Over the past week, dozens of pastors and politicians have distanced themselves from the Trump campaign after audio leaked of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. However, the latest defection, megachurch pastor James MacDonald, used language that Trump himself might grudgingly admire.
“[Mr. Trump’s comments] are truly the kind of misogynistic trash that reveals a man to be lecherous and worthless,” MacDonald wrote in an email to fellow members of Trump’s faith council. “Not the guy who gets politely ignored, but the guy who gets a punch in the head from worthy men who hear him talk that way about women.”
While MacDonald did not withdraw his support, he did say he’s suspending his role on Trump’s faith council and any public support until he sees a change of heart and direction from the presidential candidate.
“If Mr. Trump isn’t seeking our counsel now—1) to be repentant, 2) on how to portray that repentance—then the idea of a faith council (which has deteriorated into influence brokering anyway) is really kind of a joke right?” MacDonald said.
MacDonald isn’t alone in his outrage. Popular author and speaker Beth Moore called out not only Trump but the evangelical pastors defending him saying, “I’m one among many women sexually abused, misused, stared down, heckled, talked naughty to. Like we liked it. We didn’t. We’re tired of it. Try to absorb how acceptable the disesteem and objectifying of women has been when some Christian leaders don’t think it’s that big a deal.”
Among the evangelical leaders minimizing Trump’s comments are Faith & Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed. “People of faith are voting on issues like who will protect unborn life, defund Planned Parenthood, defend religious liberty and oppose the Iran nuclear deal,” said Reed. “A 10-year-old tape of a private conversation with a talk show host ranks low on their hierarchy of concerns.”
Or as David Bozell, a Roman Catholic who heads the conservative group ForAmerica, said, “Bill Clinton’s history of being a sexual predator, including affairs with interns, dwarfs any locker room banter. The clip is unfortunate, but then again, we’re not electing saints in November.”
These statements echo a theme of those supporting Trump, that his actions aren’t really that bad in comparison to the alternative of electing Clinton. But one wonders how many of Trump’s actions can be overlooked by the church before it starts alienating the very kingdom values it’s charged to protect.