We have seen some of the most absurd defenses of Trump come from the Evangelicals still supporting him. However awful he gets, however deplorable his words and actions, they somehow manage to adjust their allegedly inflexible morals to still maintain that support.
Supposedly, moral relativism is a liberal threat to unchanging moral principles defended by conservatism, but the election of 2016 has shown this to be a lie. And historian John Fea of Messiah College, author of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? has pointed to the problem posed to Evangelicals by their unwavering support of Donald Trump.
“I also wonder if those evangelicals who have endorsed Trump have forfeited the right to speak to the moral coarseness of American culture. Let’s remember that these evangelicals are supporting a man who, if he gets to the oval office, is one of the leading representatives of the shock-jock (Howard Stern), Hollywood, reality-TV, sex-infused culture that Christians have been fighting against for a long, long time.”
It is ironic that Jerry Falwell Jr., inheritor of his father’s “Moral Majority” now supports a candidate so at odds with his father’s professed beliefs. What kind of morality is represented by a man who brags about sexually assaulting women, mocks the disabled, and holds entire religions guilty for the actions of a few (unless it is the religion he is ostensibly supporting)?
It is a fact. And if Falwell Jr. isn’t his father, neither is today’s Religious Right yesterday’s Moral Majority. Non-partisan PRRI reveals that,
“More than seven in ten (72%) white evangelical Protestants say an elected official can behave ethically even if they have committed transgressions in their personal life—a 42-point jump from 2011, when only 30 % of white evangelical Protestants said the same.”
Jerry Falwell Jr. at Liberty University has offended his own students by his enthusiastic support for Donald Trump, and they have expressed their discontent publicly. But Falwell doesn’t want dissent: he wants an obedient student body, as Fea pointed out in a tweet:
— John Fea (@JohnFea1) October 19, 2016
It could be argued, no kind of morality at all. It is certainly relativistic and not representative of the morality exemplified by the Bible, where things are either moral or they’re not. It can be argued that Bill Clinton also violated the commandment against adultery, but Bill Clinton is not running for president, and he is not a spokesman for the party which claims to be championing the Ten Commandments.
Trump is. And they have not only failed to condemn his adultery but they have anointed him as their messiah.
Jesus did not say “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God,” unless you’re Donald Trump, or your opponent is Hillary Clinton. There are no exclusionary clauses. No fine print.
As Fea says, the next time, “Jeffress, Falwell Jr. and other Trump evangelicals…try to write a book or give a public address or write a blog post or babble on radio show about the moral degradation of American culture I think it is fair to remind them that they supported a candidate for President of the United States who would contribute to this culture.”
The moral of the story is that the Religious Right set out to conquer our sins, but was conquered by Donald Trump’s instead.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.