On Monday, President Donald Trump addressed 100 Evangelical Christian leaders, warning them that a Democratic wave in November would trample their rights.
“As you know, in recent years, the government tried to undermine religious freedom,” the President said.
In private, he went further. “I just ask you to go out and make sure all you people vote. Because if they don’t we’re going to have a miserable two years and we’re going to have, frankly, a very hard period of time because then it just gets to be one election — you’re one election away from losing everything you’ve got.”
Since then, there’s been blowback by some Christians about how strongly the Evangelical community has embraced a president who is not exactly a paragon of Christian virtue. Writing in the Christian journal Sojourners, Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, wonders if Christian leaders are making a Faustian bargain by supporting the president.
Taylor points out that the Bible is pretty clear on issues like hypocrisy and corruption.
“Jesus did not mince words for the religious leaders who were corrupted by power and guilty of grave hypocrisy,” he writes. “In Matthew 23 we see Jesus speaking with righteous indignation against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, saying, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law— justice, mercy and faithfulness.”
The messiah continued, “You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
Taylor points out that a deal with Trump will hurt Christianity in the long run.
“The growing public perception of evangelicals as an overly politicized, intolerant, and nationalistic movement represents a direct threat to the cause of evangelism or spreading the good news of Christ,” he notes.
Taylor points out Christians should call out the hypocrisy of their faith leaders, even though it may seem difficult.
“Yes, it will take moral courage and even some significant risk-taking to point out and challenge the hypocrisy and sycophancy we are seeing among many evangelical leaders. But the silence of far too many more moderate to conservative evangelical leaders only enables and reinforces the public’s perception that Trumpism and evangelicalism are one in the same,” he writes.
He notes that Christians must resist Trump, and the “amorality of Trumpism and challenging hypocrisy within the religious right has become an imperative for the witness, integrity, and reputation of the church. Nothing less than the soul of our nation is at stake.”