Saturday, January 04, 2020

Mission Being Accomplished

Following the continued support of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in the wake of release of the Access Hollywood sex tape, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, told CNN's Jake Tapper

I think what we're seeing now is a divide in evangelical Christianity. It wasn't created in 2016 but it's highlighted and shown in 2016. A lot of the old guard went back to the tactics of the 1990s. I think it's just leaving a wreckage of cynicism in its wake and it's going to take us longer to recover from this year than it took us to recover from the scandals of the TV evangelists in the 1980s, I'm afraid, because the very credibility of what it takes to stand up and say "we believe in objective truth, for instance, many of the people who have warned us for years about situational ethics and moral relativism are now asking us to practice it and it's pretty heartbreaking.

That divide is getting worse, and situational ethics remains on the upswing in Donald Trump's America, as revealed at a rally held by the President at a church attended by many illegal immigrants, whose pastor is a strong supporter of the incumbent.  

.If you thought the mission of a Christian church is primarily spiritual or religious and that Jesus Christ really warned "whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment," President Trump- and his supporters- would like you to know that you are misguided.  Medina and Haberman of The New York Times report that on Friday, Trump

spent his hourlong speech at Ministerio Internacional El Rey Jesús, a church with a predominantly Hispanic congregation, alternating between his familiar mocking jabs at Democrats, who he repeatedly called anti-religious, and boasting about his own faith-based policies....

He again taunted Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts by referring to her as “Pocahontas” and mocked Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who has spoken frequently about his faith, by claiming he had become religious just “two weeks ago.”

If you thought that Jesus said "whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven," President Trump would have you believe you're misguided because

“Evangelical Christians of every denomination and believers of every faith have never had a greater champion, not even close, in the White House, than you have right now,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve done things that nobody thought was possible....

If you believed Jesus warned "but many who are first will be last, and the last will be first," Donald Trump begs to differ as he "excited the crowd by repeatedly thanking them for their crucial support in 2016 and promising that “we’re going to blow those numbers away in 2020.”

If you nodded approvingly when Abraham Lincoln asserted "my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side," Donald Trump disagrees, maintaining ."I really believe God is on our side

However, if you believe the situational ethics and moral relativism cited in October 2016 by Dr. Moore still prevails among Trump supporters, you'll recognize a regular attendee of the church, whom The Guardian found

acknowledges that Trump’s life – which includes three marriages, adultery and alleged affairs with porn stars – might appear less than pious, but is able to overlook it. “He might be a little rough around the edges for some people, but he says it like it is, and if some of the things he says or the actions he takes upset some people it doesn’t make him less of a man of God.”

Others who came to hear Trump preach were similarly unfazed by the president’s questionable religious credentials.

Trump no longer directly insults Christians, as with "my little wine and my little cracker" or stating that he never asks God for forgiveness because he has no reason to. 

Yet, the playbook is similar.  Dr. Moore cited the "divide in evangelical Christianity" which is "just leaving a wreckage of cynicism in its wake" which will "take us longer to recover from" than in decade(s) past.

President Trump is smart enough to know that his rhetoric is dividing believing Christians one from another and that it is accelerating the movement of young people away from Christianity. But to him, that's no bug. That's a bonus.  It will take Christianity a long time to recover from the wreckage Donald Trump has wrought, and he likes that just fine.

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