It is Sunday morning and across America fundamentalist and evangelical Christians will be flocking to fill church pews and feign piety, many wearing their professed religiosity on their sleeves. Many are against drinking alcohol, some won't even engage in dancing, and, of course they view loving same sex couples who are responsible members of their communities as an abomination to be annihilated. Yet some 81% of them voted for Donald Trump and continue to support him largely because he appealed to their hatred of others and their desire to destroy the religious freedom of other citizens. If one wants a reason to walk away from the Christian brand, these people are a strong argument that only hate-filled hypocrites call themselves Christian nowadays. And the Millennials ARE paying attention: nearly one third have disavowed any religious affiliation, largely thanks to these self-anointed "godly folks." A column in the Washington Post calls these so-called Christians out and ask the question of whether there is any debasement that Trump can do to the presidency or decency in general that might make these people disavow him. Here are highlights:
No group has been as blindly loyal to President Trump as Christian conservatives. They have not let religion or values get in the way of their support. Consider the “Access Hollywood” tape, the attack on a Gold Star family, a mass of inexplicable ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials (and the president’s open invitation to Russia to continue hacking), the firing of the FBI director, the humiliation of evangelical-favorite Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the politicization of the Boy Scouts, the threats to the special counsel and now an interview with Trump’s out-of-control, potty-mouthed communications director.
What about Trump, exactly, reflects their values? (Taking Medicaid away from millions and separating families to deport law-abiding immigrants?) The Trump administration is a clown show — but it’s the evangelicals who supplied the tent, the red noses and the floppy shoes. Each day presents a new insult to the office of the presidency and a repudiation of civilized behavior.
Cumulatively — let’s not forget the erratic, impulsive declaration that he was throwing transgender military personnel out of the armed services — it is not clear whether Trump has reached a tipping point when Republicans decide he actually has to leave office. Yet if Trump nevertheless proceeds to fire Sessions and then order Justice Department officials to fire Mueller (or fire them if they won’t), Republicans will have no remedy at their disposal other than impeachment; they may very well choose not to use it, but then we have the makings of a constitutional crisis on our hands.
And the religious right, which intones “Judge Gorsuch, Judge Gorsuch!” when confronted with the series of Trump abominations, should do some soul-searching. Was this trashing of the White House, assault on civil language and conduct and contempt for the Constitution (the one the religious right thinks is so important that the new Supreme Court justice must protect it) worth it? And if it gets worse, is there any point at which the religious might put country above tribe, morality above partisanship? No, I don’t think it will do so ever.
Last evening I was at a small, intimate fundraiser with mostly members of the local Indian community and the contrast between their expectations and what they looked for in a politician could not be a more stark contrast with the evangelical Christian crowd: they look for the personal honesty, integrity and personal morality of a candidate and whether that candidate will seek to do the best for all citizens and not deliberately harm targeted citizens. This versus the evangelicals and their support for Trump. In my experience, these non-Christians time and time again reflect the values of the Gospel message more than the purported Christians of Trump's base.