Dept. of Silver Linings 2017: The religious right is splitting apart under Trump

Dept. of Silver Linings 2017: The religious right is splitting apart under Trump
Donald Trump gets blessed by Christian evangelicals. Photo: Right Wing Watch

No use pretending that 2017 was a terrific year. Just two words: President Trump, and everything that implies, from antigay appointees to transphobic policies. But it’s easy to overlook the positive trends that emerged in the past year–in part a reaction to Trump. Call it the counter revolution.

Here’s the sixth in our year-in-review series, Silver Linings 2017. 

The religious right is now synonymous with hypocrisy – and some evangelical leaders are calling their own out for it.

Evangelical voters represent the core of Donald Trump’s base, and he knows it. (His decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is just the latest example.)

But 2017 has been a tough year for the religious right. After its support for Trump and alleged child molester Roy Moore, conservative evangelicalism is under fire for rejecting the values that it so loudly proclaims.

“Evangelical” used to denote people who claimed the high moral ground; now, in popular usage, the word is nearly synonymous with “hypocrite,” Timothy Keller wrote in the New Yorker.

And not just among people who aren’t evangelicals. What used to be a pretty cohesive group is splitting under the strain of putting political power above principle.

Some high-profile evangelicals, like Peter Wehner, an aide in the George W. Bush administration, have publicly repudiated the label because it is so tarnished.

We’ve let evil overtake the entire reputation of Evangelicalism. The lust for power is nauseating. Racism, appalling. The arrogance, terrifying. The misogyny so far from Christlikeness, it can’t be Christianity.” –Evangelical leader Beth Moore.

Whether the dissenters will have an impact remains to be seen. In the meantime, the influence that the religious right has outside of their own circle will continue to shrink as it becomes seen as just another power-hungry special interest group.

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