|Robert Jeffress (top) and Tony Perkins (bottom) are just two of the many evangelical leaders Trump has wrapped around his finger by catering to their egos.|
If there is one positive to Trump being in the Oval Office, it's that his time there is exposing a lot of these so-called Christian leaders as the power-hungry charlatans they are.
A very good article by Religious News Services, All the president’s clergymen: A close look at Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ ties with evangelicals, while pretty much objective, gives a picture of the embarrassing way several right-wing white evangelicals and black pastors who generally partner with them on other initiatives are freely throwing away what little religious integrity they have because Trump "gives them so much access."
Since inauguration, there have been meetings, dinners, photo ops and conference calls, according to participants. And there have been countless other encounters, including some at prayer events and signing ceremonies and a concert at the Kennedy Center. On Sept. 1, some from the group were back in the Oval Office as the president declared a National Day of Prayer for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Texas pastor Robert Jeffress led another laying-of-hands benediction that cast Trump as a national savior.
“Father, I thank you that we have a president … who believes in the power of prayer,” he said. “This country has been bitterly divided for decades upon decades, and now you have given us a gift, President Donald Trump.”
. . .And unlike the business advisory councils that disbanded over the president’s response to violence by white supremacists last month in Charlottesville, Va., the evangelicals are still standing by him. Extensive interviews with key participants — as well as public statements and photos — reveal that a cadre of conservative Christian religious leaders — mostly white and male (with notable exceptions such as White and Suarez) — has the ear of the politically powerful on matters of national priority, from judicial appointments to immigration and criminal justice reform. And while presidents before have consulted with spiritual advisers — evangelist Billy Graham is the best-known example — the current group’s members certainly appear to care not only about Trump’s own spiritual well-being, but also have concrete views about a range of issues and make no secret of wanting policy changes.
I will note that none of the above issues have to do with the near repeal of Obamacare or the abandoning of the Dreamers. In the case of the former, Trump's pastors were either silent or cheering on the repeal in spite of the fact that it would deprive millions of health care. In the case of the latter, none of Trump's pastors have yet to comment on his decision to turn his back on DACA.
Nor did any of them provide any objections to Trump's pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, even after, according to Business Insider, "Arpaio had racked up a legacy of lawsuits, inmate deaths, and allegations of rights abuses and constitutional violations."
The RNS article also pointed out something very unfortunate as to who gets access to Trump:
“I’d absolutely say we’re frozen out,” said Steven Martin, the communications director for the National Council of Churches, a group that includes mainline Protestant, Orthodox and historically black denominations. Muslim and Sikh groups have also reported little or no contact.
One last fact that the article does hint around is the possibly that, for all of their talk of access and all of their drooling about meetings, Trump's pastors have little to show for their support. It's as if he is giving them visual tokens and trinkets to satisfy their egos while not necessarily fulfilling their goals.
If this is the case, it's working big time.