As of Saturday, Donald Trump’s average approval rating, as calculated by FiveThirtyEight, stands at 41.9 percent. That borders on brutal by any standard. It’s even more so because Trump has never managed to get out of the low-to-mid 40s in Nate Silver’s calculations at any point during his tenure. In short, this president literally has no margin for error.
And yet, one demographic remains firmly in his corner–the religious right. The continued loyalty of the nation’s so-called moral guardians to Trump despite his almost daily outrages, as well as their concerted effort to bully evangelicals into bowing down to Trump, is one of the more sordid chapters of the Trump era.
In truth, though, the religious right’s loyalty to Trump marks the culmination of a four-decade campaign to turn people of faith against the Democrats–even when they otherwise would have absolutely no business voting Republican. In many circles, voting for a Democrat borders on a deadly sin.
We got a lovely example of this mentality earlier this week from one of the more obnoxious religious right luminaries, Dave Daubenmire. We already knew that the veteran high school coach-turned-evangelist really, really, really hated Hillary Clinton. How much? He once traveled to the Clintons’ house in Westchester County and irately demanded that Trump arrest Hillary on the spot. As he sees it, the fact that we haven’t locked her up yet amounts to blasphemy.
But in a recent blog post, Daubenmire revealed that he doesn’t think much of the rest of the Democratic Party either–and neither should any real Christian. He claimed that while there is “very little difference” between the Democrats and the GOP, “there is no reason for a Christian to EVER vote for a Democrat.” Why? As he sees it, if you vote for a Democrat, you’re voting for a party that “openly supports death.”
Daubenmire had spoken up on this issue in 2014, when he asked whether a Christian can vote for a Democrat. His answer was a very loud “no.” Watch here.
Besides the usual religious right smear about abortion, Daubenmire also claimed that Democrats are unworthy of any Christian’s support because they support the “deathstyle” of homosexuality. In other words, classic religious right red meat.
Daubenmire’s latest post was more of the same. He claimed that while he isn’t a big fan of the Republicans, he can’t support a party that has an “affinity for all things that lead to death.” Citing Proverbs 8:36–“All who love me hate death”–he claimed that Democrats, or “Demoncrats,” as he calls them, are unworthy of support.
He slammed Democrats for supporting “death for the unborn child” while claiming it’s a choice, and claimed that Democrats “are actually in support of killing babies AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN BORN.” Never mind that claim has been repeatedly debunked.
He also slammed “Demoncratic hacks at the NEA” for promoting homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, and claims that homosexuality shaves up to 20 years off someone’s life. One problem–he cited statistics from the American College of Pediatricians, a socially conservative group of doctors that has frequently been busted in the chops for misrepresenting others’ research.
But such considerations don’t matter to Daubenmire. He claims that “Demoncrats” actually oppose everything Jesus stands for.
Only a CHINO (Christian In Name Only) could ever vote contrary to the teachings of Jesus. The Republicans aren’t much better, I admit. But at least they don’t stand in direct opposition to the edicts of Christ. If you vote for a Demoncrat you better check your theology. God is not a Republican, but I guaran-darn-tee you He ain’t a Demoncrat. Voting to support a party that specializes in killing the weak and innocent borders on sin.
But even without the use of junk science and cooked figures, there’s a more basic reason Daubenmire’s arguments are ignorant. Consider what he’s asking us to do at the ballot box.
Are we supposed to support a candidate who has no qualms about plastering a private cell phone number on social media, mocking the disabled, and degrading women and reveling in it? And are we supposed to give that same man a second term when he tweeted hateful and violent memes about his foes, put a political rival in danger by outing her secret travel plans to visit troops in the field, and almost certainly obstructed justice?
According to Daubenmire, we’re supposed to stick our fingers in our ears and ignore all of this–just because that candidate supposedly favors the “sanctity of life.” A significant number of Christians from Generation X on down–including this writer–realizes that there are things more important than abortion. And we’re not willing to just vote for anyone who makes the “right” clucking noises on social issues. If taking that line “borders on sin,” something is very wrong.
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