No, Mehdi Hasan, ‘Values Voters’ Have Not Lost Their Values

By Michael Brown Published on December 9, 2017

Writing in the New Statesman, political author Mehdi Hasan asks a pointed question. “What has happened to members of the ‘Moral Majority’? You remember them, right? The conservative evangelicals who helped deliver victories for ‘born again’ Republicans Ronald Reagan and George W Bush and pushed for the impeachment of the philandering Democrat Bill Clinton? How come these ‘values voters’ seem to have lost all their, ahem, values?”

Hasan answers his own question with the title of his article. “Many white evangelicals stand by Trump because they are more white than evangelical.”

Is there any truth to this?

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

There’s no question that the Moral Majority made a major mistake by getting too closely hitched to the GOP. It would have been better to stand as an independent voice speaking for tens of millions of Americans. 

And there’s no question that some evangelicals, like Jerry Falwell, Jr., referred to in Hasan’s article, have sanitized Donald Trump, making him appear almost saintly.

There’s also no question that polling by the Public Religion Research Institute seems to confirm a shift in evangelical thinking. As Hasan notes, “In 2011, fewer than one in three white evangelical Protestants said an elected official could behave ethically in their public life, if they had committed moral transgressions in their private life. Yet just five years later, in 2016, more than seven in ten white evangelical Protestants said a politician’s personal morality did not matter to them.”

It certainly could be that the primary reason for this shift is Donald Trump. Which is one of the main points Hasan wants to make.

Misreading Evangelicals’ Values Vote

But Hasan has missed the boat in terms of why this shift has taken place. It’s not because our values don’t matter to us anymore. To the contrary, it is our values that led us to vote as we did. And those values do not relate to being white. Far from it. 

Rather, after 8 years of President Obama, we were willing to look past many things that did matter to us because of the bigger picture involved. We saw our society being misshapen before our very eyes. In our minds, Hillary Clinton (who, the last time I checked, was also white) would be a nail in the coffin.

It was moral values that moved us to vote for him: values on a national level.

So, while many of us had to swallow hard before voting for Donald Trump, we were willing to do so. We were willing for the sake of our religious freedom, for the sake of the unborn, for the sake of our relationship with Israel, and for the sake of our national security.

Unfortunately, Hasan was misled by the leftist activist “evangelical” Jim Wallis, who told him that “black evangelicals, Hispanic evangelicals… did not vote for Donald Trump. White evangelicals did… because they were more white than evangelical.”

Moral Values on a National Level

In point of fact, many black and Hispanic evangelicals did vote for Trump. This was in spite of the strong Democratic leanings of blacks and Hispanics in general. They did so because they, too, shared the concerns of white evangelicals. And those concerns were not based on whiteness.

The loss of religious liberties concerns people of all colors. Abortion targets black Americans at a much higher rate than white Americans. The Masterpiece Cakes case is now being heard by the Supreme Court. It reminds us just how important the next appointee to the court will be (not to mention the appointment of Justice Gorsuch already). 

And shall I say nothing of Trump’s bold and courageous move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? He did what previous presidents had promised, but never delivered.

Plus, we were all too aware that God can use unlikely vessels to be agents of the greater good.

It’s true that many of us who voted for Trump continue to grimace at some of his words and actions. And if it turns out that he was guilty of sexual assault in the past, he will have to face the music.

But, when it came to voting for Trump, the last thing on my mind – or the minds of serious evangelical voters I’ve interacted with – was whiteness.

It was moral values that moved us to vote for him: values on a national level, which we decided — reluctantly — had to outweigh moral issues on a personal level. Plus, we were all too aware that God can use unlikely vessels to be agents of the greater good. 

And we were all too glad to say goodbye to the identity politics of Obama and Hasan and Wallis.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Patmos

    From Hasan’s article:

    “Barack Obama, a practising Christian”

    There goes Hasan’s credibility.

  • tz1

    Martin Luther King Jr. was both an adulterer and Communist and received the Margaret Sanger award. Would those who say we should avoid fallen candidates disavow him?

    Even in Lewis Screwtape, there is the gluttony of delicacy. The dessert isn’t sweet enough. The meat isn’t just the right temperature. The volumetric excess is only the most obvious form.

    Meanwhile the barbaric left didn’t care that Bill Clinton is a rapist, or that most on their side would murder babies in the womb even after 9 months of gestation even if they were perfectly healthy.

    The error here, and why Mehdi is a monster straight from hell is because he refuses to advocate doing what is necessary, even when imperfect, to defeat the other monsters that come straight from hell. He is the wormtongue that helps keep Theoden frozen, lest he lead his army to defeat Sauron. He would rather Sauron win than imperfect foes defeat him.

    Way back when, there were better leaders. I can point to the inception. 2012. Can you find even ONE flaw with Ron Paul? NEVER compromised. Perfect on the constitution. Served his country. Married his highschool sweetheart and raised a family. 100% pro life and personally delivered a thousand babies. But Romney – Bain Capital job destroyer, gay marriage promoter, spoke in front of Planned Parenthood, prototyped Obamacare used the machine to win.

    In Spaceballs, Dark Helmet says “Good will always lose because good is dumb!”. It is on YouTube.

    In this case, Good is not dumb, but prudent, voting for the candidate that will ACCOMPLISH good over the candidate that might speak and act personally better but cave and cuck in front of oppositon.

    • Hannah

      Absolutely brilliant! Replete with both literary wisdom and movie references – an excellent exercise!

    • Micha_Elyi

      “Can you find even ONE flaw with Ron Paul?”–tz1

      Why yes I can. He threw in his lot with the immoral Libertarian Party when it suited him. Being their 1988 candidate for President sure grew the mailing list for his notoriously anti-Semitic private newsletter.

      As for your twisted, deceitful remarks about Gov. Romney, how did two terms of Obama suit you? When you’re as far, far from the mainstream as Libertarians are you can’t distinguish the differences between Gov. Romney and Obama. Sad.

      • tz1

        The GOP is and always has been more immoral than the Libertarians. So Paul as VP didn’t bother me.

        I know Romney’s record as Governor of Massatuchets. If he is a good man, he was still and evil governor.

        At least the GOP opposed Obama in his second term. Had it been Romney, Obamacare would be permanent or we would have single payer. We’d still have gotten Gay Marriage (Romney supported it as Governor). Sense or proportion, Romney would be the $0.90 version of Obama, so there would be a dime’s worth of difference, but Romney would have continued the quagmires and maybe started more, imported more immigrants and refugees (being a good man), destroyed more jobs, and would give welfare to his crony wall street friends.

  • Micha_Elyi

    What’s Mehdi Hasan’s problem? That his side has been so victorious in the Culture War that even Evangelical Christians are starting to make their political calculations in the manner of Debaucho-crats?

  • Jason McCord

    I find it odd that those who claim, as Hasan does, to even KNOW what evangelicals should or should not do. Satan himself reads and distorts the Word to his pleasure. As does Hasan.

  • MorganCourtenay

    Would Hasan put the shoe on the other foot? Does he apply these standards to himself? Is his support of anything Islamic (regardless of the questionable background and consequences) an act of preferential treatment based on shared ethnicity or skin colour? I am no supporter of Trump (save for his recent and justified decision RE Jerusalem in the face of anti-Semitic opposition), but these rambling, pseudo-intellectual articles on race are incredibly exhausting. As a British woman of Nigerian ethnic descent, I am fed up of this patronizing, paternalistic nonsense that holds us in a sphere of oppression as determined by well-paid writers of the same colour.

Inspiration
Easter Is Only One Chapter of God’s Story
Hugh Whelchel
More from The Stream
Connect with Us