Government & Politics Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion Politics

False prophets in the White House

Ronnie Floyd, from left, Rodney Howard-Browne, Adonica Howard-Browne, Johnnie Moore, and Paula White stand behind President Trump as he talks with evangelical supporters in the Oval Office at the White House. Photo courtesy of Johnnie Moore

(RNS) — In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fake news. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has long been sleeping. — 2 Peter 2:3

On Wednesday (Aug. 16), when President Trump shut down his business advisory committees just ahead of his business advisers’ resigning en masse in the wake of Charlottesville, one of his evangelical advisers, Johnnie Moore, delivered a statement on ABC News that concluded:

Evangelicals consider the gospel responsibility we have been given by God to serve our fellow man to be our most sacred one. That remains our primary focus. As part of that we appreciate the deep relationship we have with the administration and the listening ear they have given to us and continue to give to us. We take this seriously, and we feel no responsibility to convey publicly the advice we’ve given them privately. It’s their responsibility to do with it what they will. It’s our responsibility to fulfill our spiritual and national duty.

There’s more than a hint here that the evangelical advisers have been busy telling “the administration,” maybe even including the president, to do the right thing and, like, not talk as if neo-Nazis and those protesting neo-Nazis are morally equivalent. (And therefore, hey, it’s not our fault if they don’t take our advice.)

But no one is actually asking the evangelical advisers to reveal what they are pouring into the administration’s listening ear. They are asking the evangelical advisers to respond publicly to presidential behavior that has caused shock and dismay throughout the country and around the world.

Which is what Moore’s former boss, Jerry Falwell Jr., did in a same-day tweet:

This suggests that what the evangelical advisers have actually been telling the administration and maybe even the president is, like, keep up the good work. Which makes you ask what Donald Trump would have to do to get the likes of Moore and Falwell to react the way the business advisers reacted.

The answer, I think, is that he would have to stop inviting them to the White House to discharge their spiritual and national duty by sharing their thoughts with, and laying their hands upon him. As long as that deep relationship persists, they’ll be standing by their dear leader.

Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” — 2 Peter 2:22

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

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  • Trump is losing law enforcement officials, business leaders and military leadership. But Evangelical leaders? Not so much. That tells me everything I need to know.

  • Neo-Nazis/KKK

    Antifa

    Black Lives Matter

    There’s absolutely no rational reason why writers can’t at least say the names of *all* the prominent participants of the tragic Charlottesville violence out loud.

  • They seem to have gladly taken the sins of this administration upon themselves. I Timothy 5:22 “Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others” Kyrie eleison

  • Yes, because all of those groups drove cars into crowds, killing and maiming each other in the name of racial supremacy. Oh wait. Only one of them did that. Which one was that again?

    It’s very telling that people who claim to have an inside track to alleged divine morality fail to see the distinction between supremacists and those who resist them.

  • “Not so much”, you say? Well, I agree with you there. Trump’s evangelical advisors or supporters appear far more willing to look at the entire situation, and not just the one-sided PC-Police version that’s currently being spoonfed to the public.

    Trump should have initially given a direct, Southern-Baptist style “Racism and white supremacism are evil” statement to accompany his original, important (and proven-correct) “There was violence on many sides” statement.

    Both statements should have featured the names of the national gangs involved. Neo-Nazi’s and KKK for the first statement, Antifa and Black Lives Matter for the second. Plus any additional gang names and incidents from both sides. (And of course, no phrases like “fine upstanding people” regarding ANY of the gangsters on ANY of the sides.)

    This approach would have cut off all the PC police and political exploiters. And he could have included the “slaveholder George Washington statue” question just for effect.

  • Amen Bro. – I don’t defend DT on the kind of sleazy things he has said and done as a private citizen, but when the squeeze toy press piled on him over Charlottesville because he refused to use their shibboleth I thought “Well, I heard him denounce the KKK/neo nazis/alt right violence etc. What’s the big deal?” Then I saw a montage of DT videos from the past 10 yrs. or so in which he denounced/disavowed the hate groups in the strongest possible terms. So this is nothing more than a set-up. He doesn’t play by their rules so they hate him. And I think the American people see this hypocrisy as well. Notice we don’t hear anything about NK now, and by next week we won’t hear anything about Charlottesville either. But as long as DT is in office it will always be something.

