One of the more peculiar aspects of this election season is the fact that many evangelical leaders of the Christian right seem to stand steadfastly behind Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump regardless of the overwhelming evidence that he is a bigot, a racist, and a misogynist. Then again, many of us surmised as much when he first announced his candidacy declaring that Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists. In addition, although paying lip service to Christianity, Trump’s speeches and comments clearly demonstrate a very shallow knowledge of the Bible and gloss over or outright contradict the important tenets of the religion.
So, why do some important Christian leaders continue to stick with Trump? After all, back in the 1990s, many of these very same people condemned Bill Clinton for his moral indiscretions such as his adultery, mistreatment of women, and his deception regarding the whole affair. And now, after all of the evidence, both past and present, isn’t it abundantly clear that Donald Trump shares Clinton’s questionable (or downright immoral) moral character? When you look at it objectively, what is the real difference between Bill Clinton and Donald Trump? And yet some ignore, forgive, or even defend Donald Trump’s moral failings. If our religious leaders won’t defend the dignity of women and the rights of minorities, what does that tell us about their view of God?
I worry that many years ago quite a few Christian leaders made a Faustian bargain with the Republican Party. These people have such a desire for power that they were willing to downplay or even sanctify the moral failing of Republican politicians while condemning their opponents in exchange for political influence. Only now, with a man like Donald Trump, does this pact become undeniable.
It is becoming painfully obvious that Donald Trump was right when he said the following. “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters. Okay? It’s like incredible!” This maxim seems to be especially true regarding the support of the Religious Right. Unfortunately, with each new revelation about Trump, there is little doubt that some of our so-called moral leaders suffer from a broken moral compass. Even worse than that is the fact that they use their influence and supposed holiness to delude their followers into following their poor example.
This whole affair reminds me of something Jesus said. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.” -Matthew 23:13 NLT.
I’m certain that these same leaders would not hesitate to condemn Donald Trump if he were the Democratic nominee for president instead of the Republican one. They would declare that his moral character is deficient and is unworthy to be president. Yes, I support there are some reasons to vote for Trump, but none of them include his character or morality. Therefore, how can this behavior be considered anything but gross hypocrisy?