Michael Gerson, former George W. Bush speechwriter and angry Never Trumper, penned a viral op-ed for the Washington Post wrongly labeling white evangelical Christian supporters of Donald Trump and the MAGA agenda as anti-Christian.
The essay was the most popular piece on the Post’s website for days, setting hearts aflutter of leftists who believe Christianity is a mere sociological construct and the Bible a mythology. But Gerson’s dishonest piece is really nothing new, simply a regurgitation of the same Beltway screeds and talking points we’ve witnessed since Trump’s 2015 escalator moment. Gerson’s 4,300 words are snarky, judgmental, and myopic.
His main thesis boils down to MAGA as “a serious, unfolding threat to liberal democracy.” He ignores that Trump was democratically elected in 2016, and that violence around the Jan. 6 Capitol riots by a group of violent people was universally condemned by tens of millions of MAGA supporters. Gerson is silent about how if Democrats actually believed MAGA was a true democratic threat, they wouldn’t pump tens of millions of dollars to support MAGA primary candidates and pray for big general election wins.
While listing a series of easily-debunked, straw-man claims, Gerson asserts “Conservative evangelicalism has, in many ways, become the kind of religious tradition against which followers of Jesus were initially called to rebel.”
In truth, Gerson ironically misses that just like Jesus of backwater, rural Nazarene (e.g. not from a wealthy or religiously elite, urban Jerusalem family) the America First Movement did not arise from elite Beltway think tanks and university temples. It arose from We The People, including those from rural, working class backwaters. Just like the early Christians scattered throughout the dominant Roman empire, today’s conservative evangelical base is counterculture in a liberal Hollywood, media and academia-led culture that embraces abortion-on-demand, destruction of poor families through an expansive welfare state, and rogue (semi-facist?) executive powers like President Biden’s various regulatory overreaches.
Gerson is a modern-day Pharisee casting stones at unsophisticated Trump supporters, ignoring the plank in his own eye while screeching about MAGA’s mote. Take one of his ridiculous and non-enlightening phrases: “It is difficult for me to understand why so many believers have turned down a wedding feast to graze in political dumpsters.” Labeling a significant political movement of his fellow Americans, headed by a former leader of the Free World, a “dumpster” is unserious, childish, and unpersuasive.
Even Gerson’s framing headline, “Trump should fill Christians with rage,” is anti-Christian. Ephesians says the polar opposite: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger.” The Bible says a fruit of the spirit is “self-control,”– the opposite of rage.
Jesus repeatedly said His kingdom is not on earth, so we Christians need caution around mixing political and religious fervor. Urging Christian rage against Trump is a toxic cocktail of church and state. Trump doesn’t claim to be a spiritual leader. American voters choose a commander-in-chief, not a pastor-in-chief.
In his falsehoods about Trump voters backing “white authoritarian populism,” Gerson ignores Trump fared better than various GOP predecessors (including Gerson’s former boss, Bush, who Gerson wouldn’t dare label a “white nationalist”) among non-white voters and Trump grew his margins with black, Latino and Asian voters in 2020 over 2016. In 2020, for example, Trump gained 6% among black men, 5% among Hispanic women, and 4% among Asian-Americans.
Gerson also ignores white working-class, two-time Barack Obama voters who voted for Trump. Not racially aggrieved, they’re philosophically aggrieved with Obama’s fruit: dividing the country, enacting a far-left agenda. They’d be thrilled to vote for Ben Carson as second African-American POTUS.
Just like Carson was revered as Black Royalty (portrayed in hagiographic book and film for his groundbreaking surgeon career) before becoming an outspoken conservative, Trump was embraced by African-American leaders like Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Al Sharpton. Immediately after both became Republican leaders, they were transparently attacked by liberal “journalists.” That’s why it’s hard to believe media lies about MAGA and race thrown around by people like Gerson.
Gerson says of Jesus: “Defying most historical practice and precedent, He sought to reform human affairs in ways that privilege the poor, the prisoner, the blind, the oppressed. He wanted to put the joy, freedom and healing of outcasts at the center of a new era.”
In many ways, that’s what Trump did, reorienting the GOP toward the working class and embracing social outcasts – the forgotten man and woman. Before COVID, women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans made record income gains and saw historic low poverty under Trump.
Trump first employed a female manager of a successful presidential campaign, first working mother as White House spokeswoman, and first openly gay Director of National Intelligence and cabinet member (Ric Grennell). Worldwide, Trump’s administration fought to decriminalize LGBTI people.
Trump signed into law a significant prison reform law, The Next Step Act, giving prisoners mercy. By appointing pro-life judges, Trump protected the oppressed unborn. Defying China, Trump designated Muslim Uyghurs oppression as genocide. Though Gerson falsely claims MAGA supports anti-Semitism, Trump stood strongly with the oppressed Jewish people of Israel and against the far left, Democrat-led, anti-Semitic BDS movement. He did it while ushering in historic peace with Arab nations, and (breaking from presidential tradition) symbolically made his first overseas state visit to a Muslim nation, Saudi Arabia.
It’s laughable for Gerson to claim progressives embrace “boundless tolerance” when some 92% of conservatives would befriend a liberal and just 3% would not. Among liberals, nearly a quarter refuse to befriend a conservative. Axios found just 5 percent of GOP college students wouldn’t befriend someone from the opposing party — vs. 37 percent of Democrats. Research led by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt illustrates that conservatives better comprehend liberal beliefs than the reverse.
Our universities, media and popular culture are run by hard leftists who want to destroy Western civilization, deeming America hopelessly “irredeemable.” Notable example: ahistorical, anti-American 1619 Project wins vaunted Pulitzer Prize and is used as school curriculum nationwide. It’s a travesty against truth, history and intellectual honesty. Contrastingly, Trump empowers Americans to be proud of the values that built this wonderful country instead of cowering in shame.
I admire Gerson’s lyrical conclusion praising the purpose and meaning Christ brings to our lives. It’s sad Gerson’s not committed to Truth.
Carrie Sheffield is the Tony Blankley Fellow for American Exceptionalism at The Steamboat Institute.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Daily Wire.