Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Boon, Not A Bug

No doubt up early for church, the President on Sunday tweeted "Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe. In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!"

Dressing furiously so as not to be late for the pastor's opening announcements, Trump paused briefly to inform everyone "I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His “memos” are self serving and FAKE!" and "Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!"

The President would never chance missing worship were it not to warn Americans that the former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the worst FBI dirctor ever, a fake, and a slimeball.

There was no reason that this Lord's Day should have been any different from any other for a President who actually did chance to visit a church on Easter Sunday. This followed a series of tweets including  "Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. 'Caravans' coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!" On church grounds, he readied his heart for prayer by condemning immigrants and Democrats.

The President obviously is at his classiest on Sunday mornings, even though the Los Angeles Times later on Easter rudely suggested "The tone of the president's holiday tweets differed markedly from the sentiments of goodwill commonly expressed by previous U.S. chief executives on national or religious occasions."

The pettiness and the nastiness have affected upon the President's popularity.  On April 11, history professor Rodney Hessinger observed

The most recent Pew polls suggest that President Donald Trump hasn't just held his support amongst white evangelicals but actually has grown his support since the Stormy Daniels story took hold.

With his white evangelical support having dropped to 61 percent in December, Trump now enjoys 78 percent support, just a shade beneath the support he won from white evangelicals on Election Day.

Hessinger notes

Many commentators have puzzled about the seeming hypocrisy of those who would see adultery and womanizing as grave sins. And yet for those who know the history of evangelicalism in America, this should be no surprise at all.

In fact, there are good reasons why we should expect this result. The history and sexual politics of evangelicalism in America fit well with Donald Trump and his message.

Whatever the history and sexual politics of evangelicalism in the USA, Donald Trump can no longer be validly seen as enormously popular with the white Christian right despite his attitude, language, and behavior.

"Christian conservatives," NYT columnist Michelle Golberg notes, "may believe strongly in their own righteousness. But from the outside, it looks as if their movement was never really about morality at all."  Ironically, in the case of Trump, maybe it is about morality- except in reverse.

Donald Trump lacks regard for traditional Christian virtues as sexual morality, honesty, kindness, charity toward others, compassion, humility, personal responsibility. He openly exhibits contempt for Christian customs, such as communion, the virgin birth, and asking for forgiveness. For him, these are not barriers to popularity with his most enthusiastic constituency. They are an admission ticket.

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