“Character counts,” argued many Christian pastors during the Clinton presidency. They believed Clinton was morally unfit to be president based on Biblical standards. In their estimation, he was a draft-dodging, drug using, dishonest womanizer. Now, many of these same people have endorsed the most morally repugnant and un-Christ like person to ever occupy the office of president. This man has had multiple affairs while married including with a playboy bunny and a porn star. He has bragged about his bravery in risking acquiring a sexually transmitted disease while avoiding service in Vietnam. He brought the first strip club to Atlantic City’s casinos and he has proudly admitted to being a sexual predator.
Trump has violated every tenet of the teachings of Jesus Christ. His policies have been directly aimed at harming the poor, the sick and the immigrants among us. He has certainly failed to follow the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Trump Administration’s Office of Refugee Resettlement has even acknowledged the shockingly immoral practice of separating hundreds of children from their parents at the U.S. border. Over one hundred of these children were under the age of 4.
White evangelicals gave Trump 81 percent of their votes and his approval among that group remains at 75 percent. At least some evangelicals tried to hold Trump to the same standards that were applied to Clinton. Before the election and even before the release of the Access Hollywood tape, Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, offered this comparison: “Conservative Evangelicals were very quick to criticize Bill Clinton for his sexual infidelities and furthermore to make the open argument that Bill Clinton’s fitness for office had been undermined in terms of the office of the presidency by his sexual misbehavior. But today we see some of those same Evangelical leaders endorsing a presidential candidate who boasts of his sexual decadence. What we saw back in the 1990s was an act of basic solidarity amongst Evangelicals and understanding of the centrality of character to leadership and of character, including character when it comes to even sexual morality as a matter that was essential to the credibility that was required of one who would hold a major position of leadership, in particular, one who would be elected president of the United States. If I were to support, much less endorse, Donald Trump in terms of his candidacy as President I would have to, I believe, go back and apologize to former President Bill Clinton but that would mean that back during the 1990s and during his scandals I was wrong. I don’t believe I was. I don’t believe evangelicals [who] stood united at that time were wrong.”
In a diplomatically stupid and needlessly provocative move, Trump moved the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem inflaming the violence in the region. On the day the embassy was dedicated, more than 60 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,200 were wounded, by the Israeli military, at the Gaza border. That day marked the 70-year anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish nation. Palestinians recognize that time as the day of their displacement known as Nakba Day or the Day of Catastrophe. The contrasting views of the move were stark and shows why the United States will never be accepted as a fair arbiter of the dispute, now. Safa Yasin, 19, a Palestinian citizen of Israel told USA Today that moving the embassy “cements Israeli control over Jerusalem” and shows disregard for the rights of the Palestinian people. Elisha Haas, an Israeli biophysics professor said: “I came here to say thank you to President Trump.” He showed no sympathy for the Palestinians who were shot. “I don’t care how many are killed because they are using these protests to terrorize Israel. The despair of Gaza is fake news.”
Trump would have been hard pressed to send two worse preachers to the embassy dedication than John Hagee and Robert Jeffress. Hagee is the nut job who believed God sent Adolf Hitler so the Jewish people would return to Israel to fulfill biblical prophecy. In fact, in Hagee’s telling Hitler was working with the Catholic Church: “Most readers will be shocked by the clear record of history linking Adolf Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church in a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews,” he said.
The Holocaust happened, Hagee explained: “Because God allowed it to happen, because God said, ‘my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.’” Hagee had interpreted God’s plan from scripture: “God says in Jeremiah 16: ‘Behold, I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave to their fathers… Behold, I will send for many fishers, and after will I send for many hunters. And they the hunters shall hunt them.’ That would be the Jews… Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.” This foolishness was enough to convince John McCain to reject Hagee’s endorsement in 2008.
Robert Jeffress is the pastor of the 12,000 member First Baptist Church in Dallas. Jeffress says that “Hell is going to be filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ. This includes Jews, Muslims and Buddhists. He has also classified Mormonism as a cult and said that Mitt Romney is not a Christian. Jeffress doesn’t think much of the Catholic Church either, saying: “The early church was corrupted by this Babylonian mystery religion and today the Roman Catholic Church is the result of that corruption. Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn’t come from God’s word. It comes from that cult-like, pagan religion… Isn’t that the genius of Satan? If you want to counterfeit a dollar bill, you don’t do it with purple paper and red ink. You’re not going to fool anybody with that. But if you want to counterfeit money, what you do is make it look closely related to the real thing as possible. And that’s what Satan does with counterfeit religion. He uses, he steals, he appropriates all the symbols of true biblical Christianity and he changes it just enough in order to cause people to miss eternal life.”
Jeffress was an early endorser of Donald Trump. He said of Republicans who vowed to never support Trump: “I think the Bible has a word for people like that - it’s fools,” he told the Christian Post. He also admitted that he would vote for Donald Trump over Jesus Christ: “You know, I was debating an evangelical professor on NPR, and this professor said, ‘Pastor, don’t you want a candidate who embodies the teaching of Jesus and would govern this country according to the principles found in the Sermon on the Mount?’” Jeffress said. “I said, ‘Heck no.’ I would run from that candidate as far as possible, because the Sermon on the Mount was not given as a governing principle for this nation.”
Jeffress sounds decidedly un-Christian in his rejection of the peaceful teachings of Jesus: “Government is to be a strongman to protect its citizens against evildoers. When I’m looking for somebody who’s going to deal with ISIS and exterminate ISIS, I don’t care about that candidate’s tone or vocabulary, I want the meanest, toughest, son of a you-know-what I can find—and I believe that’s biblical.”
Shortly before the election, the non-profit journalistic organization, Christianity Today issued a warning to Christians about Trump: “Evangelicals, of all people, should not be silent about Donald Trump’s blatant immorality.” The editorial goes on to say seemingly in response to the attitude expressed by Jeffress: “Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord. They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us - in hope, almost certainly a vain hope given his mendacity and record of betrayal, that his rule will save us.”