One of the most nauseating moments of 2017 has been the religious right’s continued support for Donald Trump even in the face of the almost daily outrages coming from this White House. Equally nauseating has been the sustained bullying campaign that the nation’s so-called moral guardians have mounted against Trump’s opponents, as well as any of their followers who even mildly regret voting for Trump. Supposedly, if you oppose Trump, you’re being influenced by witchcraft, demons, and the devil himself.
But at least one evangelical pastor has had it with Trump–and the GOP. He recently announced he can no longer be part of a GOP helmed by the Donald.
O’Neal Dozier is the founder and pastor of Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, Florida. For years, he has been one of the most prominent black conservatives in Florida and the nation. He has campaigned for both of the Bush sons, and served as co-chairman of Rick Santorum’s 2012 campaign.
He is best known for his open and unashamed homophobia. When the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, Dozier blew a gasket from the pulpit.
Earlier, he claimed that gays “make God want to vomit.” He has also openly called for a religious right takeover of society, and once called Islam evil. At times, he’s proven too extreme even for his fellow Republicans. Jeb Bush forced him to resign from the panel that helps select state judges, and Charlie Crist booted him from a campaign advisory panel–in both cases over his Islamophobic remarks.
But apparently Dozier has some standards. In an op-ed for the South Florida Times, the main black newspaper for South Florida, Dozier announced that he is leaving the GOP after three decades and becoming an independent because he can “no longer with good conscience remain a political party that is headed by President Donald Trump.”
It took awhile for Dozier to have the scales fall from his eyes. In January, for instance, he thanked God for Trump’s victory and effusively praised his victory in the name of “the forgotten men and women of America.”
What changed? Well, Dozier has grown increasingly disgusted with Trump’s unwillingness to “unequivocally denounce” white supremacists. Dozier suspects that Trump is reluctant to distance himself from the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and others of their ilk because “he believes they are part of his base and they helped him to become president.”
Dozier believes that Trump doesn’t know or understand that “he is now the head of the party of President Lincoln, who gave his life for black people to be free and equal.” In a swipe at Trump’s “both sides” nonsense in the wake of the ugliness in Charlottesville, Dozier upbraided Trump for blowing a chance to condemn these outfits. Instead, “Trump decided to defend them”–and in the process, give the Democrats a chance to claim that Republicans are racist.
Dozier was also outraged at Trump’s ugly attacks on NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem. He is one of the few conservatives who understands that the players were taking a stand against “mistreatment of black people and people of color,” and meant no disrespect toward the flag. As Dozier sees it, Trump was “throwing red meat to his base” in order to “keep them on his plantation.” He fears that Trump is widening the racial divide in this nation, and is fueling “the potential for a race war in America.”
He is also one of the few conservatives who saw the irony in how harshly Trump condemned the players while remaining silent on other matters.
“President Donald Trump attacked black athletes and black sports figures such as: Colin Kaepernick, Steph Curry, Jemele Hill and Marshawn Lynch, but he doesn’t want to attack the white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan members in Charlottesville, Virginia or Judge Roy Moore.”
But Trump’s dog whistling isn’t the only thing that drove Dozier out of the GOP. He is also appalled at Trump’s “ungodly character and personality,” which he believes is destroying the GOP. He believes that Trump’s “childish behavior, unfiltered tweeting and lack of morals” have caused him to forfeit any moral authority. He also believes that the GOP has “sold its soul” to Trump by defending “the majority of his ungodly behavior and bad decisions.” As a result, it has “taken on the character” of Trump.
Anne Brangin of The Root wondered what took Dozier so long. After all, Trump has been a full-on xenophobe from the start of his political career, and has long been criticized for discriminating against black tenants.
Speaking as a black born-again myself, I have a theory. For some time, the religious right has been trying to use social issues to wedge blacks away from the Democrats. Granted, it hasn’t worked nearly as well as it has with Southern whites. But it explains why you see the likes of E. W. Jackson, Jesse Lee Peterson, and Mark Burns backing Trump. They believe that social issues are the be-all and end-all of everything.
For a long time, Dozier was among their number. It took Trump’s outrages for him to realize that voting for just any schmuck with an “R” next to his name wasn’t exactly the wisest idea. But, as they say, better late than never.
(featured image courtesy South Florida Times)