The Last Temptation
In April, Michael Gerson described how evangelicals, once culturally confident, became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least religious president in living memory.
I grew up in an evangelical-Christian household, and I am currently a student at Liberty University. As I am a recent ex-evangelical, Michael Gerson’s excellent article, “The Last Temptation,” struck a resonant chord with me.
Growing up, I was taught conservative beliefs and values by my parents, whom I deeply love and respect. I learned to value biblical morality, human life, marriage, and faith in God, and to believe in the transformative power of Christ. During the 2016 campaign, when the president of my university, Jerry Falwell Jr., endorsed a man who has lived in complete and unapologetic opposition to all the things I had been taught to value, I questioned my religion, I questioned my faith, and I questioned my God. Falwell’s actions shattered the legitimacy I found in the evangelical movement and, by association, the Christianity I was familiar with. If Christ really had the power to transform his followers, why were they acting so contrary to his admonishments to love one another, human imperfection notwithstanding? Is it fine to ignore your scruples in pursuit of choosing “the lesser evil”? Was Christianity something to be sacrificed on the altar of more-important matters? In their fierce support of Trump, evangelical leaders said yes.