Skip to content

Religious Wrong

Matt Wuerker
© Matt Wuerker

The George W Bush administration courted the religious right, but then pretty much ignored them. At the time I concluded that Dubya was playing the religious right for fools.

But watching how the “religious” right fell in line behind Trump is changing my opinion. Just look at Trump. Can you imagine anyone less religious? When was the last time he even attended a church?

He may be the least religious person imaginable. He breaks the ten commandments for breakfast, and then brags about enjoying the seven deadly sins after lunch. Graven images? check (of himself of course). Stealing? check (from his subcontractors). Adultery and coveting his neighbor’s wife? check and check. Bearing false witness? only when his mouth is moving. Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride sound like Trump’s tweeted version of his resume. Trump spent the 1990s throwing large parties featuring cocaine, older men, young girls (as young as 14 and 15), and “sex, a lot of sex”.

It seems like it is the leaders of the religious right — people like Ralph Reed, Jerry Falwell Jr., Tony Perkins, and Pat Robertson — who have been playing their followers for fools all along.

Even conservatives have noticed this. Conservative site Townhall has an interesting article titled “How the Religious Right Embraced Donald Trump and Lost its Moral Authority“.

Townhall points out the obvious hypocrisy of Ralph Reed, who during Bill Clinton’s impeachment declared that “we will not rest until we have leaders of good moral character”. Reed now chairs Trumps religious advisory board, and dismissed the tape of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women as not an “important concern”.

And Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, who endorsed Trump saying “Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught”. Even Donald Trump wouldn’t believe that.

In 2011 a poll asked white evangelicals if they agree that immoral politicians can still fulfill their duties. Only 30% said yes. But the same question was asked last month of the same people, and 72% said yes.

Hopefully, the rampant hypocrisy of the religious right will bring about their own demise. Already a civil war has broken out between supporters of Trump and the growing contingent of “Never Trump” religious leaders, as evangelical voters are starting to ignore their leaders and reconsider their support for Trump.

I mean, what is a religious voter to do when faced with “a thrice-married, epically greedy, congenitally dishonest serial adulterer who exalts the rich while heaping scorn upon the vulnerable.” And who is clearly playing the religious right for rubes.

I’ll just be happy if we get back to the old days when religious leaders kept out of politics most of the time.



  1. Hassan wrote:

    Well, it may not be as straight forward as it seems. “Perhaps” their logic is that given following candidates:

    1. Extremely unreligious, violating every morality possible as a person, extremely jerk, will never be friend in person, yet as a president he “may” appoint judges and favor laws that are more morally acceptable and can advance the causes that they hold dear.

    2. Very decent religious person, morally fine, there may be few questionable items (corruption), but overall good person to be friends with, yet as a president will for sure appoint judges and favor laws that will be definitely not morally acceptable and will hurt the causes that they hold dear.

    Please note the quotes to express my doubts as I do not know what they are thinking. But it reminds me that someone asked Imam Malik (classical muslim scholar, google him) that who is better leader for nation, a person who is devout worshipper and very morally upright but does not have political or governing skills, vs. a person who is “faasiq” (does not worship, far from religion, not morally upright) but is skilled at governing and administration. Imam Malik replied the second one, because the worshipper worship benefits only him and his lack of skills will hurt nation, while the bad guy badness is his personal and his governing skills will help the nation.

    Of course not exactly applicable to Trump because neither is he morally upright nor skilled to govern. The religious right needs to think harder whether Trump’s benefits (supreme court nominee) is worth the risk for destruction of everything else.

    Friday, October 28, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, I think you are just agreeing with my view that religious leaders should stay the hell out of politics.

    Friday, October 28, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink
  3. Marufo wrote:

    I’m afraid you may be unaware of the weirdness of the fundamentalist Christian right. I suggest you check this out.

    Here are some quotes from the article…

    Charisma News Charisma Podcast Network MEV Bible Charisma Magazine New Man SpiritLed Woman Ministry Today


    Why I Believe Trump Is the Prophesied President
    2:30PM EDT 10/5/2016 Lance Wallnau

    (Gino Santa Maria; Joseph Sohm)

    You have to wonder, what is it about Donald Trump that frightens liberals, media, academia and the establishment class in politics? Those who see Donald as a hateful, unstable, shallow, boisterous billionaire need to consider whether they are responding to the man and what he actually says or reacting to the man’s caricature.

