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators who said, ‘Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ ” he recalled. His informants said McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was, ‘For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’ ” Biden said. The Vice President said he hasn’t even told Obama who his sources were, but Bob Bennett of Utah and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania both confirmed they had conversations with Biden along those lines.”
          http://swampland.time.com/2012/08/23/the-party-of-no-new-details-on-the-gop-plot-to-obstruct-obama/
          No Sir! that was NOT Politics, people used to cooperate with Joe Biden to get things done, until the Black guy became President, then it became “Politics” –not Racism, but Politics. I wonder who is fooling who.

    • You’re right. There will always be division, which is why it’s completely annoying for the right-wing “Christian” set to be so sanctimonious now. They were hardly bastions of unity and grace when Obama was President. So to ask that now of those of us who see exactly who Trump is (and what is in his heart, as Kellyanne requested)? It’s hard not to point out the hypocrisy.

  • Who is Franklin Graham? As a person who grew up in the historic mainline moderate to liberal Christian churches and was never part of the conservative evangelical Christian churches. I don’t have a clue of who he is. Probably most other people don’t either outside of the conservative evangelical Christian religious right.

    • I would add, though, that he does not have the goodness and gracefulness of his father, Billy Graham. He has essentially taken the Billy Graham organization and corrupted it into an extreme far-right ‘Christian’ organization that promotes all the worst of extreme conservative Christianity.

      • Thank you. A friend pointed that out to me right after I wrote the comment. I am much more familiar with his father as a baby boomer. I don’t know why I didn’t connect the last name. Thanks.

  • Ben. Seriously? I thought Jesus was not of this world? You seem perfectly happy for our government to control more & more of our lives.

    • No, that would be Trump and his White Evangelical followers (81%) who want to make big government even bigger.

  • President Obama had his greatest opportunity in the first two years to become a successful president. In the eyes of many he failed. That failure led many people to criticize him as is normal with presidential politics. Unity is not a word synonymous with politics. Obama was not criticized more or less than his predecessors. It has been a staple of our system of government and it continues. With social media it seems more intense.

    People on the left can’t stand anyone who dares to criticize. People on the right can’t stand hypocrisy. The election turned on the democrats for many reasons including the perceived failure of the Obama administration. If he had been successful as he claims, ad nauseum, then Hillary might have won. But he wasn’t and she didn’t and now we will see real achievement. The comparison will be blinding and fast. I hope you are ready for it….

    • To me, it’s hypocritical to demand a unity and cooperation that you refused to offer when the tables were turned. The Republican party made opposition to the Obama administration their main policy – to stymie and thwart as much of his achievements as possible in a bid to re-take the White House. This isn’t a matter of conjecture, they said so publicly. I can take criticism. I refuse to accept hypocrisy. It’s hypocritical to expect cooperation that you refused to give.

      As to any accomplishments of the Trump administration, he’s not starting out with two wars and an economy in free-fall. As is usual in his life, he’s starting out on third and assuming that he hit a triple. Much of what I’ve seen is lies and examples of his thin-skinned, self obsessed childishness. Time will tell if there’s anything else to see…

      • President Trump is fulfilling his campaign promises as I write this. The economy was in free-fall 8 years ago. We gave Obama a Trillion Dollars to stimulate the economy eight years ago. Obama says the the economy is better in every way from his presidency. But the voters said they want jobs and did not agree at all with that self serving assessment.

        • You obviously forgot how bush left the economy.

          I bet you loved him.

          But yeah it’s all the black man”s fault….or something.

        • You keep insinuating that Obama was somehow voted out of office lol. He wasn’t no matter how much you may wish it to be so. If you’re suggesting that Trump won as a kind of referendum against Obama, then I’m not buying it. Using your logic would suggest that Obama was elected as a referendum against GWB. Were you making that particular claim 8 years ago?

        • The actual economic numbers say things are better. Unemployment is way down. Foreclosures are way down. The stock market recovered. The economy is, by almost all measures, better from Mr. Obama’s presidency. Perfect, no, but better. Pretending otherwise is unworthy.

    • “People on the right can’t stand hipocricy” – heh….yeah ok, whatever.

