I’m with Peter Wehner, who argues that evangelicals, in their unblinking alignment with partisan politics in the form of Republican, sold their soul and lost their integrity. This is but one example. When Francis Schaeffer, James Dobson, James Kennedy and Jerry Falwell were leading the movement who was there to stand up and say “No!”?
The carefully choreographed dance goes like this: Moral character in public officials matters quite a lot when the public officials who morally fail are Democrats; it matters hardly at all when they are Republicans. If it’s a liberal who has crossed ethical lines, emphasize righteous conduct; if it’s a conservative, emphasize forgiveness and verses like “Judge not lest you be judged.” If it’s Bill Clinton in the dock, savage him; if it’s Donald Trump, savage his critics.
But the problem goes far beyond an inconsistent application of a biblical ethic. What the Trump years have exposed is something more fundamental, which is that many evangelical Christians have not brought anything distinctively Christian to politics.
One might expect that they would care for the weak and the vulnerable, including the unborn and those living in the shadows of society; promote ordered liberty, empathy, and compassion, especially toward those viewed as social outcasts and aliens (one of the most striking features of the ministry of Jesus); and speak out—time and time and time again, if necessary—against political leaders and presidents, including those who advance a political agenda they believe in, if those leaders are cruel, pathologically dishonest, and lawless, and if they dehumanize their enemies. To reduce this to a single sentence: People of faith should embody moral and intellectual integrity.One would hope that people of faith would act differently from members of political interest groups—that followers of Jesus would passionately defend human dignity, champion justice, and create the conditions for human flourishing, without being co-opted by any political party or power structure. …
But if evangelical supporters of Trump are honest, they should admit—at least to themselves, if not to the rest of the world—that something has gone terribly amiss and that the power they have achieved is coming at the expense of the faith they proclaim.