Christian psychologist: Trump's evangelical supporters have been ‘bewitched by an exploitative, pathologically lying snake oil salesman’
Although President Donald Trump is enthusiastically supported by Christianity’s lunatic fringe — that is, white Christian right evangelicals such as Franklin Graham, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell, Jr. — he is not universally loved in Christianity by any means. Vehement criticism of Trump has come from everyone from Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (a practicing Episcopalian) to the Rev. Al Sharpton to members of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. And Christian psychologist Chris Thurman, in some blistering op-eds for the Christian Post, denounces Trump’s far-right white evangelical supporters as “fools” who have been taken in by an opportunist.
“I believe evangelicals who support Donald Trump are being both blind and foolish to do so, and that labeling them as such is not sinful but appropriate and necessary,” Thurman asserts. “By support, I’m not referring to evangelicals who voted for Trump in 2016; I’m referring to those evangelicals who continue to hold Trump up as a great leader, say he is God’s chosen one for the presidency, applaud his appalling words and actions, ignore his glaring moral defects, and enable his dangerous presidency to continue by giving him their time, talents and treasures.”
Thurman first called out Trump’s evangelical supporters in a December 4 op-ed, inspiring some angry responses from pro-Trump evangelicals. One of them came from fellow Christian Post contributor Michael Brown, who wrote on December 6 that Thurman is “blind to Trump’s strengths and his potential to help America greatly.” But Thurman didn’t back down. Instead, he doubled down in an equally blistering op-ed for the Christian Post on December 10.
Thurman names some specific white Christian fundamentalists who have been taken in by Trump, and they include Graham, Falwell, Ralph Reed (chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition) and Vice President Mike Pence. Denouncing their support of Trump as “blind and foolish,” Thurman writes that they have been “bewitched by an exploitative, pathologically lying snake oil salesman” — and Thurman warns those four evangelicals, “Your unrestrained support of Trump has not only turned off untold numbers of non-believers to the cause of Christ, but brought great dishonor on Christianity.”
“Evangelicals and Republicans in general,” according to Thurman, “have hitched their wagon to someone with a severely disordered personality, about whom nothing good can be said characterologically.” And by doing so, Thurman stresses, they are giving the word “evangelical” a very negative connotation.
The term “evangelical,” Thurman writes, “now refers to someone who excuses the inexcusable, believes the ends justify the means, feels entitled to getting what they want, believes in their own moral superiority, exploits others to achieve their goals, and lacks empathy for how their actions negatively impact others. There are more than a few of us who are no longer willing to use the term evangelical to describe ourselves because of what Christian supporters of Trump have done to denigrate it.”