Woe Unto You, Hypocrites!

The evangelical mind is not really a Christian mind. No, it has become a pure political rationalization machine.

Let’s take the case of Franklin Graham. Regarding Trump, his past statements include this:

Graham actually said Trump’s sex life is “nobody’s business.”

“His paying off a porn star is “nobody’s business.” His affair just months after his youngest son was born is “nobody’s business”.

I don’t have concern, in a sense, because these things happened many years ago – and there’s such bigger problems in front of us as a nation that we need to be dealing with than other things in his life a long time ago. I think some of these things – that’s for him and his wife to deal with,” Graham insisted. “I don’t defend those kinds of relationships he had. But the country knew the kind of person he was back then, and they still made the decision to make him the president of the United States. I think when the country went after President Clinton, the Republicans, that was a great mistake that should never have happened.”

That last line is a feeble attempt to hide his hypocrisy. But it is hard to hide when it is in print. So, let’s go back to the Wall Street Journal – August 27, 1998…..

The topic of private vs. public behavior has emerged as perhaps the central moral issue raised by Bill Clinton’s “improper relationship” with Monica Lewinsky. Much of America seems to have succumbed to the notion that what a person does in private has little bearing on his public actions or job performance, even if he is the president of the United States.

Last week Mr. Clinton told 70 million Americans that his adulterous actions with Ms. Lewinsky were a “private” matter “between me, the two people I love the most–my wife and our daughter–and our God.”

But the God of the Bible says that what one does in private does matter. Mr. Clinton’s months-long extramarital sexual behavior in the Oval Office now concerns him and the rest of the world, not just his immediate family. If he will lie to or mislead his wife and daughter, those with whom he is most intimate, what will prevent him from doing the same to the American public?

Private conduct does have public consequences. Some of Mr. Clinton’s defenders present King David of the Bible, one of history’s great leaders, as an example as they call on us to forgive and forget the president’s moral failings. Since God pardoned David’s adulterous act with Bathsheba, the reasoning goes, we should similarly forgive Mr. Clinton.

But forgiveness is not the end of David’s story. Huge consequences followed immediately. The prophet Nathan confronted David with the news that while his life would be spared, the life of his child would be extinguished after just seven days on earth. Bathsheba’s husband and others were killed in an attempt to cover up the illicit affair. David, who confessed his sin when confronted by Nathan (perhaps God’s special prosecutor), also witnessed a bloody coup attempt by his own son, Absalom. He was never the same king.

So, Mr. Graham has decided that Clinton’s transgression needed to be condemned – while Trump’s behavior is, well, “nobody’s business”.

Evangelicals are willing to compromise themselves for the sake of political expediency. Is that a religion of consistent faith? Is that a religion that stands on principle?

Hardcore evangelicals will insist that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. But maybe except when it is uncomfortable? When it conflicts with political goals?

Evangelicals condemn liberal beliefs –  that we are the poor’s benefactor. They condemn liberals who believe in choice – telling us we can’t have it both ways. There are absolutes, they say.

Really? I guess your absolutes have some soft areas when it comes to politics. Your commandments have a left and right swing to them.

Franklin Graham and his like remind me of a passage in Matthew…

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.”

Do not preach to us about our failings until you clean up the massive amount of hypocrisy that constitutes your relationship with Trump.

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