The religious right has sold its soul to Donald Trump. That was amply demonstrated in the wake of the “Access Hollywood” tapes. The nation’s so-called moral guardians tried to tell us that it wasn’t a big deal that Trump had been caught on tape openly reveling in how he degraded and harassed women. No, no–what really mattered was that he was going to roll back abortion and marriage equality.
If there was any doubt that the religious right has completely bowed down to Trump, it was erased on Wednesday. One of the religious right’s loudest voices declared with a straight face that he and his compatriots aren’t willing to abandon Trump because–wait for it–doing so would amount to punishing the nation.
On Tuesday, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council made a breathtaking admission to Politico. Perkins said that despite his uneasiness about Trump’s past debauchery, he and other religious right leaders were giving Trump “a mulligan” and “a do-over” because he has given them everything they had hoped for and then some.
As it turned out, Perkins wasn’t just speaking for himself. That was made clear on Wednesday, when American Family Radio afternoon host Bryan Fischer added his voice to that chorus. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Fischer kicked off the second hour of Wednesday’s show by fielding a question from “George” in Williston, North Dakota. George believed that the church was “sick with hypocrisy”–and he thought one example of this was condoning Trump’s debauchery.
George was specifically upset with Perkins’ apparent willingness to condone Trump’s apparent affair with Stormy Daniels. He believed that the church was willing to “put policy above belief and faith.” He had been equally outraged with Bill Clinton.
Fischer agreed that hypocrisy was indeed running rampant in the church. He admitted that if he had to decide whether to become a Christian based on the behavior of others around him, he wouldn’t have bothered. However, he reminded George that hypocrisy was just “proof we need a Savior.” All well and good.
But then Fischer engaged in a breathtaking display of hypocrisy of his own. He agreed that Trump’s affair with Daniels was “inexcusable,” “despicable,” and “reprehensible,” especially since it came so soon after he married Melania.
But when George asked Fischer’s views about Perkins’ willingness to give Trump a “mulligan,” Fischer asked, “Where do you go from there?” While he clarified that he wasn’t defending Trump, he had to accept the reality that “he is still our president”–and there was no chance of him being run out of the White House. While we can “weep and wail and gnash our teeth,” it won’t matter. As he saw it, it was no different from what happened with the Clinton impeachment.
All things considered, Fischer believed that it came down to what Trump was doing in office.
“So I think we still have to deal with life as it is handed to us. We still have to look at contemporary events, we still have to look at the policies that the president is advocating. Do we agree with them, do we disagree with them? If there are policies that are good, there is no reason for us not to support him just because he did such a tawdry thing 11 years ago. I’m not going to punish America because of what he did 11 years ago. That wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever.”
Well, that explains a few things. Apparently Fischer and others thought that if they abandoned Trump when the “Access Hollywood” tapes came out, as well as the multiple reports that he molested and harassed women over the years, it would amount to “punishing” America by handing Hillary Clinton the presidency. Unless I heard wrong, Fischer tacitly admitted that he and other fundies were perfectly willing to throw victims of sexual assault and domestic violence under the bus in order to make America great again. Hmmm, sounds like he just proved George’s point for him.
But even if you buy that argument, what about Trump’s present behavior? Perkins appeared to address that on CNN on Tuesday night. Watch here.
Perkins told host Erin Burnett that if Trump was acting in the same manner that he did a decade ago, his support among fundies would be “dissipating very rapidly.”
Um, Tony? Have you taken a look at Trump’s Twitter feed? Since you expressed similar sentiments, Bryan, you ought to take a look at Trump’s Twitter as well. You’d see a man who has no qualms about degrading women, and even retweeting memes showing them being violently assaulted. It has been amply demonstrated that the depraved and debauched jerk of a decade ago is the real Donald Trump.
Any way you slice it, Fischer and Perkins have tacitly admitted that they have made social issues a golden calf. And in so doing, they have admitted that they are no longer worshiping Jesus. They are worshiping an Orange Calf.
(featured image courtesy Fischer’s Facebook)