It seems like either a statistic out of Bizarro World, or perhaps just a demonstration of the most profound depths of hypocrisy, but the thrice married Donald J. Trump – a man who has brazenly stated that he doesn’t see any reason why he would need to ask God for forgiveness – enjoys immense support from evangelical Christians.
This reality drives some of those outside of evangelical Christianity nuts. Mainline Protestants who are notoriously more liberal in both their theology and politics, suggest that it is a testimony to how corrupted evangelical Christianity has become. They say it is a sign of blatant hypocrisy, claiming to embrace the Word of God while simultaneously embracing a man who has violated so much of that Word’s counsel. To be fair, their credibility runs a bit thin given that they claim allegiance to the same Word of God while having simultaneously embraced leaders past and present who find that Word contemptible.
But with as uncomfortable as many of us evangelical Christians are with the cozy relationship many evangelical leaders have developed with President Trump, there is a fairly simple, and largely innocuous explanation for the political alliance of Christians and Trumpists: pragmatism.
In other words, Trump is a means to an end. Most of those evangelical Christians who are noted as “supporting” Trump are not supportive of his stance on personal forgiveness, his silence on the divinity of Christ, his offensive history regarding the treatment of women, or even his often-vulgar language and juvenile Twitter taunts. They do support his policies, however. Is this a break from the 1990s era of the moral majority condemning President Clinton for his personal failings and suggesting that he didn’t belong in the White House because, “character matters?” Of course it is. And Christian Trumpists who don’t acknowledge that are kidding themselves. What many evangelicals have done is acknowledge that they have a remarkably imperfect vessel in the White House who is willing to pay Christians back for their electoral support by enacting policies that please them.
To be more specific, if you’re wondering why so many Christians are willing to throw their political allegiance behind a man like Trump, Senator Ted Cruz (a Christian who supports the president not just despite his personal failings but also after that same president had mocked his wife and trashed his dad) laid out seven reasons why.
Speaking at a recent luncheon for conservative Christians in D.C., Cruz articulated the seven biggest victories Christians have had under Trump’s administration. You can read all of Cruz’s explanations here, but these were the seven:
- The appointment of principled, constitutionalist judges.
- Significant pro-life victories (Mexico City policy, rescinding the contraceptive mandate, denial of tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, withdrawal from the UN Population Fund)
- Tax cuts leading to a boon to American families
- Devastating Obamacare by repealing the individual mandate
- School choice tax bill amendment
- Increased support for Israel and moving the embassy to Jerusalem
- Withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal that had strengthened the terror regime
Are there some evangelical Christians who have gone crazy and see President Trump as the second coming of Christ? Yes. But they are far, far fewer in number than the number of evangelical Christians who see him as someone enacting policy they believe will better the country and the world.
If you want to tell them they’re wrong, that’s more than fine. But you’ll need to do so not by pointing to personal failings that they most likely don’t appreciate either. You’ll need to do so by telling them why these seven things aren’t worthy of praise, and why it’s not a vast improvement for believers going from a president who proudly spoke at Planned Parenthood fundraisers to one who proudly speaks at the Susan B. Anthony List and March for Life.