The daily barrage of outrage over evangelical support for Trump continues. Last week at Time Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove noted the hypocrisy:
To many within and beyond the faith community, these preachers’ claims raise eyebrows. How do Christian ministers reconcile the Jesus who said “Love your enemy” with a President whose policy is to strike back at all critics? Why would people who claim to stand for family values so uncritically support a thrice-married man who according to Ronan Farrow’s reporting for the New Yorker set up complex legal arrangements to cover up multiple affairs throughout his current marriage?
Randy Balmer piled on, tongue-in-cheek, of course, with a piece about the ways evangelicals are re-writing their moral code to maintain support for President Trump. For instance:
Lying is all right as long as it serves a higher purpose
Yes, we know all about that business about not bearing false witness in the Ten Commandments, but that was a very long time ago. Can’t we get beyond that? Truth and truthiness are overrated. After all, did it really matter that the “birther” nonsense was hokum? Not at all. It enraged those godless liberals and launched our brother in Christ Donald Trump toward the presidency.
And all those websites fact-checking our president, claiming that he told more than 2,000 lies his first year in office? Big deal. He’s also pro-life, and he’s trying to root out transgender folks in the military, so cut the guy some slack. Besides, that same website that tracks lying concluded that Barack Obama told 28 lies during his two terms in office. So there.
And then this week Juan Williams, contrasted directly Trump’s immorality and Hillary Clinton’s steadfastness, much to the shame of evangelicals who voted for the Republican:
Let’s not forget that according to exit polls, 80 percent of white, born-again evangelical Christians supported Trump in the last election. Hillary Clinton only received 16 percent support. Voters from this demographic cast 26 percent of all votes for president in 2016.
For a group that regularly preaches about the “sanctity of marriage” and inveighs against the evils of divorce, it was a major political puzzle to me when evangelicals first backed the thrice-married, adulterous Trump over Hillary Clinton.
She suffered years of public humiliation rather than breaking up her family, turning away from marriage vows and divorcing her philandering husband.
Not to be missed, however, is the opposition research that Hillary’s campaign conducted against Donald Trump. Whatever you think about the dossier composed by Christopher Steele and then used by the FBI to obtain a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance of Carter Page, what do you do with a presidential candidate who while following the teachings of John Wesley apparently allowed her campaign and party to employ a foreign spy to dig up dirt on her rival in the presidential race?
Yet here we have the realization that the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and the FBI all worked wittingly or unwittingly with Russians to affect the results of the 2016 election. Far from just meeting with a Russian and not getting dirt on a political opponent, these groups wittingly or unwittingly paid Russian operatives for disinformation to harm Trump during the 2016 election and beyond.
How Methodist is that? Is Hillary’s responsibility for making her opponent look bad, perhaps even letting false information go to the government and the press, something that jibes with the ninth commandment, the one that demands that we tell the truth and that we not defame our neighbors?
So, given Hillary’s ethical problems, wouldn’t evangelicals be just as hypocritical to have voted for her? Wouldn’t they have had to twist basic truths like the Ten Commandments? Maybe you could argue support for Hillary is less hypocritical than voting for Trump. But we are all living in the land of hypocrisy when we go to the polls.
So why don’t the critics of evangelicals stop acting like the 2016 election was one between — trigger warning — black (Trump) and white (Hillary)?