“Mark Burns, can we USE him anymore?”

Burns MarkTonight CNN released an audio file of the 2016 Donald Trump-Michael Cohen conversation (recorded by Cohen) in which the candidate and his lawyer discuss making a payment to cover-up an alleged Trump affair with Playboy playmate Karen McDougal.

In addition to the discussion of the McDougal payment, Trump and Cohen talk about two evangelical supporters of the presidential candidate: South Carolina pastor Mark Burns and Ohio pastor Darrell Scott.

Here is what I heard on the recording:

Trump:  Pastor Scott, what’s happening?  Can we use him any more?

Cohen: “Oh yeah…100 [percent?].  No, your friend Mark Burns.  We told him to stop.

Trump:  I don’t mean [him]. Mark Burns, can we use him any more?

Cohen: No.

First, it seems that Trump confuses Scott and Burns, the two most prominent African-American pro-Trump pastors.

Second, Cohen says that they can still “use” Scott, but not Burns.  This is quite telling. In fact, clergy allowing themselves to be used for political gain is exactly what I had in mind when I coined the term “court evangelical.”  There is a long history of evangelicals getting “used” by presidents and presidential candidates.  I write about them in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.

Third, we now know Michael Cohen was involved in managing Trump’s relationship with these evangelical advisers.

Fourth, Burns, a Trump surrogate who prayed at the Republican National Convention, was probably deemed no longer “useful” because he created a minor scandal by posting a picture of Hillary Clinton in blackface.  Then CNN learned that he lied about his resume.  Both of these stories broke in September 2016, the same month that Cohen recorded his conversation with Trump.

Fifth, as these posts indicate, Burns continued to be an informal Trump surrogate well after the election.  I guess the ban on Burns only lasted for a short time.  At some point Trump must have thought he could start “using” him again.

Unless of Course You are Stopped at the Border and Your Children are Confiscated…

Gotta love the court evangelicals!  😦

 

Some Court Evangelicals Break Ranks on Trump’s Immigration Policy

immigrants

The Trump administration is separating children from parents at the Mexican border.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions says that Romans 13 justifies the policy, but court evangelical Franklin Graham calls the policy “disgraceful.”  Another court evangelical, Samuel Rodriguez, also opposes the policy.  Learn more from this piece at CBN news.

I am now waiting for the following evangelical leaders to stand-up to Donald Trump’s immigration policy:

Robert Jeffress has said nothing.  Yet he has wished Trump a Happy Birthday and thanked him for being such a great POTUS:

Jerry Falwell Jr. has said nothing.  If he tweeted something today I can’t see it.  He blocked me a long time ago.

Paula White has said nothing.  But she is tweeting:

Eric Metaxas:  I don’t know what he is saying on this issue.  I am blocked.

Johnnie Moore:  He seems more focused on Trump’s meeting with North Korea”

Mark Burns is being a good court evangelical:

James Dobson, the champion of “family values” has an interesting tweet today:

Ronnie Floyd seems to be running a prayer sweepstakes:

Richard Land: Silent

Greg Laurie is focused on a big rally in Dallas and Trump’s meeting with the North Koreans:

Tony Perkins, another champion of family values, has said nothing about the fact that Trump is ripping families apart at the border. Do “family values” only apply to white families? Middle-class families?

But he does love Trump:

 

A Court Evangelical Backs Trump’s DACA Decision

It looks like Trump is doing away with the DACA program.

300 evangelical leaders support DACA and urged Trump to keep the program.  These include religious leaders associated with the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, World Relief, and World Vision.

Court evangelical Pastor Mark Burns is not one of these evangelical leaders.  As Warren Throckmorton noted today, Burns has tweeted in support of Trump’s decision to end DACA.

Make America Great Again.

The Latest From the Court Evangelicals:

Here’s a late night update for those who are interested:

Pastor Mark Burns sounds more like Ben Franklin than Jesus as he spins his appearance this morning on AM Joy.

Jack Graham:

Robert Jeffress:

James McDonald wants us to remember that he is an ex-court evangelical. He resigned after Access Hollywood:

The modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer tweets:

Ralph Reed is mixing-it up with a progressive journalist:

This Court Evangelical WILL NOT Resign

This comes from Mark Burns, one of the more outspoken court evangelicals and the pastor of Harvest Praise & Worship Center in South Carolina.  You may recall his prayer at the GOP Convention last summer.

