This post is not intended as a hit piece on Donald Trump. It’s simply a statement of a few facts and an appeal.
It’s now pretty well established (and I waited on this one) that Trump had a brief affair with a porn star (celebrity name: Stormy Daniels) after marrying Melania and four months after the birth of their son.
It’s also pretty well established—particularly by the abrupt silence of the woman in question after having given interviews earlier—that she was paid $130,000 in hush money.
Some will say, well, that affair was many years ago, so it doesn’t matter. But the hush money was paid during the presidential election campaign of 2016.
That’s not that long ago.
Evangelical leaders are, in effect, giving Trump a “mulligan” on his morality. That’s the term used by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Franklin Graham has come along and commented that Trump has never lied to him, so he believes the denials.
How does he know Trump has never lied to him? How does one confirm that, especially when Trump has shown a great penchant for lying throughout his life? All I have to do is think of things he said during the Republican primaries as he slandered his opponents.
But that’s Trump, right? We knew what we were getting. After all, I’m told repeatedly, we didn’t elect a pastor-in-chief. I agree. We didn’t.
Yet since when have evangelicals not thought it important to weigh in on the character of our elected officials? We thought it was of the utmost importance when Bill Clinton was dragging the Oval Office through the moral slime.
Now, we apparently don’t care.
As long as we get the policies we want, we will either look the other way (the passive approach) or go out of our way to provide excuses and rationalizations (the activist approach).
Lest you misunderstand me—which happens quite often—I am pleased with most of what the Trump administration is doing in public policy. My concern continues to be twofold: the damage being done to the Christian witness as we uncritically support immoral behavior; the damage being done long-term to American conservatism due to the Trump brand.
The pressing need among evangelicals (a term some have now chosen not to use because it has become so watered-down) is to be faithful to our higher calling as disciple-makers. We cannot fulfill that calling if we wink at sin in our society, whether it manifests itself in the media, on the campuses, or in the White House.
We need to be consistent with our message: sin separates from God; only through repentance and faith in the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross can anyone be saved. And that applies to everyone.
If we fail to communicate that, we have failed in our primary mission. God is seeking those who will be faithful to that mission.