February 21, 2020
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Evangelical support of Trump is puzzling

Evan Vucci | AP
Evan Vucci | AP
In this Sept. 1, 2017 file photo, religious leaders pray with President Donald Trump after he signed a proclamation for a national day of prayer to occur on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. As the threat of impeachment looms, President Donald Trump is digging in and taking solace in the base that helped him get elected: conservative evangelical Christians who laud his commitment to enacting their agenda.

Why do so many Evangelical Christians support Donald Trump? President Trump is not much of a church-goer and appears to be only a nominal Christian. In the rare instances when he tries to quote the Bible, his knowledge of scripture seems extremely limited.

In his real estate business he was accused of keeping black people out of his buildings. When his gambling casinos went broke, he left others holding the debts. He defrauded the students at Trump University, and courts ordered him to pay them compensation. He had to shut down his Trump Foundation and, again, pay compensation due to fraud.

We’ve all heard Trump say explicitly vile things about women, about their genitalia, about using power over them — statements that would disqualify him from employment in schools and businesses. He is alleged to have cheated on all three of his wives and has paid women, apparently to silence them.

Trump’s presidential campaign used social media to court the support of white supremacists. After a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, he had trouble finding words to condemn Nazis and Klansmen.

Yet he gushes praise for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Trump’s supporters have ignored the mountain of evidence that he is beholden to Russia; that he has endangered our elections and exposed our secrets.

He declares his love for the North Korean dictator while Kim Jong-un continues to build nuclear weapons. He continues to accept large sums from the Saudi government for his hotel empire despite the fact that their Crown Prince is deeply involved in the torture-murder of a Washington Post journalist.

He frequently has an adversarial relationship with the truth. According to fact checkers at the Washington Post, he has told more than 15,000 lies since becoming president.

All through this, Evangelical Christians have stood behind him in impressive numbers. This fall, a Fox News poll showed that 71 percent of white Evangelicals still support Trump, but that’s a bit lower than the 80 percent of white Evangelicals who voted for him in 2016.

And now a recent editorial in Christianity Today, the Evangelical magazine founded by Billy Graham, declares that Trump should be removed from office, saying, “the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

The journal goes on to say: “We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath.”

Trump responded by attacking Christianity Today, calling the conservative magazine “far left,” and saying it “knows nothing” and is “doing very poorly.” His attacks make Christianity Today’s points for them. Trump is a rude and crude man totally lacking in ethics and morality. It is time for him to go. But will Evangelical Christians admit what ought to be obvious?

Rev. J. Mark Worth is minister emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth.


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