Here is a taste:
Robert P. Jones, author of “The End of White Christian America” observes, “I think Falwell, Jr.’s defense of President Trump’s recent remarks is unsurprising. If there’s anything surprising about Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Council over the last week, it’s that anyone resigned.” He explains that “like most things in the Trump orbit, the committee is mostly constituted as a Trump fan club rather than a group that broadly represents the major entities in the evangelical world and who might be conduits of concern on these issues. Loyalty, not moral guidance or prophetic voice, is the coin of the realm.” Even worse, he reminds us, “Given white evangelicals’ own checkered past supporting segregation and remaining silent about white supremacy groups (something I covered in my book), there may in fact be widespread agreement with Trump’s remarks.”
Falwell’s intellectual dishonesty — the president must know something we don’t! — and refusal to apply religious (or even secular) values to Trump’s ratcheting up of racial tension would be something you’d expect from a sleazy politician, not a religious or academic leader. (“But at least he’s not politically correct; he’s not so concerned about rehearsing and focus grouping every statement he makes and that’s one of the reasons I supported him.”) The debasement of so many Christian conservatives, who could call for Trump to practice self-reflection on matters of tolerance and national unity, may be one of Trump’s lasting legacies. Quite simply, who’s going to take these people seriously in the future?
David French, an evangelical Christian, veteran of the Iraq War, constitutional litigator and columnist, sees a familiar pattern. “At this point nothing surprises me from Falwell,” he told me. “Remember, this is the guy who posed with the grin and thumbs-up right in front of Trump’s Playboy cover.” French observed, “Like many of Trump’s most zealous Evangelical supporters, he’s not making arguments. He’s just offering an unconditional, mindless defense — and grounding it all in opposition to political correctness.”
The decision to pursue access and power, to act as political advocates for Trump rather than as spiritual leaders, has stripped the religious right of any claim to the moral high ground. Instead of amplifying the worst traits in our political debate — rapid partisanship, angry populism, tribalism and blind xenophobia — they might consider challenging, not defending, the purveyor in chief of racial animosity and xenophobia.
Read the entire piece here.