One of the more well-known stories in the Bible is the story of Jacob and Esau. Fraternal twins, Esau was born ahead of his brother. Because he was firstborn, Esau was entitled to inherit leadership over his family, a double portion of the family’s wealth, and moral and judicial authority over the nation of Israel when his father passed away.
The story goes that Esau came in from the field one day, famished from a long day of hunting, to find that his younger brother had made a delicious stew. Jacob, being a shrewd and cunning manipulator, took advantage of Esau’s ravenous hunger and induced his older brother to sell him his birthright for a bowl of the mouth-watering stew.
Esau’s birthright was his most valuable possession. That he sold it for a bowl of stew was a clear sign he was too foolish and impulsive to properly lead his family and the nation of Israel when it came time for him to do so.
I take you into this particular story to make the following point: In the United States’ current political situation, evangelicals have assumed the role of Esau and Donald J. Trump the role of Jacob. After years of being mocked and dismissed by liberals, evangelicals were so hungry to regain political power they were willing to sell their moral birthright as Christians to a deeply disturbed con man for the toxic stew of racism, xenophobia, pathological lying, and political over-promising he cooked up in a nefarious effort to become president.
Deal with the Devil
As a Christian, it is deeply disturbing so many evangelicals sold their moral birthright to someone as immoral as Trump. In his book, The Immoral Majority: Why Evangelicals Chose Political Power Over Christian Values, Ben Howe notes,
“They [evangelicals] believe that one should be more concerned with the lives and happiness of their children than whether or not a president is a lying, philandering, unethical Christian.”
Howe is right. The only problem with this statement is the idea that Trump is an “unethical Christian.” The “unethical” part is right, but there is no compelling evidence Trump is a Christian or even holds Christian values.
Evangelicals made a deal with the devil when they supported Trump. They promised to support Trump for president, even though they knew he is not a good person, in exchange for being dealt back into the political power game of determining the moral direction the country is headed. In doing so, evangelicals chose political power over Christian values.
Evangelical Enablers of the Trump Apocalypse
Four evangelicals have been especially vocal in their support of Trump. I mention them by name not to personally demean or attack them but because they should be held accountable for their words and actions in gaslighting the American public in their effusive support of Trump.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s former press secretary, said that God “wanted Donald Trump to become president and that’s why he’s there” and that he “has done a tremendous job supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about.”
I’m a person of faith, and I can’t think of one “tremendous” thing Trump has done to support the things I deeply care about like truth, justice, decency, civility, kindness, and loving your neighbor. Trump seems to have spent his entire presidency actively engaged in doing just the opposite of what people of faith care about.
Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, said that Trump earned his support because of his abilities as a businessman, that there was nothing Trump could do to endanger his support or the support of other evangelical leaders, and that he “can’t imagine him doing anything that’s not good for the country.”
Trump is a demonstrably immoral and incompetent businessman, most everything he does as president is poorly thought out and impulsive, and one has to wonder just how bad he would have to act before evangelicals like Falwell would finally see him as a real and present danger not only to our country but the world at large.
Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, refused to acknowledge that Trump lies, saying that Trump sometimes misspeaks “like all of us do.”
Trump cracked the 12,000 false or misleading statements barrier last August. Doesn’t that suggest he is a pathological liar rather than a pathological mis-speaker?
Mike Pence, vice president, has been unfaltering in his support even though he has suffered one indignity after another at Trump’s hand since assuming office.
In a cabinet meeting in 2017, Pence led everyone in offering praise to Trump when he said, “You have restored American credibility on the world stage” when Trump has actually done the opposite. At Trump’s 2020 campaign kickoff in Florida, Pence introduced Trump by saying, “President Donald Trump is the real deal” when he is actually a disingenuous fake, “He’s a man who says what he means, and means what he says” when Trump rarely says what he really means, and “You know on election night 2016, then-President-elect Donald Trump promised his word to be a president for all Americans. And I know he meant it from the bottom of his heart” when Trump is a cold-hearted person and has only been the president for wealthy white men like himself.
Evangelicals, Stop Supporting Trump
Tragically, with the 2020 election 14 months away and their support for Trump as strong as ever, evangelicals seem posed to make the same horrible mistake they made in 2016 and re-elect him to the highest office in the land, a position for which he is clearly morally and mentally unfit.
Trump claimed to be a Christian to get evangelicals to vote for him in 2016, and they bought it hook, line, and sinker. He was shrewd enough to know that without evangelical support he couldn’t win the 2016 election. He was more than willing to misrepresent himself as a follower of Christ to gain the presidency for personal glory and enrichment.
Christians need support in our country (and around the world), their religious liberty is at stake! Obama has been horrible, I will be great
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2015
We shouldn’t fault evangelicals for being alarmed about the direction the United States has been heading over the years and their desire to regain influence over it. What we should fault them for is the way they went about it. Evangelicals foolishly put their support behind Trump because they falsely believed him to be a Christian. All they did was enable the election of perhaps the most godless person the U.S. has ever had as president, one whose day-to-day actions are anything but Christian.
I would say to evangelicals everywhere, myself included, stop telling others how to live. If you want to properly influence the moral path our country is on, practice what you preach. Courageously stand up for truth, justice, compassion, kindness, and humility, and stop supporting lies, injustice, coldness, meanness, and arrogance.
Evangelicals, stop supporting Trump. Have nothing to do with him.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.