“Evangelism is one of the most hated religious sects in America, and they have nothing but themselves to blame”

My friend Bruce Gerenscer recently wrote a letter to his local newspaper and I asked if I could repost it here; he kindly accepted:

Letter to the editor of the Bryan Times. It was released on July 8, 2021.

Mr. Editor,

Evangelism is one of the most hated religious sects in America, and they have nothing but themselves to blame. Not that they care. Evangelicals have a persecution complex like no other. Forty years ago, the late Jerry Falwell launched moral majority. Its purpose was to bring America back to God by waging a war against our culture. This war has now reached its climax. As more and more people identify as atheists, agnostics, or indifferent to organized religion, evangelicals fear losing their grip on our culture. Instead of praying, evangelizing sinners, and doing good works, evangelicals have turned to attack those they oppose, both physically (the January 6 uprising) and with words.

Bryan’s time has become a platform for evangelicals to verbally brutalize people they believe to be their enemies. Pastor Luke Nagy’s vitriolic attack on transgender people several weeks ago is a prime example. I’m sure those who think like Nagy shouted AMEN when they read his column, but for those of us who are not religious (I was an evangelical Christian for fifty years), Nagy’s words are yet another example of why evangelism is one of the sects most hated in America.

In 2016, 80% of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. I was amazed that the evangelicals knew how immoral Trump was and still voted for him. Four years later, eighty-four percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump again. The same people who raged against Bill Clinton’s sex scandal in the 1990s, demanding his resignation, now think such behavior is acceptable. Why? Political power. Unable to win the cultural war with prayer, evangelism, and good works, evangelicals turned to politics to kill their secular enemies. And in doing so, they sold their souls for bowls of soup.

I was an evangelical pastor for twenty-five years. The evangelization of my beginnings in the ministry no longer exists. The theocrats have won – for now. As with all political power grabs, such victories are superficial and short-lived. Evangelical pastors will one day wonder what went wrong. Where have their members gone and why are their churches closed? They just have to look at themselves in the mirror. The reflection they see will tell them who is to blame for their disappearance. Preaching hatred and savagely attacking those who are different from them will not be successful in the long run.

Bruce gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Bruce Gerencser, 64, has lived in rural northwest Ohio with his wife for 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce has pastored evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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