The Religious Right was just presented the opportunity to have everything they ever claimed to want– and yet they rejected it.
As the initial dust begins to settle from the 3rd impeachment in U.S history, the biggest story isn’t that the Religious Right re-embraced Donald Trump… the bigger story why the Religious Right fought hard to reject giving the presidency to Mike Pence.
When decrying the possibility that Donald Trump could be removed from office, they spoke of how it would “overturn the will of the people” as if removing Trump from office would mean replacing him with a liberal Democrat, when it’s the extreme opposite that’s true.
The overlooked angle of the impeachment of Donald Trump is the fact that the Religious Right had total power to swear Mike Pence in as President yesterday— and Mike Pence is everything the Religious Right has always claimed they want in a president.
In addition to all of the usual conservative bonafides, Mike Pence has the extra membership cards that Trump only pretends to have:
Unlike Trump, Mike Pence is a no-kidding legit Evangelical Christian.
Unlike Trump, Mike Pence is a person of deep conviction and devotion to his faith.
For those on the Religious Right, Pence literally has every box checked that a politically and religiously conservative individual would ever want in a president. Even as someone who radically disagrees with the entire administration, including Pence, I have no doubt that Mike Pence is a devoted Christian and person of deep and authentic principle.
Not only did the Right pass up someone who would be a conservative Christian’s dream president, they passed up the opportunity to get him by way of doing their two most favorite things in the world: Professing their own moral superiority and condemning the sins of others.
The Religious Right had the opportunity of a lifetime: They could have stood up and pronounced messages such as, “Character counts, no one is above the law, Trump’s gross immorality is a disqualification from the presidency…” or what would have been the most compelling message of, “Hey look at us– we are the people so devoted to principle that we removed our own president from office.”
(I’ve seen them do this in churches a thousand times.)
Yes, they could have taken a bold stand for principles in a way that would have made them look like they really believed it, and as a reward they could have immediately handed the presidency to a man who fits the bill for every single quality they have ever professed to want.
But they didn’t. (Cue “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”)
The big question is, why?
Well, the answer to that is quite simple: They know that Trump is a man who does not have a real moral anchor and who does not have unwavering devotion to guiding ethics he will not budge from– and they know that Mike Pence is the exact opposite.
It’s like Franklin Graham’s daddy said years ago:
“It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.” – Billy Graham
And this my friends is why the Religious and Conservative Right just rejected the chance to have a President Mike Pence:
It’s because a person without conviction can be used and manipulated– and for as much as the Religious Right is a manipulated pawn of Donald Trump, Donald Trump is also a manipulated pawn of the Religious Right.
As for a person of authentic conviction and deep devotion to faith and principle?
Well, as Mitt Romney demonstrated yesterday, a person of deep moral principle and devotion to faith is actually far more unpredictable and difficult to manipulate and control than a man who has no devotion to anything other than his own self interest.
Yes, America, if the Religious Right truly believed what they’ve been saying all these years, they almost had it all… feelings of moral superiority, long romantic walks on the beach, candlelit dinners, President Mike Pence…
But instead, they have simply proven Billy Graham’s concern:
The Right has no real interest in anyone they might not be able to control or manipulate— meaning Donald Trump was a far safer bet than Mike Pence.
(And if you don’t believe me, just sit back and watch how they devour Mitt Romney for sticking with his sincere and deeply held religious convictions.)