the consistency of our support

The other day I had coffee with someone I met many years ago. Then he was going through a very rough time. I hope I helped, we had many coffees. Later he disclosed he was a very conservative Christian and links to various websites that speak about end times, how believers get to Heaven, who doesn’t go to Heaven and the current events that these persons believe point to some kind of apocalypse. Occasionally this man raises what he believes with me, I am never quite sure if he does this to get my reaction or to somehow warn me of what he sees coming. On this occasion we talked Donald Trump and how Christian conservatives like him are supporting the President in record numbers.

I told him that while I do not agree with Vice-President Mike Pence or former President George W. Bush I do believe they are authentic conservative Christians. Pence recently made waves when he disclosed he will not be in a room with a woman who is not his wife unless others are present. Some saw this as reflective of his very rigid views but I saw it was someone who is trying to live by the words he preaches. Of course I distain Pence for the funding he gave as Governor or Indiana to “turn” people from gay to straight. I loathe this practice. But again it is a consistent piece of his worldview as a conservative Christian. Donald Trump is no conservative Christian, not in any way you can define these terms. Comedian Bill Maher says that if Trump was speaking about the Ten Commandments he would need to write LOL after each one.

I asked this man about how conservative Christians could support someone whose values and life are so outside the boundaries of what he could ever condone. I have heard his response before, conservative Christians like what Trump is doing; his Supreme Court pick, the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and his choices for cabinet, all enforcing an agenda friendly to Christian conservatives. But what that does is expose the fact that when Christian conservatives complained about liberal Presidents and their life-choices that was really never their concern. In 1980 Jimmy Carter was a Bible-believing, evangelical, Christian who wore his faith on his sleeve. Ronald Reagan then rarely went to church, and spoke of God only in connection with a strange view that the United States of America were God’s chosen people. And yet because Reagan offered policy prescriptions that made Christian conservatives happy and Jimmy Carter did not interfere with a more progressive approach to social policy Reagan won the Christian right in massive numbers.

There are Christian conservatives who have a more compassionate approach to political issues, namely Ohio Governor John Kasich. Kasich offered Christian conservatives an approach with more empathy for the poor, the refugees and those with mental illness. He received almost no support from Christian conservatives. I found that shocking.

Of political hypocrisy is not unique to Christian conservatives. During the impeachment debate about former President Bill Clinton a lot of feminists defended Clinton from complaints made by women who were in clearly subordinate roles to him, where his offerings of a sexual relationship crossed over from an affair to an inappropriate and potentially illegal act. If the President had been a conservative Republican you can bet these feminists would have criticized him severely.

More and more it appears that Christians offer support less for whom they admire and more for whom they believe will further their agenda.