About That Mulligan…

For the past year and a half, many people have tried to understand  the “family values” Evangelicals who support Trump. That discussion has ramped up since Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council, told Politico that Trump gets a “mulligan,” or do-over, on his past moral transgressions, because he’s willing to stand up to the religious right’s enemies.

One recent analysis of that arguably unholy relationship came via Michelle Goldberg at the New York Times. She began by reminding readers that this seeming departure from New Testament exhortations of love and mercy isn’t anything new.

In 1958, the Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell, who would go on to found the Moral Majority, gave a sermon titled “Segregation or Integration: Which?” He inveighed against the Supreme Court’s anti-segregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education, arguing that facilities for blacks and whites should remain separate.

“When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line,” he wrote, warning that integration “will destroy our race eventually.”

He went on to establish what would become Liberty University–as an all-white school.

Goldberg noted the Evangelical community’s later willingness to support Ronald Reagan despite his divorce, although prior to Reagan’s emergence on the scene, a candidate’s divorce had been an absolute bar to the Christian vote.  Access and influence, evidently, are more important than theology. (You might even say they trump theology.)

Given this history, it is not surprising that the contemporary leaders of the religious right are blasé about reports that Trump cheated on his third wife with a porn star shortly after the birth of his youngest child, then paid her to be quiet. Despite his louche personal life, Trump, the racist patriarch promising cultural revenge, doesn’t threaten the religious right’s traditional values. He embodies them.

Earnest evangelicals, of course, are appalled.

As Michael Gerson–himself an Evangelical Christian– wrote in The Washington Post, the “Christians” who support Trump and ignore behaviors previously considered very unChristian are “associating evangelicalism with bigotry, selfishness and deception. They are playing a grubby political game for the highest of stakes: the reputation of their faith.”

Goldberg also notes the (unpersuasive) contortions of contemporary Evangelicals who are trying to distinguish between their former pro-segregation resistance to Brown v. Board of Education and their current support for anti-LGBTQ activists who don’t want to bake cakes or otherwise do business with same-sex couples. The latter are described by their co-religionists as “sincere Christians” whose religious liberties are being trampled by civil rights laws, and she makes the obvious point:

it seems absurd to ask secular people to respect the religious right’s beliefs about sex and marriage — and thus tolerate a degree of anti-gay discrimination — while the movement’s leaders treat their own sexual standards as flexible and conditional. Christian conservatives may believe strongly in their own righteousness. But from the outside, it looks as if their movement was never really about morality at all.

I’d say that’s a fair conclusion.

Of course, Goldberg and those she cites aren’t the only ones who are trying to understand the fervent Evangelical embrace of a repellant man who embodies everything they claim to abhor.

Among the various explanations I’ve come across, my own favorite is this one that I only recently saw: They believe Trump will use nuclear weapons and destroy the world–and that will bring on the long-awaited Rapture.

At least the Rapture is part of their theology, unlike porn stars….


  1. The money thirsting evangelicals dupe their congregations just like republican politicians and Rupert Murdoch. They are all con men and con women. #Hypocrites

    Used car salespeople have more integrity than evangelical preachers and republicans. At least Nixon was honest about manipulating them with his Southern Strategy.

    Nuff said…

  2. The position of the Evangelical Right-Wing can be summed up in one sentence. They believe that the end (overturning Roe v Wade) justifies the means.

    That is bad Theology, but those who thump the bible these days have not internalized its messages. Some of them may never have even opened it.

  3. “Among the various explanations I’ve come across, my own favorite is this one that I only recently saw: They believe Trump will use nuclear weapons and destroy the world–and that will bring on the long-awaited Rapture.”

    The so-called “religious right” are unknowingly their own worst enemy as well as our’s. Should we cease using the term “impeachment” to oust Trump, et al; and begin seeking a “Political Armageddon” to bring down the House and the Senate? We are not speaking a language the Republican Evangelicals understand or relate to. Can the word “impeachment” be found in any Bible? I don’t know the answer to my question but I do know that the term “Idolatry” can be found and preached against throughout the Old Testament which is the Bible they preach from as they Idolize Trump as their “Golden Calf”. Preaching against fornication is found in the New Testament but they have rewritten those sections and come up with their own “Chapter and Verse” versions to excuse Trump. Anyone here believe his fornication is not ongoing in and out of the White House?