    Barack Obama deliberately ran as a blank canvas. Trump is the opposite. He is in some strange way a mirror that reflects whatever you are. Some people “get” him and others don’t—and those who “don’t” never will.

    The real spirit of this conflict is laid bare if you read the 51-page Democrat Party platform. It’s the manifesto Hillary Clinton is expected to enforce if she becomes president. In Hillary’s America, we would undergo the final phase of Obama’s radical, socialist cultural transformation with astonishing speed. They call this revolution a “reset.” And just one man stands in its path.

    When I first heard Donald Trump speak, he was returning from a trip to Iowa where he met evangelicals. Asked what he thought about them, he replied, “Well, they’re interesting.” He sounded like he had encountered a rare bird species never seen in Manhattan.

    With 16 candidates running, and many of them strong Christians, it didn’t seem likely Trump, the business man outsider, would go far. But I heard the Lord say: “Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness.”

    Immediately I began to wonder what God was doing. Could this odd man out be the unpredictable instrument of God for a nation entering what the authors of The Fourth Turning call the crucible—a cycle of American history where we are put to the ultimate test?

    Soros or Cyrus: Your Choice

    When the Lord spoke to me about Trump as a wrecking ball, I sensed Trump was about to break up the narrative driving the nation. In that moment, the media was highlighting gender change with Bruce Jenner, safe places on campuses and riots in Ferguson. The terms “homophobia” and “islamophobia” were being attached like a scarlet letter to anyone who had concerns or convictions out of sync with popular opinion. No politicians were talking about borders.

    While evangelicals were walking on eggshells, Trump took over the conversation and has dominated it ever since. Unlike any candidate in electoral history, Trump has shaken up the establishment in media and politics. Until Trump arrived, a handful of insiders held the undisputed power to prop one contender up or take an unruly voice down. As the media found out, they can only break you if they make you. They didn’t make Donald.

    As I traveled to Trump Tower, I wondered, “How far will this wrecking ball go? Why would God choose Trump when so many true conservatives and Christians were already running? Is Trump an interruption to God’s plan, or is the battle for America changing in a way we haven’t caught up with?”

    We’ve been losing the culture war decisively for the last decade, largely because we never knew how it was fought in the first place. Christians represent a sufficient number in America to impact the nation. Why do we fail?

    I’ve researched this topic for 20 years and keep coming back to a conclusion my colleagues and I don’t like—namely, culture isn’t shaped the way we thought. We assumed culture is a reflection of the values of the majority of the people. If you can turn the majority, you can tip the culture—or so we thought. The truth is, a relative few shape the culture, a remnant of elites in proximity to power. This is why you can’t evangelize a nation into transformation.

    Christians already outnumber other groups but keep losing influence. To put it in Christian terms, a remnant of gatekeepers who sit at the culture-shaping gates of influence are making the greatest impact. This powerful elite is made up of dense, overlapping networks located and largely concentrated in the coastal cities and distributed among the peak institutions of government, law, academia, journalism, banking and entertainment—institutions that touch us all. It’s a revolutionary distinction. Revival ignites from the bottom up, but cultural reformation solidifies from the top down. You must occupy the gates!

    Christians by and large are not concentrated in these heights. This explains why a remnant in the progressive left has succeeded so radically since President Obama came to power, true to Jesus’ saying: “For the sons of this world are wiser in their own generation than the sons of light” (Luke 16:8). Put simply, evangelicals and charismatics are a large but disjointed group. We don’t work together and we don’t occupy key “gates” in the high places of opinion shaping.

    In spite of this, Trump sees this group as critically important.

    By putting America first and building a people movement, Trump becomes a wild card that messes up the elite globalists’ insider game. Whatever you bow to on the way up the mountain controls you at the top. Hillary Clinton comes to the top of the political mountain with 1,000 strings (attached to 30,000 missing emails) where Trump comes with none. This is why the lawless Left and establishment Republicans don’t trust him. He’s not tied into the system.

    How will the Left accomplish their final “reset” for America?

    The winner of this election will have the power to appoint three or four more Supreme Court Justices. To use a J.R.R. Tolkien analogy, this is the “one ring to rule them all.” The winner has power to protect our constitutional freedoms or alter the meaning of the Constitution and punish, prosecute and persecute the opposition for the next 40 years. If Democrats win, the court will be the rubber stamp behind the radical “reset.”

