Friday, October 22, 2021

Why Some White Evangelicals Are Rethinking Their Politics l FiveThirtyEight

 Plus a bit about my early childhood 

Although my parents weren't religious they still sent my brother and me to Sunday school because they thought that we would pick up some good values there. A big black van would turn up outside people's houses every Sunday and all the kids would be bundled into the back. There were no seats or windows inside the back part of the van where they put us so we were just driven about like cattle. Fortunately, the Sunday school was just around the corner, so I didn't get travel sickness, something I suffered a lot from when I was young. 

Most of the time what they taught us at Sunday school just went right over my head, especially as I had never seen a miracle before, and most of the teaching was about the miracles, like walking on water, and turning water into wine, etc, but none of it seemed to relate all that much to the world that I lived in which was a council estate in South London (see below). I don't think I really believed the stories all that much either, or rather, I didn't know quite what to make of it all. 

They taught us the teachings of Jesus and he seemed to be a very nice person, who was very compassionate and considerate. They also told us about the parables: The Eye of the Needle and the Rich Man, Turn the other cheek, Forgive your enemies, etc.


Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”


Also they also told us what Heaven and Hell was like: 

In Hell, they said, there were tables full of food, but everyone was hungry, because the spoons were really long, so they were unable to feed themselves. But in Heaven, everything was exactly the same, except no one was hungry because they fed each other with the long spoons. 

Would Jesus recognise right-wing evangelical Christianity today ? I doubt it very much somehow. 

White evangelicals are often seen as a solidly Republican voting bloc. In the 2020 election, 84 percent of them voted for Donald Trump. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, many of Trump’s supporters began identifying as evangelical during his presidency.

But white evangelicals aren’t a monolith. In our first episode of Political Outliers, meet two devout evangelicals who were raised in conservative households, but are now self-proclaimed “progressives.” They both say that their political views became more liberal as they immersed themselves deeper into their faith

Why Some White Evangelicals Are Rethinking Their Politics l FiveThirtyEight

I went bit off the beaten track here last night when I added this part, but I decided I might as well post it now. The above article really got me into thinking about that early part of my life. 

The Brandon Estate 

I lived right next to the Branden Estate in Southwark, South London, between the ages of 6 to 8 years old and had many friends there who I would play on the estate with. I was amazed to find this old footage of the Branden Estate recently which was shot in 1961, although I live there between 1964 and 1966. The estate had a bad reputation although I don't remember there being any problems, but it might have got this reputation later. The kids were quite friendly too and I was never bullied by anyone here. 

There’s no sound, and it may not be riveting, but it's exactly how it was, so it was fascinating to find it, but black and white makes it look more gloomy than it was.

Below is our prefab where we lived from 1964 to 1966, which was tempory home that was supplied by the council. They called these ones Mobile Homes to distinguish them from prefabs, but like the prefabs, they were made in a factory and then transported on a lorry, afterwhich a crane would put them into place. It was quite nice really, a detached bungalow, in fact, but there was one big problem - the whole thing was made of asbestos!

You can see the Brandon Estate in the background in the photo below. 

The large flower pot is a barrow my dad cut in half. He was a butcher and he would get them from where he used to work. It was a popular idea where he worked. 

This is my brother, Mark, (the blonde one at the back) playing with his friends, Christopher (I've forgotten his second name) and Robert Gateson, who were neighbours. It looks like my dad must have given my neighbour half a barrow to be used as a flowerpot. 

My mum with me in the front garden. Apparently, that toy bus is worth a fortune now. I think my mum gave it away when I was very young after I hadn't played with it for years. 

We went to St John's The Devine School, which was Protestant and very strict. In the background of the above photo you can see the steeple of St John's The Devine Church. 

At school one day they got us into the assembly room to tell us about the school rules, and that if we broke them we would be severely punished, which might mean even getting the cane. I was only 6 years old and was very new at the school, and I had no idea what rules were, so I thought they must be 10 inch long glass rods that they kept in a locked glass cabinet in the headmasters room. They must be very special, I thought, but I couldn't figure out what the hell they would be used for, or how anyone could break one if they were in a glass box. 

My mum made the Batman and Superman suits. She was a seemstress and she made us a lot of clothes. In the photo I have the Batman the suit on. 

The steeple was jaw dropping and seemed to go right up into the sky beyond the clouds, well, that's how it looked to me when I was a very young boy. The church was beautiful, but quite menacing and severe, a bit like the teachers. Neither my brother or I liked St John's School. It was definitely something out of a Charles Dickens novel - very dark and foreboding. I think the teachers there considered children to be the Devil. 

The church is regarded as a fine example of Victorian Gothic. The general construction is of red brick, but all parapets, window openings, doorways, etc. are dressed with stone. The upper part of the spire is entirely of stone. At over 260 feet, it is the tallest spire in south London and can be seen for miles around. The poet John Betjeman remarked that St John the Divine was "the most magnificent church in South London."


Matt Franko said...

Kevin, open the Twitter app and find a tweet you’d like to post let me k ow when you have one…

Kaivey said...

Okay, Matt, thanks!

Matt Franko said...

Kevin do you have the Twitter app open now?

Matt Franko said...

We have a 5 hour time difference..,

Kaivey said...

Yes, I'm in the twiiter app. There's a share button, do I go there?