Missions Box is a website focusing on Evangelical Christianity, and an example of some of the content you’d find there is a piece from April 28, titled, “Survey Reveals America’s Greatest Existential Threat?”
Here’s how it starts:
“The most significant existential threat for America is not the coronavirus. Nor is it China, Iran, Russia, or North Korea. It is also not the potential collapse of our economy and supply chains.”
It must be something huge, because those all are very significant existential threats for America.
“Continuing analysis by American Worldview Inventory 2020 points out that ‘One-third of the nation’s adults who have chosen to dismiss traditional teachings about God, the importance of personally determining whether a powerful, holy, Creator God exists, and the implications of their conclusion for their present and future. This is the paramount existential crisis of our era.’”
So, that’s Mission Box. Their big story this week was “Darryl Strawberry Hits Big Home Run.”
It’s probably easy enough to guess where this went, and indeed, where you’d guess it went is where it went: “Darryl Strawberry’s most significant home run didn’t happen on a baseball field. It happened when he ran home into the arms of Jesus and committed his life to serving Him and reaching out to others.”
It’s a great thing that Strawberry got clean, and that he’s still alive today, considering his many years of drug abuse. It’s admirable that Strawberry Ministries, run by the man himself and his wife Tracy, has put its focus on helping at-risk teens through the “Finding Your Way Youth Center.”
It’s tragic that Strawberry believes supporting Donald Trump is compatible with those values.
Strawberry, who was a “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant in 2010 and once called Trump “a great man” in 2017, this week took part in a streamed roundtable for Trump’s re-election campaign called “Faith in America: Black Voices for Trump.”
This would be the same Trump whose administration has separated children from their parents, while also making it more difficult for victims in schools to get justice. For someone whose main focus in life is helping kids, it should be as difficult to square that focus with supporting Trump as it should be to square being Black with supporting Trump in light of… well, everything since the start of his campaign.
But to bring it back to Strawberry’s glory days on the field, let’s go with Trump’s comments, even as president decades later, about the Central Park 5. Five exonerated kids, whom Trump felt deserved the death penalty. And he shouted as much to the world with a full-page ad in the New York Times.
But Evangelical Christianity is a hell of a drug.
And even as Trump has spent his life behaving in as un-Christian a way as just about any person possibly could, two-thirds of white Evangelicals still support him. Trump’s approval rating among all other religious groups? It doesn’t even crack 50 percent.
Strawberry, obviously, is not white, but his brand is in the white Evangelical world that has been subsumed by conservative politics. Strawberry has addressed Saddleback Church, whose pastor was the subject of a Fox News documentary called “Purpose Driven Life: Can Rick Warren Save The World?” He and his wife also have appeared multiple times on Trinity Broadcasting Network, which is Strawberry Ministries’ top choice for 24-hour prayer, and whose Wikipedia page contains a hilarious line that also sums up its existence rather nicely: “Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Finance has conducted investigations into whether Hinn, White, Copeland, Dollar, Meyer or Long mishandled their finances; none were have found to have committed wrongdoing.”
Strawberry exists at the intersection of this version of Christianity and the type of fame that led Trump to seek him out for Celebrity Apprentice 10 years ago. And Strawberry has said that Trump reminds him of George Steinbrenner, the man who gave him his second chance in baseball.
Considering all of that, it’s not a surprise that Strawberry would support Trump in the first place, and not a surprise that Strawberry would stick with him, even now.