All is not desolate among American Evangelicals, as there are still some willing to speak with a moral clarity, not present among those who have drank deeply of Trump’s bath water.
I wrote earlier this week about the disappointment and betrayal of Christian principles displayed by so-called Evangelical “leaders,” Tony Perkins and Franklin Graham.
Both men have put their politics over the faith they have claimed to hold, doing much to damage their witness to a world that needs to see them as an example of the faith done right. We cannot be a light in the world if we offer them nothing different than the same hypocrisy, abuse, and scandal that they see every day.
Defending Trump’s numerous scandals and sins, simply for a few political gains is NOT godly. It shows their faith and obedience to God is conditional, at best.
Yeah, God won’t be put in a box and trotted out as a showpiece, at their convenience.
Another who shares my obvious disappointment is Jerushah Armfield, niece of Franklin Graham.
Armfield appeared on CNN Friday night, and she laid it out so perfectly.
“In order to forgive somebody, that individual needs to repent and apologize. And I don’t think America has seen that from our President in any scenario,” said Jerushah Armfield on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
Someone who has spent his entire life steeped in selfishness and sin, with no moral authority figure willing to stand against the sin and hold him accountable will continue in that sin. These faith leaders are content to let Trump’s soul burn because of a few policy points they agree with.
When asked to expand on her thoughts about Trump’s “sh*thole countries” comment, Armfield, again, showed far more courage than her uncle.
“I think a lot of times people seem to be focusing on the language that he used, which really wasn’t the issue,” said Armfield. She referred to other evangelical Christians — including her uncle Franklin Graham, who defended Trump’s language in a CNN interview earlier this week — and it’s her feeling that word choice was not Trump’s biggest error.
“I think it was the context of what he said, around the language that he used,” she noted, adding “I think it was the disheartening, dehumanizing comments that were said around the word.”
She’s exactly right. It wasn’t about the dirty word, as many have tried to point out. It was about the attitude and what the entirety of his comments were meant to convey: Poor countries have people of lower worth, while richer nations have a better class of people.
Christians know that ALL are made in the image of a holy God, and all are loved and treasured deeply by the same God. When you trash the worth of one, it grieves our God. Perkins and Graham should know this.
How many of those so-called “sh*thole countries” has Graham visited with his Samaritan’s Purse, but once back in the States, he’s comfortable with seeing them condemned by the president?
It’s hypocrisy, most vile.
“I understand a lot of evangelicals supporting him because of his policies,” she said. “I’d love to see a Christian leader come out and say that they support Trump for his policies, but that his behavior disgusts them, and he needs to clean up his act.”
You can agree and even express gratitude for some of the things he’s doing, but none of those things will get him into Heaven. Ultimately, his soul and the souls of the lost who are hurt or offended by his behavior, as well as the fealty Evangelicals are showing him is so much more important than any good policy.
“My president doesn’t have to be a Christian … I just don’t want him to be held up as the poster boy for Christian evangelical because he doesn’t represent most of us.”
Another point well made. I was willing to vote for “the Mormon,” Mitt Romney. I wasn’t thrilled, because of his squishy, moderate policies, but he’s also a good man, with good character. I didn’t have a problem voting for him.
And Trump does not represent our faith. His behavior and attitude is antithetical to Christian teaching, and the casual attitude towards it by “leaders,” such as Perkins and Graham only serves to blemish the reputation of Christianity at a critical time in our world’s history. We’re moving further away from God, not closer. Being the kind of examples needed to offer an alternative to a sinful, lost world should be the top priority of pastors, preachers, ministers, and theologians, right now.
Kudos to Jerushah Armfield for being willing to go and speak openly, with such reasoned and grace-filled clarity, even if it means speaking in opposition to her famous uncle.
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) January 27, 2018