Many of us have a complicated relationship with Christianity -- or no relationship at all. Raised in churches that were often rife with hypocrisy, we walked away. But the higher nature of church teachings still inspire us, and like Joe Scarborough, I am disgusted by the craven unwillingness of evangelical leaders to call Trump to task on a spiritual basis. Ever, about anything.
Scarborough was furious about Trump turning yesterday's National Prayer Breakfast into a chance to attack his enemies. He compared the modern evangelical movement unfavorably to the civil rights leadership of churches in the Sixties.
"He couldn't tell you the difference between the New and Old Testament, and yesterday he mocked the words of Jesus Christ. Now listen, since Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr., Robert Jefferies and all of these other so-called religious leaders are not telling those of you who weren't raised in the church why it was so grotesque for people at the National Prayer Breakfast and in the White House to be laughing at Donald Trump mocking the words of Jesus Christ, let a twice divorced back-slidden Baptist tell you," Scarborough said, practically spitting.
"Let me read you the words that the president of the United States at a national prayer breakfast was mocking yesterday. And how sad. Think about it. How sad. Not a single evangelical leader came out yesterday and stood up for the words in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Taken from the Sermon on the Mount," he said, calling it the "centerpiece of the gospels.
"Jesus said this -- 'You have heard it said, love your friends and hate your enemies, but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons and daughters of your father in heaven. If you love only those who love you, what reward will you get? And do not even evil men do that? And if you greet only your brothers, only your friends, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as Arthur Brooks was saying yesterday, as your heavenly father is perfect.
"It is the centerpiece, Jon Meacham, whether you were a believer or not, it is the centerpiece of the gospels of Jesus Christ to love your enemies, to forgive those who have persecuted you, and to show mercy and kindness and meekness. That should be your goal, and yesterday at something called the National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump mocked the words of Jesus Christ, and he got applause for it.
"I'm marking yesterday as a dark day, not only in the history of this country, but in the history of the modern evangelical movement, because I heard nobody, nobody, that supported Donald Trump stand up for the words of Jesus Christ, and here I am, like I said, a guy who's been divorced twice, a guy who's a back-slidden Baptist, I'm having to do this?
"Where are the religious leaders of the day to do this? Or to talk about the Good Samaritan? Or to talk about why it is unChrist-like to put children in cages? Or to talk about why it's unChrist-like to reward the richest of the rich while hurting the poorest of the poor?
"Where are these men?"
The polling shows that at least some evangelicals have their doubts about supporting Donald Trump. To have a national presence like Scarborough hammer away at Trump on a religious basis is a very good thing.