This looks like it will be a good podcast. The first episode is titled
“Trumpevangelicals and the Divided States of America.” The guest is Eric Metaxas, a guy who we have spent some time writing about here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home.
A few highlights:
- Merritt calls Metaxas “the thinking man’s evangelical.” Many would beg to differ. His book on Bonhoeffer, the work that apparently gave him the “thinking man” moniker, was criticized by Bonhoeffer scholars well before Metaxas endorsed Trump.
- Most of the podcast episode focuses on how Metaxas went from a “thinking man’s intellectual” to a political hack. Metaxas is so controversial that Powers and Merritt have to explain why they chose him as their first guest.
- Powers believes that Metaxas’s support of Trump is “harming his Christian witness.”
- Metaxas says that “before the election I hated Donald Trump.” (This, I might add, changed very quickly. See this pic).
- Metaxas says that he doesn’t endorse everything about Trump’s character. But Powers makes Metaxas admit that he does support Trump’s policies.
- Metaxas says that “we are living in a really weird time” because so many people criticize and “attack” Donald Trump. Could we also say that we are “living in a really weird time” because so many evangelicals, like Metaxas, support a man like Donald Trump?
- Metaxas laments that our country has become too uncivil. Let’s remember that this call for civility comes from the guy who called Jim Wallis, “silly, sloppy, and wrongheaded.” It comes from the guy who once called Hillary Clinton “Hitlery Clinton.” It comes from the guy who said that “God will not hold us guiltless” if we voted for Hillary Clinton. This is the guy who could not identify textbook racism.
- Metaxas rejects the King Cyrus argument.
- Metaxas argues that Trump should get a pass on his character problems (sleeping with porn stars and committing adultery) because they did not happen while he was in the White House. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, does not get a pass because his indiscretions took place while he was POTUS. As I wrote last night, this argument fails to acknowledge the ways that Trump’s past sins still have consequences. And because he is POTUS, we all now have to live through the consequences of his past actions. His adulterous affairs and porn connections have found their way into the mainstream, further coarsening the culture.
- Merritt makes a good point. The Christian Right criticized Bill Clinton because of sexual escapades well before Monica Lewinsky came around. Why isn’t Trump criticized for his past indiscretions? (I appreciate Powers and Merritt for holding Metaxas’s feet to the fire. His answers to their questions are really unconvincing).
- Metaxas claims that his “Hitlery Clinton” line was just a joke. He then belittles people who thought it was inappropriate. Metaxas went to Yale and wrote a book about Bonhoeffer. I think he is smart enough to know what it means when you call someone Hitler. Powers says that she didn’t understand the “joke.” Metaxas spends five minutes defending the Hitler line, and then, when pressed by Powers, says he shouldn’t have wrote it. He is really coming across as nonsensical and slippery. He is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.
- Metaxas used the phrase “court evangelical.” No attribution made. I guess its a thing now.
- Powers calls him out on his claim that Christians must vote for Trump. Metaxas regrets that his 2016 Wall Street Journal op-ed came off this way.
- Metaxas seems to believe that there is some kind of moral equivalence between Obama and Trump because they held/hold the same office. Metaxas says he, a conservative, was nice to Obama despite his disagreements and now it is time for progressives to be nice to Trump. Powers asks him to identify these “progressives” and his answer is “Stephen Colbert.” Seriously, Stephen Colbert? As Powers notes, the guy is a comedian! Moreover, I thought the entire podcast discussion was about evangelicals and Trump. Last time I checked, Colbert was not an evangelical. Moreover, this “respect for the office” argument only goes so far. Trump is not Obama. Trump does not respect the office in the way that Obama respected the office. I briefly touch on this difference in Believe Me.
- Metaxas says, “Pray for this president that he would repent of everything we know that he has done and is too proud to admit.” Yes. I think I just found some common ground with Eric Metaxas.
By the way, I think this podcast is helpful for putting this tweet in context:
If you have been blocked by Eric Metaxas and would like to be unblocked pls reply to this and I’ll pass it on to him. If you just want to attack him pls don’t ask to be unblocked.
— Kirsten Powers (@KirstenPowers) March 15, 2018