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Wednesday, 24 October 2018 08:01

Toxic Christianity: Conservative Evangelicals Unapologetic in Their Support for Trump

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BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

For the past two-plus years Donald Trump has been playing evangelical leaders and organizations like Earl Scruggs on the banjo; to near perfection. And in the spirit of reciprocity, Trump has delivered to evangelicals a passel full of victories, including the moving of the US Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, encouraging anti-abortion policies, and perhaps most importantly, seating a number of conservative judges, as exemplified by the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

In the 2016, 81% of white Christian evangelical voters delivered for Trump. Despite a host of scandals, language that most conservative Christian evangelicals wouldn't allow in their homes, racist comments galore, and the administration's dastardly policy of separating young immigrant children from their parents at the border, it appears that some 70-+ percent of white evangelical Protestants still have a favorable opinion of the president.

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As Doug Pagitt, a Minneapolis-based pastor and the executive director of Vote Common Good, pointed out in an opinion piece in USA Today titled "Evangelicals are paying high moral price for anti-abortion gains. What would Jesus do?", conservative Christian evangelicals "stood by as families were torn apart at our border, the children shipped off to remote detention camps in the middle of the night. They cheered as health care was stripped away from the poor and the sick. And they fell in line to support the newly confirmed Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was credibly accused of harming multiple women."

If the Trump administration succeeds in its "effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance," that would go a long way toward defining transgender people out of existence, The New York Times recently reported, that will be another victory for conservative evangelicals.

According to The Times, the Department of Health and Human Services "argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined 'on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.' The agency's proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with."

Chief amongst Team Trump's shamefully unapologetic evangelical supporters is Jerry Falwell, the president of Liberty University. Falwell, who was an early backer Trump, calls Trump a "good moral person," that is "like Ronald Reagan on steroids."

When asked in an interview with the Guardian if Trump was a good moral example, Falwell said: "Absolutely. Ever since I've known him, he's been a good, moral person, a strong leader, a tough leader – and that's what this country needs."

Falwell added: "Evangelicals believe every human being is a sinner. We're all imperfect, we're all flawed, and we're redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ."

"Conservatives & Christians need to stop electing 'nice guys,'" Falwell tweeted on September 28. "They might make great Christian leaders, but the US needs street fighters like @realDonaldTrump at every level of government … & many Repub leaders are a bunch of wimps!" 

In this pre-Midterm election period, conservative evangelicals have opened the media floodgates. There was the early October theatrical release of a film titled "The Trump Prophecy," – made in cooperation with Falwell's Liberty University – which maintains that Trump's election was ordained by God.

The Washington Post's Leah Payne and Brian Doak pointed out that, "Early reporting suggests that the film is galvanizing certain Christian audiences by employing a potent mix of spirituality, appeals to authority, nationalism and classic conservative-evangelical politicking."

In early October, Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network announced that it was launching a 24-hour news operation. "The Christian Broadcasting Network's news channel will provide a religious perspective that other channels lack, CEO Gordon Robertson told The Associated Press. According to the AP, "The nonprofit channel's success will mostly depend on donations, not advertisements."