Over at The Atlantic, religion writer Emma Green covers the court evangelical response to Trump’s Charlottesville comments. (I should add that Green does not use the phrase “court evangelical”). Good to see Noah Toly of Wheaton College quoted in this piece.
Here is a taste:
Critics of the council see this as the problem: Evangelical leaders are willing to explain away anything Trump does, even when he creates controversy and potentially exacerbates painful situations. “I think a lot of his advisory council members right now are in the business of enabling,” said Noah Toly, a professor of politics and director of the Center for Urban Engagement at Wheaton College, an evangelical school outside of Chicago. Along with a small group of colleagues, Toly spearheaded a letter from Wheaton faculty condemning the white supremacy on display in Charlottesville. “If the advisory council were perceived to exist in order to challenge the president on important issues, not just to send out a few tweets … I might think differently,” he told me. “But it seems to me, and I think a lot of other evangelicals, that the advisory council exists to legitimize the presidency in the eyes of the evangelical base.”
[Trump supporter Tony] Suarez argued that much of the council’s work is invisible: When evangelical leaders talk with the president, they don’t make those conversations public, because that wouldn’t be appropriate. “I can tell you there have been legitimate, straight meetings where we delve into these issues,” he told me. “There is an open door from the Oval Office to be able to express praise, criticism, and concern to the president. And he receives it.” Suarez also confirmed that evangelical advisers were in touch with the White House as the situation in Charlottesville unfolded.
Read the entire piece here.