As things begin ramping up ahead of the 2024 Republican presidential primary, the Fellowship of the Pharisees are already lining up behind Donald Trump as they prepare to, once again, trade the gospel of Jesus Christ for political power and a seat at Trump’s table.
Trump’s role in the destruction of conservatism has been debated from the day he rode down the escalator in Trump Tower in 2015 to announce his candidacy. Did Trump destroy conservatism or is he a result of a movement that was already destroyed? An argument can be made in support of both sides of this discussion.
Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party have been targeting conservatives since the days of George W. Bush. In 2014, Mickey promised to “crush” the TEA Party and other conservative opposition, resulting in a politically adulterous affair between the Republican Party and groups like TEA Party Patriots.
On the other hand, until Trump arrived on the Republican scene, faux conservatives like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in the Senate and Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan in the House opposed the leftist values of the NY Liberal. However, as we now know, these former conservatives are more than happy to promote Trumpism and nationalism as the new conservatism.
And let’s not forget the role played by the faux conservative media — a role it continues to play — in the destruction of our conservative values, not to mention the complete sellout to Trumpism by formerly conservative outlets such as BlazeTV and Salem Media.
It’s a sad reality that politicians are gonna politician, but the greater tragedy in the Age of Trump has been the damage done to the gospel of Jesus Christ at the hands of the Fellowship of the Pharisees and so-called Evangelicals who have sacrificed morality and Godliness on the altar of Trumpism.
Unfortunately, the sellout to Trump of the past will continue leading up to 2024.
For example, when news first hit that Donald Trump had paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair he had with the porn star, First Baptist Church of Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress defended Trump, saying evangelicals “knew they weren’t voting for an altar boy” when they cast their ballots in 2016.
In 2019, Jeffress called “Never Trump” evangelicals “spineless morons” for not supporting him, and he predicted that Trump’s impeachment would plunge America into a “civil war.” In an appearance on Fox Business during the impeachment hearings, Jeffress defended Trump for “the values [he] embraces.”
Jeffress also claimed that “99 percent of evangelicals oppose[d] impeachment” because “never in the history of America have we had a president who was a stronger warrior for the Judeo-Christian principles upon which this nation was founded than in President Donald J. Trump.” The Southern Baptist Pharisee also said that “the effort to impeach President Trump [was] really an effort to impeach our own deeply held faith values.”
Fast forward to the 2024 election, and we see that Jeffress remains completely sold out to his mango messiah (via US News):
Pastor Robert Jeffress, an influential evangelical who heads a 14,000-member church in Dallas, earlier this year said he was uncommitted in the 2024 Republican primary. But Jeffress told Reuters this week that he is now solidly behind Trump, saying that he has found DeSantis … to be “lackluster.” (Emphasis mine)
Another Pharisee willing to continue trading the gospel for political power is Franklin Graham.
During the Stormy Daniels incident, Graham defended Trump in an MSNBC interview, saying that Trump “is not president perfect” and that “we just have to give the man the benefit of the doubt.” He continued, “We should all be grateful that he’s brought his [business] knowledge to Washington and [that] he’s helping to turn this economy around.”
Fast forward to today. Following Trump’s recent sexual abuse conviction against E. Jean Carroll, Graham defended Trump by calling the civil suit “another attempt to tarnish the former president.” He later added, “This civil trial with a price tag in the millions seems to be nothing more than ANOTHER attempt to tarnish the former president, plant doubts, and destroy his ability to run for office again.”
When I consider how evangelicals continue to defend Trump and condone his behavior, I’m reminded of the words spoken by a man many considered a modern-day prophet, A.W. Tozer:
“Religion today is not transforming people: rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society’s own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender.”
Though Tozer passed away 60 years ago, his words still ring true, and they provide an accurate description of evangelicals in the Age of Trump.
Ever since 2016, Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, and the rest of the Fellowship of the Pharisees have been sacrificing the gospel on the on the altar of Trumpism in exchange for a seat at Trump’s table, and it looks like this trend is likely to continue heading into 2024.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.
For media inquiries or to have David speak to your group, use the Contact Us form.