Columns Government & Politics Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion

A court evangelical says what he really thinks

President Trump meets with faith leaders inside the Oval Office on May 3, 2017. Photo by Pastor Mark Burns

One of President Trump’s court evangelicals dropped by for a chat this afternoon. What follows is an edited transcript of our discussion.

CE: Hi, Prof.

MS: Hi, Rev.

CE : You want to give me a hard time about my support for the President, right?

MS: Right.

CE: I don’t have a lot of time, so give it your best shot.

MS: How about we start with Franklin Graham. In 1998, he wrote about President Clinton, “If he will lie to or mislead his wife and daughter, those with whom he is most intimate, what will prevent him from doing the same to the American public?” Now he says that President Trump’s sex life is “nobody’s business.” Quite the double standard, don’t you think?

CE: That’s your best shot? We got into this politics business 40 years ago by rejecting a Baptist Sunday School teacher in favor of a divorcé who never went to church. Graham said what he said about Clinton because Clinton’s a Democrat. Graham said what he said about Trump because Trump’s a Republican. End of story.

MS: So Donald Trump the human being doesn’t bother you?

CE: You mean, Donald Trump the liar, the cheat, the bully, the thoroughly despicable human being who doesn’t have a spiritual bone in his body? Of course he bothers me. I wouldn’t let my 16-old-daughter anywhere near the Oval Office. Every time I leave it I feel like taking a shower.

MS: And yet you never miss an opportunity to kiss his, well, ring?

CE: Works like charm, prof. Did you read what Mike Hayden, the former CIA chief, said in the New York Times Magazine on Sunday? And I quote: “the most benign explanation as to why Trump seems to not criticize Putin is a phrase from the Soviet period: polezni durak, the useful idiot, the sort of person the Kremlin secretly held in contempt but went all out to exploit.”

MS: So you’re saying Trump is your useful idiot?

CE: Exactly. He’s like King Ahasuerus. Esther comes in, gives him what he wants, and poof, the enemies of the Jews are dead. Frankly, Trump’s done a whole lot more for us than he’s done for Putin. Supreme Court Justice, the Jerusalem embassy, religious liberty, the Johnson Amendment.

MS: Actually, he didn’t destroy the the Johnson Amendment like he promised.

CE: Actually, I could care less about the Johnson Amendment. My people will vote Republican whether I do any electioneering from the pulpit or not.

MS: Well, how much do you care about the other issues?

CE: Not all that much, if you want to know the truth. Well, I guess I care about abortion. The thing is, I’ve got a business to run, and nothing puts the fannies in the seats more than having your pastor go to the White House all the time. They just eat it up when I tell them what I told the president and what he said to me.

MS: I can see that.

CE: Listen, I gotta go. One more question.

MS: OK. You’re pre-mil, right?

CE: Right.

MS: Has it ever occurred to you that Trump is the Antichrist?

CE: Not just to me. It’s all over the Internet.

MS: So what do you think Jesus will think of your support for Trump over the past two years?

CE: Oh, I don’t think He’s going to be too bothered by it. The End Times are coming and pretty soon too, I’d say, now that Trump’s gotten us out of that Iran deal. Before you know it, the centrifuges are going to be spinning away again in the Islamic Republic. Come the Rapture, I’m outta here. Can you say the same for yourself?

MS: I’m afraid not, Rev. Thanks for making time in your busy schedule. Have a nice day.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service


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  • Well, at least this Nameless Court Evangelical is honest. What he doesn’t say is how quickly and easily he and all of his evangelical cohorts dropped any and all pretense of maintaining the moral high ground, which they’ve claimed for themselves, and only themselves, ever since Jerry Falwell, Sr. latched his fat, gluttonous self and his movement, the so-called “Moral Majority,” onto Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign.

    What Nameless Court Evangelical won’t admit is that for a generation at least, and probably much longer, young people have been completely turned off to religion because of the hypocrisy of evangelicals, which explains why they’re leaving religion in droves.

