Then there's the pie-in-the-sky hope that Trump recently became a Christian though he has said nothing about it publicly nor shown any understanding of how repentance and forgiveness play into Christianity. Which, of course, isn't Trump's problem. It's the problem of evangelical leaders who support him and supposedly do know about the importance of repentance, forgiveness and publicly standing for Jesus. But those leaders shy away from speaking of the questionable Christian orthodoxy of a man like Donald Trump because it is politically difficult.
As Steve Deace notes in the interview below, Trump is losing or tied in states where key evangelical ministries are headquartered. It's a crisis for evangelical leaders. Their political clout is tied to their fidelity to the Christian faith. But, like King Saul in I Samuel 13, these leaders think they must ignore "social issues" in 2016 because the nation's fate is in the balance*. That's why abortion and selling fetal parts is not a big point for them. It's not a matter for possible prosecution, but at most merely for cutting off public money. It's also why Dr. Robert Jeffress chimes in with Trump that Planned Parenthood, which kills about 300,000 babies each year, does a lot of wonderful things.** That's a position, pre-Trump, that no evangelical would have avowed. But, because Trump said it, these evangelical leaders have to back it and say that 300,000 abortions yearly and brutal killing methods to allow selling of fetal parts don't fundamentally taint the organization.
Conservatism has the same problem. A host of "conservative" commentators and politicians tout Trump as a conservative despite his call for more spending and increased national debt, the individual mandate requiring everyone to purchase medical insurance, Trump's lack of understanding of constitutional checks and balances, and his admiration for the strong man approach to governing. William F. Buckley, Jr., saw the problem sixteen years ago.*** But too many "conservative" commentators have no idea about the essence of modern American conservatism.
As Josh Painter tweets: "Not just "evangelical" but also "conservative" has no meaning thanks to @realDonaldTrump."
*"Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. offered a controversial endorsement of Trump in late January. 'All the social issues—traditional family values, abortion—are moot if ISIS blows up some of our cities or if the borders aren’t fortified,' he told The New York Times. 'Rank-and-file evangelicals are smarter than many of the leaders. They are trying to save the country and maybe vote on social issues next time.'"
**"When I asked about Trump saying abortion giant Planned Parenthood does 'wonderful things' for women apart from its abortion practices, Jeffress said: 'He’s right. There are some positive things Planned Parenthood does for women. But he’s been very clear as long as they continue to do abortions he would defund them.'"
***"What about the aspirant who has a private vision to offer to the public and has the means, personal or contrived, to finance a campaign? In some cases, the vision isn’t merely a program to be adopted. It is a program that includes the visionary’s serving as President. Look for the narcissist. The most obvious target in today’s lineup is, of course, Donald Trump. When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection. If Donald Trump were shaped a little differently, he would compete for Miss America. But whatever the depths of self-enchantment, the demagogue has to say something. So what does Trump say? That he is a successful businessman and that that is what America needs in the Oval Office. There is some plausibility in this, though not much. The greatest deeds of American Presidents — midwifing the new republic; freeing the slaves; harnessing the energies and vision needed to win the Cold War — had little to do with a bottom line."