    While I have come to view the Bible as a collection of religious fairy tales; we need to find a way to “speak their language” if this country is to be saved from the current “snake handlers” in charge.

  4. I’m not concerned about their hypocrisy and their full embrace of situational ethics to achieve and maintain political power. They have consistently violated the first commandment in their slavish devotion to Republican Jesus, a figment of the imaginations of preachers of the prosperity gospel.

  5. reverend pence is at the top of the pecking order of pharisaical evangelicals.

    The evangelical motto is “Do as I say, not as I do”.

  6. It’s all about segregation. Like everything else in America, it’s all about racism. Trump understands that. That is why he won and continues to be massively popular with his base. And have we already forgotten the lesson that he was not going to win, according to the polls, but somehow voters just seemed to push that Trump button for some mysterious reason? Don’t believe the polls, Democrats. Racism is a sneaky kid who knows he is being bad and loves every second of it. And their Jesus has everything to do with that.

  7. JoAnn,

    “……we need to find a way to “speak their language” if this country is to be saved from the current “snake handlers” in charge.”

    In order to speak their language, you need a short course in “How to Grab, politically speaking, someone or something by the BALLS.”

    I’m sorry to report, at the root of it all, that’s what this GAME is all about.

  8. The evangelicals aren’t stupid. Trump/Pence give them anything they want in exchange for the power base. They’d be fine with them performing any sin on anything/anyone (live on prime time, no less) as long as they keeps letting them run wild. Evangelicals aren’t interested in morals, they’re interested in winning. Trump is providing them that.

    When Obama ran, evangelicals listed “morality” as their number 1 issue – and they said they didn’t think Obama (the happily married father of 2 seemingly well adjusted girls) was moral at all – in fact, he may have been the actual devil with his terrorist fist bump. When Trump ran (the thrice married, cheating con-man) they listed morality last on their list of important features.

    Winning is what they want to do. The bible even has a long history of this type of successful behavior – conservative Christians are the Pharisees and Sadducees discussed in the bible. It’s working out pretty well for them.

  9. Everything old is new again. The Pharisees were protecting their power when they confronted Jesus with canonical word games. Today’s Evangelicals are only protecting their power. The difference is today they are confronting our Constitution and the people don’t know enough about what’s in it to respond.

  10. To be brief, following the lead of Jerry Falwell and his trip to Israel immediately after the ’67 War, Trump/Pence/Bannon have GRABBED THE JEWS BY THEIR BALLS…… unprecedented support for Israel on one hand, driving anti-Semitism in America with the other.

    This is a problem for ALL Americans, the MASKED virus of hatred for Jews has been mutating against other minorities for decades, especially African-Americans.

  11. I live in an area noted for some intolerant, hard-core, ‘family values’ folks – a ‘christian college’ that gave Danny Burton an honorary degree. Nice neighbors but not my religious beliefs. I’d be very leery of using the word ‘Armageddon’ – political or otherwise. I’ve been saying for months that this North Korean situation and Pres Trump’s behavior – combined with the plan to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and support Israel (no matter what) are parts of the ‘end of days’ philosophy that may be news to some but has been around this area for years. ‘Armageddon’ would bring these folks out in droves – it means the final battle between good and evil. Guess which side would be assigned to progressive, tolerant folks? What would Jesus do? He’d denounce the wackos – but with love.

  12. Why do we often read that Trump/Pence won? They did not win the popular vote. They were awarded the White House by a few wingnuts in the Electoral College, exactly what the Founding Fathers hoped to prevent, the enthronement of American “royalty”. Just observe King Trump’s bellowing and Queen Pence’s sickening beatific beaming and you’ll realize how effed we are.
    There is still hope: dethrone them in November, 2018 by empowering the opposition in Congress. Vote for the party that voted FOR our Social Safety System, that same system the GOP would dismantle and have already begun the process with their Tax Code revisions obscenely designed to reward the fatcats thereby reducing the USA to Third-World status for millions.

  13. What lessons from Trump’s election win might the next democratic candidate use? I know of one.

    PUT SMOOCHY DIPLOMATIC SPEECH IN THE BOX and lock it in the closet; that sort of “gentlemanly” discourse seems to arouse the kind of suspicion associated with car salesmen and funeral directors among likely voters in critical purple districts, while foul language, inept language and a shady past seem to evoke those voters’ imaginary idea of a straight shooter whose simple policy bullets give the illusion of penetrating the cockamamie armor of complex issues. Don’t merely acknowledge that tactic for the purpose of spicy complaint, but adopt it as if you love it because it is the most effective tactic.

