Why do right-wing evangelicals, who for years have insisted that they comprise a “moral majority” or are “values voters,” so blindly follow President Donald Trump, a man who’s obviously biblically illiterate and whose behavior hardly sets a high moral benchmark worthy of emulation?
Part of the reason is that Trump gives the far right what it wants, and as long as he continues to do that, this allegedly “moral” movement that is usually so quick to judge others is clamming up.
But there may be another reason. A new book, The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography, by David Brody, a reporter for TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, and Scott Lamb, a Southern Baptist minister, asserts that Trump is among the “elect”: that is, he was chosen by God to do divine work in the realm of politics.
John Nassivera, a former college professor in Vermont, recently reviewed the book for the Montpelier Times Argus. Nassivera called the tome “disturbing” – in part because Brody and Lamb are quick to dismiss Trump’s character issues.
“They also, in a typical apologist fashion, are willing to admit that Trump has his flaws,” Nassivera observed. “But this is not a problem, since in their way of thinking God often uses imperfect vessels to fill the world with his will. If it sounds like circular reasoning that results in always being in a position where you can’t lose, you’re right. Once you have convinced yourself that you and your associates, leaders and heroes are members of ‘the elect,’ you and they can do no wrong. If other people think you are wrong, that is simply the price you have to pay for being of the elect and chosen by God to do his work in the world.”
The claim that God works in mysterious ways is often assumed to be a passage from the Bible. The saying is actually not found in that book. In any case, the idea of a deity using Trump to morally purify the nation isn’t just mysterious, it’s unfathomable.
What’s really going on here is the triumph of practicality over principle. Religious Right groups are sticking with Trump because he delivers for them politically. Whether he actually believes any of their theology is irrelevant.
In short, they’ve handed over their souls for a taste of secular power. You don’t have to read much history to learn how that usually works out.