I still remember my days at Harvard Divinity School when most if not all of my friends mocked Ronald Reagan as a boob and a divorcee who had snowed God’s faithful within the Moral Majority. In fact, every nominee of the GOP since Goldwater (in my memory) has been of dubious character and intellect. That makes evangelical support for Republicans the height of hypocrisy, not to mention a threat to the Republic.
I went to church with some of my friends on a number of occasions, mostly to see what they were teaching their followers. While I disagreed with much of it, I couldn’t help but like the people I met there and admire their sense of community and devotion to something bigger than themselves. I took part in discussion groups with church members too, and again, while I thought much of it was intellectually indefensible, the intent was genuine and their desire to do good in their communities laudable.
I could not for the life of me understand how these good people could vote for someone like George Bush and Dick Cheney — oil funded war hawks who spent their political careers wrecking social programs for the poor and doing everything in their power to trash the environment. The contradiction between their personal humility and willingness to vocally support and vote for greedy millionaires with a penchant for violence in the Middle East was completely alien to me.
So why be shocked if those same evangelical Protestants vote for Trump? Because he is so much more wicked?
White evangelical Christians came out in droves to support Donald Trump — a man who exemplifies literally everything Jesus Christ stood for. Trump is a rich braggart who has made a name for himself flaunting his wealth. He openly denigrates women, has a lurid history of sexual assault, insults minorities and holds petty grudges against anyone who speaks out against him. In no rational universe can these two completely contradictory beliefs be reconciled. If you believe that the gospels accurately depict the life of Christ, then supporting a man who calls women “pigs” and “dogs” and has spoken about grabbing them “by the pussy”, you cannot be called a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word.
Did this narrative of Republican depravity help either evangelicals or editors at the New York Times tell the difference between decent and vulgar GOP nominees? Not really, but one of the blessings of Trump is adding nuance to perceptions of the Republican Party (barely):
This uniquely American phenomenon of equating greed, misogyny and racism with moral righteousness appears to be getting more and more pronounced. In retrospect, George W. Bush was a shining example of moral virtue when compared with Donald Trump.
Hmm. What if the mainstream media had treated George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney — all persons who had served in public administration and were serious politicians (compared to Trump) — as real players in U.S. politics rather than benighted fools of questionable morals? Perhaps the electorate might have had the tools to discern the difference between Trump and John Kasich. Maybe some voters would not have sensed that they were damned no matter for which Republican they voted.
But from the perspective of the elite press rooms, spotting the difference among Republicans is as unusual as white Americans thinking Asian Americans look different.
I guess evangelicals are guilty of introducing self-righteousness into politics, but I blame the Puritans and all graduates of their universities, you know, the schools from which anyone worth a darn graduates (think Harvard and Yale).
6 thoughts on “Republicans are Always Evil Everywhere”
Doesn’t the groan come not so much from getting behind a guy who doesn’t exemplify Christian virtue, but from having used that like a billy club in the past against the guy with whom evangies politically disagree but now suddenly showing so much ability to overlook the relative irrelevance of personal virtue in political office for the guy with whom they agree? “Bill Clinton is pro-choice, let’s nail him for his infidelities; Trump is (allegedly) pro-life, his infidelities have no relevance to how he’ll govern.” Where was that discernment 25 years ago?
So maybe not so much introducing self-righteousness into politics as doing it so dang selectively. Not to mention how “evangelical” has now become a political term. You don’t hear much about the Reformed and Lutheran vote, ahem.
zrim, sure it’s selective but evangelicals are dumb. The smart people aren’t smart enough to see that they do it too. That’s what makes Trump so breath-taking. He turns the Times and Post’s editors into Jerry Falwell and Rush Limbaugh.
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No fan of Trump, but…Mark 7:26ff
If Jesus can’t be Christian in any meaningful sense of the word, who can?
Some folks are only selectively “evangelical”. Carl Truman –“For Roman Catholics, the challenges of our cultural exile are different. Rome has somehow managed to maintain a level of social credibility in America, despite holding to positions regarded as intolerable by the wider secular world when held by Protestants.”
Rubio went to an evangelical but wrote that he missed Roman Catholicism. “I craved, literally, the Most Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, the sacramental point of contact between the Catholic and the liturgy of heaven.” Starting in late 2004, he began to delve deeper into his Roman Catholic roots, reading the whole catechism, and concluding that “every sacrament, every symbol and tradition of the Catholic faith is intended to convey, above everything else, the revelation that God yearns, too, for a relationship with you.”
John Calvin—“The integrity of the sacrament lies here, that the flesh and blood of Christ are not less truly given to the unworthy than to the elect believers of God; and yet it is true, that just as the rain falling on the hard rock runs away because it cannot penetrate, so the wicked by their hardness repel the grace of God, and prevent it from reaching them.”
McCarthy–Were you ever a member of the Republican party, before or after 2016?
Arguably, the genuine Christians among recent presidents were Jimmy Carter & George W. Bush. Does anybody think this made them effective presidents?