    And another lesson: never forget that astute voters are far outnumbered everywhere.

    Also: It is far more effective for the candidate to show voters that he or she is gut-square on their side than it is to show them that he or she is brain-square with understanding the issues. Save policy brilliance to enlighten sycophant-filled rooms…and for choosing a cabinet, because that candidate is going to win.

    Lastly, almost always the presidential candidate with the shortest name wins.

  14. A while back I started labeling Falwell and his successors as evangelical patriarchs rather than Christian. They have much more in common with Old Testament patriarchy than the message of Jesus. It helps to quit conflating their message of married white men first with Jesus’ message of love.

  15. I keep going back to the Professor’s post about “how you can’t run a country like a business” that lists the reasons 45 is so bad for our country. And we had no idea how he would bastardize the POTUS’ standing in the world. Pastor Pence will come and save the world once 45 is on house arrest. Do you honestly think they will be putting 45 in jail? I don’t, Pastor Pence will pardon him until the fingers start pointing back to him and then what? We are really in a constitutional crisis with all of this.

    As for the Rapture, the bible says that fire, floods and earthquakes will descend on the earth and everyone that is “holy” will be taken away to heaven where they will praise their god for eternity. Good grief, I’d rather be cremated at the rapture than praise some god entity for the rest of existence. barf

  16. “They are playing a grubby political game for the highest of stakes: the reputation of their faith.”

    This is what hypocrites do. The so-called evangelicals are all about power and control. They use their “faith” as a bludgeon on the weak-minded.

  17. Trump has predecessors in history. The womanizer King Henry VIII, angered at the pope for not approving one of his divorces, started his own church, a church royalty and not the pope heads, and one which survives to this day with Queen Liz at its helm. King David of biblical fame send a general to his death because he was enchanted with the general’s wife. Then there was the Prince Edward-divorced Wally Simpson affair in the 30s and many others too numerous to note here, coming down even to yesterday’s confession of an affair by the mayor of Nashville.

    My point is not to talk about who bedded who or provide moral cover with “Everybody’s doing it” (because everybody isn’t) but rather to suggest that Trump’s antics have a history. Our current problem is not Trump’s boudoir excesses; it is how such misconduct gives us a clue to his character and conduct in office, and his conduct in office can only be described as horrible even if he were a virgin. We are particularly incensed by the contradiction of evangelicals whose assumed Puritanism does not brook such conduct but who are willing to give many mulligans to the sinner in exchange for a share of the power in achieving their ultimate goal of a Middle Ages amalgamation of church and state. Indeed our tut-tut campaign is not shared by millions of non-evangelicals or even among ourselves as many if not most Americans are into making a living and paying bills in the larger world outside the bedroom.

    So where are we? Yes, Trump is an irreligious libertine, a liar, and is oblivious to the moral and ethical boundaries most of us profess to have even if we do not always follow them. I for one share the disdain for hypocritical evangelicals but am more concerned with what the sinner is doing in office and what I consider to be our number one problem > whether our democracy can withstand his antics not in the bedroom – but in the Oval Office.

  18. Gerald,

    “I for one share the disdain for hypocritical evangelicals but am more concerned with what the sinner is doing in office and what I consider to be our number one problem.”

    It would be beneficial, but you can’t shut out the “hypocritical evangelicals” influence. They are the driving force behind the Trump administration. In my opinion, they’re the number #1 problem. If you can’t neutralize them, you will accomplish nothing.

    The record speaks for itself. So far nothing has been accomplished in reducing the destruction caused by Trumpism.

    Our continued disagreement stems from the difference in our political philosophy. As you have stated, you’re a LIBERAL, I’m not. I’m a little “d”democrat. At this point in time, there’s a big difference.

  19. Years ago there were some articles about the standard of living the TV bible thumpers enjoyed. Mansions was the operative description of where they lived. There was a ready made solution to account for this discrepancy comparing how the high priests of TV bible thumpers lived vs the flock itself. The solution or reason was the prosperity gospel, if you were a real believer god would bless you with health and wealth. Poverty and poor health was a visible manifestation of a lack of faith. I gather one way to demonstrate your faith was to write bigger checks payable to the TV bible thumper – read Con Man.

