In a scathing article, Louisiana-based columnist Tim Morris called out the evangelical leadership. In his words, “Evangelical leaders have sold their souls to Donald Trump.” His essay for the Times-Picayune presents a religiously-aware call to moral action.
Morris understands why evangelicals supported Trump in 2016. He recognizes that many Christians want their interests respected, if not represented, on the Supreme Court. He also explains that “Trump’s rise also came at a time when many Christians saw religious liberty as being under unprecedented attack.” Barack Obama’s justice department made many Christians fear that their beliefs would be disrespected, even attacked. The election left them feeling even less valued. “Clinton didn’t even bother to mount a real outreach effort to conservative Christian voters — about 25 percent of the country — figuring she had lost them anyway and could win without them,” Morris notes.
But that does not excuse those religious leaders persisting in their cozy relationship with a morally-bankrupt White House. After repeating a litany of personal and policy failures exhibited by Trump—and a religious leadership exemplified by feeble excuses advanced by Robert Jeffress, Morris reminds readers why people of faith should care:
What Jeffress describes is a clear conversion from a Christian outlook to one of pragmatism. That is the philosophy that says the test of what is true or good is not in God’s word, but in whether it produces desired consequences or “useful” results. The Christian church in America has been sliding into that belief system for decades, from the way it goes about evangelizing to how it interacts with politics.
Morris reminds us that even when those evangelicals “win” by having their policies boosted in the White House, they are choosing fleeting temporary wins over eternal victories.
It is not too fine a point to make that it all began when the snake asked Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Wouldn’t you prefer, in other words, to satisfy your immediate earthly desires rather than to obey God in his good and eternal plans?
Ultimately, he concludes, these pastors are misleading the people who trust them. He concludes with the eternal measure of values:
That is where Jeffress and his fellow Trump-enablers are leading their flocks. At some point, they will have to confront another question: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
What gains can we count if we forfeit our national soul?