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Elections

The Religious Bigotry of NeverTrumpers

Evangelicals do not have to explain why they support Donald Trump. They are not required to answer to people who hold them in contempt.


- December 30th, 2019
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The mockumentary that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” featured many sidesplitting moments; host Chuck Todd and other Democratic activists disguised as journalists spent an hour solemnly discussing the “assault on the truth” inflicted by Donald Trump and his “cult-like” followers.

The very same propagandists responsible for spreading fake news and conspiracy theories about collusion between Team Trump and the Russians proceeded to scold the president, his advisors, and conservatives for allegedly spreading fake news and conspiracy theories. It was hilarious.

The executive editor of the Washington Post, the news organization that has published thousands of stories pushing the Russian collusion hoax, lamented: “[W]e live in an environment where people are able to spread crazy conspiracy theories and absolute falsehoods and lies.”

The executive editor of the New York Times, a news organization also responsible for publishing thousands of articles pushing the Russian collusion hoax, concurred. “I think our newsrooms have been sort of rebuilt to do this, is to very aggressively sort out fact from fiction and to very aggressively work to make sure that people trust us and understand that that’s our job,” Dean Baquet explained.

The program should take a place alongside “Spinal Tap” and “Best in Show” as one of the best parodies ever produced.

Contempt for Christians Who Don’t Bow to Them

One moment, however, stood out: Todd read aloud a letter-to-the editor published in a Kentucky newspaper that equated the Bible to a fairy tale. “Show me a person who believes in Noah’s Ark, and I will show you a Trump voter,” the rando correspondent wrote.

The editors who have brainwashed their readers with fairy tales about secret trips to Prague and secret tapes of sexual deviancy in Moscow nodded along.

The purpose of the letter, obviously, was to ridicule faithful Christians who support Donald Trump. Emboldened by a December 19 editorial in Christianity Today calling for the impeachment of the president for a variety of foolish reasons, the media have piled on evangelicals for standing by the “immoral” president. These heretics, the largely agnostic commentariat claims, have betrayed their faith, defiled Christianity until Kingdom come, and will one day have to repent for the mortal sin of endorsing the Bad Orange Man in the White House. Evangelicals are hypocrites and worse, they warn.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo—a member of both a religious group and political party that for more than 50 years has exalted a family filled with philanderers, killers, drug abusers, and nepotistic hucksters among other sinners—lambasted an evangelical radio talk show host for defending the president.

“Does he practice love? Does he practice mercy?” Cuomo ranted to Eric Metaxas about Trump. “I don’t think this president checks any of the boxes that matter to you as an individual.”

Will Saletan of Slate concluded that Christian backers of Trump aren’t really religious, they are simply gullible rubes doing the Devil’s work.

“When evangelicals worship Trump, the simplest lesson is that they believe(d) in Christianity not because Christianity is true, but because they’re prone to belief,” Saletan, a non-Christian, tweeted. “That conclusion might not be true, but it’s reasonable. They embrace a model of evil as readily as a model of good.”

The Last Acceptable Bigotry

Those are just a few examples. Now, if that level of contempt had been directed at any other religious group, the attackers would have been called out—and rightly so—as bigots. Had editors and journalists openly mocked a core belief of, say, Judaism, on national television and questioned the faith of Jews over their support for a particular politician, outrage would follow. Ditto for Muslims. Calls for tolerance and understanding and respect for diversity would ensue. Apologies would be demanded; mea culpas would be offered by the offenders.

But, of course, the targets here are evangelicals, the church-going, Jesus-fearing rubes of the South despised by the ruling class. Any sort of condemnation not only is tolerated, it is encouraged. And no where is that criticism more rampant than among the NeverTrump Right.

Since before Trump’s election, these holier-than-thou scolds have boasted about their moral superiority for opposing Trump while blasting evangelicals for standing by the president. These alleged “conservatives” now help propel the Left’s crusade against Christians, justifying their worst impulses and fostering an acceptable degree of public bigotry toward an already maligned group of Americans. (I wrote about it in 2018.)

“The evangelical defense of President Trump has taken on a religious fervor immune to reason,” wrote Jennifer Rubin, a non-Christian, in the Washington Post in 2017. Tom Nichols frequently beats up on evangelicals, commenting in 2017 that he felt “nothing but shame” for them.

The Bulwark, the repository of NeverTrump columnists after the demise of The Weekly Standard, has posted a number of articles questioning the faith, morals, and integrity of Trump-supporting evangelicals. “It is one thing for the pro-family movement to make inroads among a political party. It is something else altogether to align your movement behind a demagogue,” one writer warned.

But no one has perfected this schtick more than David French, the self-appointed moralizer of the anti-Trump Right.

Since declining to run for office himself back in 2016, French instead has carved out a nice little niche for himself and for his wife, Nancy, as the brave outliers in their own tribe, courageous Christians willing to take to the pages of the Washington Post or the set of MSNBC to shame their own side for supporting Trump.

“Soon enough, the ‘need’ to defend Trump will pass. He’ll be gone from the American scene,” French wrote in an open letter to evangelicals in 2018. “Then, you’ll stand in the wreckage of your own reputation and ask yourself, ‘Was it worth it?’ The answer will be as clear then as it should be clear now. It’s not, and it never was.”

The biggest danger to the body politic right now, French argued over the weekend, is not the rising violence on the Left but the meanness in faithful MAGA-land.

In examining your own personal engagement with your political opponents, how much of it is characterized by these commands, first from Jesus: You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

Next, from Paul: Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.

And finally, from the prophet Micah?

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Time and again, we see Christians in public life shed even the pretense of upholding those values.

An astonishing suggestion, considering the times. It’s not just turn-the-other-cheek sermonizing; it is outright capitulation to the Left. French is proffering exactly the sort of advice that is music to the Christian-hating Left—and it’s bigotry disguised as virtue.

Evangelicals do not have to explain why they support for Donald Trump. They are not required to answer to people who hold them in contempt. Evangelicals do not need to explain their vote or defend their faith. To the contrary, the Left and NeverTrump Right should be called out for their own bigotry, which would not be tolerated against any other religious group.

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