In responding to the piece contending that Trump’s Evangelical supporters were not hypocrites, my counter was “Which do Evangelicals wish to identify with: hypocrisy or white supremacy?”
And my sense is, like the Muslim issue, you offer a false choice. But let’s see where this goes, before I elucidate.
Unlike the underreported Muslim leaders you cite, the Evangelical leaders referred to in the essay are televangelists — pastors of mega-churches & often heads of eponymously named universities — some boasting their own TV channels. And they are very much in the news from time to time.
Hmmmmm. The historical roots of the evangelical movement are in independence from hierarchical authority. So, by definition, there are no “evangelical leaders”. Much like Islam, where we have “seats of higher respect”, but no real “leaders.” And the TV pastors you refer to represent only a small fraction of evangelical believers.
Take, for example, Joel Osteen. Lakewood Church was founded by his father in a low-income minority area of Houston. The Lakewood congregation is EXTREMELY mixed race, half white, but with huge contingents of Latinos, African-Americans, and Asians. So……it seems a bit odd to ask Joel Osteen to stand up and affim the principles his Church has lived by since it’s inception.
What changed? Evangelicals constitute a marketing demographic. As such, given the least amount of susceptibility, their congregants can be, & are, sold to. The question becomes why these powerful social & media influencers — the Evangelical leadership — decided to “sell” the notion that personal morality wasn’t important in this particular case?
I would highly doubt this, but I find it intriguing that the same subsection of the electorate (let’s call them “unchurched” for the moment) who mocks religious leaders when they speak of the importance of personal morality are now asking religious leaders to speak of the importance of personal morality.
Look what happened to Pence when he said that as a matter of principle, he does not dine alone with a woman other than his wife. (In light of what we now have seen from Hollywood on the sexual abuse issue, that principle looks wise rather than silly, but I digress.)
It was in this context that I asked whether Evangelicals wish to identify with hypocrisy or with white supremacy &c. Because those are the choices their leadership has presented. With regard to supporting Trump, the granting of personal moral impunity to the “leader of the free world” is far better marketing than theology.
I have no wish to repeat what the OP stated, but it seems to me that he answered all these objections of yours in the original post. The primary objective of an evangelical believer would be to live in a country where moral principles are considered important and their freedom to worship is sacrosanct. The Old Testament is full of kings and rulers who personally were pieces of shit, but advanced the broad religious objectives of the Jewish people. King David arranged for his best friend to die so he could boink the man’s wife, and King Solomon lived most of his life in debauchery back in a day when common folk were stoned for fornication. So, I think it not a big stretch to say that Christians are not overly concerned if their president has the morals of a rabbit. They’re much more concerned with laws, freedom, and seats on the Supreme Court.
So, I suppose that the evangelicals from the get-go realized they were going to end up voting for SOME scurrilous character (in that all politicians are scurrilous, to some degree), and at every stage in the primary and post primary, they chose the one who seemed best able to do that.
Hypocritical? Not by my definition of the term.