Why Don’t Evangelical Scholars Remember Nixon?

Why Don’t Evangelical Scholars Remember Nixon? October 29, 2016

I do understand the disgust over Donald Trump, though I find it a tad inconsistent that critics of the Republican show no reluctance to speak of him they way he speaks of Mexicans. But isn’t it also obvious how bad a candidate Hillary Clinton is? I mean, can you imagine an evangelical historian writing this of Richard Nixon before Watergate?

Hillary Clinton would appear to be a palatable enough candidate. Though reticent about public displays of faith, she grew up active in a Methodist church in the suburbs of Chicago. And she has embodied the kind of hard work and civic virtue that evangelicals have loudly championed. “It takes a village” squares nicely with the communitarian sensibilities of a religion with roots in the East.

Nixon grew up a Quaker. He opened relations with China. He brought American troops home from Vietnam. And at least Nixon covered up his paranoid campaign antics long enough to get elected. Hillary, apparently, not so much. (And Ms. Clinton was one of those Americans who believed Nixon’s secrecy and abuse of the law was precisely what was rotten about American politics. Heavens to Murgatroid!)

Plus, we have the argument that evangelicals who support Trump are simply resorting to their default Republican setting:

This is the Christianity that has led us, said Moore, to a situation where Christian leaders have made excuses for Donald Trump; have been so unable to disentangle themselves from the Republican party that they have become its shills; have allied themselves with a man whose alt-right supporters are, many of them, a genuine resurgence of right-wing paganism that ought to lead many left-wing pagans to think very carefully about what they have rejected when they’ve rejected Christianity’s teachings about a common human nature and the duty and centrality of loving one’s enemy.

But if you write a 3,000+ word column and don’t bring up the problems with the other presidential candidate — you don’t even mention her, have you yourself become a shill?

I thought academics were supposed to be critical across the board. Why the selective criticism? Because it’s obvious how bad Trump is? What Secretary Clinton are evangelical scholars watching?

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  • D. G. Hart

    That was then and it sounds like now:

    On July 30, 1974, Nixon was forced to turn over a series of taped recordings related to numerous meetings and conversations conducted at the White House. These tapes included enough damaging evidence to put the final nail in the coffin on Nixon’s administration. It was also revealed that 18.5 minutes of tape had been erased. The furor that erupted from all corners, including the media, was enormous. It was considered one of the most reprehensible single acts in the history of American politics. Unforgivable, unconscionable, disgusting—all of those outcries were fair and appropriate.

    But this is no longer 1974, and we are no longer talking about Richard Nixon. It is 2016, and we are talking about Hillary Clinton. Her staff and their accomplices have erased some 33,000 emails; they have had hard drives acid-washed; they have crushed multiple cell phones with hammers; with the help of the FBI, they have had laptops destroyed. The reaction to all of this from our esteemed mainstream media? “She’s answered all of these questions. It’s time to move on.”