Memos Show Trump's Plan to Pander to Evangelicals Early

The Christian right (of which I’m one) are not infallible. We mess up. We use poor judgment, and even employ reasoning of the flesh to convince ourselves that some of our bad decisions are not so bad, after all.

Thank God for a risen Savior.

With that in mind, I have to advise against the practice of doubling down on mistakes, rather than denying the consequences, right up to the door of destruction.

You have been duped, Evangelicals.

From Buzzfeed News comes a report of how the Donald Trump campaign set out to dupe the evangelical voters early on. Recently obtained memos from July of 2015 tell the tale.

“The audience is CHRISTIAN SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES,” the Trump adviser wrote on the eve of the the 2015 Family Leadership Summit in Iowa. “They are open to your candidacy but NEED TO KNOW that their issues are IMPORTANT TO YOU.”

Do you remember the setting, when Frank Luntz, moderator of the event, asked Trump if he was saved and his response was that he didn’t bring God into it?

Yeah. That.

On the issue of abortion, one memo urged, “Unless you are specifically asked, it is not beneficial to state that you support the exceptions of life of the mother, rape, and incest.” Another suggested that Trump “DEFLECT” any debate questions about school prayer by saying, “I employ thousands of individuals and make sure my employees have the freedom to express their faith however they see fit.” If asked whether he believed in “creationism or evolution,” an adviser suggested the candidate respond, “I believe in both” — and then added in a parenthetical, “(Mr. Trump — we may want to follow up on this.)”

Coached.

Christians supporting Trump need to get that through their heads. His paid advisors told him early how to pander to the Christian right.

Not that they seem to care, shockingly enough.

But in fact, some devout detractors argue, the real threat Trump poses to the conservative Christian movement may be in just how many of his god-fearing supporters know exactly what they’re getting. Never before has the Republican Party nominated a standard-bearer so nakedly illiterate on religious matters — and so unwilling to even pretend.

Eric Teetsel, who served as a faith adviser to Marco Rubio, noted that during the GOP primaries Trump performed best with evangelicals who did not regularly attend church, and tended to repel more religious voters. Since Trump clinched the nomination, that distinction has all but vanished.

“Those Bible-reading evangelicals may be somewhere on a scale of enthusiastic support to almost devastated resignation…but they really are mostly voting for Donald Trump,” he said.

I almost get those Christians who stood against him in the beginning, but now feel they have no choice.

Almost.

However, there is nothing about him that should give any Christian hope that he will be a more faith-friendly candidate than Hillary Clinton. The debacle of the GOP convention should have settled that, outright.

Unlike Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, or even Governor Rick Perry, who could easily speak of their faith and Christianity as seasoned, passionate believers, Trump needed pointers, and still couldn’t get it completely right – so he wrote a few checks and held up a Bible.

Teetsel went on to call Trump a liar, warning that he would burn Christians, as he has burned everyone else in his life.

He’s right, but none of that has prompted Christians to rethink their vile allegiance to the flesh.

While it’s true that Trump has, however haltingly, found his way into alignment with the religious right this year, it’s less clear how many of those voters are actually convinced of his “genuineness.” At times, Trump’s pitch to evangelicals has had an almost winking quality to it — particularly during the early primaries, when he could be seen brandishing a Bible during speeches, or swaying to “Amazing Grace” at church services, or grandly doling out giant cardboard charity checks onstage alongside his holy-rolling super-surrogate Jerry Falwell Jr.

“At least he’s not Hillary” is all his supporters can muster. That, along with a few weak slogans, and the hope of who they want him to be, rather than who he has shown himself to be, time and again, spurs them into stupefied acquiescence to this adulterous charlatan.

With Antonin Scalia’s sudden death earlier this year, control of the Supreme Court has become a popular justification for supporting Trump. Wear said the candidate won over many evangelicals looking for an excuse to vote for him when he released a list of potential nominees in May. His selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a mainstream social conservative, as his running mate also helped. But Trump’s greatest advantage in wooing the religious right, Wear said, is probably his opponent.

“It’s saddening to many who have built this movement to see it prop up someone like Donald Trump,” he said. “But disliking Hillary Clinton is basically a supplement to the Nicene Creed for many evangelicals.”

Hillary Clinton is, indeed, awful. It scares me to death to think of her in office, but I was never fooled by Trump, and I know he would not be any better for Christians or this nation, as a whole.

“When the righteous are in authority and become great, the people rejoice;
But when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh.”
Proverbs 29:2 AMP