June 2018 Church & State Magazine - June 2018

Trump And The Religious Right: Assessing The Moral Vacuity Of The ‘Values Voters’

  Trump And The Religious Right: Assessing The Moral Vacuity Of The ‘Values Voters’

May 3 was the National Day of Prayer (NDP), and two interesting events took place at the White House.

For the second year in a row, President Donald Trump used the NDP to unveil a “religious freedom” executive order that assails church-state separation.

During a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump made grandiose claims. He asserted that Americans are once again saying “one nation under God” and “Merry Christmas.” Trump, of course, provided no evidence that Americans had ever stopped saying these things.

At the event, Trump was surrounded by members of his fawning Evangelical Advisory Board. An hour after the ceremony, a much different scene took place at the White House. Members of the White House press corps grilled Sarah Huckabee Sanders over statements by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who had told Fox News that Trump did indeed make a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, an adult entertainment star who claims she had an affair with Trump 12 years ago.

Trump had been adamantly denying that he gave money to Daniels. For some unknown reason, Giuliani contradicted him on national television. Naturally, members of the press corps wanted to know why.

The Daniels story is a sordid one. Were it happening to a Democrat, you can bet that Religious Right leaders would be carping on it around the clock. Since it’s Trump, they are mum. Or, like Franklin Graham, they insist that it simply doesn’t matter. (Graham went so far recently as to assert that God put Trump in office.)

The Religious Right may choose to put its hands over its ears, but that’s not going to stop the press from continuing to ask tough questions. Trump’s Religious Right base may not want to hear the truth, but the rest of America does.

Trump has led the Religious Right into a gaping moral chasm. The rest of us have no obligation to follow them.

An American Original

Is the separation of church and state in the Constitution?

Absolutely. The separation of church and state is baked into our founding documents and our system of government.

The “wall of separation between church and state” is an American original. It’s an American invention. We should be proud of that fact. And we should fight any disinformation that threatens this ideal.

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