I’ll probably never be able to reconcile white evangelical Christian support for President Donald Trump and his amoral and unethical conduct. Even when he claims regarding Mexico paying for his border wall, “Obviously, I never said this, and I never meant they’re going to write out a check,” his so-called religious base gives a collective shrug. This despite the hundreds of times he did say exactly this — all corroborated for history and the memory-challenged by the blasted media.

And let’s not forget the dictates of Holy Writ’s eighth Commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Not just Christians and Jews, but Muslims, Buddhists and all who follow an ethical ethos know that we are obligated to tell the truth and not spread falsehoods. Apparently this doesn’t include the president who, by the end of 2018, had told more than 7,600 untruths during his presidency, according to The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” site. (I know. I know. More fake news.)


However, some Christian leaders have turned their religion on its head in defense of Trump. Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, is president of Liberty University, a bastion of Christian conservatism founded by his father. He attributes Trump’s lies to his having simply “misspoken.” Really? Nearly 8,000 times since Jan. 20, 2017? Can we say, “pathological?”

The grand compromise agreed to by evangelical Christians, including some of my Catholic co-religionists, is that they will see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil regarding Trump as long as they get Supreme Court appointees who may someday overturn Roe v. Wade. I consider myself pro-life but recognize a devil’s bargain when I see one. Ignoring catastrophic climate change and weakening clean water and air laws and food and drug inspection protocols are terrible prices for our children to pay.

Even when some evangelical Christians acknowledge Trump’s sordid behavior, they accept it as a trade-off for his autocratic conduct and support of MAGA-oriented Christian nationalism. Journalist Katherine Stewart often covers the Christian right and has noted that Trump is like a modern-day “King Cyrus” who freed the Jews from their Babylonian captivity. Stewart writes that Cyrus is the “model for a nonbeliever appointed by God as a vessel for the faithful.”

Then there’s the “wall.” Public Religion Research Institute polling found in September 2018 that 67 percent of evangelical Christians approved of a border wall. Robert Jones, PRRI’s head and author of “The End of White Christian America,” believes that “For white evangelicals who see the sun setting on white Christian dominance in the country, the wall is a powerful metaphor.”

Evangelicals have long seen the world as an “us against them” threat. The “thems” are liberals and the agenda many espouse, from the LGBTQ cause to reproductive rights, and non-Western European immigrants, most of whom are brown and black and insist on bringing along their native languages and customs. This includes Muslims, who represent a religion that the right prefers to label “radical Islam.” Evangelicals can’t do much about the libs among them, but a wall made of concrete, steel or immigration quotas is a perfect way to keep that other group off U.S. soil.

Trump’s agenda and vitriolic tweets are largely an attack on the Christian message found in the Sermon on the Mount’s Beatitudes and the parable of the good Samaritan, especially when it comes to helping the least among us, like the immigrant. The Bible has multiple references to immigration. Exodus 22:21 commands, “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”

The aforementioned Falwell made my jaw drop when he told The Washington Post last month that it was a “distortion” of Christ’s teachings to say that helping the poor was something that nations, rather than individuals should do. He dismissed the idea that “the United States as a nation should be loving and forgiving, and just hand over everything we have to every other part of the world … You almost have to believe that this is a theocracy to think that way, to think that public policy should be dictated by the teachings of Jesus.”

Here’s where I enter my parenthetical “Wow!”

We are experiencing a sea of change regarding how some of us frame this nation’s age-old political and religious beliefs. It used to be that “character matters” in politics. Now? Not so much. It used to be that politicians relied on “the light of the world” and the Good Book to guide them in crafting the best policies for the people here and beyond our borders. Now we are being thrust into an “every man for himself” culture and my moral compass is dizzily spinning. Where did we go wrong and how do we find our way back?