When I was a young boy I very early on expressed an interest in politics.
This wasn’t exactly a popular choice in my community. I grew up in the church, and I was taught early on that spirituality was what mattered most. Politics didn’t matter much compared to that. The altar was the place where real change happened in the world.
But nonetheless I still felt a natural inclination to the political world. A major reason for this was because I saw a conversation taking place there between not only Christians but the rest of the world. Few of my atheist friends ever ventured inside the walls of our church, but almost all of them had opinions about politics.
Of course, whenever I mentioned this among evangelical circles, there was always some level of pushback.
“Politics?” they would say. “Why would you want to be in that? It’s such a rough, nasty business.”
That statement, more than any other, speaks to the Evangelical mind concerning politics.
Evangelicals don’t behave like politicians, especially ones like Donald Trump. They try not to lie, they frown on the use of vulgarities. They don’t try to bully, or curse out, or purposefully intimidate people. They try to remain faithful to their families and they don’t sleep with porn stars. In their lives they try to do what is kind and Christ-like, not necessarily what is ruthless or effective.
So why, even after his crassness and lack of ethics is on full display, do evangelicals continue to support Donald Trump?
This is a point the media continues to miss. CNN and other sources are constantly reporting Trump’s iniquity in an effort to undermine his support. The Daily Show and others are constantly reporting chaos in the White House. But they don’t realize that most Christians couldn’t care less about Trump’s character. And chaos is exactly what they expect from him.
The entire political worldview of Evangelical Christians is different than democrats. They didn’t choose Trump because he represents Christian values or exemplifies their character. Few Evangelicals will say he is the best among us. He may not even believe what they believe.
The reason is because Evangelicals chose Trump they way one chooses a hitman. Politics being a rough and nasty business, one where Christian ethics can’t survive, you’ve got to turn to what works. And what works is someone brutal, unapologetic, prideful, and vicious. Even the left would agree that Trump is all of those things.
And so, if you listen closely, you’ll see this thinking in evangelical circles. There are memes going around saying “Trump is doing exactly what I hired him to do.” Not that Trump speaks in a Christian voice, or that he even accurately represents us. A gold star mother recently remarked, that she wouldn’t care how many “f-bombs” a fight fighter uses as long as he gets the job done. She said Trump’s behavior is excused for the same reason.
This all assumes, of course, that Trump is actually rebuilding America. It assumes the destruction of dignity and the chaos he is unleashing can somehow be good for our country. It assumes the day of enlightened and moral Christian statesmen – like our founders – is truly over. It assumes God will bless us for trusting our politics to a wild man, rather than doing it ourselves. And like any existentialist affair, it puts hope and trust in both parties honoring the agreement. Ultimately, it assumes that, like the mob of The Dark Knight, we won’t end up regretting the side effects of what we’ve done.