--Jesus Christ, Matthew 19:23-24
"In the place of the palace of privilege we seek to build a temple out of faith and hope and charity."
--President Franklin Roosevelt, June 27, 1936, Acceptance Speech for the Renomination for the Presidency
I thought these were fairly basic teachings, uniform among all Christian denominations. How is it then, that so many Christians today have given their support and devotion to a man like Donald Trump - a man who says he's "very greedy" and "loves money"; promotes violence at his rallies; implies that low-income Americans are incompetent; and demonizes poor migrant workers from Mexico (while saying little or nothing about the wealthy whites who hire them)?
The current Republican attempts to scale back Medicaid, in order to give super-wealthy Americans massive tax breaks, and the refusal of conservative Christians to come out strongly against these efforts, is another example of Christofascism.
Overarching much of Christofascism and Prosperity Gospel is what I like to call the Cult of Personal Responsibility (although I'm sure I'm not the first to use that terminology). This is a group of people that have the firm, fanatical, and ultimately absurd belief that if an individual is morally good, makes the right decisions, and works hard, everything will work out just fine. To the Cult of Personal Responsibility, market failures, job outsourcing, bad public policy, financial fraud, unforeseen health problems, and various other complexities of life, matter very little, if at all. It's always the individual who is at fault for his or her problems.
There is, of course, something to be said for personal responsibility. If we willfully do something wrong, there should be some sort of consequence. But when the burden of personal responsibility is disproportionately (or solely) placed upon lower-income Americans, in order to divert attention away from institutionalized unfairness or white collar crime, or to forever withhold assistance from those who need help, it becomes cruel and preposterous.
Second (and ironically), charitable giving tends to decline during recessions - the very time it's needed the most.
Third, super-wealthy Americans, on average, give less to charity, as a percentage of their income, than non-wealthy Americans. This is an especially big problem during the present era of extreme income & wealth inequality, where more and more money has been vacuumed into fewer and fewer hands. The money has shifted from those who give more to those who give less.
Fourth, the super-wealthy are so insulated from the problems of middle and low-income America, that they really don't know how to give their charitable dollars away for maximum impact, at least with respect to human needs.
Fifth, churches and charities have already proven that they cannot fill in for government neglect. When millions of Americans needed jobs during the Great Depression and more recently, the Great Recession, churches, charities, and philanthropists didn't hire them in any significant numbers. Why not? And when hundreds of millions of Americans have needed health insurance over the past many decades, churches, charities, and philanthropists could not (or would not) provide it - hence the development of Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and the Affordable Care Act (and hopefully, someday, Medicare-for-All).
Solle's observation should serve as a cautionary tale, and indicates that Social Gospel, as practiced by New Dealers, is a far more healthy Christian approach to government & culture than Christofascism, Prosperity Gospel, or the Cult of Personal Responsibility. Social Gospel promotes healthy interactions between government and the governed, and between the citizens themselves, while Christofascism, Prosperity Gospel, and the Cult of Personal Responsibility abuse the poor, and also promotes division and contempt, between the so-called "worthy" and the so-called "unworthy," or, as Congressman Paul Ryan and other conservatives like to put it, between the "makers" and the "takers."
In any event, we must get away from the right-wing versions of Christianity that ridicule and damn the poor. Our nation, and our souls, depend on it.