Evangelicals, what have we done?

An official within Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was quoted on Election Day as saying it needed a miracle to win that night.

They got one, though miracle might have been the wrong word.

After about a year and a half of a campaign full of racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and other sorts of comments that make most people sick, Trump will become the 45th president of our fine country in just a matter of weeks.

Think about that. No, really, think about that.

This man, whose campaign was viewed as nothing more than a joke when he launched it in June 2015, will be the leader of the free world.

This man, who ridiculed U.S. Sen. John McCain for being a POW in Vietnam, will be in charge of our military.

This man, who can’t handle being challenged by the media, will go toe to toe with the world’s dictators.

This man, whose campaign took his Twitter account away because of his infamous thin skin and impetuousness, will have control of our nuclear weapons.

What have we done? Seriously, what have we done?

With supporters like these …

In the few days since his election, the sorts of behaviors endorsed by Trump’s rhetoric and rallies have been alive and well.

A family member of a good friend was told to go back to Mexico and build a wall.

In my hometown of Burlington, Iowa, a person’s sexual orientation was mocked with a note left on a windshield. It referenced Trump’s election win.

And that’s just what I know of personally. There have been plenty more stories like these throughout the country.

Horrifying evangelical support

To me, what’s particularly horrifying is a report by The Washington Post saying white evangelicals voted for Trump, 81 percent to 16 percent.

What is wrong with us? Seriously, what is wrong with us?

One such Facebook friend told me the Supreme Court was too important. The stakes were too high.

But Trump is the same candidate who defended Planned Parenthood on a Republican debate stage. To be fair, after doing so, he pledged to defund it, but he left wiggle room.

That’s not the sort of unequivocal stance on abortion evangelical conservatives usually demand from their candidates.

I wrote in a previous blog post, which has been the most popular of my 14 thus far, that we’re better than voting for someone we find morally repugnant.

After all, for years, we’ve staked our claim to the moral condition of America

We’ve voiced our strong opinions on a host of social issues and made them known at the voting booth. We were once a powerful voice.

But now?

We’re nothing more than hypocrites who hold different leaders to different standards based merely on their political party.

Lest we forget, remember how we went after Democratic President Bill Clinton and his many extra-marital affairs, not to mention what happened with intern Monica Lewinsky?

We were incensed a president could act in such a way.

And yet, about 20 years later, we’ve elected someone who thinks it’s funny to grab women by their genitals because he can. We’ve elected someone who’s on his third wife.

Sanctity of marriage? Please.

Selling out

We have zero credibility.

Just think how much influence we could have wielded had we stood on our principles and said, “No, we won’t vote for this man. We demand better from our party.”

Yes, we likely would’ve lost this election. Yes, we likely would’ve had to suffer through Hillary Clinton for the next four years.

But we would’ve had clear consciences.

Remember what Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, said?

“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

As a group, we’ve become power hungry, scared of the influence slipping through our fingers, and we’ve forfeited our soul. We’ve forgotten what we once stood for.

Aren’t we better than that?

We’re better than that. Aren’t we?

Unfortunately, with more than 4 out of 5 white evangelicals voting for him, we’re not.

Included in that ridiculous number is the Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas.

“I think the same-sex marriage ruling by the Supreme Court last June was a watershed moment for evangelical Christians,”  he said in an interview with NPR. “I think in a strange way, that same-sex marriage ruling actually made evangelicals more open to a secular candidate like Donald Trump, and here’s why. I think many evangelicals have come to the conclusion we can no longer depend upon government to uphold traditional biblical values.

“Let’s just let government solve practical problems like immigration, the economy and national security. And if that’s all we’re looking for government to do, then we don’t need a spiritual giant in the White House. We need a strong leader and a problem solver, hence many Christians are open to a secular candidate like Donald Trump.”

Not only was he open to it, he attended his victory party.

Not to be outdone was the Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of the late Jerry Falwell Sr.

Trump visited  Jerry Falwell Sr.’s Liberty University, of which Junior is now president.

“Dad explained that when he walked into the voting booth, he wasn’t electing a Sunday school teacher or a pastor or even a president who shared his theological beliefs,” Falwell said during the visit, according to the Washington Times. “He was electing the president of the United States, and the abilities and experience required to lead a nation might not always line up with those needed to run a church or a congregation.

“After all, Jimmy Carter was a great Sunday school teacher, but look what happened to our nation with him in the presidency.”

It’s not completely shocking, then, to see him also attending Trump’s party.

Here’s the thing, these two leaders in the evangelical movement justified voting for Trump. They should be held responsible, at least in part, for the more than 80 percent who followed their lead.

They need to be held accountable for what happens afterward. What has happened since Tuesday.

Standing on principle

Thankfully, though, there still are those of us who stood on our principles, who didn’t forget our values.

Take this, for example, from noted Christian author Max Lucado’s website.

“We appreciate decency. We applaud decency. We teach decency. We seek to develop decency. Decency matters, right?”  he wrote in February.

“Then why isn’t decency doing better in the presidential race?

“The leading Republican candidate to be the next leader of the free world would not pass my decency interview. I’d send him away. I’d tell my daughter to stay home. I wouldn’t entrust her to his care.”

There’s no sign of him attending Trump’s party, just a single tweet wishing the new president-elect well.

I suppose I should follow his lead. And that of our current president, Barack Obama.

“(W)e are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country,” he said from the White House, mere hours after the dust settled.

After all we’ve seen thus far, however, I have to think Trump’s success in such endeavors also would be a miracle.

Editor’s note: I did not, in fact, vote for Donald Trump, nor did I vote for Hillary Clinton.


10 thoughts on “Evangelicals, what have we done?

  1. Bravo. I couldn’t have said all of this any better myself.

    I also loved Ernie Johnson’s comments last night prior to the Bulls/Heat game, regarding his thoughts as an evangelical who didn’t vote for Trump.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A well-written post. It’s good to know there are others out there who are seeing this with clarity. I heard the arguments you have addressed, especially the one regarding the Supreme Court nominee. Somehow, as you point out, to many people this justifies voting for a man who is perhaps the most immoral person to run for this office in recent history, at least according to our standards of personal virtue. Evangelicals who voted for Trump are in for a rude awakening in four years when liberals show up en masse to vote for the most pro-abortion, pro-homosexual candidate we have seen yet. We are just trading blows. As you also reference, 20% of us chose to not vote for Trump. How many of us voted for neither candidate, as you and I? I was taught Apologetics at a Christian high school, but, of course, it was about defending the Christian faith. Today, we need to defend the faith from Evangelical “leaders” who have turned Evangelicalism into a machine for gaining personal political favors and gain (See: Robert J. and Jerry Falwell Jr.).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re absolutely right. Sadly, even those of us who didn’t vote for Trump will get lumped in with those who did. It’s maddening, and it feels like the faith has been hijacked by those whose motives are far from pure.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post. Not only have evangelicals lost even more credibility but judging from the sunami of ugly comments and gloating after the election, they don’t get it. Thank God for those evangelicals who are standing up for love and sanity over hate and ignorance. All is not lost even though it sometimes feels like it.

    Liked by 1 person

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