CEOs Are Abandoning Donald Trump, But His Evangelical Advisors Are Staying Put

Earlier today, in response to Donald Trump‘s support of white nationalist groups and his bizarre Nazi-approved press conference, the Council on Strategic and Policy Forum chose to disband. This came after several members of Trump’s Council on Manufacturing left independently and put pressure on other members to do the same. Trump later announced he was ending both councils anyway… even though one was already disbanded.

It’s heartening to know that CEOs are either listening to the Americans who denounce Trump’s bigotry or at least felt it was more harmful to their companies to stay onboard than leave the council.

But there’s one group of people still not leaving Trump’s side: His Evangelical Advisory Board.

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Jerry Falwell, Jr., the head of Liberty University who’s been a Trump supporter since early in his campaign, celebrated Trump’s “bold truthful” statement about Charlottesville. (Which one? The first one which denounced “many sides”? The second one which was read off a teleprompter? Or the third one where he took back his condemnation of the alt-right and neo-Nazis?)


Johnnie Moore, who’s on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals, said he had no intention of leaving Trump’s side:


If Donald Trump isn’t listening to their advice, there’s no reason for the council to exist.

If Donald Trump is listening to their advice, then we have an even bigger problem. All the more reason to blame evangelicals whenever Trump makes bigoted, racist statements like he did over the past few days. After all, they’re the ones he’s listening to, right?

African American megachurch pastor A.R. Bernard signed a statement condemning white supremacist groups… but he hasn’t said anything about leaving Trump’s council.

Pastor Mark Burns was busy defending the First Amendment rights of the neo-Nazi groups (which was never the issue) while sharing Trump’s view that “both sides” were to blame.


Pastor Jentezen Franklin said of the “white racist” march that it was “evil personified and we denounce it. This is what hatred and sin looks like.” yet he’s still on board with Trump.

Pastor Jack Graham hasn’t left. In fact, he retweeted a call for a statue of Charles Darwin to be torn down because Darwin was a “white supremacist” and “racist if ever there was one.”

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Pastor James MacDonald called what happened in Charlottesville “pure evil,” but it’s not enough for him to denounce Trump.


Update: I was reminded that MacDonald left the council last year, a point he raised on Aug. 17:


Ralph Reed has been adamantly pushing back against neo-Nazis acting in the name of Christ… but Trump gets a pass.


Tony Suarez, executive Vice-President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, almost denounced Trump…


… but then quickly clarified he wasn’t talking about Trump being a force of division.


Televangelist James Robison took the Trump approach of asking (at the 1:30 mark) “Are we going to rip Amazing Grace out of every hymnbook because John Newton was a slave trader?”

There are other pastors on the board, including Paula White, Michele Bachmann and Robert Jeffress, but no one else (as far as I can tell) has said much of anything about Trump over the past few days, much less that they will leave his side.

What does that tell you about the state of evangelical Christianity in this nation? These leaders’ cowardice in the face of an incredibly simple ethical decision shows you exactly where their loyalties lie. It’s not with the Jesus they constantly preach about. It’s with Trump and everything he represents. They want power and access. And that’s far more important to them that standing on the side of minorities and the oppressed.

It’s not a version of Jesus I’ve ever heard before, but it’s what evangelical Christianity represents today.

When corporations and CEOs represent the moral high ground and Christians don’t, you know the entire religion is hitting rock bottom.

What I really don’t understand is that it seems crystal clear that Trump is only using them for their votes. He wants to keep his base happy, and they’re a gateway into that base. He doesn’t care about Christ. He doesn’t even attend the White House Bible study.

Every one of those Christian leaders has the ability to do the right thing, and not a single one so far has done it.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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