The Washington Post recently interviewed evangelical Christians in a number of states and found that they’re as enthusiastic about the Donald Trump presidency as ever.
Nothing, it seems, has dented Trump’s support among white evangelicals. Eighty percent of them voted for him in 2016, and most say they’ll do the same next year.
Just in case anyone’s unclear on the matter, the moral majoritarians and so-called “values voters” of the evangelical right are sending America a message. It’s this:
Trump’s crude, erratic behavior and Twitter outbursts mean nothing to them. Likewise, his tendency to snuggle up to dictators in Russia and North Korea is not a problem. They yawn over the allegations in the Mueller Report. They shrug off Trump’s constant lying and his frequent lapses into racism. (Franklin Graham recently issued a statement insisting that Trump is not a racist. I guess that settles it!) These groups, which claim to be “pro-life,” saw Trump’s family separation immigration policy and not only did not object, they blessed it.
Plenty of other Americans look at the situation we’re in now and realize it is not normal. They understand that a president should not visit a community grieving in the wake of a horrific mass shooting and spend his time glad-handing, grinning and filming a campaign-style video. They recognize the lack of real leadership when a president has to struggle to condemn neo-Nazis and fascists.
For decades, the leaders and followers of America’s Religious Right insisted that they wanted a devout Christian figure in the White House to lead a type of national revival. The fact that they looked to a political leader to fill a religious role is disturbing and alarming in its own right, but now it turns out they didn’t even mean it. America’s ethically challenged religious extremists happily chucked that out the nearest window to follow a reality TV huckster, a man clearly lacking any moral center, who, thanks to a perfect storm of Russian meddling and voter apathy, managed to blunder into the most important job in the world.
Trump’s disturbing relationship with religious extremists continues because he gives them what they want, be it judicial nominees, attacks on reproductive freedom or hateful discriminatory policies dressed up as “religious freedom.” In exchange for these things, leaders and followers of the movement to combine religion and politics averted their gaze from Trump’s moral failings.
The Trump era will end at some point, and religious extremists will have much to answer for. When that day comes, Americans United will still be here working to undo the damage and shore up the country’s foundations. I hope you’ll be right there with us.