Tony Perkins Has It All Wrong

Lamb

Conor Lamb

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, the guy famous for saying that he is willing to give Donald Trump a “mulligan” for his adulterous affair with Stormy Daniels, chides his fellow conservative evangelicals in western Pennsylvania for not coming out to vote in the recent special election.  He writes:

Although the liberal media won’t admit it, there’s a deliberate effort to try to discourage evangelicals from voting and being involved. That’s why we’re seeing an almost daily rehashing of Trump’s past. Americans can’t make it through a half-hour of cable news without hearing about the president’s behavior back in 2006. They can’t open a newspaper without another columnist shaming Christians for supporting Trump. That’s by design. Liberals know that if they can shame evangelicals for supporting this president, they can suppress their enthusiasm. Their aim is to translate that into a decline of our record participation in 2016. If that decline happens — even a little bit — they can retake Congress. And they understand as well as we do that if Republicans lose either chamber, the president’s conservative agenda is as good as dead

Thoughts:

  1. Perkins repeats a version of the old “mulligan” argument.  I have addressed this in multiple places, including here and here and here and here.
  2. Perkins devalues evangelical voters.  He makes it sound as if they are too easily swayed by the media and are incapable of making up their own mind.  This might be true (i.e. Fox News), but usually it is those on the Left who say this about conservative evangelicals.
  3. Perkins is engaging in the usual paranoia and scare tactics that we usually see from the court evangelicals.  Perkins knows that the success of his message is dependent upon his ability to cultivate fear in ordinary evangelicals.  I develop this point more fully in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.  (Don’t forget to pre-order!)
  4.  I don’t know how many evangelicals in this special election voted for Democrat Conor Lamb, but I would guess that many did.  These evangelicals sent a message to people like Tony Perkins and Donald Trump.  Perkins assumes that Lamb beat Rick Saccone because evangelicals did not come out and vote.  But what if Lamb beat Saccone because evangelicals did come out and vote and in the process rejected Trump’s agenda?

3 thoughts on “Tony Perkins Has It All Wrong

  1. Well, since you bring up Bonhoeffer in the ongoing discussion of the Trump Court Evangelicals and the ongoing campaign of conservative Christian and/white nationalism……

    A while back I read a couple of articles about Bonhoeffer at Christianity Today (online – I won’t post uninvited links but I’ll put the references below). I was amazed at the similarities in language used by some of the Christian leaders in Germany during the rise of Nazism and today’s Court Evangelicals (and a few others not within the court). The will to have and wield worldly power and control of society is strong. Ever since the first prophets and preachers they have been railing against the coarsening and decadence of society and looking to kings to wield the sword. The drive to Christian nationalism or any form of fascism, while something of a shock to the system as it rears its head today here in the homeland, shouldn’t be a historical surprise.

    CT: “‘The time is fulfilled for the German people of Hitler. It is because of Hitler that Christ, God the helper and redeemer, has become effective among us. … Hitler is the way of the Spirit and the will of God for the German people to enter the Church of Christ.’ So spoke German pastor Hermann Gruner. Another pastor put it more succinctly: ‘Christ has come to us through Adolph Hitler.'”

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer: German theologian and resister

    And….

    CT: “The dean of the Magdeburg Cathedral exulted in the Nazi flags prominently displayed in his church. ‘Whoever reviles this symbol of ours is reviling our Germany,’ he declared. ‘The swastika flags around the altar radiate hope—hope that the day is at last about to dawn.’
    “Some churchmen even referred to the ‘turning point in history’ where ‘through God’s providence our beloved fatherland has experienced a mighty exaltation.’ Pastor Siegfried Leffler declared that ‘in the pitch-black night of church history, Hitler became, as it were, the wonderful transparency for our time, the window of our age, through which light fell on the history of Christianity. Through him we were able to see the Savior in the history of the Germans.’ Pastor Julius Leutheuser added that ‘Christ has come to us through Adolf Hitler.’

    Radical Resistance: Bonhoeffer took an early and active stand against the Nazis. Richard Pierard
    Now THAT’S some real court evangelizing. And it helped destroy a democratic constitutional republic. You have to wonder what the world and Christianity would look like today if Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy hadn’t been stopped. The Spanish fascist dictator Franco was able to defeat a struggling democratic constitutional republic and hang on for quite some time with the help of the Catholic Church.

    Did this make it into Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer? Does it still make it into any high school or college discussions?

    In Europe, prior to the American Revolution, there had always been efforts by Christian leaders (Catholic and Protestant) to wield secular power even if it meant shackling themselves and their followers to secular carnage and disaster. I won’t lecture a American historian on the fact that the founders and framers were very well aware of the history of old Europe and the need to separate the passions and antidemocratic and anti-pluralistic tendencies of the Church (broadly speaking) from the secular and coercive governing powers of the new nation with its huge social, economic, political and religious disparities. And the Baptists, Quakers and Catholics were not displeased.

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    • Well, looks like I missed the right thread by only this (thumb and forefinger very close together) much. This, of course was meant for the thread just after this one on Metaxas. Apologies all around. But then again, it seems to fit.

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  2. The media and many individuals (including some evangelicals) are simply pointing out the hypocrisy between what evangelicals state as their strong uncompromising moral beliefs/convictions, and how evangelicals now say those beliefs/convictions have no bearing on the political world and should not factor into their unconditional support of the politicians they favor. This is not “shaming,” this is merely stating an obvious demonstrable fact. If there is shame involved, that is only the natural and appropriate consequence of having been caught engaging in rank hypocrisy.

    As a disaffected evangelical, I totally get it. I understand (and agree with) the argument being made against evangelicals. It is not a “voter suppression” tactic, it is an indignant protest that is saying, “Why do you vehemently rail against me/us about not adhering to your moral standards, and then turn around and say that it is completely irrelevant if your chosen politicians do not adhere to those moral standards?”

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