    The Mulligan is found in the bible. Abraham, of the old testament had wife Sarai (Sarah). Sarah in turn had a handmaid named Hagar. Just to be brief Sarah “gave” Hagar to Abraham so they could get it on. The product of this sexual encounter was Ishmael. Just to be clear Sarah, Abraham’s wife was also his half-sister.

    This is the same Abraham that was called upon by god to sacrifice his son, Isaac, by his half sister wife Sarah. Rather strange “family values” in operation here.

    Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. So in a sense the bible is giving the Trumpet (aka Agent Orange) plenty of moral wiggle room, thus the mulligan.

  20. religion kills too. hypocrites abound,and like a whore looking for a free ride, profess their moral side thru relgion. seems like this election cycle has bought out the real meaning of thier moral platatudes,and real living standard,for,them,to profess purity.. keep religion out politics,its only shows how a group can and will, cross their own line to crush our freedoms for self morality. I listen,(while getting sick) to some of these religious radio talk shows. i run the southern bible belt, seems their on top of convincing people thru their own faults,they should be supporting trumps aganda,because its gods work. also, if your succeeding in making alot of money now,it gets you in the front line of pearly gates too.. ive heard them,between two talking heads,profess that this movement,no matter how egregious it is with trump, its all gods word.follow this sinner,to hell i guess… seems maybe this religious right spouting off its media as a following of gods word,is again a right wing support group,intent on distroying the rule of law in the nations capital, for their own just needs… (now you know why i get sick listening to buffoonery. )I reading alot about Muellers comrads, Thanks Mr Comey for standing up,and sticking to the rule of law. This,like i said before,is a identical movement,that hitler pulled off,prior to his assention to chancellor. Im sure Muellers investigation will show trump,and his buddies colluded with money laudering with putin and the russian mafia,whereas money was stolen in America,sent overseas to russia,and dropped into their hands thru cypress,and its banks.
    theamericaninterest.com james henry,s “trump and kushner money laundering,”was printed 12/16 and has a few other journalist with the same account of this,since,1983. very well done,and alot of footnotes to check on. liars,weasels,will fall,, Thanks MrComey.

  21. Gerald; I’m sure you are aware how lucky this world, not only the UK, but the world is that Edward abdicated the throne of England to marry the “woman he loves”, twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson. I have seen old news films of them only months later at Hitler rallies; sitting on the front row with his highest level appointees. Did the royal family know of their support of Adolph Hitler and his incoming Nazi regime and help him decide to abdicate? We will never know, and luckily the world will never know, what would have happened to Europe and this world had Edward remained as King of England and had supported Hitler.

  22. Peggy:

    “Everything old is new again. The Pharisees were protecting their power when they confronted Jesus with canonical word games. Today’s Evangelicals are only protecting their power. The difference is today they are confronting our Constitution and the people don’t know enough about what’s in it to respond.”

    That’s absolutely the best expression of the best lesson to be learned here in my opinion. It’s simply the world’s oldest game, who has the power. You know, the power that corrupts. The absolute power that corrupts absolutely.

    If we don’t end it before it ends democracy, and that process has already started with the FBI vs Republican Congress blindly serving TrumPence, a shooting revolution will be the only way to recover our country. A voting revolution is so much better. Even then I’ll bet that some force will be required to evict those who believe now that they own us.

    Among the permanent damage that this episode of the great experiment in democracy has inflicted on America is the truth that we can be conquered. An army is not required. Merely a covert advertising game like Russia used to install TrumPence. We will even supply the necessary brainwashing infrastructure.

    When we take back the country peacefully this time a Great Wall will have to be built. Not the TrumPence version which solves nothing but a cultural wall restored that detects incipient tyranny and is critically thinking enough to repel it in its infancy. A Great Wall of knowledge.

  23. Monotonous Languor, couldn’t have put it better myself …

    BTW, the Name, derived from the phase “Wounds my Heart with Monotonous Languor” ?
    Radio Londres, broadcast to the French Resistance during WW2

  24. Red George, you are winner!!!! Very few people catch that. I find it interesting there is so much killing, cleaving, brutality, bloodshed and non-monogamous sex in the bible. How the bible became some benchmark of morality is indeed a mystery to me???

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