So much has been said by the media about how President-elect Donald Trump tapped into the angry, white, middle-class vote, but the real reason Trump won was that he surprisingly courted 86 percent of the evangelical Christian vote in this country. As an evangelical myself, my disgust in Trump was not simply his rhetoric, but his ability to sway a block of Christian voters who, had he been a Democrat, would have been throwing spiritual darts in his general direction. The conservative pastors who supported Trump betrayed their own Christ’s call to love the least of these and should have been better at advising their flocks. They made a deal with the devil, and the devil doesn’t necessarily care about keeping his part of the deal.
The biggest evangelical offender is President of Liberty University Jerry Falwall Jr. He backed Trump early and even twisted scripture to defend his choice:
“Matthew 7:16 tells us, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them.’ Donald Trump’s life has borne fruit, fruit that has provided jobs to multitudes of people.”
His jobs as fruit argument is offensive at best, heretical at worst, since the fruits of the spirit, according to the Apostle Paul, are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I missed the jobs fruit.
Another disappointment stems from conservative Calvinist pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church. The popular CNN talking head and church leader decided that Trump’s “worldview” is why he had to vote for him. At his Truth Summit he stated:
“I’m voting for an ideology that is closer to Scripture,” MacArthur said. “Because [the Republican platform] is political responsibility, work, it has a place for the Bible, it has a place for God, it understands the necessity of a family, it understands the role of government is primarily to carry a sword to threaten evildoers and protect those who do well.”
Ironically, the beacon of the party this year hasn’t read his Bible, has no place for God, has family problems like no other candidate’s, and considers every dissenter as a threat. How can a man who doesn’t really understand biblical values make sure his party displays them?
Evangelicals were so swayed by the idea of a con man promising to overturn Roe v. Wade, they decided to get into bed with the devil. The problem with that is, Roe v. Wade isn’t going anywhere. How can it? Since when did prohibition ever stop anything? Government can restrict and govern behavior, but it can’t completely stop it. Backroom abortions will always be an option to those who want one. I’m morally against abortion, but I understand why a first trimester must be legal, out of safety for those who feel hopeless.
The other issue that commentators argued to explain the relationship between Christians and Trump was that they felt like “losers” after two President Barack Obama victories, and Trump’s winning rhetoric was music to their ears. But should Christians even be concerned with “winning” as their main goal?
Church of England Priest Giles Fraser wrote in April 2015, before Trump propped up: “Christianity, properly understood, is a religion of losers — the worst of playground insults. For not only do we not want to be a loser, we don’t want to associate with them either. We pointedly shun losers, as if some of their loser-ness might rub off on us. Or rather, more honestly, we shun them because others might recognize us as among their number. And because we secretly fear that this might actually be true, we shun them all the more viciously, thus to distance ourselves all the more emphatically.”
Evangelicals think they won, but the real loser here is the church, because when the outside world looks at conservative Christians, all they’ll see is a group that sold their souls for a few laws the devil couldn’t promise. Trump ran on an America-first, anti-abortion, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim agenda, promising evangelicals a world they’ve always wanted, but he can’t deliver.
According to the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days, Satan showed him all the kingdoms of the world, saying, “All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said no. On Nov. 8, the church said yes.