This is exactly what I knew was going to happen. Three weeks ago I wrote a column begging my fellow Christians, and particularly those who are recognized as Christian “leaders,” to stop covering for President Trump’s moral indiscretions, his philandering, and adultery. Supporting his policies when they are good for our people does not preclude you from being explicitly clear and unambiguous in expressing disgust over the president’s unrepentant moral failings.
As expected, I took in a fair amount of criticism suggesting that I was “unfairly holding President Trump to a standard of perfection,” that I was “muddying the waters” and “playing into the left’s hands” by dredging up past mistakes just to take away from all the good the man was doing today. I was even told that “no Christian leader is overlooking Trump’s adultery or his immorality.”
“A pastor closely linked to Donald Trump said he’s against sex with adult film stars but isn’t holding the alleged affair with Stormy Daniels against the president. ‘Evangelicals still believe in the commandment: Thou shalt not have sex with a porn star,’ Robert Jeffress told Fox News on Thursday. ‘However, whether this president violated that commandment or not is totally irrelevant to our support of him.’”
Totally irrelevant? Does a man like Pastor Jeffress not even pause to consider what those words sound like to an unbeliever? Is he not even slightly alarmed at the possibility that such a statement will subject the name of Christ to public disgrace? If not, why not?
Keep in mind, Pastor Jeffress didn’t always take this kind of attitude of irrelevance to the moral qualifications of a presidential candidate. Never mind the condemnation of Bill Clinton’s infamous dalliances. Here was Jeffress opposing the candidacy of Mitt Romney, a Mormon, in 2008:
“Christians need to remember that the kingdom of God is not going to come riding in on Air Force One…The danger in all of this discussion is that Christians sometimes are willing to sacrifice the temporal for the eternal, that in order to get their candidate elected, to enact those laws that they feel are crucial, somehow we fool ourselves into thinking we are going to bring about the kingdom of God here on earth. We are not going to do that. I’m not willing to trade people’s eternal destiny for some temporary change in the law.”
Apparently Jeffress has made a calculated decision to ignore his own counsel from 2008. Why? Could it be the personal invitations to the White House, the high profile prestige that comes from his personal association with the King? Aren’t Christians supposed to forgo all those trappings of earthly power for the sake of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus?
Don’t misunderstand, I have no issues with – in fact, I applaud – Christian statesmen having the ear and exerting influence on our elected leaders if and only if those statesmen are servants of Christ and not pawns of a president. Those who would sully the eternal riches of true salvation in order to receive their 30 pieces of silver in the West Wing are damaging our efforts to build the Kingdom of God. And to answer the question asked of me by a number of Trump-supporting Christians, that’s “my big problem.” Refusal to distinguish between appreciation for certain legislative accomplishments and a moral ambiguity regarding the president’s personal conduct is reprehensible.
To put it plainly, these equivocations are not helping President Trump find Christ, and they do lasting damage to the cause of Christ in our culture.