When Barack Obama was the most Christian POTUS in US history:
I am also intrigued by the way this speech is saturated with Christian theology and Biblical references (including multiple references to Jesus Christ). I have said this before, but if we evaluate Obama’s faith in the same way that we evaluate the faith of the Founding Fathers (in terms of references to God, Jesus, the Bible, etc… in public addresses), then Obama may just be the most Christian president in American history. For example, he has mentioned Jesus Christ dozens of times more than George Washington, who only mentioned him once or twice (depending on how you count).
I don’t know Obama’s heart, but he sure understands Easter.
When President Trump is wicked and unfit:
what do the court evangelicals mean when they say “we didn’t need a preacher in the Oval Office?” They seem to be suggesting that they don’t need to have a person of Christian character in the office as long as he is delivering on Christian Right policy. The court evangelicals are essentially saying that Trump’s character–the lies, the misogyny, the narcissism, the demonization of enemies–don’t matter. “Sure he is a rough dude, and we don’t like some of his tweets, but look what he is doing for us!” Or “At least he’s not Hillary!” (Christians are not supposed to hate, but they sure hate Hillary).
The court evangelicals have every right to think about politics in this way. They are free to ignore Trump’s many indiscretions because he is delivering on the things they hold dear. But if they are going to take this route they need to stop appealing to the Founding Fathers. These framers of the Constitution understood that the leader of the United States needed to be a person of character.
So far a sliding scale. You can judge a president by affirmations of faith, sins against God’s law, an incapacity to put aside self-interest for the common good.
But don’t forget that none of this matters because the swamp is and always has been a swamp:
In his well-known guide to court life, 16th-century Italian courtier Baldesar Castiglione described the court as an “inherently immoral” place, a worldly venue “awash with dishonest, greedy, and highly competitive men.” One historian has described courtiers of the time as “opportunistic social ornaments”; another described them as “chameleons.”
The skills needed to thrive in the court, in short, are different from the virtues needed to lead a healthy Christian life or exercise spiritual leadership in the church. Most medieval courts had their share of clergy, bishops and other spiritual counselors, and historians agree that their behavior was indistinguishable from that of secular courtiers, whom Damiani described elsewhere as “ruthless, fawning flatterers” in a “theater of intrigue and villainy.”
If politics is truly immoral, why judge Trump for his wickedness? And why would you ever trust anyone else?
5 thoughts on “Maybe not Consistency (and its goblin) but How about the Same Standard?”
Prof Fea leaves unresolved the problem of good people who do bad things, & vice-versa. Presidents Obama & G W Bush are both good family men, good examples to our sons. and they both did some very bad things. Bill Clinton is an adulterer, quite possibly a rapist, yet did some very good things (as well as some bad ones). How Christians evaluate & balance these things in casting their votes cannot be determined simply by their orthodoxy, nor by their characters, nor by their consistency. Christians will differ and only God knows for sure which of us is right. That fact should make us more charitable toward one another than it seems to have done.
“Court Evangelicals.” Fea is exhausting. Why doesn’t he retire and just go write columns for Sojourners or something?
On the money, what you don’t know is even worse. Luciferian leviathan. Trump may be a little lower in the depravity scale based on the circles that the prior commanders ran in, but that’s no endorsement, especially consider the swamp creatures he is either blind to or forced to accept by our shadow establishment.
When Giuliani looks like a white knight, that’s where we are. Good mayor, did some great things, but he’s the guy we have to rely on to expose how corrupt our establishment has become???
Joe M., I doubt Sojourners pays as well as a history dept.