      I suppose your one of those that still doesn’t know that Obama Care and ACA are the same thing, huh.

    • Many do. However, many have apparently switched from “anybody but Trump” to “We’ll hold our nose and vote for Trump, because Clinton is worse” to “We love Trump.” The switch has been commented on and observed in may places. I don’t understand it, do you?

  • We have two distinct religions which go by the name Christian in this country: one is of Jesus and the other is Antichrist. I think progressive Christianity is of Jesus and conservative Christianity is Antichrist; conservatives think they are of Jesus and progressives are Antichrist. The point is, it is unlikely that this is simply a matter of the foot getting mad at the eye–it seems we are not of the same Body. One of us is of Jesus and the other is not. one of us is the Antichrist and the other is not.

    Progressives need to start naming the Antichrist. It seems certain to me that Trump embodies the Antichrist.

    “No lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? Anyone whose behavior shows that he does not believe Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist–denying the Father and the Son.”

    “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your
    father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to
    the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his
    native language, for he is a liar and the father of alternative facts.” (my wording)

  • “I sat through eight long years of hearing president Obama criticized, mocked, and even outright slandered.” We sat through eight much longer years of frustration and despair as this lawless President refused to uphold the Constitution he swore to uphold.

    “Well, now that Trump is president “speaking out” is rather frowned upon.” Ever since the election President Trump has been has been maligned in the press and online media hourly. He is Hitler, the Russians hacked the election, Mexico won’t pay for the wall but he won’t build it anyway, etc., ect. ad nauseum.

    “Instead, we’re told that it’s time to “get behind the president,” that it is “time for us to unify together,” and that we must support our new president.” All I see is protests against his presidency. I see no one calling for unity. But it’s ok because President Trump has done more in his first week than President Obama did in his first two years.

    “The Franklin Grahams of the world who spent so many years opposing our nation’s first black present, now tell us we should do the opposite when it comes to our first orange one.” As always it’s racist to criticize Obama but not the other side. This comment is beneath you.

  • the problem is partisan party politics. of course people shouldn’t compromise on certain things like “the bible shouldn’t be taught as fact in schools” or “gay people should be allowed to get married”

  • Well written and factual. This is proves that Hypocrisy is everywhere and in Christendom. There is a delusion and deception runs deep into the minds of Evangelical Christians who really believes they are doing God a favor by being hopelessly devoted to Conservatism and the GOP, first and fore most.
    Then we wonder why our society is so messed up? They look to politics first and NOT God, and God will not share or give His glory to any one, not even to politicians.
    Before Obama, America was a sinful nation, riddled with conservative Greed ( that was responsible for the economic disaster Obama inherited), Racism, abortion. and gun violence. These were before Obama…but I suppose it is politically correct to be against Obama, if you are to be accepted in the Evangelical Camp. Or else be expelled. This is a sad commentary indeed, full of self righteous hypocrites.

  • Trump is not my President so criticizing his outrageousness and bigotry is easy to do. I’m shocked that so many people bought into his scam artist show.

    I’ll show him the same respect Republicans showed President Obama: none.

  • They saw President Obama as “bad” so
    he needed to be criticized. They were against everything Mr. Obama and many of us believed necessary for America. Now their beloved Trump who espouses everything thing white America wants is in charge, we must bow down because they are right and we are wrong. Not me. I will fight for what I believe is right. Giving equal rights to ALL regardless of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation, religion or no religion. We have a responsibility to our undocumented immigrants to devise a way for them to become citizens and show more compassion to those literally running for their lives. Instead of building the wall, we should use that money to help the stanger. If the Republicans are Christian, they should act like they are. However, I think they put America first, their families second, and God third. If what they want for Americans goes against God’s, they pick America first. And what I think God wants for us is totally opposite from the Christian right.

  • I’ve read plenty of Corey ranting at so many others because they didn’t “love their enemies enough” or were to “toxic” and “divisive.” And now that someone he doesn’t like is in power, I get to read about him spitting on the idea of unity with contempt. If there is one good thing about Trump being elected it’s that your real colors are on display Corey. For a while I actually thought you were above the petty partisanship that racks this country. I guess you’re no different than Graham. And by your own logic from another blog post, I guess you’re no different than ISIS.

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