  • Seems to me Mark Silk is projecting…Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” — 2 Peter 2:22

  • White supremecy, the KKK and Neo-Nazis’ are always in the wrong. There is no excuse for them. They and their stance are never acceptable. This is not a political stance; it is a moral one. The fact that you make excuses for them shows the type of person you are. I find it deplorable. For the person who claims to bear witness to the Gospel, i.e. the Evangelical pastors, this is gravely immoral and sinful. I don’t believe there was a PC word in my reply.

  • You conveniently ignore what even the liberal media like the New York Times didn’t ignore: that lethal weapons were ALREADY on both sides.

    NY Times: “Rifles” on both sides.
    Slate.com and also Philly.com : “Semi-Automatic Weapons” on both sides.

    Other reports/videos: clubs (esp. Antifa), sticks, chemical irritants, on BOTH sides.
    Helmets, body armor by some of the KKK-Nazi’s. Flying objects, both sides.
    “Security Perimeter” of loaded GUNS by an obscure “anti-racist, anti-capitalist” group called “Redneck Revolt” (this group also issued a “call to arms” online.)

    And of course, the guy from Black Lives Matter with the Ghetto Flamethrower:
    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/charlottesville-leftists-armed-trump-antifa-20170816.html

    So, in all this fully weaponized hatred and chaos, ONE GUY decides to escalate and grab a car, yet you want to pretend that his side was the ONLY side in possession of and fully willing to use instantly lethal weapons. That’s the problem, Mr. Samuelson. Either you’re not informed fully, or like the PC media folks, you don’t want folks informed fully.

  • What part of the sentence “Racism and White Supremacism are evil” are you in disagreement with, Rick? Please specify.

    My suspicion — and I hope I am wrong about this — is that while we DO agree on this clear sentence along with specifically naming the KKK’s and Nazi’s to blame on it,
    you don’t want Trump to also point out to the public that the horrific, unacceptable armed violence and chaos that led to Heather Heyer’s death, ***equally involved*** two OTHER national gangs, LEFT-WING gangs, who have their own well-proven track records of armed hatred, bigotry, violence, arson, intimidation, injury and even some deaths. Specifically Antifa and Black Lives Matter.

    If my stated suspicion is wrong, please explain thereof.

  • On that note, I’m waiting for the Catholic BIshops to remind everyone that racism is a mortal sin in the Catachism.

  • To what group are you referring? NO Christian who practices New Testament teaching, genuinely and sincerely, would ever take the action that the misguided and disturbed young man did with his automobile. You cannot tar the actions of a “group” with the specific act of one individual. Each one of us is accountable solely for our own acts, even in a conspiracy; for which there is no evidence in this case.

  • Hey, I owe you an apology my friend, I corrected your spelling in an excess of zeal, and it was rightly pointed out to me that I was in error. I am embarrassed and humbled, and I think I’ll swear off the issues of spelling and grammar here.

  • Why am I not surprised that the very anti-LGBT floydlee also ends up being a supporter of Donald Trump and Trump’s equivocation.

    Nazis (I’m skipping the neo- part) are abhorrent because Nazi ideology has genocide of unacceptable peoples (Jews, Roma, the disabled) as part of its ideology. The KKK and white supremacists merely want to exploit and keep down people of color. “Merely”, which led to Jim Crow and the violence against Civil Rights activists in the 1950s and 1960. Contrast this with Black Lives Matter, who only merely seek to be treated equally with white people by the police (and there’s demonstrated hard data that shows blacks are being pulled over and arrested and patted down and suchlike at higher rates than whites). Antifa is short for Anti-fascist, and I believe their whole thing is basically punching Nazis. Considering, as I said above, that the Nazi ideology includes genocide, I simply have no problem with that.

