Rep. Mark Walker says evangelical voters backed an adulterous, swindling Nazi apologist because President Obama gave a speech to family planning advocates.
One of the most dramatic political about-faces in recent years has been how white, conservative evangelical voters have come to view politics.
Once the group that most most adamantly demanded moral purity from politicians, poll after poll now shows white evangelicals are suddenly OK with politicians who commit “immoral” acts in their personal lives. Such voters now line up to vote for people like Donald Trump, a frequent Nazi apologist who has committed adultery and delights in ripping off the poor — and repeatedly demonstrated his obvious ignorance about religion during the campaign — and Roy Moore, an open racist and accused child molester.
When CNN host Bill Weir pointed out the disconnect between evangelicals’ stated beliefs and their confessed support of plainly immoral politicians, North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker — himself an evangelical minister — gave this response:
WEIR: You’re a Southern Baptist minister. I was raised in that world, and it always fascinates me that so many evangelicals went for a man who might answer the question, What Would Jesus Not Do? How do you reconcile your faith with this president, politically?
WALKER: Well, I will tell you this. After eight years of the Obama administration, where — there were legitimate direct lines of people who were social conservatives, things like the former president saying “God bless Planned Parenthood,” those kinds of things riled up the evangelical base, you are correct, to the tune of 81 percent of electoral turnout.
Walker is referring to a speech President Barack Obama gave to Planned Parenthood, in which he closed out with the standard presidential line, “God bless you. God bless the United States of America.”
If Walker is correct that a president saying “God bless you” to a group of doctors and advocates for low-income men and women was enough to make millions of congregants from thousands of churches suddenly change their entire perception of political morality, we must wonder what their commitment was to their principles beforehand.
Walker also conveniently overlooks the fact that Trump himself praised Planned Parenthood in the earlier part of the presidential campaign, saying the health care provider had done "very good work for millions of women." (Trump soon abandoned praising the organization to further appeal to white evangelical voters.)
For the record, many conservative Baptist ministers have denounced hate. Churches all across Tennessee came together in November to protest the “evil” of white supremacy ahead of a rally of racist groups in their state. But there is a stark disconnect between telling people to love their neighbor on Sunday and vote for Trump on Tuesday.
Walker’s comments are an illustration of the religious right’s fatally flawed priorities — and their inability to find a consistent moral worldview.