The Georgetown Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life brought together an interesting cast of conservative characters recently to talk about Donald Trump. The panel included Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, National Review editor Ramesh Ponnuru, and court evangelical and self-acknowledged “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer” Johnnie Moore.
Here is a taste of a report on the event published at the National Catholic Reporter:
The conversation got a little testy when Ramesh Ponnuru, a columnist and senior editor at National Review, who evinced no love for Trump in his remarks, likened the president, with his habit of consorting with porn stars, to the biblical King David.
“Look, I think a lot of people recognize the president is a lowlife and were willing to support him,” Ponnuru said, drawing applause from the crowd and a strong response from evangelical minister Johnnie Moore, an informal advisor to the Trump administration.
“That is inside the Beltway speak,” Moore shot back, later calling for an end to superficial punditry and more coming together across political divides on issues of common cause. “The response of this audience is precisely what the problem is.”
Moore praised Trump for his ongoing and what he believes to be very authentic conversation with the evangelical community even as his co-panelists remarked that Trump has not reached out to religious leaders of other faith traditions.
Michael Gerson, a Washington Post columnist, conservative Christian, and speechwriter for President George W. Bush, has written on religion and politics extensively since the election. He punctuated his remarks about the “hostile takeover” of the Republican Party with gallows humor about the “very upbeat” meeting he and his fellow remaining compassionate conservative had just held in a phone booth.
Lauding the if-then tradition of Catholic social teaching — if you are pro-life, for instance, then you can’t also dehumanize immigrants — Gerson expressed concern that evangelicals are making political and social calculations “from the perspective of perceived aggressions of modernity rather than looking at first principles.”
“This is why evangelicals are not just an interest group like a union,” Gerson said, while articulating the fear that the short-term gain of the Trump presidency will have a long-lasting and possibly irreversible effect on future generations of Republican voters. “They are supporting the reputation of the Christian Gospel and making decisions that alienate the young and minorities from this cause.”
Read the entire piece here.