Franklin Graham chided evangelical Christians who are pointing out the hypocrisy of Vice-President Mike Pence for his support of Trump, asking, “What are these people smoking? This reminds me of Paul’s words, ‘You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?'”
But I would turn the Apostle Paul’s quote on Graham and other evangelical Christians whose heart is “seared with a hot iron” for passionately supporting a president who has publicly expressed having the “hots” for his own daughter, uttered the word “cunt” on a national tv broadcast, been recorded saying he enjoyed the power of “grabbing women by the pussy,” has dismissed impoverished countries as “shit-hole countries,” lies about things there is no need to lie about, and publicly reassures the country about the size of his penis. Does this not appear a bit “foolish” as if Graham has been “bewitched” and perhaps his conscience has been “seared with a hot iron”? Trump had people like him in mind when he told us, “I could shoot someone in the streets of Manhattan and I would not lose my support.”
But Mr. Graham just betrayed the legacy of his more humble father, Rev. Billy Graham, by revealing how he thinks this does not apply to him. Being interviewed this morning, re our political impasse, he intoned, “Our country has a sin problem” and then elucidated for a moment, pointing his finger at the Democrats. But then the interviewer posed the question, “Does Donald Trump have a sin problem?” He then stumbled, and then equivocated with the commonplace from Evangelical Christian, “Well, he is not perfect but he is….” and in so many words…i.e. my words, metaphorically speaking…”make America great again.” He knows that words like “sinner” would offend his new spiritual leader, Trump. Furthermore, it appears obvious to me that Mr. Graham, and many evangelicals, do not feel the “sin problem” applies to them. They piously announce, “Jesus has forgiven me of my sins and His Spirit now leads me.” I would never quarrel with the notion that Jesus has forgiven them, not even that the Spirit of God is with them. But what they don’t realize is that this “forgiveness” does not take away what the Apostle Paul called, “the flesh,” and this ego component of the heart is really quick to take our spiritual aspirations and twist them to fit our own unacknowledged, self-serving ends and prevent us from ever admitting this. This phenomenon of the heart is why Trump, and hordes of the GOP…and 80% of the evangelical base that supports Trump…cannot admit any wrong. The, “Spirit of God,” is with us all and always wants to lead us but our unwillingness to acknowledge a core fault prevents that Holy leadership from having more influence. Speaking from experience, it is delightful and even intoxicating to, “Know that I’m right,” but now I am understanding and experiencing just how self-deluding this can be. We are never “right” but there is a “Rightness” that graces the whole of life and seeks to find expression when we can humble accept the label, “sinner,” and realize that it means we are separated from our Source and always reduced to, “seeing through a glass darkly.” It never, though, means we are a “worthless piece of shit,” nor are the Haitians and Africans.