In a column for the Atlantic, a former adviser to Republican President George W. Bush made the charge that evangelical Christians sold their souls to support Donald Trump while he secretly held them in contempt and used them to advance his political ambitions.
Using an article from McKay Coppins who reported, "many of Trump’s comments about religion are marked by cynicism and contempt, according to people who have worked for him. Former aides told me they’ve heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base," Peter Wehner stated it's time for Christians who supported the president to reconsider their view of him before they cast their ballots.
"Let’s start with the president," Wehner, who focuses on the role of religion in government, wrote. "A man whose lifestyle is more closely aligned with hedonism than with Christianity, Trump clearly sees white evangelicals as a means to an end, people to be used, suckers to be played. He had absolutely no interest in evangelicals before his entry into politics and he will have absolutely no interest in them after his exit."
Conceding that extremely conservative Christians have made some "transactional' gains under the president -- in particular appointments of conservative-leaning judges -- the former White House official suggested it may have not been worth it.
"Trump has reshaped the federal judiciary, particularly compared with what would have happened if Hillary Clinton had been president, and nothing else Trump has done—no moral line he has crossed, no offense he has committed—can take away from his achievements in this area," he wrote, "But if politically conservative evangelicals have things they can rightly claim to have won, what has been lost?"
According to Wehner, there is abject hypocrisy in the evangelical movement when it comes to Democrats who don't follow Christian ideals as they see them and Republican apostates who are forgiven with "verses like 'Judge not lest you be judged," with the columnist using, "If it’s Bill Clinton in the dock, savage him; if it’s Donald Trump, savage his critics," as an example.
"If evangelical supporters of Trump are honest, they should admit—at least to themselves, if not to the rest of the world—that something has gone terribly amiss and that the power they have achieved is coming at the expense of the faith they proclaim," he wrote.
"The Trump era is hardly the first or most egregious time that people who speak for Christianity have disfigured their faith. Furthermore, evangelicalism isn’t the whole of Christianity in America, and Christianity in America isn’t the vital center of Christianity in the world," he added before concluding, "What American evangelicals do certainly matters, though perhaps not quite as much as its champions and critics might think. And there are pockets of renewal within American evangelicalism, along with a deep desire among many Christians to close this unfortunate chapter in their history and write a far more enchanting and captivating one next."
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