    So just like the Republicans onto whom evangelicals have latched themselves, they have sacrificed long-term integrity for short-term political gain. They’ve sold their souls for the proverbial thirty pieces of silver. There are a few (very few) notable exceptions, but they cannot counterbalance the plethora of hypocrites who have left a bad taste in the mouths of the next generation for any form of religion.

    So the question really must be asked of Nameless Court Evangelical, “Was support of Donald Trump really worth it?” If NCE truly cares about the religion he claims to embrace, the honest answer is no.

  • Most Trump’s supporters are satisfied that he is working hard to Make America White Again, which is why they are willing to put into perspective some of his unfortunate personal weaknesses. And just today, he pulled the United States out of the Iran Treaty that was negotiated by THAT BLACK PRESIDENT. So progress is being made.

  • He will find a way to blame immigrants, blacks, hispanics, and women. That’s his MO.

  • The above article doesn’t surprise me. We Christians have a long history of supporting those whose coatails we can ride in on.

  • I was over it election night.

    If the nittering nabobs of negativism would put a sock in it, we could all get on with getting on.

  • When the anti-Christ comes Christians are supposed to defect to him . That’s following the Bible, what’s the objection?

  • Inadequate article. White fundamentallst evangelicals support Trump mainly because of how he is stacking the federal courts with judges aligned with he Fundamentalist Agenda. They can overlook everything else because this will eventually turn America right wing even if the Democrats take back Congress and the Presidency (not likely).

  • he is working hard to Make America White Again

    the devil forbid!

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

  • “to ourselves and our Posterity”

    I don’t see the word “ONLY” in there, but if you say it is, it must be. At least in Roy’sWorld.

  • You obviously are not of the posterity. I’m sorry for you. But… will win. Then you will regret it.

  • “You obviously are not of the posterity”

    Actually, I am. One of my direct ancestors was in the Revolutionary Army. After the war, he took his service pay and bought a tavern that is still there. None of this means that I should not welcome others to share in our good fortune. I’m sorry for you.

  • Ah – the surpassing arrogance of Progressivism on display: “I can see clearly the wellsprings of hatred and bigotry that Conservatives harbor, but conceal from themselves; I can divine their inner motives, and understand them better than they understand themselves.”

    Assuming such oracular powers is either duplicity and distraction or it’s rank naivete’ in taking your own political opinions as psychological insight – but in any case, it’s arrogant presumption.

  • No…no it’s not. It’s one man’s perspective that may have some value, but that’s not the same as “entirely accurate.”

  • Evangelical Christian pretensions of moral high ground and spiritual values are certainly ironic in nature

  • My ancestor was a Huguenot and, as such, he was a religious and political refugee from persecution in Europe. You are right. He would be proud to welcome others to the safety that we can provide.

  • You pay for it. Of course you have no problem that millions are paying for something they don’t want. Let’s see you hypocrites step up to the plate and you fund it all. Have these people live with you and you feed them. You provide for their medical care. You provide for their housing. Etc., etc. It’s ok to steal from others for it………..right.

  • There is ample evidence F. Graham acts out as a jerk and bully in order to justify his daddy issues.

  • So, yes – you do claim to know him better than he knows himself. Point made, point affirmed, point attested to. Thank you.

  • Longer, but more to the point: Spuddie’s chasing another rhetorical irrelevancy. Oh well…

  • It was a dumping…& a fully deserved one. It’s a declaration that your imaginary “point” (such as it was) wasn’t worth chasing — or, frankly, even attending to.

  • Yeah – that was kind of my point about your initial comment: there’s really nothing there, and pointing that out was the gist of my response – AKA the “dumping.” How you react to being dumped is entirely up to you.

  • This was pretty funny. Good job! The message will, of course, be lost on the true believers in the Church of Trump.

  • 1) If this is fabricated sarcasm, it should say so.
    2) If it is not, the people sitting under CE’s leadership are in terrible delusion.

  • there’s an old saying: throw a rock into a pack of dogs and the one you hit with the rock is going to be the one who yelps.