Some Evangelicals Did Not Like Trump’s Use of Profanity at a Recent Rally

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump blows a kiss to supporters following a campaign rally in Akron

In 1982, the evangelical activist Tony Campolo gave a sermon to an evangelical conference called Spring Harvest.  Here is how he began his talk:

I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 45,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said ‘shit’ than the fact that 45,000 kids died last night.

I thought about Campolo’s line again as I read about evangelicals in West Virginia who were upset that Trump used profanity at his recent Greenville, NC rally.  Here is a taste of Gabby Orr’s piece at Politico:

Paul Hardesty didn’t pay much attention to President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Greenville, N.C., last month until a third concerned constituent rang his cellphone.

The residents of Hardesty’s district — he’s a Trump-supporting, West Virginia state senator — were calling to complain that Trump was “using the Lord’s name in vain,” Hardesty recounted.

“The third phone call is when I actually went and watched his speech because each of them sounded distraught,” said Hardesty, who describes himself as a conservative Democrat.

Here’s what he would have seen: Trump crowing, “They’ll be hit so g–damn hard,” while bragging about bombing Islamic State militants. And Trump recounting his warning to a wealthy businessman: “If you don’t support me, you’re going to be so g–damn poor.”

To most of America, the comments went unnoticed. Instead, the nation was gripped by the moment a “send her back” chant broke out as Trump went after Somali-born Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, an American citizen. But some Trump supporters were more fixated on his casual use of the word “g–damn” — an off-limits term for many Christians — not to mention the numerous other profanities laced throughout the rest of his speech.

Read the entire piece here.

19 thoughts on “Some Evangelicals Did Not Like Trump’s Use of Profanity at a Recent Rally

  1. I meant to address the fact that it is true that comparatively there are greater concerns with the Trump presidency.
    Rolling back endangered species protections.
    An official suggesting a very different approach to immigration from the poem on the Statue of Liberty.
    And lots more bigger fish to fry.


  2. I think most presidents, or at least many, were capable of colorful language. I don’t expect it to work out often that a “saint” make it to the top of what is a very rough business, politics.
    My problem with Trump is that unlike most presidents, I think, he doesn’t apply enough self control at times. I think the President should conduct himself presidentially even at a campaign rally.
    But I don’t expect much of him. He isn’t a dignified person.
    I used to have a higher regard for Christian leadership. I am sure there are still many good humble people in pastorates and various ministries.
    But some of the big name folks are disgracing the faith in my opinion.


    • Jeff,

      I understand why Trump’s lack of verbal discipline and his free-wheeling pulpit style vex you and also others. This very same personality trait has worked to his advantage with many others, however.

      We live in a day when politicians are cardboard creations of campaign staffs who spend a lot of time studying polls and focus group findings. This phenomenon was most pronounced in the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign. Her personal appearances, interviews, speeches, etc. were managed to a fine point by her professional team. This technique had worked for President Obama’s handlers, but not all politicians can carry it off. Most candidates end up looking like grade B actors and actresses as they treat the voters to the designated theme of the day. Voters can see through a lot of this fluff.

      Trump has plenty of personality warts, but generally “what you see is what you get.” Many voters prefer the Trump tac to the plastic politician prop.


      • James, an intelligent President should be able to articulate any thoughts and ideas in a public speech without using a phrase like that.
        And can be free wheeling at the same time.
        I must have a higher standard for the office.
        Anyway as I think is the point, there are bigger issues with this administration than the limits of the president’s communication skills.


        • Jeff,

          There is indeed a multi-tiered and interlocking set of issues defining ANY presidential administration. Trump’s administration is not atypical. My only point was that Trump’s crass style might not be admirable, but it is authentic and many voters are tired of the slick and all-too-rehearsed politicians.



            • Jeff,

              I get it that you don’t like Trump’s authenticity. That is your prerogative. My only point is that many people like it because they see no “substance” in controlled and programmed political robots.


    • Sean,

      Certain types of swearing are seen by many observers as a violation of the Third Commandment. There isn’t a lot of material in the Bible one way or the other, however, about denying climate change.

      As far as racist behaviors , they are not in keeping with love of one’s neighbor. Acts 17:26, Matthew 5:44, and Leviticus 29:28. Try as I might, however, I have never heard any racist chants at a Trump rally.


      • IF climate change is real than telling little ones who believe in Jesus it isn’t real is causing them lie, destroy God’s creation, and cause harm to their neighbors. What does the Bible say about causing little ones who believe in Jesus to sin?


        • Alex,

          There might be climate change just as there was when the Ice Age ended. I am not sure what you would have done about it then, Alex. Did the internal combustion engine cause that one?

          In answer to your last question, please see Matthew 18:6



      • James, There isn’t much in the Bible about preventing nuclear war either but wouldn’t you agree that it should be avoided. Surely in a book of wisdom and revelation there must be something to cover preserving one’s self and ones community.


        • Jim,

          That’s a good point about nuclear war. Neither you nor I want one of them, and I think it’s a pretty safe bet that The Donald does not want his hotels and golf courses blown up.

          Of course the Bible does say, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9. Within context the verse needs to be interpreted strictly on a personal rather than on an international level, but it’s not unreasonable to infer that love of one’s neighbors would preclude starting a nuclear Armageddon.

          The Old Testament deals a lot more with international themes and it’s hermeneutically risky to superimpose some of that guidance onto The Church.

          If that does not answer your question, Jim, I’d be happy to go into more detail.


    • That’s what you get from a Gospel of Personal Holiness and ONLY Personal Holiness (like the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live).


        • And Christians like to Obsess over the Gnats (bad words) while swallowing Camels (bad actions) whole.
          In this case, the original Tone Policing.

          You DO know “Taking the LORD’s Name in Vain” originally didn’t refer to cussing? According to my Jewish contacts, it meant claiming God’s Sanction (if not command) for doing evil — the “DEUS VULT” justification.
          Convenient how it has been redefined to mean cussing and cussing alone, Eh, My Dear Wormwood?


          • Unicorn,

            I don’t know how extensive your conversation with your Jewish friends was or what branch of Judaism they represent. As someone who has spent time discussing this matter with Jews of all backgrounds as well as Christians, I can tell you that your Deus Vult position hardly covers the subject. Furthermore, it was not I who stated that Trump’s cussing violated the commandment. Maybe others believe that, but where did you read that I took that position?



  3. Wasn’t it Tony Campolo who told us that evangelicals are more offended by the word “damn” than by the millions of kids who go to bed hungry each night? This is exactly that. Trump’s salty language is the least of our concerns.


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