I have recently read and heard from Christian apologists who assert, in one form or another, that the Evangelical Christian community that passionately supports Donald Trump actually understands that he is an unworthy person of bad taste and style who is nevertheless God’s chosen vessel to restore America to holiness and conviction and the purity of our bodily fluids.
All right– sarcasm aside, some Christians say that while they are disgusted with Trump’s personal character they support him because he appoints anti-abortion judges, stands up for gun rights, opposes same-sex marriage and homosexuality, and resists the world-wide conspiracy to replace white Americans with people of color.
In other words, they believe that a man who is a serial womanizer, a materialist, a liar, a bragger, and vulgarity incarnated somehow, when it comes to issues that matter to the Christian community, acts in a way that Jesus would approve of.
I don’t believe they really believe that. They might say they do, but the evidence is overwhelming: they don’t. Trump is the evangelical community unmasked. He is what they are. Vulgar. Grasping. Materialistic. Cruel and dishonest.
They do not see Trump as a corrupt vessel of God’s will; to them, he really is God’s chosen messenger, an avatar of all the values and beliefs that they hold dear but don’t want to publicly acknowledge, a bully and thug who they really like because he is a bully and thug. The main body of Evangelical Christians will deny that they embrace Trump the corrupt vessel because he exposes them for what they are: raging hypocrites who have demonstrated over and over again that they never did really believe in the teachings of Christ or the bible.
A political scientist at Furman University, Jim Guth:
White evangelicals share with Trump a multitude of attitudes, including his hostility toward immigrants, his Islamophobia, his racism, and nativism, as well as his “political style,” with its nasty politics and assertion of strong, solitary leadership. Indeed, Trump’s candidacy may have “authorized” for the first time the widespread expression of such attitudes.
The Evangelical Christian community has always been pro-gun. They love guns. They have always been generously forgiving of war criminals like William Calley, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Nicholas Slatten, if they are Americans. They have consistently rejected the Bible’s clear mandate to care for creation as obedient stewards, not as exploitive pirates. They preach abstinence and self-denial but indulge in every possible form of acquisitiveness of property and worship church leaders who brag about their private jets and access to political leaders. They claim to admire integrity and character but they hated the two presidents with the most integrity and character in the past 50 years, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.
As they sit there in their pews, chanting and singing, reciting from scripture, and folding their hands in prayer, they know, deep in their hearts, that what they like about Trump is precisely his pettiness, his vindictiveness, his vulgarity, his bullying, his meanness, and his materialism. They do not quietly accept him and hold their noses: they bless him and admire him and scream and cheer him when he is at his most divisive and vulgar.
He is you. And he has revealed to the world the truth of what it means to be an evangelical Christian in the United States in 2024.
I take note of a recent confirmation of this point.
More on the issue.
By the way, in Iowa it is not considered polite to talk about rugged individualism and “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps” economics and then mention corn subsidies.