    Of course you’d side with Trump.

  • The only thing Trump could do to make these heretics turn away is to turn them away. They crave power more than Jesus.

  • The opening verse from the article quoting the Bible says it all about this White House and many of its advisors!

  • Violence in fight against Thanks speech and assembly (whichincludes hate speech) is wrong, whether from the Left or Right.

  • Here’s a link to the BLM website. http://www.blacklifematters.org/our-mission. I challenge you to read what they say about themselves and their methodology. Just because they are maligned and accused doesn’t mean that the fit that profile. Even if there are some members who in protest lose control and sink into violence that doesn’t change who the core are.

    Unfortunately you seem to have been sucked under by the deep stream of white supremacy that flows at the foundations of this country and is covered over with slithery scales of denial.

    And as far as Antifa, they are not one organization but a means of organizing. Their basic premise is to disrupt neo-Nazi gatherings through loud protest and physical intervention (not violence). Their belief is that Nazi hate speech that incites antipathy and prejudice toward an etnic group is not a right. They carry sticks for self-defense because they know the nature of the people they oppose. As a rule, they don’t initiate the violence but do defend themselves with vengence.

    Accusations of them burning, pillaging, and tearing down buildings are unfounded. In every protest there will be those outside the organizations who will take advantage of the tension and commit crimes that fulfill their base impulses. Onlookers don’t take time to investigate to discern the origin of the violence they just paint the whole with one color and act like everybody is at fault. If you will recall this also happened with Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who were called “outside agitators, communists, white-people-haters, etc.”

  • Interesting you believe the “liberal media” when it confirms your bias,” but deny its veracity when it suggests things you don’t want to admit.

  • What hypocritical Pharisees. They are actually reinforcing Trump’s ignorant juvenile narcissistic blubbering. Shame!

  • well i, really do not care if i have lost all support from the devils. nor do i expect them to give their support, to ELOHEEM and/or THEIR Son.

    to represent anyone, but ELOHEEM and/or THEIR Son, is still called idolatry of men. and yes i know, the enemies of ELOHEEM and/or THEIR Son shall call good bad and their bad as good.

  • This story says more than I ever could.

    1 Kings 18:
    21 Elijah then came near to all the people, and said, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” The people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets number four hundred fifty. 23 Let two bulls be given to us; let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the Lord; the god who answers by fire is indeed God.” All the people answered, “Well spoken!” 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; then call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 So they took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, crying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no answer. They limped about the altar that they had made. 27 At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 Then they cried aloud and, as was their custom, they cut themselves with swords and lances until the blood gushed out over them. 29 As midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer, and no response.

  • Sorry – but there is no comparison. BLM and Antifa are not responsible for the slaughter of 6 million Jews and 5 millions Slavic people and others. Nazis are losers, murders and agents of chaos. the only reason to equate them is to discredit groups that have a legitimate grievance about violence directed at Blacks in America. There is no talking with Nazis.

  • Rick, and there is also no excuse for ANTIFA and BLM and Black Panthers, George Soros, Globalist-paid scum.

    There is an agenda to destroy western civilization, and you globalist scumbags are fueling the Neo-Nazis’. You provoke it. You leftists and globalists and ANTIFA are partly to blame for the white supremacy.

  • Jim, you are another globalist-fed scumbag. ANTIFA is WORSE than the KKK and Neo-Nazis, PERIOD. And if you can’t see that, it is people like you that need to be locked up, because your ideologies are a pestilence to the national sovereignty of this nation and a THREAT to western culture and civilizations. Leftist scumbags are VILE!

  • I’m also with floydlee mirele. Sorry. You leftist scumbags are a menace to society and western civilization and western culture. And your ideologies need to be eradicated as fast as possible before you take this world to hell.

  • You’re a white supremacist and I disavow your nonsense utterly, completely and totally. God is not a god of “western culture.” God came among us as a Jew from the Middle East. Now deal with it!