    As Hugh Hewitt, a law professor and media commentator, says: “Every issue, every issue, will end up there, and the legislature’s judgments will matter not a bit. So vote for Hillary Clinton (or sit it out) and then prepare for the deluge of court-ordered solutions to every social problem, bench-drawn congressional districts and extraordinary deference to every agency of the federal government combined with a sweeping away of federalism.”

    Traditional Judeo-Christian morality doesn’t exist. Moral relativism that judges morality itself has replaced it. This is the ultimate spoil of the culture war, the power to define the meaning of words. Hence, the meanings of “marriage” and “gender” have already changed and are just the beginning of a whole new vocabulary. Soon freedom of speech itself will fall under the scornful branding of “hate speech.” Sound unrealistic? Watch what a progressive Supreme Court comes up with for laws!

    Spiritual warfare is all about whose version of reality becomes manifest on the Earth. Christians are about to make a big mistake in this election cycle if they buy into the wrong narrative about Trump. Our choice is now George Soros or Cyrus.

    Trump the Billionaire Businessman

    My first meeting with Trump was Dec. 30, 2015, in the boardroom on the 26th floor of Trump Tower. Most of those attending did not know each other personally prior to the meeting. It was a rather eclectic sampling of evangelicals, a group within the larger self-described “Christian” community that makes up nearly 30 percent of the American population, some 30 million potential voters.

    It is not easily noticed on TV, but Trump is a big guy. I don’t just mean in terms of personality. He is physically tall at 6 foot, 3 inches. Add heels and hair, and he grows another inch. His personal style is more restrained than the man you see on a platform or in an interview. He was gracious, nonconfrontational and surprisingly open to “give and take.”

    I got the impression that Trump takes in information quickly but filters it equally fast to distinguish one idea from another. It’s an executive skill I’ve noticed in CEOs in whatever field I meet them. They are avid fact-finders with a built-in filter separating superficial ideas from ideas with substance. As individuals spoke, he read them and weighed their relative power within the group.

    A Messianic Rabbi sitting near me said, “Your comments don’t always represent you in the best light. People want to know you have a presidential temperament. They want to know that you are a person they can trust with a finger on a nuclear button.” Trump pursed his lips in characteristic fashion, nodded thoughtfully and said, “I hear you.”

    When the conversation turned to some of the more heated exchanges of the campaign, Trump explained, “You know, people aren’t aware of what is coming at me … what I am responding to, like the storm that broke out when I took a stand on immigration. It can get pretty vicious. You don’t always know the backstory. I can say this, I never punch indiscriminately. I’m a counter puncher … but I fully hear what you are saying. I know where you’re coming from.”

    Several of us exchanged glances. There was no denial and no need to drill deeper on the subject. Equally, there was no flippant or disingenuous commitment to change. He would do as occasion required—until he clinched the nomination.

    One significant difference between this meeting and Trump’s earlier encounter with Iowa evangelicals was the presence of a number of African-American ministers. Almost to a man, they described to me the backlash they encountered for even being willing to meet with a Republican. It was interesting to watch the interaction.

    In contrast to the rabbi, Bishop Darrell Scott of Ohio said, “I wouldn’t change a thing. Be you and keep being consistent. That’s what people like about you. You’re not playing politics.”

    Trump looked around the boardroom table and laughed. “So you’re saying, ‘Don’t change’? Well, that’s interesting!” Darrell replied, “Right! People would see you change and know it isn’t you. You would start to look political, and that would make you look like everyone else. Just be you! I came here with an open mind. To my way of thinking, there are three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial. You are clearly gifted for the executive branch. That’s what you do.”

    Trump the Christian Sympathizer

    As our meeting continued, I was surprised to find that Trump actually knew some of the preachers and teachers in the room, not because he had met them but because he had watched their TV programs. Media is one of his domains. He is very much dialed in on all sorts of TV programming, including Christian programming.

    Trump casually shared, “I was going around the dial last night and ran into Politically Incorrect.” This is the popular left-wing HBO talk show that comedian Bill Maher hosts. “It’s amazing how antagonistic they are about people of faith. It was painful to watch … wasn’t always like this in America,” Trump said. Turning to TBN’s Jan Crouch, he asked, “This seems to have been going on for a while hasn’t it?” We all agreed.

    Trump scanned the room and said, “I think we had such a long period of Christian consensus in our culture and we kind of got … spoiled. Is that the right word?” Then he turned the tables on us and said something shocking: “Every other ideological group in the country has a voice. If you don’t mind me saying so, you guys have gotten soft.”

