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What will it take for Trump Evangelicals to Become Appalled?

Wed, Sep. 27, 2017 Posted: 07:32 AM

Speaking out on ESPN, an “appalled” Rex Ryan said “I am associated with [Trump] because I introduced him, I supported him.” But overcome by an overwhelming sense of buyer’s remorse, he said, “I never signed up for that.”

That being the very divisive, and racially tinged comments Trump made about the NFL and its players regarding athletes protesting while the National Anthem is being played. Trump could not help himself during a campaign stop in Alabama in support of a candidate to replace Jeff Sessions, when he blurted out that the NFL should fire those “S.O.Bs” (use your imagination for what that stands for). That seemed to have crossed a line because it is seen as an attack on the mothers of NFL players, as well.

Ryan, a former NFL coach who campaigned with and introduced Trump during the 2016 election season, said he does not want to be associated with Trump’s comment. He coached several NFL teams during his tenure and added that the men he worked with - the guys in the locker room, are not who Trump characterized them to be. He has had enough. Now he is doing all he can to extricate himself from the Trump universe.

Somewhere within the collective conscience of Trump evangelical supporters, there must be a sense moral outrage. Why? Because regardless of the professed utilitarian motive behind their support (and their naïve hope that he would become more presidential once in office), Donald Trump has grown more uncontrollable, more unstable, more narcissistic, and more morally uncouth. Add to that, his comfort with stoking racial division and consistent lying, and we have as our President, the most malicious and ungodly person to hold the office.

Ryan at least expressed remorse and made a public break from the comments, while embracing those NFL players lambasted by Trump. He at least made a public moral stand. Even Tom Brady, New England Patriots star quarterback and Trump’s friend, said that Trump was divisive. You do not have to be a critic of the President to tell him that he is wrong.

So, where is the evidence of evangelicals’ godly conscience? What will it take for them to be appalled at this man? People need to see and know that evangelicals care about more than just political empowerment.

Alas, they continue to support him, even criticizing those who dare to stand up against his moral atrocities and lack of decorum. They praise his disrespect of other world leaders, and laud his propensity for name-calling, and extol his puerile response to world issues. It is therefore expected that they are associated with him and his comments, and whatever he does.

That ought to be disconcerting to the broader Church community because of the reproach it brings on the Gospel and on the name of our God. “For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,’ as it is written” Romans 2:24).

Make no mistake, evangelicals, (and unfortunately, the Church), are being judged by the world because they are associated with Trump. And if there is a modicum of honesty left in them, they cannot say society is merely being biased against the church and against religion. This is not reducible to cultural differences or a war against the freedom of religion. They have given enough evidence by their actions. They are demonstrating that their years of moralizing on social issues was pure hypocrisy. They are demonstrating that at their core they are no different from those they condemn morally (Romans 1:29-32; 2:21-23).

There is too little moral outrage expressed by evangelicals to matter in the broader scheme of things. A few voices have emerged, but they are drowned out by the actions of evangelicals overall. They not only embraced, but have cocooned themselves in the Trump universe. They pupate in that immoral universe, perhaps thinking that it will turn out okay in the end, but their transformation will result in a stinky moth instead of a beautiful butterfly.

Marvin Thompson