  • To suggest any kind of equivalency between Nazis and their ilk, and those who resist them, is engage in moral equivocation. We know exactly what they want. We know exactly how they wish to do it. We’ve literally fought a world war to stop them, and a civil war right here on American soil, because of people like them.

    This is not a question of mere politics, or political correctness. It’s not an issue of competing economic views, foreign or domestic policies, symbolism, or any of the things we disagree passionately about but need never come to blows over. It’s a question of moral character. These people have none. They are not “nice” people. They are not reasonable people. They are perverse, hateful bigots who’d be only too happy to see everyone they regard as “genetic refuse” wiped off the face of the Earth. And James Fields is just one of them.

    So spare me your mawkish concern for them and their armed and uniformed militias. It is right to resist them, period.

  • Don’t be daft. Are you seriously going to throw the True Christian™ card? I’m talking about Nazis & white supremacists, some of whom identify as Christian. And who are you to gainsay them? And yes, yes I can tar the actions of all Nazis by the actions of James Fields (or any member of that constituency), because they are violent hate mongers, each and every one of them. No conspiracy required.

  • Trump is an outright crook in the White House and he knows that. So, just in order to assuage his conscience he has encouraged to have this whole band of just as corrupt and useless evangelical leaders to bring ‘spiritual’ enlightenment to his corrupt soul. When will these hypocrites realize how their religious zeal and ‘piety’ are harming their own evangelical churches in America?

  • I first visited the BLM site around the time of the Dallas shootings, Jim. Where have you been all this time? I’ve seen their explanations, excuses, everything.
    I’ve even read all the way through their “Principles” that are supposed to halfway explain what they want (but, importantly, does NOT offer any official ethical limits to how far they’ll go to get what they want).

    But that’s just their talk. On the streets, it ain’t the talk, it’s the walk, and that’s where all the mess happens. BLM protest leaders **never, ever**, accept responsibility for even ONE injury or ONE beating or ONE intimidation or ONE gunshot. Nor do the founders of BLM accept any. No apologies for their tactics either.

    That’s why the group is decentralized — so that NO specific leader can be held accountable when the media reports that nearly two dozen cops got hurt at St Paul MN, while trying to re-open a blocked major highway. Nobody is forced to say, “On behalf of BLM, we’re guilty and we’re sorry” when Dallas cops get ambushed.

  • Mirele, please read or re-read what Jim Johnson said.

    The three national gangs ALL vary in their ideology. They always will.

    But what they all had in common at Charlottesville, was weapons, firearms, intense hatred, and violence. (And not just at Charlottesville. They all have long and vicious rap sheets. You seriously need to google each one.)

    The commonalities of all three gangs, are what get ordinary people killed.

  • Anytime you’ve got a trio of nationally prominent hate-gangs of proven bigotry, violence, beatings, and intimidation, ALL carrying clubs, bats, rifles, and even Semi-Automatics to a big street-fight, you and I (or any of the law-abiding posters here), are liable to die from ANY direction, from ANY of the gangs, at any time.

    And not one of those gangs would have admitted to firing the fatal bullet, not even the violent hateful weaponized gangs you want to whitewash (no pun intended).

    The ONLY armed group you should be defending Chris, is the police. They risked their lives and stepped into all three national gangs’ violent diarrhea. Wiping up and cleaning up ALL the mess, ALL the confrontations, ALL the violence.

  • Don’t even give it a second thought, Edward. Not a problem. Besides, it took me forever to realize that “Dr. Sin” was really “Dr. Zin.”

  • Sure Mr. Samuelson, let’s all resist the Nazi’s. But here’s your question:
    Are you gonna resist ’em Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s way, or are you gonna resist ’em Antifa’s / BLM’s way?

    If you choose the latter way, then you’re NO better than the Nazi’s. Your semi-automatic that you’re brandishing, is NOT morally superior to the Nazi’s semi-automatic that he’s brandishing, especially when either one can take out innocent bystanders.

