It can be very difficult to get a handle on the current political atmosphere in America. It’s easy to say we’ve never seen anything like it here, but it can be hard to put a finger on exactly how we got to this point. How did a demagogue like Donald Trump manage to get himself elected in a country that values women’s rights, freedom of the press, diversity, charity, and kindness — when all of those things are antithetical to what Trump stands for?
Well, the first finger gets pointed at the electoral college, the outdated and racist system that allowed him to win despite getting three million fewer votes than his challenger. It’s a relative no-brainer that we need to address that inequity in our democracy if we want leaders who actually represent what America stands for.
But despite all of the arguing you’ve seen in the last three years about who’s to “blame” for Trump — was Hillary a good enough candidate, did too many people stay home, should we stop letting third-party candidates run (those are all things people have said since 2016) — the actual group responsible for putting Trump in charge is Trump voters. Period.
And even though we’d already heard him on tape bragging about sexually assaulting any woman he likes by not getting their consent before kissing them — or grabbing them by the genitals — the biggest group that turned out for the famously thrice-married serial adulterer with a foul mouth and a penchant for cheating people out of their money was evangelical Christians.
If you’re even more confused now, an article from Alex Morris in today’s Rolling Stone could shed some light on the subject: He promised them things. In fact, audio recovered from a September 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with evangelical leaders from across the country tells the story of exactly what he promised, and why “Christian” leaders were so willing to overlook his obvious, purposeful, overarching flaws that he clearly was in no hurry to correct.
Over the next hour, the message was that theirs was a power Trump would heed — and heed more than any other president. He would end the contraception mandate of Obamacare … he would select only anti-choice judges … he would do away with the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt entities from endorsing politicians … he would support prayer in school … he would oppose any bill that pulled funding from Christian schools that were charged with discrimination … he would keep transgender people from using the “wrong” bathrooms and locker rooms … and he would protect Israel, following the biblical pronouncement that nations that do so would be blessed … In other words, when it came to religious liberty as the attendees defined it, he would make sure that America was on the right side of God.”
What comes next, of course, is that those leaders then went to their followers and, though they technically are not allowed to proselytize politics, tell them to vote for Donald Trump.
Eighty-one percent of them did just that. Today, eight-two percent say they’d vote for him again if the election were held today. Ninety-nine percent of them oppose impeachment.
Once upon a time, you could call evangelical Christians “true believers” — in the infallible Word of God, in justice for the poor and the persecuted, in the mission of spreading the Gospel. Now they believe only in getting what they want politically, and that means the enforcement of their religious beliefs, codified into law.
Now they believe only in Donald Trump.
Featured image via screen capture
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