Tony Perkins exemplifies what so many people hate about evangelical Christians right now. They always claim to hold the moral high ground, yet they’ll stand behind Donald Trump no matter what immoral revelations come out about him. Grabbing women by the pussy? He said it long before he entered politics. The constant stream of lies? Everyone does it. Paying hush money to a porn star he had an affair with a month after his third wife gave birth to his fifth child? We didn’t elect him to be our pastor.
It’s typical Christian hypocrisy on steroids. The sort of scandals that evangelicals would’ve raged about for decades if Barack Obama were ever guilty of them go unchallenged in this administration.
We know why that is: Evangelical Christians — at least the 81% who voted for Trump despite his glaring problems before the election — were willing to ignore the racism, sexism, claims of sexual misconduct, the blissful ignorance, the scams, and complete lack of humility or requests for forgiveness… as long as Trump appointed anti-abortion judges and fulfilled their right-wing wish list.
It’s the one promise Trump has kept. He’s stolen one Supreme Court seat for the Christian Right, and he’s nominated (and had approved) a slew of federal justices with lifetime appointments who have no business being on the bench.
Remember, just a couple of weeks ago, former evangelical leader Frank Schaeffer said, “Tony Perkins has forgotten his own theology and instead replaced it with a theology of revenge on people he disagrees with politically.” He went on to call evangelicals “the instigators of evil.”
It seems like Perkins must be sick and tired of the shouts of hypocrisy in his direction, because he just wrote an op-ed for USA Today claiming that evangelicals are not just “offering blind allegiance” to Trump. They just don’t give a damn about anything he does in his personal life.
I, like many evangelicals, did not support Mr. Trump until it was a choice between him and Hillary Clinton. At that time, we began a conversation that led to Mr. Trump meeting and exceeding the threshold set for him to gain our support.
He committed to appoint pro-life judges and embraced the conservative GOP platform, turning the election from a contrast of personalities into one about policies. Since then, he has been keeping his promises and advancing policies essential to making America good and prosperous.
However, this support is conditional. If he were to revert to past behavior or fail to keep his promises, support would rapidly diminish. But that hasn’t happened. Nothing has changed since the election, so why should our support change?
How’s that for a confirmation of every single thing Perkins’ critics have been saying since last year? We were right all along. White evangelicals care more about anti-abortion judges who will put women in harm’s way than voting for a Methodist whose running mate was a former missionary.
Besides rationalizing Trump’s despicable behavior — including his defense of white supremacy, degradation of the office, and political appointments who have no clue what they’re doing — Perkins is basically saying Trump is a horrible person who has continued being a horrible person, and that’s why evangelicals love him. If he turns more horrible, they would apparently abandon him, as if that’s even possible.
Perkins says evangelicals would abandon Trump if he reverted to his past behavior, but he didn’t elaborate. What is he referring to? Everything people despised about Trump before 2016, is what they hate about him after 2016. He hasn’t changed one bit. Perkins says if Trump goes back to his old self, evangelicals would balk, but then claims Trump hasn’t changed one bit and that’s precisely why Christians have stuck by his side.
I guess the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who came to this country as children isn’t a priority for Christians. Neither are the people suffering in Puerto Rico while Trump goes on vacation every week. Or the people who will now have to pay more for health care because Republicans refuse to embrace and strengthen the Affordable Care Act.
Evangelicals were willing to accept all of that in exchange for one Neil Gorsuch and draft picks to be named later.
What a disgrace.
It’s not just Perkins, either. It’s every single Christian who attends and gives money to an evangelical church that preaches the same garbage. If they truly cared about the people Trump is throwing under the bus, they would stop supporting the people propping him up.
Perkins is a symptom of a larger disease, and the virus is out of control.
(Screenshot via YouTube)