Author Ben Howe explained how President Donald Trump and conservative Christian leaders had twisted biblical teachings to enrich themselves and gather political power.
Howe, a Christian conservative and author of the new book "The Immoral Majority," appeared Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to discuss a new bombshell report about Liberty University and its president, Jerry Falwell Jr.
"It's kind of all based on -- well, there's two things, really," Howe said. "There's fear -- fear of loss, fear of losing, fear of, you know, their Christian values being maligned or, you know, them being isolated and pushed out of the culture. The idea that their way of life is under attack and so on, and Trump feeds on that."
Christian conservatives have presented a false choice to their followers, Howe said, and that allowed them to pervert the gospels to promote Republican values.
"He's saying that there's one party that is saved and one party that's not, and if you vote for the party that's not saved, then you're, you know, you're defying God, I guess," Howe said, "and so there's that aspect of it. But there's also self-interest, essentially, which Jerry Falwell kind of exemplifies here."
Howe argued that self-interest was not inherently bad, especially if it serves a greater good, but he said Falwell and other right-wing evangelicals preached self-interest to serve GOP political ends.
"When really what you care about are standard Republican things like tax cuts and regulation and things like that, you're deceiving yourself," Howe said, "and people like Jerry Falwell are helping that happen."
"So the biggest problem for me," he continued, "and the thing that I've been trying to say to a lot of evangelicals who have this fear, this fear of losing the culture, etc., along with their, you know, stated Republican desires, I've been saying, look, if you're a Christian and you believe that, you know, believing in Jesus and being saved is what you want for everyone, then the last thing that you should think is that you are the one who's suffering, if those values are being maligned."
Howe said greed had infected evangelical thinking and stopped others from coming to their faith.
"It is other people, it is people who aren't coming to you, to God, to Jesus, they're the ones that are suffering," Howe said. "But they're treating Christian values like it's some possession they have, that they put on a shelf and protect and, you know, hoard -- it's just so antithetical to my understanding of the gospel."