Mike Pence scorched as a prime example of why people hate religion
Vice President Mike Pence, seen here speaking to reporters at the White House. (AFP / SAUL LOEB)

In a column devoted to various action by religious leaders that have made Americans turn away more and more from the various Christian denominations in the U.S., writer Timothy Egan focused like a laser on Vice President Mike Pence who has worn his religion on his sleeve while being an apologist for Donald Trump.

Writing in the New York Times, Egan noted that Christians have always been easy targets --particularly when their deeds don't match their words.

"Religious hypocrites are an easy and eternal mark," Egan explained. "The French Revolution was driven in part by the revulsion of starving peasants toward the overfed clerics who had taken vows of poverty. The Protestant Reformation took flight on disgust at a church in Rome that sold passages to heaven, enriching men who had multiple mistresses after taking vows of chastity."

And then Pence stands at Trump's right side defends his words and policies while showing virtually no sign of discomfort.

"What you hear about is the phonies, the charlatans who wave Bibles, the theatrically pious, and they are legion," he wrote. "Vice President Mike Pence wears his faith like a fluorescent orange vest. But when he visited the border this summer and saw human beings crammed like cordwood in the Texas heat, that faith was invisible."

Egan wasn't done with Pence, adding, "Pence is the chief bootlicker to a president who now sees himself in messianic terms, a president who tweets a description of himself as 'the second coming of God.' As hard as it to see God Part II boasting about grabbing a woman’s genitals, paying hush money to a porn actress, or calling neo-Nazis 'very fine people,' millions of overtly religious Americans believe in some version of Jesus Trump, Superstar."

According to the columnist, Pence -- as a Trump sycophant -- is far from alone when it comes to making people doubt the sincerity of Evangelicals.

"White evangelical Christians, the rotting core of Trump’s base, profess to be guided by biblical imperatives. They’re not. Their religion is Play-Doh. They have become more like Trump, not the other way around. It’s a devil’s pact, to use words they would understand," he charged. "Evangelicals give cover to an amoral president because they believe God is using him to advance their causes."

Writing, "what really thrills them is when Trump bullies and belittles their opponents, as counterintuitive as that may seem," Egan added,  "Older white Christians rouse to Trump’s toxicity because he’s taking their side. It’s tribal, primal and vindictive."

According to the columnist, the toxic marriage between Trump and his Christian base ("mercenaries for a leader who debases everything he touches") is contributing to the death of organized religion.

"Young people are leaving the pews in droves because too often the person facing them in those pews is a fraud," he wrote delivering a warning to religious leaders, "They hate religion because, at a moment to stand up and be counted on the right side of history, religion is used as moral cover for despicable behavior."

You can read the whole piece here.