The Reverend Billy Graham has been a fixture at the White House as a spiritual advisor and leader since the Truman administration. Even in his retirement, his evangelical Christian legacy has lived on through the ministry of his son Franklin Graham.
It Graham’s granddaughter, Jerushah Armfield, however, who is making news with her criticism of the hypocrisy of evangelicals who support Trump.
Armfield, who is married to a pastor in South Carolina and has spent her entire life in evangelical circles, attacked supposed Christians who put the advancement of a political agenda above the moral integrity of the politicians helping them achieve their worldly aims in an interview with CNN‘s Pamela Brown.
Armfield told Brown that the term “evangelical” no longer means what it used to.
“[It] started to really represent, actually, a branch of Christians that seemed to be a little more conservative and a little bit more hypocritical, a little bit more willing to compromise on the personal morals of a candidate in lieu of what politically they could gain for their party,” she said.
She urged her uncle, Franklin Graham, who has been tweeting in support of the President, to reassess his message and his audience.
“I think my uncle is an incredible — he has an incredible humanitarian ministry that’s been on the front lines off often before a lot of ministries have been there,” she continued. “I think he probably needs to stick to doing that. I think he believes he’s speaking to a larger audience than he is. I think the audience he was once speaking to is starting to migrate to a little more progressive open mindedness.”
It was Armfield’s characterization of Trump himself that raised the most eyebrows amongst the President’s evangelical Christian base. She acknowledges the obvious fact that Trump “has not shown” himself to be a true Christian, and, in fact, his behavior is diametrically opposed to the manner in which Christ exhorted his followers to treat others.
“My Jesus that I follow was really somebody who fought for the outliers,” she said, “and I think that Trump has actually done the opposite in kind of ostracizing them.”
With Armitage heralding an evangelical Christian faction that is moving away from the traditional narrow-minded conservative views of earlier generations, the question remains: how long will religiously-oriented voters tolerate the cognitive dissonance that supporting the very un-Christian policies of Donald Trump and the Republican party must surely generate? Or to put it another way, how can they continue to support hypocritical politicians without becoming hypocrites themselves and betraying the faith that they nominally subscribe to.
You can watch Jerushah Armfield’s interview on CNN below: