President Trump sits before delivering keynote address at Liberty University's commencement in Lynchburg, Va., on May 13, 2017. Seated next to him is Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. Photo courtesy Reuters/Yuri Gripas

Trump's evangelicals need to do the right thing

(RNS) — Just because you're an evangelical big shot doesn't mean you've lost your moral compass.

Take popular Bible teacher Beth Moore. On Sunday she made clear that President Trump's prevaricating response ("on many sides ... on many sides") to Charlottesville was woefully inadequate.

Then there's Russell Moore, who heads the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who retweeted one of his tweets from two months ago:

There were even members of Trump's evangelical advisory board — which the Moores (no relation) are not — who were quick to condemn what needed to be condemned. Like Ronnie Floyd, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who on Saturday tweeted out a statement that said "white nationalism and white supremacism are anathema to the teachings of Christ."

But then there was evangelist Rodney Howard-Brown, sounding the tocsin for moral equivalence:

And worse, Franklin Graham:

Meanwhile, from Jerry Falwell Jr., not so much as a word about Charlottesville, just an hour and fifteen minutes down the road from Liberty University. Nada from Richard Land either.

On Monday afternoon Trump read a statement declaring that "racism is evil" and that "those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

But not before, earlier in the day, responding to Merck Pharmaceuticals CEO Kenneth Frazier's principled resignation from a White House management council with:

Does anyone believe that that's not the real Donald Trump?

It's time for members of Trump's evangelical advisory board to follow Frazier's lead. Some of you have talked the talk. Now walk the walk.

Comments

  1. Rodney Howard-Browne got it right.

    The Charlotteville tragedy effectively —
    and visibly — indicted every single group in Rodney’s tweet.

    Alt-Left, Alt-Right, PC-Police. Evangelical Christians cannot give ANY of those gangs a free pass.

    But there’s something else. Trump is not the only target of the media PC-police on this tragedy. They want evangelicals to shut up and let the PC-police control the narrative.

    Again, the truism: Control the narrative, control the nation.

  2. Won’t happen. Evangelicals have become Pharisees to the core. Ends always justify the means – and power is their new god.

  3. The Christian evangelicals made a pact with an immoral and sociopathic man. They have no excuses because by HIS OWN ADMISSION , Trump is a sex predator. His first wife accused him of RAPE in sworn testimony, later retracted, but likely due to pressure from Trump’s attorneys.

    Trump has said it himself, that HE COULD COMMIT MURDER BY SHOOTING SOMEONE ON 5TH AVENUE AND HIS “PEOPLE” WOULD STILL SUPPORT HIM.

    Trump attacked a sitting Federal Appeals court judge because his parents are Mexican

    Trump advocated violence and punching people at his rallies

    Trump insulted a family who LOST A SON IN COMBAT during the campaign

    Trump is on Youtube bragging that he would date his own daughter, “if” she wasn’t his daughter.

    Trump has 5 kids by 3 women, and is a serial adulterer and pervert

    Trump bragged that he can assault women by grabbing their crotches, and “they’ll let you do it”

    What else would you need to know about a self confessed sex predator?

  4. Ridiculous. People who come to protest are not equivalent to people who exhibit a fetish to dress like members of the SWAT Team.

  5. Au’ Contraire Mr. Silk, I find nothing noteworthy in Mr. Graham’s statement. Mr. Trump is not remotely responsible for what happened in Charlottesville. Whether he commented strongly enough, quickly or not, etc., is somewhat subjective, and since the events of the weekend, several black spokespeople including law enforcement officers have defended the President in this instance. The blame, professionally speaking, belongs to the law enforcement agencies locally who failed to contain the violence when it broke out, by whomever perpetrated. Even the ACLU has defended the right of speech belonging to the neo-Nazis’, however abhorrent. The counter protestors have an equal right, but neither had the right to resort to violence of any kind.

  6. They did do the right thing.

    The far right thing.

  7. “Trump’s evangelicals need to do the right thing”

    I appreciate that the headline is an attempt to set the stage but……

    1 – These people are not “Trump’s evangelicals” – they are, IMO, solely in this for what they can make for themselves and, just as Trump will dump them if it suits his next whim, so they will dissociate themselves from him when, and only when, they see the association damaging their brand.

    2 – They don’t have any understanding of “the right thing” other than that right things are those which enhance their brand. They justify their actions by quoting selected verses from ancient texts and pretending that their brand is actually working for the good of others (by saving imaginary souls from a pretend eternity of irrational torment whilst, coincidentally of course, providing wealth and influence to them). It’s called compartmentalism and allows “men of God” to profit from claiming concern whilst harming those they lie to – just as an unfaithful spouse will sometimes justify their behaviour by claiming that it “strengthens the marriage”.

