Ever since the sexual revolutions of the 1960s, conservative Christians have been especially focused on sexual immorality. Many believe in staying abstinent until one’s wedding day and forbid sex outside of opposite-gender marriage. Clinton’s sexual scandals convinced evangelicals that the president would lead America further away from its “Christian roots.” When Monica Lewinsky produced her infamous semen-stained dress, Clinton went from morally questionable to a moral disgrace in their eyes.
The televangelist Pat Robertson once called Clinton a "debauched, debased, and defamed" politician who turned the Oval Office into a "playpen for the sexual freedom of the poster child of the 1960s." It’s difficult to understand how Robertson could tell Trump recently, “You inspire us all.”
The Republican candidate has been married three times, and it is widely believed that he was unfaithful during each relationship. When he was deposed in the divorce proceedings with his first wife, Ivana, he invoked the Fifth Amendment 97 times to avoid answering questions about questions regarding “other women.” He married his second wife, Marla Maples, two months after she gave birth to their daughter. Until recently, Trump embraced his reputation as a Manhattan womanizer. In case you are wondering, evangelicals typically aren’t big fans of divorce, adultery, or out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
Evangelicals during the ’90s were not merely concerned with Clinton’s private behavior; they were worried about its effect on a society they felt had already abandoned traditional values. In September 1998, James Dobson of Focus on the Family sent a letter to 2.4 million conservative Christians claiming Clinton should be impeached because his behavior was setting a bad example for our children about “respecting women.” Dobson’s apparent concern for women back then feels like a partisan political move now that he’s given Trump an enthusiastic endorsement.
While Clinton, at least, hid his indiscretions, Trump has paraded his affairs down Broadway for decades. In The Art of the Deal, Trump actually bragged about bedding multiple married women. He’s slept with so many women that he called his ability to avoid STDs “my personal Vietnam.” He’s objectified or insulted the women he hasn’t married, divorced, or slept with, labeling those he finds unattractive with terms like “fat pig,” “dog” or “slob.” In numerous interviews with Howard Stern, he talked in graphic detail about his sexual exploits and discussed which female celebrities are worth a “bang.” How exactly do evangelicals reconcile this behavior with claims that they value respect for women?
In addition to Clinton’s sexual misconduct, evangelicals were particularly concerned with his alleged lies. But how, then, can they support the real-estate mogul’s candidacy? Donald Trump plays at least as fast and loose with the truth as Clinton did. From the size of his net worth to his claim that thousands of people in New Jersey cheered when the World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11, Trump fibs constantly. The website Politfact factchecked the GOP candidate 182 times and found that his statements were “true” or “mostly true” only 19 times. In 2015, the organization awarded Trump its “lie of the year.”