Evangelicals must not have read the history of Trump’s life and career if they believe he is loyal to them. The dominating message in Michael Cohen’s book Disloyal is Trump will turn on friends, business associates, and family members to protect or please himself. Cohen says Trump ordered him to pay off Stormy Daniels to quiet talk about his adulterous encounter with her. When prosecutors discovered the illegal payment, Trump denied knowledge of it and told Cohen to lie to Congress about it. Cohen was found guilty of lying and of making the illegal payment, which violated campaign finance law. Trump never admitted to the crime, but was named in the indictment as ” co-conspirator #1.” Cohen went to prison; however, Trump is protected from prosecution, for now, because he is the president. Victims of Trump’s betrayals have included members of Congress military generals, intelligence personnel, ambassadors, judges, and countless former administration members. Once he doesn’t need their votes for re-election, evangelicals may be the next victims of his disloyalty.
Recent polls indicate 8 out of 10 evangelicals still support Trump, despite his debauchery, criminality, and dishonesty. When questioned about their loyalty to such an un-Christian person, their answer is they like his pro-life position on abortion and his commitment to appointing conservative federal and Supreme Court judges. However, there is something suspicious about that explanation. Vice-President Mike Pence and most other conservative candidates hold the same positions as Trump on those issues. If Trump isn’t necessary to achieve their ideological goals, why do the evangelicals continue to minimize his sins? Why do they ignore the scripture they claim to follow:
- Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness but instead expose them.
- Corinthians 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people.
- Roman 16:17-18 Watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles to the doctrine you have been taught, avoid them. Such persons do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the hearts of the naive.
The hypocrisy of being committed to the teachings of Jesus while admiring and voting for a person who has broken the Commandments puts in question whether today’s evangelicals are legitimately devout or, in truth, attracted to the seedy side of life where Trump dwells. Recent revelations about Jerry Falwell Jr’s sexual deviance, which include his wife Becki sleeping with the pool boy while he watched, raises the question of how religious extremists struggle with piety.
Cohen writes about two incidents before Trump ran for president that solidified evangelical support for his candidacy. One was a gathering of 50 faith leaders at Trump Tower in 2012. Cohen described Trump’s masterful performance answering questions about abortion, his three marriages, homosexuality, and the place Jesus held in the Boss’s heart. Trump also talked to the group about Christian Minister Norman Vicent Peale’s teachings of the “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Cohen watched Trump pretend to be pious while lying and was awestruck at his skill at concealing his insincerity. The ensuing “laying hands” ritual at the end of the meeting is what triggered Trump’s comment to Cohen, “Can you believe they believe in that bullish*t? The master entertainer, like PT Barnum, Cohen said, had convinced evangelicals he was one of them, and if president, he and only he would support their conservative agenda.
Another scheme Trump had Cohen execute was to bribe Jerry Falwell Jr with Justin Bieber tickets for his daughter. Assessing that fulfilling this favor would solidify the evangelical vote, Cohen made it happen. Bribing for favors has continued to be one of Trump’s methods of making people indebted to him. Another strategy to obtain blind loyalty is to threaten people with compromising information or publicly attacking their professional credibility. Trump has made good on these sort of threats and has neutered the efficacy of elected Republican officials. The rest of his white identity base was solidified by a staged stunt performance with Vince McMann at a WWE event during his bid to run for president. The wrestling fan base is made of the white bikers and truckers who, in loyalty to Trump, attend his rallies during this pandemic, maskless, aggressive, and defiant.
Millions of people remain skeptical about the evangelical’s loyalty to Trump based on his extreme conservatism. Less fanatical segments of evangelical Christians have denounced him based on his hypocrisy and defiant pattern of Jesus’s teachings. Hopefully, evangelicals and members of all religious denominations will vote character over party affiliation in November. If not, evangelicals who vote for Trump will likely be added to the groups the president refers to as ” losers and suckers.”
On Amazon books, Baby Boomer Resistance Part 2, Posts from Impeachment to COVID