Donald “I’ve never asked God for forgiveness, because I’ve never done anything wrong” Trump held a summit for evangelical conservative voters in New York on Tuesday. Trump was joined and given endorsements by several prominent members of the Old Guard of the Christian Right– pastors Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Franklin Graham, activist Gary Bauer, and former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
Although I am a Christian and a registered Republican, I no longer closely identify with the socially conservative, religious right. Their enthusiastic support for Trump is just one of several reasons why I and honestly the majority of young people cannot take that faction seriously. They moan about marriage equality like it’s the worst thing to ever happen to this country, yet they have endorsed a man who has bragged about his multiple marriages and affairs in the most vulgar terms possible. They argue against abortion, yet they have endorsed a man who supported abortion rights and Planned Parenthood. They talk about the need for “Christian values” in American culture and in the government (as if influencing values was the government’s job), yet they have endorsed a man known for racism, sexism, bullying, crassness, dishonesty, greed, and totalitarianism. Obviously none of Trump’s values are Christian values. I sense a bit of hypocrisy on the part of the “evangelical conservatives” who are endorsing him.
Look, the problem with Trump is not that he once said “Two Corinthians” instead of Second Corinthians. That incident was the most ridiculous thing in the world to get mad about. The problem isn’t even that he owns casinos– that’s his prerogative as a businessman in a free market. The problem with Trump is his blatant hypocrisy. He literally said “I have a great relationship with God, but I’ve never asked for forgiveness because I’ve never done anything wrong.” Anyone who’s remotely familiar with the Christian religion knows the ludicrousness of the sentence. The blatant lack of integrity in Trump’s comments should be a red flag to everyone, regardless of your religious beliefs or how much you let your religious beliefs influence your politics.
I definitely don’t think politicians have to be Christians. I don’t even think they should be strictly conservative on every social issue. But we could and should have picked someone less morally bankrupt than Donald Trump. We could and should have picked someone with a shred of basic human decency, integrity, and firm beliefs in equal rights and democracy. If Falwell and Graham and other people who claim to be moral leaders endorse Trump, that says nothing good about the Christian conservative movement in America, and it’s extremely hard to take the movement seriously.