I’ve been trying to understand the effect that Donald Trump has on conservative Christians. Why do so many openly support such an ungodly man? Even many who claimed to “hold their nose and vote” in the last presidential election now cheer every move made by the man in the White House.
I think it’s about power. The President has openly sided with evangelical Christians, like the proclamation the White House made about religious freedom a couple of years ago. He is giving protection to religious groups that did not exist under President Obama.
Because of this, evangelicals have had to undergo some amazing and well-documented shifts. What do you do when you have a president who is openly immoral, is given to distort the truth, is outrageously abusive toward opponents, and supportive of unseemly elements in society… yet also gives power to the evangelical church? The answer in the United States has been to choose the power and overlook the rest.
Not only that, but evangelicals have been willing to shift opinions on moral issues to align themselves with the man who gives them power. In a Pew Research study about views toward refugees, only 25% of white evangelicals said that the United States has a responsibility to accept refugees into this country. That contrasts with 65% of the religiously unaffiliated and 43% of white mainline Protestants. What group most closely lined up with the views of white evangelicals? Conservative Republicans, who came in at 19% in agreement. Even moderate and liberal Republicans were much more open to the acceptance of refugees (40%).
This is about refugees, not illegal immigrants. It’s not an issue with an obvious “Christian” response, so don’t take my comments in that light. That said, there is nothing inherently Christian about rejecting the idea of being responsible for receiving refugees. It’s not a doctrinal view or a religious tenet that moves these evangelicals to a harsher view than the general public. What is it? Power. The desire to align themselves with the politician that gives them power.
That’s what frightens me about the Christian support I see for Donald Trump. Power corrupts. Political power corrupts the church.
[And to my friends on the left smiling smugly, ask yourselves if your position is all that different. Do you automatically reject anything and everything the President says? Do you evaluate Democratic candidates on their personal lives? Can you be happy with someone who disagrees with you having and distributing power?]
Mark 10:42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.