Yesterday, Donald Trump was indicted for having paid over a hundred thousand dollars to the porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their sexual encounter shortly after his wife Melania gave birth to their son Barron. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen admitted to the crime, calling it a “sex scandal of biblical proportions” and admitting that it was done on Trump’s orders.
Trump also accidentally admitted to the crime in 2018, but has since denied it. He is really bad at playing innocent – he recently threatened “death and destruction” if he is charged. Several of his supporters call it persecution and communism that he is being charged – they do not care that Trump himself has already admitted to it.
The millions of (white) evangelical Christians who still support Trump also do not seem to care about his infidelity with porn stars and other women. In fact, after the infamous video where Trump boasted about committing sexual assault (“grab them by the pussy”) and sleeping with married women was released, he became more popular among white evangelicals.
This is largely due to the fact that many white evangelicals value traditional patriarchal masculinity, as historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez shows in her book Jesus and John Wayne. While they verbally condemn sexual assault and infidelity, it is something many evangelical men engage in themselves and are quite impressed by, and women are taught to accept sexual assault and rape in popular evangelical books about marriage and relationships. The book The Great Sex Rescue goes through this in detail and shows that evangelicals who have a so-called “complementarian” view of women and men have significantly worse marriages that often lead to divorce.
These statistics show beyond any reasonable doubt that the white evangelical endorsement of Trump has radically changed their values. In 2011, over 60 percent of them said that an elected official who commits an immoral act in their private life cannot behave ethically in their public life. In the Trump era, this conviction remains among less than 20 percent. Falwell Jr. and other evangelical leaders have convinced millions of Christians that a good character simply isn’t relevant when it comes to leadership, despite there being hundreds of verses in the Scriptures that suggest otherwise.
I wish we lived in an age where it was obvious to everyone that Trump himself is a hypocrite. He said that he would “drain the swamp” in Washington making it less corrupt, but has taken no action to do so and instead filled his administration with relatives, people currently under investigation and career politicians. Trump frequently accuses the media for lying, calling it “fake news”, when even his supporters clearly can see that he frequently lies himself. Just watch him deny that he has said things he actually said:
But here’s the really catastrophic part. In the gallup I referenced above, which shows that most white evangelicals don’t care about moral character in their public officials anymore, there was some stunning evidence of evangelical hypocrisy:
Do you see that? The number rises dramatically if the question is asked after Bill Clinton is mentioned, but plummets when it is Trump’s name instead. This clearly proves that at least a quarter of white evangelicals in the US are hypocrites. They disregard God’s teaching: “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” (James 2:1). They don’t shape their opinion on this matter based on God’s Word, but on the priorities of the Republican party.
The Bible is clear in its condemnation of adultery. In the book of Exodus, it states, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). The book of Proverbs warns, “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword” (Proverbs 5:3-4). Jesus himself said, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). These words should resonate deeply with all Christians, yet many seem to have forgotten them in their blind support of Trump.
The fact that so many evangelicals continue to support Trump despite his immoral and illegal behavior is terribly damaging to the credibility of the Church. It sends the message that Christian values are not important, that it is acceptable to behave in a way that is contrary to those values as long as it serves one’s political interests. This is a dangerous message to send, not only to the Church but to the world at large.
As Christians, we must hold our leaders accountable for their behavior. We cannot turn a blind eye to immorality and corruption, no matter how powerful the person may be. We must be willing to stand up for what is right, even when it is unpopular.
We must remember the words of Jesus, who said, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). We cannot allow our loyalty to a political leader to outweigh our loyalty to God and His commandments.
Micael Grenholm is a Swedish church historian, author and an editor for PCPJ.
Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice is a multicultural, gender inclusive, and ecumenical organization that promotes peace, justice, and reconciliation work among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians around the world. If you like what we do, please become a member!
One thought on “Trump’s Pornstar Infidelity Highlights the Evangelical Hypocrisy in America”
They take the “Cyrus” approach to Trump, which is misleading and selective. They would never say that about a Democrat. Trump “owns” the people they are uncomfortable with, and that is enough for them to write a free pass for him.