For the better part of three years, Donald Trump and his acolytes have tried to convince the American people that they are in a battle to save the country. Based on the numbers, however, the American people believe that the villain in this battle is Trump himself.
Trump’s average approval rating, as calculated by FiveThirtyEight, has never gotten north of 43 percent, and currently stands at 42 percent. The Democrats are heavily favored by nearly all handicappers to retake the House. FiveThirtyEight, for instance, gives the Democrats an 85 percent chance of taking the majority, with an average gain of 39 seats.
As bad as these numbers are, there’s a very good reason why they haven’t completely cratered. The religious right is still firmly in Trump’s corner. Even in the face of the almost daily outrages coming from this White House, the nation’s so-called moral guardians insist that if we oppose Trump, we’re being played by demons. They also believe that even if Trump is truly a villain, we should still vote for people who share his vision.
But what if you’re not of that mind? Well, according to one televangelist, you’re the one with the problem, not Trump.
While a number of Trump-worshiping pastors and evangelists are still under the delusion that there will be a red wave, Mario Murillo is one of the few who is willing to accept the growing likelihood that the House is indeed about to go Democratic. However, in a recent post to his blog, Murillo railed that if the Democrats do win the House, a big reason will be because “pulpits are afraid” to rally their flocks to the MAGA standard.
As Murillo saw it, pastors who don’t tell their churches to vote Republican have “failed to protect their sheep from the one thing that will cause them suffering–they have failed their most basic duty.” He doesn’t buy the most common argument that he’s heard from pastors whom he’s called out publicly–it would cause undue division in their churches. Those who take that line, Murillo says, are willing to choose “self-preservation above the good of the people”–something he doesn’t think you can do when you’re facing “a Satanic agenda.”
On the face of it, this is standard religious right agitprop. Murillo is asking us to ignore the mounting evidence that the Trump campaign at the very least fostered an environment in which it was remotely acceptable to solicit help from Russia. He’s asking us to ignore that Trump’s own lawyer admitted arranging hush money deals on Trump’s orders. He’s asking us to ignore that Trump has no qualms about degrading women and condoning violence.
But what if you’re not willing to ignore it? Well, Murillo thinks you’re just as bad as a pastor who is not willing to go all-in for Trump.
But there is another villain in this situation and I am calling you out. If you threatened your pastor—by removing your money or your influence—if they were taking a stand for the Republicans in this election, I don’t care how right to be a Never Trumper or a pro Democrat Christian you think you are. Boycotting your church and intimidating your pastor is wrong—you should be ashamed.
So let’s see if we’ve got this right. If you call out your pastor for going all-in for Trump despite all of his outrages, you’re a villain? And if you refuse to give one more penny to such a pastor, you’re a villain? And if you even think about walking out on your church altogether over this, you’re a villain? Gee, I thought taking such a stance was a sign of showing basic decency.
Reading this made me think back to how I walked out on a church nine years ago. The pastor there had the gall to use his Memorial Day weekend message to liken all of the people who died fighting for this country to all the abortions that have taken place since Roe v. Wade. Even though I was still weakly pro-life then, I felt it was grossly inappropriate to draw such a parallel any time of year–and especially on Memorial Day. It politicized something that should never be politicized, ever.
Until very recently, being a charismatic/Pentecostal liberal Democrat, like yours truly, meant biting your tongue until it bled. But this went so far over the line it wasn’t even funny. I walked out and didn’t even look back. Does that make me a villain? Apparently so, if you believe Murillo.
Murillo would do well to listen to his own words from October 2016, less than a month before the election. Watch here.
Murillo stated the obvious– “the rancor and the division” in this country was going to make things very difficult for any president. He believed it was going to cause “tremendous frustration,” regardless of who won.
Um, Mario? If you’re saying that you’re a villain for not wanting to support a pastor who bows down to Trump, you’re contributing to that rancor and division.
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