Alabama evangelical voters overwhelmingly supported an alleged serial pedophile in this month’s special election for the United States Senate. A whopping 80% of born-again Christians gave their vote to Roy Moore, a man accused of sexually molesting young women.
While this group, as a whole, gave about the same level of support to accused groper Donald Trump (81%) in 2016, getting behind an abuser of children is beyond the pale for some Christian leaders.
Fearing association with the likes of a Roy Moore is giving his faith a bad name, Mark Galli, editor of Christianity Today, did not mince words in a recent essay. “No one will believe a word we say, perhaps for a generation. Christianity’s integrity is severely tarnished.”
The angst has grown so deep, according to Galli, that he knows of “many card-carrying evangelicals” who are ready to disavow the label.
The evangelical brand “is definitely tarnished” said Galli. “No question about it.”
The religious bloc that once marched under the banner “Moral Majority” and have called themselves “values voters” is today being ridiculed as a bunch of rank hypocrites … people who acknowledge Jesus with their words, and deny him through their deeds.
It seems as though they may have sold their souls for political power.
“What’s happened with evangelicalism is, it has become so conflated with Republican politics, that you can’t tell where Christianity ends and partisanship begins,” observed Jemar Tisby, president of “The Witness,” a black Christian collective.
Many women have expressed concern that overlooking accusations of sexual wrongdoing against favored candidates, for political gain, sends a dangerous message that women who come forward can be dismissed in the service of a political agenda.
“We’ve let evil overtake the entire reputation of Evangelicalism,” wrote one prominent evangelical author, Beth Moore, the day before the election. “The lust for power is nauseating. Racism, appalling. The arrogance, terrifying. The misogyny so far from Christlikeness, it can’t be Christianity.”
It may be time for evangelicals to adopt a new name.
Mark Galli said he had recently considered a list of 50 to 100 words, looking for an appropriate substitute. Among them: Neo-evangelical, Gospel Christian, Followers of Jesus.
“Purple-cow Christianity,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter. It’s the reality underneath that we affirm.”
Photo | Kevin D. Liles/ New York Times