Ed.: 101417 – Words: 982 – Audio: N/A
When we explore the varieties of reasons voters are part of Trump’s so-called base we can’t leave out the effects of a changing Christian right. Historically they were the “moral majority”; those folks who believed that our leaders should have a personal conduct and integrity that complements their public abilities… and political honesty. I find it amazing the moral compromises being made by predominantly religious voters to justify supporting Trump, who is hardly the epitome of moral admiration. In fact, the traditional Christian right was very particular in how their preferred leaders positioned themselves on family values. One such value was teaching children by setting examples of Christian behavior. The President of the United States was held as the prime example of moral behavior and Christian ethics for our children to emulate. Sadly, again, our current president falls short in delivering. So.. how does a voter with Christian values “teach” his family… his children… not to be a schoolyard bully, misogynist, a liar, braggart, and emotionally impulsive antagonist, like their president?
It would appear someone has made a moral deal with the devil in order to promote a political agenda over Christian ethics. In spite of Hillary Clinton looking like a Christian pope by comparison to Trump’s moral and behavioral integrity his entire life, the intense hatred for Hillary, and Obama, and Democratic politics in general… the religious right has compromised their own belief system to favor what is likely going to be the most inept and inexperienced president in modern history. Now, to me, this might suggest that there is no such thing as a religious right anymore. Those folks have simply joined the ranks of your average Conservative who hates anything Obama and Hillary for any of the other reasons.
But What Made The Christian Right Abandon Their Traditional Moral Convictions in Favor of Trump?
In an article in Politico this last June (HERE), Tim Alberta has some seemingly good explanations. He reports that in an exit poll following the last election, 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump. The religious right feels alone, media persecuted, and falling into the wayside of a growing religious diversity, but more important, also an increase in the non-religious affiliated.
“This casting of Trump as a great champion of the faithful, engaging the forces of secularism on behalf of a beleaguered religious right, is essential to understanding his appeal among evangelicals. Of course, the core premise of their alliance—that America has turned menacingly against Christianity—is disputable. It remains far and away the largest religion in the country, though it has traded majority status for plurality status thanks to a growing number of theologically unaffiliated Americans.”
This may explain the cultural pervasiveness in the conservative negative perspective on academia, entertainment, and the occupational professions. This helping in the support and admiration of calls for “draining the swamp” of traditional political intellectuals. Yet Alberta presents a contradiction to this…
“Critics point to religious people occupying the highest public offices and governing by their faith, often to the detriment of nonbelievers; they see Christianity prevalent in every sphere of American society and wonder how this sense of martyrdom came to be so misplaced.”
“They [evangelicals] see people and organizations of faith—florists, wedding cake bakers, Hobby Lobby, the Little Sisters of the Poor—persecuted for living their spiritual convictions. They shudder as pastors are subpoenaed for their sermons. And they fear, as same-sex marriage becomes culturally entrenched, a cascade of further defeats as the population, the electorate and ultimately the government becomes less pious and more accepting of ideologies that have no place in their vision of a Judeo-Christian nation.”
But.. why Trump, of all people? Well, Alberta suggests…
“Many Christians believe in the idea of “spiritual warfare,” the concept of God and Satan enlisting their armies of angels and demons to battle for the souls of people through everyday occurrences and experiences. Many also believe in what might be described as divine irony—that is, the notion that God uses flawed, unlikely individuals to achieve his ends and advance his kingdom. (Jacob, Moses, David, et al.) Living within that worldview, it’s not irrational to see Trump as an imperfect vessel for the Almighty at a watershed moment in history, especially when other, more godly leaders have failed to stem the decline.”
So it seems the religious right is feeling that Trump is some general leading the Christian soldiers onward into battle to re-establish the former cultural dominance. The Christian right has been known to keep a good scorecard of their victories by their select political leaders. While the rest of the electorate sees little in notable accomplishment by Trump the evangelicals are liking what they see…
“So far, Trump hasn’t just been fighting their battles—he’s been winning them. More than any other constituency, Christian conservatives have watched with delight as the president delivered on his core promises to them: nominating a conservative in Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court; reinstating and strengthening the Mexico City policy, which eliminates U.S. funding for international nongovernmental organizations that perform abortions; signing the Congressional Review Act to route federal money away from Planned Parenthood; and issuing an executive order that begins to broaden religious liberty guidelines, with promises of more action to come.”
Go figure. Not only does this constituency like Trump’s religious struggle bravado but they are likely the only major group who has actually found great value in what little he has accomplished. A part of me wants to congratulate them… for some reason. The remaining parts of me finds them hypocrites, having fallen into the devil’s hands of supporting a demagogue and moral deviate for the sake of expediency in order to achieve greater Christian influence in the land.
Ye reap what ye sow.