In a profile published by the New Yorker Monday, sources revealed that President Donald Trump insulted and degraded people of faith — particularly Christians. The statements made by the president demonstrate that he holds little regard for the evangelical convictions of Vice President Mike Pence and may have equally dismissive feelings about Christian values in general.
It's an odd revelation given that Trump won the 2016 election in part because he had the full support of Christian evangelicals. They were, as many opined at the time, an odd match. That an openly, thrice-married, profane, philandering, irreligious, ex-pro-abortion, miserly glutton somehow convinced a good portion of the U.S. that he was a man of God and a champion of the tenets of evangelism should be considered one of the greatest political coups in modern political history.
Over the weekend, Kellyanne Conway advertised Trump's unlikely religious stature, calling him "the most faith-centric, pro-life president in our lifetime." If one's lifetime began 10 months ago, then this would reasonably hold true. But within the past half century, there have been strong Christians in the White House, including Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. Ronald Regan and George W. Bush were confirmed believers and even Bill Clinton and Barack Obama attended church regularly.
Yet Trump's record as president has been anything but Christian. Mercy, charity, kindness and patience are not among his few virtues. Even Pope Francis has called him out for his policies, making Conway's proclamation all the more audacious.
If true, the accounts in New Yorker's profile on Pence may finally put to bed any notion that Trump is religious, observant or even respectful towards Christian values. One excerpt reads:
According to a longtime associate, Trump also likes to “let Pence know who’s boss.” A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, “Did Mike make you pray?” Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. “You see?” Trump asked Pence. “You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.” When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
Here, Trump not only made fun of prayer and pro-life advocates, but also made a horrendous joke about Pence's beliefs regarding the LGBT community. Whether Trump was outing Pence's genuine beliefs is hard to determine (Pence can be extremist in his positions on same-sex marriage, women's equality and a host of other issues, but it is unknown if he is militant). What is obvious, however, is that Trump does not follow Christian canon if these inside reports are true.
No president should be considered one of the "the most faith-centric" in U.S. history if he talked the way Trump allegedly had about faith and the faithful. It again points to how he has pulled the wool over the eyes of many and, perhaps more importantly, the desperate corruption of those who attempt to enact policies under the aegis of the religious right. Fanatics attempting to enforce beliefs held by a minority, they will turn to someone as impious as our president to make them law.