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Opinion

Wineke: Evangelical leaders say Trump's still their guy despite claims he had affair with porn star

I’ve got to admire the Christian forgiveness displayed by evangelical Christian leaders like Frankly Graham and Tony Perkins.

They are tried-and-true supporters of President Donald Trump and there seems to be nothing he can do to shake their confidence in his moral leadership.

I kind of thought that assertions, accompanied by photos, that Trump had an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels shortly after his son, Barron, was born, and then, paid her $130,000 just before the 2016 election might at least have elicited a tsk tsk.

Silly me.

Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, explained that evangelicals gave the president a mulligan when they heard the news. Graham reminded us that the president is not the nation’s pastor.

Well, no he’s not. And Trump is certainly not the first president to have a less-than pious past, although Graham also keeps saying that he thinks Trump is growing spiritually and that we ought to ignore anything that happened before he entered the Oval Office.

But, honestly, don’t you think these guys have just about ended their ability to be considered leaders of the evangelical movement?

Perkins explains that his followers “were tired of being kicked around by Barack Obama and his leftists and I think they are glad that there’s someone on the playground that is willing to punch the bully.”

What, in heaven’s name or in hell’s name, does he mean by that? All sorts of people have argued with Obama’s policy, but Perkins is the first person I’ve ever heard call the former president a “bully.”

But here’s where I think Graham and Perkins have abandoned their fellow evangelicals:

Because of my work, I know a fair number of really decent evangelical pastors. We usually don’t agree on a lot of things, but I admire their sincerity and the way they live their faith.

And one thing these guys really care about is pornography. That’s not because it is “sinful.” They have seen people’s lives and marriages ruined by pornography addiction. They feel really frustrated that society at large seems not to care.

Every day they see photos of Trump, cheek by cheek with Daniels, read about him riding in a golf cart with her, read about the hush money – I just can’t believe they find this sort of thing acceptable.

Trump’s team has kind of denied the stories, but then so did President Bill Clinton and I didn’t hear Graham or Perkins giving Clinton a mulligan.

Trump once said his supporters would stick by him even if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue.

You have to kind of wonder whether he might have something there.


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