The release of the Robert Mueller report hasn’t dampened the religious right’s support for Donald Trump. Indeed, the nation’s so-called moral guardians appear to have doubled down on their support for Trump. For instance, just days after the report was released, Michele Bachmann insisted with a straight face that Trump was “the most godly, biblical president” we’ve ever had.
With few exceptions, fundie pundits have merrily echoed the “No collusion! No obstruction!” line from the White House. Franklin Graham, for instance, claimed the Democrats’ continued efforts to hold Trump to account after the report prove they’re trolling for “chaff.”
But a professor at a small Christian college is under no such delusions. He read the Mueller report in full, and saw it for what it was–a searing indictment of Trump which makes a compelling case for impeachment.
John Fea is a professor of American history at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg. For some time, he has been one of the few evangelical voices outside the Christian left who is not at home with the religious right’s wholehearted embrace of Trump. As Fea sees it, Trump’s diehard religious right supporters would better be described as “court evangelicals,” since they have traded “the prophetic voice of the Christian faith” for “a place of power and influence” in the White House.
Last summer, while promoting his new book, “Believe Me: The Evangelical Road To Donald Trump,” Fea offered his theory for the religious right’s continued loyalty to Trump. Watch here, from C-SPAN’s Book TV.
Fea thinks that while Trump made clucking noises the religious right liked on “moral, social, cultural issues,” there is a larger factor behind religious right support for Trump. He believes that evangelicals have prioritized “fear over hope,” “political power over humility” and “nostalgia over history.”
There’s definitely something to this. After all, the religious right has spent the last three years peddling a false narrative–that Trump isn’t just making America great again, but making America Christian again. They have tried to tell us that the devil is driving the opposition to him, since Satan doesn’t like how Trump is bringing America back to its Christian heritage.
That narrative now stands discredited as a result of the Mueller report. After all, it portrays Trump’s conduct as so egregious that the only reason Mueller didn’t think he could make an exception to longstanding policy against indicting sitting presidents is that Trump’s aides refused to carry out some of his more outrageous orders.
But in his review of the Mueller report, Fea suspects that most of the “court evangelicals” must have missed that, because they “stopped reading the report after Volume 1.” Had they read further, they would have seen that Trump lied about his contacts with the Kremlin, repeatedly tried to bully the FBI and Justice Department into ending the investigation, and made several attempts to have Mueller fired. They would have also seen that Trump actively tried to protect his son from scrutiny over the Trump Tower meeting and actively tried to tamper with two cooperating witnesses–Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen.
To Fea’s mind, the Mueller report proves that Trump is not only a “liar who obstructed justice,” but forced his aides to “lie to the American people on his behalf.” It reveals a president who “lacks a moral center,” and must be impeached.
However, Fea cautions us not to expect the scales to fall from the eyes of the “court evangelicals” any time soon. He believes they will continue to defend Trump as “God’s chosen instrument,” and is being persecuted in the same manner as others have been persecuted when God is using them. After all, as he puts it, “court evangelicalism blinds one to the truth.”
That truth is going to hurt once the likes of Bachmann and Graham realize it. They and other so-called moral guardians are propping up a man who may be the most unfit and unqualified man ever to occupy the White House.
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