    Worse yet, the guns or clubs you two are brandishing, are guaranteed to endanger and hinder the police who are bravely trying to keep everybody safe, and preserve the rule of law against three vicious gangs who prefer blood & hate.

  • I can gainsay them on the basis that their attitudes and actions in no way reflect the teachings and instructions of Jesus and the apostles. The Lord clearly stated, “By their fruits you shall know them. Nope. No daftness around here.

  • “Their belief is that Nazi hate speech that incites antipathy and prejudice toward an etnic group is not a right.”

    That makes them wrong. This is a growing problem of the far Left (or whatever label is appropriate) who take it upon themselves to decide what speech is allowable and prevent others from exercising theirs. They have damaged property and have engaged in non-defensive violence (Berkley and Milo, for example). One of the leaders of BLM states that hate speech is not protected speech. SJWs are just as bad regarding the First Ammendment.

  • Don’t make me your ally in this. All of the white supremacists are scumbags because of their hateful racist core. Most of the protesters were regular people sickened by this cancer (that Trump won’t sincerely condemn). Yes, some resorted to violence and should be called out but there is by no means any moral equivalency. You have to separate the group, with its stated core values, from the individuals who go off the reservation (yes, not PC). But you are correct that some on the Left gloss over the racism and hatred of cops from some in BLM or the fringe BLM guy who killed the white police officers.

  • My line in the sand is white supremacist and Nazis.
    There should have been NO equivocation on the part of anyone.
    The fact that the Evangelical pastors have said nothing speaks for itself.

  • Leftist scumbags?
    Really. Protesting against Nazi and white supremacy .
    Kind of makes me think they are heroes.
    Because not protesting against that filth makes me tend to think that people agree with them.
    “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing” Edmund Burke.
    My father fought in WW 11. Told me first hand about the atrocities he saw.

  • Neo Nazis and those of all backgrounds who are racist against others are morally equivalent. Neo Nazis and those who would resort to physical force and destruction are morally equivalent. Any supremacist position is evil. Any deliberate harm to another human being out of hate is evil.

  • With all due respect to you,”PristineVision”, as a 62 year old Black Man born and raised in the most racist state in The Union, Mississippi, I can state unequivocally: NO organization has EVER been worse than the Klu Klux Klan, PERIOD!!! End of discussion. ???.

  • In the OT, the false prophets were ones that flattered rather than preach repentance and gave cheerful [fake] news rather than warned the king and the people. In the meantime, real prophets were tolerated for a while and then persecuted and some were even martyred.

  • So Trump was wrong. I think we all agree on that. “If he had said something else, no one would be criticizing him”??

  • What did Jim say that warrants his incarceration? And we’re supposed to think you’re the defenders of the Constitution?

  • Hmmm… There’s great pressing alarm going on here. Gee, I wonder how many of you were awoken this AM with the echo of gunshots or mortar shells outside of your house? How many are uncertain about where to hang their hat, because maybe your house is lying in ruins, or where there’s a cabal of insurgents in your community (drug cartels; ISIS, Communists.) looking to kidnap your teen son or daughter so as to traffic or indoctrinate them into their cause??? (common occurrence in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Homs, border of Israel, Venezuela (etc) – places where Christians like you and I are dwelling? Do you really think that railing on your own brethren’s political beliefs is accomplishing much for the Kingdom of God? Are we ‘priests’ of political correctness on a roving patrol sent out to correct our left or right leaning brethren? Is this our calling? (Hint: take a look at how this agenda worked out for men like Ahab, Zedekiah, and Shemaiah the Nehelamite – Jeremiah 29). How many of you can name a name of somebody you are actively and/or financially supporting, like a godly (but poor) widow, a fatherless teen who’s troubled, an orphan, or neglected elderly person IN YOUR COMMUNITY? Not cyber-ministry stuff. When Christ returns, like the picture of Psalms 2, the government will be set straight once and for all. In the meantime, think of the impact we could make if we grabbed our anti, or pro-Trump brother to help us in the soup kitchen, doing high level diplomatic work for the King of Kings.

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