A few thoughts about this rambling video attached to the tweet:

  • Trump names some court evangelicals: Michelle Bachman, Ronnie Floyd, James Dobson, Tim Clinton, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Jerry Falwell Jr. Janetzen Franklin, Jack Graham, Harry Jackson, Johnnie Moore, David Jeremiah, Robert Jeffress, Robert Morris, Tom Mullins, Ralph Reed, James Robison, Tony Suarez, Jay Strack, Paula White, Tom Winters, and Sealy Yates
  • He mentions that A.R. Bernard has resigned from the “faith initiative” and praises his Christian leadership.  He never addresses why Bernard resigned.
  • He addresses those who think he (Burns) should resign from the advisory council and says “If God has called me to be a spiritual ear…to the POTUS, if God has anointed me and called me…to walk in that assignment regardless of whether or not we agree with everything our President does…then how in the world can we resign if God has appointed us to do this.”  Not sure how to argue with this.
  • He adds: “For me this is not political.  I would never abandoned a church member of mine…. no matter how many times they don’t understand something….The only time I would abandon them is if they have renounced that Christ is the Messiah and they denounce that there is not God and they become a wolf in sheep’s clothing and they become what we need to separate ourselves from [and] they refuse to believe and receive that Jesus Christ is Lord. At that point there is no need for me to continue if in their mind they believe what I am saying is no longer going to help them.”  I will let you decide if Trump fits the bill here.  Think about the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” line.
  • He is “proud” that he has a “Daniel’s anointing.”  Such an anointing, he says, is given to those “called into government” to be an “ear to the King.”
  • He talks about the Gospel. But he fails to see that his association with Trump tarnishes the Gospel message and undermines his own witness to that Gospel.
  • He says that attacks on Trump are coming from the “pits of hell.”
  • He never denounces racism, white supremacy, or Trump’s message of moral equivalency.
  • Once again he mentions the phrase “unprecedented access.”
  • Reaffirms that Trump “loves God” and “loves Jesus Christ.”

Burns says he is making this video because he does not want to be misunderstood.  No misunderstanding here.  This is perfectly clear.

Where are the Court Evangelicals Today?

Where are the Court Evangelicals today?

Paula White: Silent

James Dobson: Silent

Mark Burns: Silent

Franklin Graham: Silent (He’s actually tweeting about air-traffic control today)

Robert Jeffress:  Silent.  He’s hanging out with Pence today:

James K.A. Smith gets it right:

The Court Evangelicals

File Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with Jerry Falwell Jr. at a campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa

I have been getting a lot of positive feedback on my use of this phrase in an earlier post today on the evangelicals who seem to love Trump’s recent executive order on religious liberty.

Not all evangelicals who voted for Trump are what I am describing as “court evangelicals.”  I am going to use this phrase from now on to describe Trump’s inner circle of evangelicals who think it is a good idea for ministers to endorse candidates from the pulpit, have bowed a knee to the political power of the presidency, think Trump is a “baby Christian,” believe evangelicals have found their “dream president” in Trump, and regularly show up at the White House whenever Trump wants to say something about religion.  The court evangelicals sacrifice their prophetic voice to political influence.  The court evangelicals have put their faith in a political strongman who promises to alleviate their fears and protect them from the forces of secularization.

Trump Jeffress

As I wrote earlier today, the backlash to Trump’s recent executive order on religious liberty was fierce.  It fails to deliver on what Trump promised evangelicals on this front during the campaign.  But you won’t hear the court evangelicals complain.

I described some of these court evangelicals the other day.  The list includes:

Jerry Falwell Jr.

Paula White

James Dobson

Mark Burns

Ralph Reed

Robert Jeffress

Eric Metaxas

Franklin Graham

donald-trump-and-pastor-paula-white

 

The Prayer of Pastor Mark Burns

He prays for God to defeat the “liberal democrats.”

He states the GOP is the “conservative party under God.”

He prays that God will protect the GOP “against any attack that comes against us.”

And he prays it all “in Jesus name.”

Prosperity gospel preacher Mark Burns.  He is making a mockery of Christianity and a mockery of Trump’s GOP.