Evangelical believers and many Evangelical leaders are revving up big time to turn out their voters in support of Trumpian candidates in November. They continue to assert that Trump is doing their bidding on conservative judges, reproductive rights, and protecting Christianity in the public sphere. They are not looking for a husband or a pastor, they assert, but for an advocate, a bodyguard, a general in the battle against a secular and hostile world. They are willing to overlook Trump’s deeply compromised values, lack of ethics, his flagrant scorn for family values, to get what they really want.
I find myself wondering what this does to the Evangelical movement over the long term. I suspect that compromise they’ve forged will be highly corrosive. Imagine trying to explain to your young daughter why Trump’s treating young women like her as “a nice piece of ass” is acceptable in order to get more Neil Gorsuch-like judges on the Supreme Court.
One of the great moral struggles in life, for each of us, is deciding what compromises are acceptable and what ones are not. We all compromise — it’s part of living in a complex world with people who fundamentally don’t agree with us but with whom we share membership in the human race. Making the right choices about when and where to compromise is no easier for me after decades of life experience than it was when I was much younger, with less to draw upon.
I’m not an Evangelical, and I loathe Trump and everything he stands for. I’m an outsider, looking on. What the Evangelical movement does isn’t my fight, except that it places us in opposing camps politically. But I think that the Evangelical compromise over Trump is a bad one. Everyone in Trump’s orbit is, sooner or later, badly tarnished. I believe that the Evangelical movement will be no different: tarnished beyond measure by their advocacy for this man.