There have been several articles and an editorial that look at evangelical Christians and the Donald Trump phenomena that are worth reading. This post is a compilation of them and includes a USA Today editorial, and Jennifer Rubin column in the Washington Post. Also included are two articles by Michael Gerson in the Washington Post and The Atlantic. Finally the New York Times had two articles about how Trump is resulting in blacks leaving white evangelical churches and increasing segregation and how some white evangelical women are slowly distancing themselves from Trump.
“Evangelical leaders should dispense with the do-overs and simply acknowledge that Trump is what he is: a means to a political end.”
From a USA Today editorial on February 6, 2018
Identifying evangelicalism with Trump’s ethno-populism may have some short-term benefits. But public influence eventually depends on the persuasiveness of public arguments. And close ties to Trump will eventually be disastrous to causes that evangelicals care about. Pro-life arguments are discredited by an association with misogyny. Arguments for religious liberty are discredited by association with anti-Muslim bias. Arguments for family values are discredited by nativist disdain for migrant families.
The damage radiates further. Trump evangelicals are blessing the destruction of public norms on civility, decency and the importance of public character.
And the ultimate harm is to the reputation of faith itself. The identification of evangelical Christianity with ethno-nationalism and white grievance is a grave matter. Evangelical Christians hardly distinguished themselves during the civil rights movement. Some used Christian academies as a cover for continued segregation. Getting this issue wrong again would be particularly damning in a nation — and in Christian churches — growing inexorably more diverse.
Michael Gerson in the Washington Post on March 12, 2018
Democracy is not merely a set of procedures. It has a moral structure. The values we celebrate or stigmatize eventually influence the character of our people and polity. Democracy does not insist on perfect virtue from its leaders. But there is a set of values that lends authority to power: empathy, honesty, integrity, and self-restraint. And the legitimation of cruelty, prejudice, falsehood, and corruption is the kind of thing, one would think, that religious people were born to oppose, not bless. This disfigurement of evangelical faith squanders the reputation of something valuable: not just the vision of human dignity that captured Blanchard, but also Finney’s electric waves of grace. At its best, faith is the overflow of gratitude, the attempt to live as if we are loved, the fragile hope for something better on the other side of pain and death. And this feather of grace weighs more in the balance than any political gain.
It is difficult to see something you so deeply value discredited so comprehensively. Evangelical faith has shaped my life, as it has the lives of millions. Evangelical history has provided me with models of conscience. Evangelical institutions have given me gifts of learning and purpose. Evangelical friends have shared my joys and sorrows. And now the very word is brought into needless disrepute.
This is the result when Christians become one interest group among many, scrambling for benefits at the expense of others rather than seeking the welfare of the whole. Christianity is love of neighbor, or it has lost its way. And this sets an urgent task for evangelicals: to rescue their faith from its worst leaders.
Michael Gerson in The Atlantic
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
There have been several articles in the news that have received some attention about evangelical Christians and Donald Trump. I am compiling them in this post for people to read as they raise many good questions that need to be discussed.
- Peter Wehner today works at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He has a long history of working with Bill Bennett and has served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W Bush. Today at CNN it was reported about how he discussed evangelical Christians who support Donald Trump have become so blind in defending anything Trump says or does. Its been getting attention on social media. You can read that article here.
- Jennifer Rubin is the conservative columnist for the Washington Post. When the domestic abuse scandal with Rob Porter broke at the White House she wrote a hard hitting column about the silence of the evangelical family values crowd. In her article she touches on several evangelical Christian organizations well known for fighting the culture wars. “The ‘family values’ crowd is mute on Rob Porter [UPDATE]”
- In early February 2018 USA Today had an editorial that spoke out and criticized evangelical Christian leaders who support Donald Trump. The editorial which was rare for the national newspaper, called for evangelicals to be honest. They are not about faith, God or the Bible – instead they are about political power. The editorial is called, “Trump squanders moral authority — for evangelical leaders.”
- Michael Gerson served in the George W Bush White House and wrote his second inaugural address. He writes columns in the Washington Post on a regular basis. Recently he wrote a column that was stinging in its rebuke of evangelical Christians. From their support to failed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore who faced allegations of child abuse to defending Donald Trump in the Stormy Daniels affair (who passed a polygraph on having sex with Trump). Gerson calls evangelical Christians a joke and that they have prostituted themselves in defending Trump. You can read that article in “Trump evangelicals have sold their souls.”
- On March 11, 2018 the New York Times had an article that looked at how white evangelical women were starting to slowly distance themselves from Trump. You can read that article which is called, “White Evangelical Women, Core Supporters of Trump, Begin Tiptoeing Away.”
- The New York Times had another solid article recently that looked at another effect of the Donald Trump presidency. It looked at how blacks are leaving white evangelical churches disgusted at whites and in disbelief. Churches are becoming more and more segregated. The article also looks at Robert Morris’s Gateway Church in Texas. This is the same Robert Morris who helped re-launch Mark Driscoll. The article is called, “A Quiet Exodus: Why Black Worshipers Are Leaving White Evangelical Churches.”
- Finally the last article has received a lot of attention in the social media arena. From Twitter to Medium to the Religious News Service this following article in the Atlantic is well worth the read. Michael Gerson wrote an article that looks at the history of evangelical Christianity and places the Trump phenomenon in context. He looks at the evangelical movement from the end of the Civil War in 1865 until today. He identifies that evangelicals have a long history of choosing the wrong battles and waging the wrong wars. From the way some defended the Confederacy, to being against science to more. Gerson writes that evangelicals are not influenced by the Bible or the Christian faith – but instead by talk radio and Fox News. Sean Hannity has more sway than the Bible it appears. You can read this article in “The Last Temptation.” John Fea from Messiah College wrote several articles in response to Michael Gerson’s work which should also be examined.
That is it for the day guys, take care of yourself.