Is Trump now "pastor-in-chief" to evangelicals?
For The Bulwark, I argue that Trump is now taking on the role of "pastor-in-chief":
His reelection, Trump insisted, is necessary to “renew faith and family as the center of American life.” This faith is the “true foundation of American life,” and by voting for Trump, Trump claimed, “we will ensure that our country forever and always remains one people, one family, and one glorious nation under God.”
“Use him to change the spiritual atmosphere of this nation,” Pastor Guillermo Maldonado petitioned the Almighty.
Reflecting on this section for his newsletter, Jonathan Last writes:
Why is this?
I think it's the same reason why Trump supporters are so obsessed with the tiny sliver of Republicans/conservatives who have refused to get onboard.
There are always parts of a caucus who reject the party's standard bearer. The Zell Miller Democrats who rejected Obama. The paleo-cons who rejected George W. Bush. The Buchananites who rejected George H.W. Bush. The Anderson Republicans who rejected Reagan.
In none of these cases did the president's supporters pay much notice to the dissenters, let alone obsess about them, endlessly.
My theory is that it's because supporting those other figures didn't require any egregious compromises from the party faithful. But with Trump, the magnitude of the compromises that people needed to make to sign on with him have made them resentful of and angry at the handful of people who wouldn't go along.
Back to Pastor Trump: It's difficult to maintain the position that Trump is awful, but you have to vote for him anyway. You can do it over the short duration of a campaign, but carrying that weight around, day after day, for four years, is tough.
It means you're on the hook for defending every bad thing Trump does and then trying to justify it by finding some off-setting good outcome.
Psychologically, it's much easier to just go the whole-hog and insist that Trump doesn't do anything bad and that everything under him is the best it could ever be.
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I also say more about my decision to leave The Christian Post and note, "What has changed is that since the 2016 editorial, certain Christian Post editors got scammed themselves."
Keep in mind what this political/spiritual leader has done:
Since taking office, we’ve seen Trump separate immigrant children from their families; make dramatic cuts to the refugee program that helped many, including Christians, fleeing persecution; fail to clearly denounce the racists in Charlottesville; write hush money checks to a porn star while lying about it for months and only coming clean after he knew he was caught; betray allies in Syria, leading to a Turkish invasion that displaced 180,000 people, including 80,000 children and some of the remaining few Christian communities in the region; and use the levers of government power to attempt to bribe the president of Ukraine to aid his reelection campaign.