Thursday, February 08, 2018

Family Research Council ignores Rob Porter spousal abuse scandal to praise Trump's 'religious devotion'

Today was the National Prayer Breakfast, which is always attended by the President. That being the case,  Donald Trump attended. And Family Research Council president Tony Perkins practically oozed praise at Trump for doing so:

Every president since Eisenhower has spoken at the National Prayer Breakfast. But not everyone has practiced the policies they preach. Barack Obama was famous for using the event to talk about the "inherent dignity of every person" only to ride back to an office that did more to promote abortion than any White House in history. Or to insist "we can't leave our values at the door," while he ordered Americans to do exactly that on marriage, health care, and faith. With Obama, what you heard wasn't necessarily what you got.
In the year since Donald Trump has been in office, he hasn't just talked a good game -- he's walked it. When he stepped up to the microphone this morning to promote religious liberty, 12 months of accomplishments already spoke volumes. Executive orders, HHS rules, Justice Department briefs, and confirmations like Sam Brownback's point to just how sincere the president is about what he says. 
This morning, he didn't disappoint, using the opportunity to draw the country's attention back to the importance of our First Freedom. "Our rights," Trump said, "are not given to us by man. Our rights come from our Creator. No matter what, no Earthly force can take those rights away." Then, in a nod to one of the biggest struggles in our society, he took time to highlight real tolerance and what it means to a nation like ours. "When Americans are able to live by their convictions, to speak openly of their faith, and to teach their children what is right, our families thrive, our communities flourish, and our nation can achieve anything at all." 
Then, broadening his scope, he hinted at the work cut out for Brownback, America's new Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom. "Together, as Americans, we are a tireless force for justice and for peace... We know that millions of people in Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea and other countries suffer under repressive and brutal regimes. America stands with all people suffering oppression and religious persecution."
It was another solid speech that reminded us all: words matter. But we can all be grateful that to this president, actions matter just as much.

So why is today is an odd time for Perkins to praise Trump's religious devotion? Because the Trump Administration is presently facing yet another scandal; this one involving a top aide, Rob Porter, who resigned this week because of allegations of spousal abuse involving his two ex-wives. Not only that but supposedly top Trump aides were aware of these allegations because the ex-wives informed the FBI last year during his background check, with one supplying pictures. Supposedly Trump was unaware of the situation until this week.

There are lingering questions regarding the situation. But not from Perkins because he was too busy channeling the notion that Trump is the greatest defender of the Christian church. And don't even think of considering the idea that other religious evangelicals who support Trump will be asking questions.

According to a Thursday article in The New York Times,  they don't care about questions of integrity when it comes to supporting Trump. They are too busy enjoying access and seeing their policies enacted. Mega-church pastor and long-time Trump supporter Robert Jeffress said the following:

“I can’t look into the president’s heart to know if he really personally believes these positions he’s advocating, or whether he thinks it’s smart politics to embrace them because of the strong evangelical influence in the country. But frankly, I don’t care. As a Christian, I’m seeing these policies embraced and enacted, and he’s doing that.”

Now to be fair, maybe Trump didn't know the depths of the Porter scandal. However, when one takes into account how religious evangelicals have supported him in spite of  his questionable tweets, his awful "both sides" comments about the Charlottesville tragedy, the allegations of his affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, his support of  Roy Moore even after allegations that Moore chased underaged girls, etc etc, one wonders if it would matter to Tony Perkins, Robert Jeffress, and other conservative evangelicals if Trump had known about Porter.

All I will say about the situation is this:

Dear conservative evangelicals, please know that members of the LGBTQ community are collecting "receipts" when it comes to your unwavering support of Donald Trump in spite of his questionable behavior. And when the times comes, we WILL use them.

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