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Mon Dec 23, 2019, 11:08 PM

Trump has made courage scarce. But there are still brave leaders out there.

Courage is a scarce commodity in President Trump’s Washington.

Fear of this reality-TV star set in soon after it became evident that Trump would seize the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Overnight, then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) transformed from a person speculating that Trump could be on Vladimir Putin’s payroll to that suspect’s most steadfast supporter. Then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) accused Trump of racism right before endorsing him for president. Talk-radio hosts and U.S. senators who once declared Trump unfit for office similarly buckled under the pressure of a coming Trump presidency.
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These profiles in cravenness have only accelerated over time, with Trump’s political allies and media apparatchiks easily turning a blind eye to their troubled leader’s twisted views on presidential power, his record-breaking spending sprees, his massive tariff taxes and the socialist payouts that followed them.

Evangelical leaders have also turned a blind eye to the ugly realities of Trump’s Washington. They darkly warn congregants of an Armageddon-like culture war centered around wedding cakes, bathroom stalls and, of course, federal judges. Their obsession over judicial appointments has led to a blasphemous reduction of Christianity to the mere collection of federal judgeships and has allowed figures such as Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. to shrug off their idol’s failings. During the Clinton impeachment, Graham attacked Americans who fell prey “to the notion that what a person does in private has little bearing on his public actions or job performance, even if he is the president of the United States.” Falwell’s father went further, telling CBS News in 2000 that personal failings make one unfit for public service. “I personally feel that both President Clinton and Mayor [Rudolph W.] Giuliani should withdraw from political office,” Jerry Falwell Sr. said. “There’s no question that Bill Clinton has lowered the moral bar for political officeholders in America.”

Falwell’s son has further lowered that bar for Trump, despite the New York billionaire bragging about his twisted views on women, sex and business dealings to the likes of Howard Stern and Billy Bush over the past 40 years. Jesus declared that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory; as a twice-divorced man, I know that better than most. Unfortunately for Trump’s evangelical apologists, another belief of Christianity is that forgiveness comes only to those who ask for it. As Christianity Today stated in its editorial last week calling for Trump’s removal: “He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud.”


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