George Floyd, T.J. Klausutis, Masks are for Wimps, and Twitter Lies: Where are the Court Evangelicals?

Trump iN DallasLet’s think about what has happened in the last 24-48 hours.

The President of the United States continues to push a conspiracy claiming that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough murdered Lori Klausutis, a 28-year-old women who died in his former congressional office in 2001. The widower of this woman, T.J. Klausutis, wrote a letter to Twitter asking the social media outlet to remove these tweets. In that letter he wrote: “the president of the United States has taken something that doesn’t belong to him–the memory of my dead wife–and perverted it for perceived political gain….My wife deserves better.”

One hour ago, Trump tweeted:

Despite its refusal to remove Trump’s Scarborough tweets, Twitter may be waking-up to the president’s lies. The social media outlet recently fact-checked a Trump tweet on mail-in ballots. Trump says that he will punish Twitter for this. (I still don’t understand why Twitter fact-checked this tweet and not the Scarborough tweets).

In Minneapolis, four police officers were fired for their involvement in the death of a black man named George Floyd. An officer held down Floyd with his knee as Floyd said that he could not breathe. He died shortly after this took place.

Trump mocked his Democratic 2020 rival Joe Biden for wearing a mask. He told a reporter wearing a mask that he was trying to be “politically correct.” Conservative radio pundit Rush Limbaugh said that masks have become a “required symbol on the left to promote fear, to promote indecision, to promote the notion that we’re nowhere out of this.” Trump’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that it is “peculiar” that Biden doesn’t wear a mask at home.

These all seem like moral issues that Christians should be concerned about. The T.J. Klausutis story falls into the realm of “family values” and “marriage.” The Twitter fact-check story is about the difference between truth and lies. The George Floyd case is about human dignity and racism. The mask story is about life.

But too many conservative evangelical leaders, especially the court evangelicals, are silent. Trump has paralyzed them. Their consciences are held captive by GOP politics, the Christian Right political playbook, and the president. Their heads are in the sand. They are mostly silent. While all of these stories rage, they tweet things like this:

 

Court evangelical Jack Graham should be commended for calling attention to the Floyd case:

Reed agrees with Graham:

Now if only Graham and Reed would develop a deeper political theology to address the history of systemic racism that led to this moment. They condemn what happened to Floyd. This is right and good. Yet they remain blind to the racism and racist policies of Donald Trump.

Comparing Trump and the Court Evangelicals on Twitter During the Last 72 Hours

Trump-Bachmann-Pence-religious-right

Tweets and retweets included:

(A lot of our readers are not on Twitter. A “retweet” is a re-posting of a tweet that is then shared with all of retweeter’s followers. When Trump retweets, it is always an endorsement of the content of the original tweet).

And now here are the recent tweets and retweets over the last 48 hours from Trump’s leading evangelical supporters:

It looks like Reed is suddenly interested in politics making racist comments:

Reed has spent his entire life watching polls:

And, of course, Eric Metaxas, senior fellow at the Liberty University Falkirk Center:

metaxas Blackface

David French Elaborates on Evangelical Fear

 

Believe Me 3dWe covered this last week after several folks e-mailed me to ask if I sent David French a copy of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.  Read that post here.

David French and Jon Meacham were on “Morning Joe” this morning:

In this interview, French does say that this fear has been present before 2016.  (I challenged him to think historically in the post to which I linked above).

Both evangelical “fear” and the evangelical pursuit of “power” are mentioned in this interview.  Of course these are the main themes of Believe Me.

Meacham: At least Trump didn’t sign the Bibles in red ink

Watch presidential historian Jon Meacham talking to Joe Scarborough about Trump signing Bibles and evangelical supporters of Trump.  Here.

I agree with Meacham, but I am disappointed in him.  Last year I sat next to him at dinner before his speaking engagement at Messiah College and told him all about my book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.  I am OUTRAGED by the fact that he does not cite the book here!    🙂  (I will give Joe a break here since I have never talked to him face-to-face about Believe Me!).

David Brody on Trump’s “Thin Evangelical Line”

Trump Joe

Over at the Christian Broadcasting Network, journalist David Brody sends a warning to Donald Trump in the wake of yesterday’s tweets about Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.  Here is what he said at his blog, “The Brody File”:

The evangelical attraction to Donald Trump was strong during the GOP primaries and reached even greater heights during the General Election when a record number 81 percent of evangelicals voted for him. But he needs to be very careful if he wants to duplicate or even improve on that number next time around. Calling out the media is one thing but making it personal is quite another. Evangelicals don’t mind President Trump’s unorthodox ways and his fighting spirit. They like when he socks it to Washington bureaucrats and phony politicians. But a pattern of petty personal insults will put Trump in danger of “evangelical voter apathy” in 2020. Diehards will stay with him no matter what but that won’t be enough to win in 2020. He needs those, “anti-Hillary Evangelicals.” Will they show up and vote for the next democrat nominee? No. Many of them may just not show up at all. If 81% turnout becomes 77% evangelical turnout (especially in key swing states) then he’s toast. It’s that simple. He needs evangelicals and he knows it. Any slippage and it’s game, set, match. He can’t afford to go down this road. It’s not worth it for him.

Look, the art of this deal is pretty simple if President Trump wants to seal the deal with evangelicals going forward: he can bash the media, “the deep state” and disingenuous politicians all day long. He just shouldn’t make it personal. Evangelicals are watching. And honestly, is it worth it? I get it. They insult him multiple times daily and Trump’s instinct is to punch back ten times harder. But sometimes it just gets way too personal and it can cause him more political harm than good.

Read the entire piece here.

Trump Jeffress

Will Trump lose the Court Evangelicals if he keeps it up with these nasty tweets?

This all gets at a question I have been asking for the last year.  What must Trump do to alienate the Court Evangelicals?

When does he cross the line and thus lose the support of Jeffress, Metaxas, White, Dobson, Falwell Jr., and others?  So far the Court Evangelicals have been silent about Trump’s “Morning Joe” tweets.  It is deafening. When will they step up with a prophetic Christian voice?

I think the so-called “evangelical line” is much thicker than Brody thinks it is. We will see if it breaks in the next couple of days.  I doubt it.