|Evangelicals to Donald Trump: We wish we knew how to quit you!|
Over the weekend, post-grab-her-by-the-pussy video, leaders of the religious right almost to a man, maintained their support of Donald Trump. Speculation now arises, post-failed-debate-rescue, that this continuing support may mark the moment evangelicals began to lose what remains of their dwindling influence:
Among his hardcore fans, Trump will survive these scandals; his supporters are now making that clear to his detractors. But his pious boosters can’t count on the same. Trump’s principal appeal to voters is his devotion to capitalism, not God. The religious right, meanwhile, pins itself to a claim of moral superiority. It always had more to lose.
Some evangelicals, like the Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore, understand this, and have publicly criticized Trump’s convenient conversion. But their voices were never enough to sway the rank-and-file. The religious right was never as unique as it wanted everyone to believe, and now Trump has revealed the movement’s superiority to be the ruse it’s always been.
The religious right isn’t dead yet. But after this election becomes history, the movement will be forced to reckon with the consequences of its quest for power. Young adults, who overwhelmingly oppose Trump, are already leaving conservative churches, and the religious right’s Trump moment will surely only fuel this trend. If it had maintained a consistent public morality, maybe it could have retained some countercultural appeal. Now that its most visible leaders have sacrificed that authority, it has nothing left.Amen.