In 2016, Evangelicals were clearly divided over Donald Trump for various reasons. Some, including myself, were unconvinced at the time that he would actually govern as conservatively as he proved to. Despite that, the vast majority still believed he’d be the better choice than the alternative, Hillary Clinton.
But that wasn’t true for many Evangelical leaders, including Southern Baptist Convention ERLC head, Russell Moore—who spent the majority of his time in office campaigning against Donald Trump and calling into question the genuine faith of those who were willing to cast a vote for him rather than his opposition.
Arguing that Trump’s immorality was so deep and wide that the only alternative was to vote either Democrat or third party, Moore and his acolytes painted Trump voters as “idolaters” with the implication that, somehow, the “other” party held the moral high ground.
Not to rehash the political platform of the left, suffice it to say that those who believe abortion should be expanded, children should be groomed by their teachers in schools, and that the government should steal from the working class to give to the sloth, do not hold the moral high ground. But that was—and still is—the mantra of the Evangelical left, the Moorites.
As I was thinking about this, I recalled an article that Russell Moore wrote in the far-left progressive publication, the Washington Post, in 2016 insisting that those Evangelicals who plan to vote for trump are stupid. “This year, religious conservatism stands naked and exposed before the world,” Moore wrote in his opinion piece titled If Donald Trump has done anything, he has snuffed out the Religious Right, “while Trump smugly surveys what he has come to own.”
Painting him as a “misogynist,” a “racist,” a “conspiracy theorist,” and a man who does nothing else except boasting about his sexual immorality on television for the last several decades, Moore’s implication was that those who were stupid enough to believe that he would be different, the “old-guard Religious Right establishment,” as he called them, may as well be all these things themselves.
“And yet here stands the old-guard Religious Right establishment. Some are defending or waving this away, with the same old tropes they’ve used throughout this campaign,” he lambasted as he tore into the religious right. “Trump’s not a Sunday school teacher, they tell us. Trump’s a new King David or pagan deliverer Cyrus. Trump is either a “baby Christian” or the kind of tough strongman conservative Christians need since the Sermon on the Mount isn’t realistic enough for the 21st century.”
To be completely clear, Moore was correct on two key things here: Donald Trump was certainly no Christian and, as of today, still has made no credible profession of faith. And secondly, there were a handful of outspoken charismatic blowhards—like the false prophetess Word of Faith charlatan, Paula White—who insisted that he was. But these are not mainstream Evangelicals, were certainly not mainstream Southern Baptists among whom Moore was supposed to represent, and nobody in their right mind actually believed these things. It was clear then and is even more clear today, that Russell Moore only used these false teachers as props to advance the notion that Donald Trump was unfit to be president and paint the picture that those who voted for him were just like Paula White.
Moore continued, “And, of course, they tell us, he will appoint judges and justices who stand up for unborn human life and religious liberty. After all, he promised us he would. Why Trump would be more faithful to vows to religious political activists than he has been to people named ‘Mrs. Trump,’ they do not tell us.”
Well, all we can say is that Moore’s statement here didn’t age well. Interestingly, at the time, Moore didn’t seem to be quite as concerned with the unfaithfulness to the vows between the Clinton Clan leaders—don’t forget about Bill’s Oval Office endeavors. Perhaps Russell Moore wasn’t quite the Evangelical prophet the Evangelical left made him out to be. Perhaps it was Moore who lacked discernment. Perhaps conservative Evangelicals were right, that despite the fact that Trump wasn’t a Christian, his policies and his promises were better for us than what the Democrat party has to offer. Today, as Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court—of which many of the justices were appointed by Donald Trump—we can look back at the tripe Russell Moore has been feeding us and bid proclaim good riddance.
Russell Moore noted that in the wake of all these “prosperity gospel” “hucksters” and “televangelists” who spoke positively of Russell Moore that was somehow going to destroy our gospel witness—there was nothing these blasphemers could do to destroy it more than they already had—somehow, voting for Hillary Clinton, or voting for a third-party candidate, or not voting at all, was somehow going to save that witness. He writes “And yet the damage done to gospel witness this year will take longer to recover from than those 1980s televangelist scandals.”
Russell Moore wasn’t the only one, though. A close associate of his, David French, also argued that supporting the Republican candidate would have no effect on the outcome of abortion:
Again, I think we can all agree that we, Trump voters or supporters, have by and large been vindicated without actually compromising the gospel and today’s ruling stands as a testament to that.