    Ouch! That’s the line I won’t forget. Then in a moment of reflection, he corrected himself, “I mean, we, myself included, we’ve had it easy as Christians for a long time in America. That’s been changing.”

    From Trump’s perspective, Christian leaders are a people living in fear of having opinions. Subsequent to this meeting, he proposed lifting the Lyndon Johnson ban on churches discussing politics that hangs like an IRS sword over the heads of churches in America. The truth is, even if it’s lifted, pastors fear offending their flock.

    What he said next may have been lost on others, but it hit me in a particularly striking way: “People who identify themselves as ‘Christian’ make up probably the single largest constituency in the country, but there is absolutely no unity, no punch … not in political consensus or any other area I can see.”

    When the meeting broke up, I went home feeling certain there is some sort of anointing on this man, but I couldn’t get my head wrapped around where he fit, nor could I figure out the purpose for me being in that meeting. That was when the next unexpected download hit me!

    A Prophetic Picture of President Trump

    I was updating some random social-media activity when I ran across a simple PowerPoint showing Trump seated in the Oval Office with the words “Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States.” The image made a peculiar impression on my mind. I was dazed. Literally no one was thinking this would be a possibility, but I was sensing this was more than some random Facebook meme. It was a prophetic picture. It struck me the same way the “wrecking ball” word did.

    I heard the Spirit impress upon my mind, “Read Isaiah 45.” To be honest, I didn’t recall what the chapter was about. I opened a Bible and began to read, “Thus saith the Lord to Cyrus whom I’ve anointed.”

    Cyrus? I thought. Who is he in relation to all this? I recalled that he was a heathen king who was indispensable to the protection of the Jews, but I was, frankly, confused as to what God was saying.

    With 16 candidates running, many of whom are evangelicals, why would God talk about Cyrus? I quickly looked up the number of the next president. I confirmed that Barack Obama is number 44. The next president will indeed be number 45. I kept reading Isaiah 45…

    The commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem starts with Cyrus’ decree recorded in Ezra 1:1-4 to rebuild the house of the Lord. It was this “Cyrus decree” that worked its way through King Darius and King Artaxerxes until Nehemiah commenced his task to rebuild the wall surrounding Jerusalem.

    This Should Make You Stop and Wonder

    These two phrases, “the house” and “the wall,” should make believers stop and wonder. This is a direct promise to the church and restoration to society. The controversy over “building the wall” in current-day politics is more symbolic than people think. What do walls represent in the Bible? Proverbs 25:28 says “He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.”

    America has become a nation without walls, a nation without self-government…

    This is the proposition I give to Christians who are dispirited by the failure of their favorite candidate to capture the nomination: Don’t ask, “Who is the most Christian?” Instead ask, “Who is the one anointed for the task?”

    Trump is not a perfect man or a flawless candidate. But I do believe I’ve heard God.

    Friday, October 28, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    Nothing surprises me anymore about a religious cult stuck in the Bronze Age trying to navigate the 21st Century. In this most recent turn, God mysteriously commands them to follow the Bronze Man with the Golden Rug, and never mind the potty mouth and tiny groping hands. Just this once, true believers. They are endlessly struggling to fit a past they don’t really know, but can only read about in verse and prayer, into a modern world they can never be satisfied with because it is never godly enough. Almost reminds me of the extremists from another major religion…

    If they really had the courage of their convictions, they would reject both parties outright and go their own way, start their own party perhaps, or at least sit this one out. But feeling obliged or compelled over the years to weigh in with the political status quo, it’s ironic they would hitch their wagon to a party that would rather flip the finger than lend a helping hand. Go figure.

    Like that character, old Frederick, in the Woody Allen movie “Hannah and Her Sisters” puts it, “But the worst are the fundamentalist preachers. Third grade con men telling the poor suckers that watch them that they speak with Jesus, and to please send in money. Money, money, money! If Jesus came back and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

    Friday, October 28, 2016 at 9:34 pm | Permalink
  5. Ralph wrote:

    Oops, there goes my computer again. I take full blame, responsibility and claim all copyrights and wrongs to comment #4 above.

    Good night and Go Cubs!

    Friday, October 28, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. Political Irony › More Religious Hypocrisy on Monday, October 31, 2016 at 8:28 am

    […] recently reported about the utter hypocrisy of the religious right. Here’s another blatant […]