  8. “Some are guilty; all are responsible.” — Abraham Joshua Heschel. Trump may not bear direct responsibility for what occurred. He has, however, for too long danced around the fact that the white supremacist faction in this country has felt emboldened by his electoral victory. He has never truly had the Sister Souljah moment with regard to them the way Bill Clinton had with Jesse Jackson and his followers, or Barack Obama with Rev. Wright. Whether left-wing groups engage in violence is a separate point from addressing the fact that Trump’s “both sides” rhetoric further emboldens the white supremacists.

  9. It should be pointed out, as I believe you have in the past, that Russell Moore is one of the few evangelicals to have always opposed Trump. He almost lost his job because of it.

  10. No, it’s about time we gave up on (most) white evangelicals. Mostly rot there.

  11. The evangelicals in Trump’s circle are there to share the political power. The Christian faith has nothing to do with.

  12. You’re right. They were armed. What you are not telling your readers, however, is that BOTH sides were armed.

    And not just slightly armed. Slate.com (“The Guns Won”), pointed out that members of BOTH sides were carrying Semi-Automatic weapons. The New York Times says that BOTH sides had “Rifles.”

    One “anti-racist, anti-capitalist” group called “Redneck Revolt” even issued an online “call to arms” and had enough guns on them to “set up a security perimeter” in a Charlotteville park. Imagine that.

    No wonder the police were overloaded. And that’s not counting the baseball bats, the sticks and clubs, the chemical irritants, the heavy chains, the flying bottles, and the black BLM guy with the Cheap Flamethrower.

    In that chaos, Heather Heyer could have died from ANY member of ANY gang, in ANY direction, at ANY time. You agree?

  13. Proselytizing, taking away the rights of women, telling children they won’t see grandma again because she’s a different religion. I’ve never been so glad to not be a fundamentalist GOP member.

  14. If you noticed, there is no attempt to pretend there was any parity in that article either. Suggesting the bulk of the blame for gun toting activity was by the protesters. Done in a way which hamstrung law enforcement involvement. By “armed protest” they effectively nullified any attempt at peaceful demonstration and moved into outright intimidation of legal authority. “Armed protest” so common to right wingers is a joke. Its best called mob intimidation. The purpose of the neo-nazis was to spark a violent encounter. It didn’t happen as intended but it did happen. One entirely at their fault.

    “No wonder the police were overloaded. And that’s not counting the
    baseball bats, the sticks and clubs, the chemical irritants, the heavy
    chains, the flying bottles, and the black BLM guy with the Cheap
    Flamethrower.”

    None of which have been noted in the Charlottesville incident.

    “In that chaos, Heather Heyer could have died from ANY member of ANY gang, in ANY direction, at ANY time. You agree?”

    Nope.

    Only one was using deadly force at the time. The neo-nazis. By the time the car attack happened crowds were already dispersing and backing away.

    Get over it, you are not going to find an equivalent or remotely plausible way to shift attention and blame away from the people who committed A LETHAL ACT OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM here.

  15. I won’t discount the possibility that any statement by him that even marginally can be construed by such nut jobs as endorsing their views will indeed embolden them. At this point, there is so much extremism oozing out of the woodwork, from both the left and right, that we should all understand that even the President is able to only have a limited moderating influence on such people; people who ultimately have to be held accountable for their own actions apart from any external stimulus. That to me is the salient point.

  16. Evangelical church leaders from Franklin Graham to Robert Jeffress and many others are all scoundrels and hypocrites that support the biggest hypocrite and scoundrel of them all – Donald Trump. It is time they condemn Trump but will they? Anyways, they’re making the most of the Trump regime to suit their own needs. Pharisees of the worst kind.

  17. “It’s time for members of Trump’s evangelical advisory board to follow Frazier’s lead. Some of you have talked the talk. Now walk the walk.”

    There are no members of Trumps Evangelical Advisory Council.

    It ended a while ago, at the Inauguration, I think.

    Check out this article:
    “His evangelical advisory council is no longer a formal board”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/07/12/photo-surfaces-of-evangelical-pastors-laying-hands-on-trump-in-the-oval-office/?utm_term=.5fd39be0289b

  18. I am very disappointed in Franklin Graham’s comment! Trump’s campaign was run on HATE! That was my very first thought when I heard about Charlottesville. Hate emotions have surfaced 95% since his first campaign! Trump doesn’t have a heart much less a soul! IMPEACH NOW!
    1

Leave a Comment