Best-selling author Frank Schaeffer, who broke with the evangelical movement years ago, made an appearance on this Sunday's AM Joy, and was asked about these phony so-called "religious" leaders like Tony Perkins and Jerry Falwell Jr., who have been leading the way defending our pussy-grabber-in-chief, and as usual, Schaeffer didn't hold back with his disdain for the men and what it means for the evangelical movement in general.
Tony Perkins recently gave Trump a "mulligan" for the affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, and Jerry Falwell Jr. twisted himself in knots on Twitter defending Trump, saying that Jesus “never told Caesar how to run Rome.”
Here's Schaeffer's response:
SCHAEFFER: Well Joy, I guess Barack Obama was a bully because he was black and you have to remember that everything that has happened since his presidency is a reaction by a core group of white voters. Let's remember when we talk about evangelicals, that in 1958 Jerry Falwell Sr. was denouncing integration and started a white private school academy to get around the new rulings from the courts.
So if you fast forward right now, it isn't that this history doesn't have a context. The context is American racism. So right now when Tony Perkins who, by the way, I grew up with these guys. I knew Tony. He got into politics because of my evangelist father Francis Schaeffer, who challenged him to take a stand on these issues, so this goes way back in my own family.
Tony Perkins seems to have forgotten the basis of Christian theology, not just evangelical, which is to be forgiven in this tradition, you need to confess first. Donald trump never confesses to anything, and the one time he apologized for molesting a woman in a criminal assault, which was caught on tape, he tried to take the tape back, said he would sue the women who claim he assaulted them and call them all liars. This is not a confession.
So, Tony Perkins forgot his own theology and instead replaced it with a theology of revenge on people he disagrees with politically. And that is what is going on here. It's revenge of white America. It is revenge of evangelical right-wingers and who they want to punch in the mouth is not just black Americans, people, to put it in the president of the United States' words, “who live in shit hole countries,” but anybody who disagrees with them.
So they're willing, apparently, to put up with anything when it comes to moral degradation to see those ends achieved. I'm glad he put it in terms of revenge. At least there he misspoke from his point of view, but told the truth.
Evangelicals didn't always sign off on this litany of litmus tests, but they went from sending medical teams to Haiti with things like the Samaritan's purse which Franklin Graham started, to defending a man who called people living in black countries and brown countries, people were living in “shithole countries.”
So, you know, this is the same guy who said there were some good Nazis marching. Again, it is the frog getting boiled to death. It's the fact that evangelicals switched from being people who advocate for traditional morality to the chief American defenders of not only relativistic morality, but all that used to be considered sacred being trashed.
They're defending a man who trashed fidelity in his own life and with the words he speaks nationally. They have trashed truth telling and have embraced this idea of everything being fake news that they disagree with. They have even trashed common decency.
So, what we're now watching, Joy, as kind of an appendage of the Trump presidency is one of the greatest downfalls of a religious order, if you want to put it that way, we've ever known. Only comparable with the first breaking news of the vast international phenomena of child abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church.
But at that time the leaders themselves at least were saying, yes, this is bad and pretending not to go along. Now the evangelicals have gone to the next step. They have actually become the instigators of evil themselves.
So when Franklin Graham defended Donald Trump, he is defending a man who is not only destroying the reputation of this country, but who has become the figurehead for, in a bad sense, the #MeToo movement. The president himself, an assaulter, a criminal assaulter of women who bragged on it and called anyone who accused him a liar, in a party that now represents the grossest underbelly of human primate behavior.
How's that for the ending to a movement talking about saving babies, remaining virgins until marriage, fidelity within marriage, the sacredness of the family, and so forth. It is a reversal that's just mind-boggling.