There was a time when, as an evangelical, I could reasonably count on my brothers and sisters to try to search out the greatest good when they entered the ballot box. We may have lamented the fact that two evils were all we had to choose from, but at least there seemed to be an effort to do the right, Biblically sound thing. Donald Trump’s presidential bid has changed this in frightening ways. We’ve seen the “evangelical” establishment in America change from begrudgingly making the best of a bad situation to actively glorifying and justifying the evil that it once rejected. In doing so, the establishment is rapidly revealing itself to be the very thing its enemies have claimed it was all along.
While I agree with my fellow Pilgrim that the numbers of actual, real evangelicals supporting Trump have been exaggerated, it is equally clear that this support is a real thing among some leading evangelicals. Jerry Falwell Jr. can spout that his endorsement of Trump is “personal” until he is blue in the face, but the fact remains that the president of the largest evangelical university is leveraging his position as a leader of the faithful to push a man who is the opposite from what his school is supposed to produce. And while Falwell can pretend that he isn’t speaking from a religious platform, others, don’t have that luxury. We need simply consider Robert Jefress, pastor of Dallas First Baptist (Mega) Church, who has also essentially endorsed Trump without using the words. In both cases, the ringing non-endorsement points to something seriously rotten. Christian truth seems to be only for Sunday mornings–we are told to be interested only in what “works” based on Trump’s stance on the issues.
Pilate was once as “practical” in matters of politics as some modern evangelicals seem to be.
What both men and the many who follow them have forgotten is character matters, and we are to make judgments through a unique lens. As Christians our decisions aren’t ruled by what is politically expedient but by the straightforward right and wrong laid out in Holy Scripture. While we have every reason to expect that all our leaders will far short of moral perfection, there is a significant difference between allowing for failure and repentance, and actively excusing, promoting, and even enabling a man who, until recently, didn’t even pretend to honor God or His law.
When Christians support Trump, they engage in the very stereotype of greed, cowardice, and even idiocy that their enemies have accused them of all along. They are being bribed by promises of glory, protection, and power to vote for a man diametrically opposed to much of what Christians say is good. (There’s the greed.) They are compromising their morals and their faith out of fear–justified though it may be–of what the alternative might bring. (There’s the cowardice.) They are swallowing whole the asinine scraps of religiosity that Trump offers up, pretending they are sincere expressions of faith. If Trump tried to sell the average evangelical voter a used car by the same methods, he/she would walk off the lot. (There’s the idiocy.) Modern evangelicals are needlessly self-fulfilling the prophecies that atheists, secular humanists, and liberals have been preaching from the rooftops about Christians for decades.
In order to save our country from going to Hell, establishment evangelicals are using logic that would allow them to make a deal with the Devil. Even if their gamble succeeds for a time, what will be left of their souls?