Here’s what happens when tribalism becomes the animating element of your faith:
As recently as 2011, a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that only 30 percent of white evangelicals believed “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” But by the time Donald Trump was running for president in 2016, that number had risen sharply to 72 percent. White evangelicals are now more tolerant of immoral behavior by elected officials than the average American. “This is really a sea change in evangelical ethics,” Robert P. Jones, the head of the institute and the author of The End of White Christian America, recently told me.
David Brody, a correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network who has co-authored a forthcoming “spiritual biography” of Trump, said many outside observers fail to grasp the desperation and urgency felt throughout much of conservative Christianity.
“The way evangelicals see the world, the culture is not only slipping away—it’s slipping away in all caps, with four exclamation points after that. It’s going to you-know-what in a handbasket,” Brody told me. “Where does that leave evangelicals? It leaves them with a choice. Do they sacrifice a little bit of that ethical guideline they’ve used in the past in exchange for what they believe is saving the culture?”
To which I guess I’d respond: What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
P.S. A “spiritual biography of Trump?” What are they printing that on, a book of matches?