Evangelical Protestants who support President Trump are guilty of imposing “wickedness” on the nation, wrote Will Saletan for Slate on Sunday.
The “souls in peril” for today’s evangelicals, Saletan writes, are not those outside the fold but rather “their own flock,” due to raging nationalism, tribalism, and “a corrupt, ruthless Republican president.”
White evangelical Protestants “are one of Trump’s most loyal constituencies,” Saletan laments, and in the 2016 elections the Republican candidate garnered 81 percent of their votes, and they still consider him favorably, “by a ratio of 2 to 1.”
To accommodate Trump, white evangelicals have retreated from moral judgment of him, Saletan states, and stubbornly refuse to reject him despite “his meanness, his misogyny, his ethnic demagoguery, and his squalid and abusive personal behavior.”
The underlying problem, Saletan insists, is that in the case of Trump, evangelicals have allowed matters of policy and governance to overshadow the personal morality of the president. Whatever his effects on the economy, on the Supreme Court, religious liberty, or life issues, Saletan suggests, Christians have a moral obligation to reject the president for his personal moral flaws.
Moreover, Saletan writes, white evangelicals have “abdicated social responsibility” by failing to support increases in federal spending to help poor people and because of their reluctance “to acknowledge racism.”
When white evangelicals were asked to name the factors that influenced their votes in 2016, Saletan said, their top issues were “the economy, health care, national security, and immigration,” issues that Saletan deems unworthy of the concern of true Christians.
In particular, Saletan claims, evangelicals’ enthusiasm for Trump’s immigration policy is generated by “fear of immigrants per se” and especially Muslim immigrants.
More than other groups, Saletan writes, white evangelicals are likely “to worry about Islamic violence in the United States” and to believe that among U.S. Muslims, “there was a great deal or a fair amount of support for extremism.”
Trump “has advocated political violence and war crimes,” “attacks basic values,” and “works to corrupt the country,” Saletan writes, which means that Christians who support him support evil.
Despite his personal Jewish background, Mr. Saletan does not shy away from donning a theologian’s cap and explaining to Christians what their political priorities should be.
“Christianity says you should love the stranger, respect families, honor your wife, and treat all people as children of God,” Saletan declares, but by supporting Trump, Christians “are choosing to ignore those values at the ballot box.”
In conclusion, Saletan states that Trump-supporting evangelicals have “betrayed Christianity.”
Therefore, “Jerry Falwell Jr., Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, and others who stand with Trump in these fights should no longer be taken seriously as spokesmen for a faith,” he states.
“They’re purveyors of evil,” he declares.
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