What Does a Northern Irish Evangelical Want?


What has been written below was initially written as a Facebook comment, which for the sake of the sanity of a friend’s wall (a sanity I desire of my own), I decided to place here.

The question I think it is key to ask of evangelical Christians in NI is, “What is it that you want?” The answer, which I am sure many don’t even fully understand, is theocracy. The desire for theocracy exists because evangelical theology exists on the basis of carpet-bombing all actually existing social and political problems through its sheer disinvestment in life as it is really lived by, well, billions. Further, it is contentless, at once because of its scorched earth theology, and also a result of its apoliticism, borne of its fixation upon effective historical and current-yet-lessening political dominance.

In this way, to pause and return to life as it is really lived beyond the realm of this fantasy, Northern Irish evangelicalism offering no analysis of or alternatives to capitalism and neoliberalism, ultimately and unwittingly reproducing the realities of both within its very make-up. Indeed, it is the perfect worldview to be taken advantage of by the elite class of Protestant politicians, insofar as evangelicals know that life cannot be lived without the political, even as they fantasise about being without it (or, as I said, more correctly, their complete dominance). They are ready to be mobilised as votes on the most facile of issues, due to the double-edged work of their Christianity’s (lack of) content: 1) forget the world, all you need is a personal relationship with Jesus, but 2) insofar as one has to participate in the political in the mean time, choose the person who opposes both women’s and LGBTQ people’s rights. Protestant politicians, as representatives of evangelicals, are then free to follow whatever socially and economically destructive policies they desire as evangelicals lack any kind of framework to respond—more often than not simply writing such things up as a baked in defect of a “fallen world” (which, of course, abortion and marriage equality are too, per the mindset, but are for some reason much more readily resisted. Roleplaying the abusive and violent powerlessness of their god, no doubt, over the very being of social minorities in the face of an economic system they can neither comprehend nor resist).

Yet, to return to what is manifestly impossible, but also lies at the heart of the evangelical fantasy: theocracy. Evangelicals don’t want to do politics because they know they can’t win, they’d rather be without it. However, their very participation and historic, yet dwindling, dominance generates the desire for a return to that dominance and to a theocracy in which their every whim is carried out for the “betterment” of a society that doesn’t want it. They’re after an imagined past, a past that was defined by disenfranchisement and discrimination against the Catholic section of society. This, for the evangelical, is not enough, though, because their very politicisation on the two issues above, taken as absolute social imperatives due to their neurotic fixation, positively extends the discrimination their vision entails. Of course, as always, for the purpose of sickness, they call it love.

So, what does a Northern Irish evangelical want? A fascist theocracy in which the greater portion is forced to live like the evangelical, and suffer greatly if they are unwilling. Evangelicalism is nothing if not profoundly selfish and unwilling to do anything less than make the world in its toxic image. The great reason for relief is that what they want is unattainable, the pause for concern comes in that they are still numerically effective enough to make us suffer in the interim.