Remember the "lost letter" episode of the West Wing (""Enemies Foreign and Domestic") in which letter that a young boy sent to Franklin Roosevelt is finally delivered to the White House +60 years later?
Well, the Dirty Hippies have been sending letters to the Republican party for decades now warning them that climbing into bed with the likes of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, Payul Weyrich and the rest of the hypocrites and pharisees and pit vipers on the "Conservative Christian" grift was seven different flavors of catastrophe. Bad for the Party of Lincoln. Really bad for the country. Really, really bad for Christianity. Just bad all around.
Well as it turns out, decades later, some kind soul has delivered all of our missives to the home of former George W. Bush chief speechwriter, senior Republican policy adviser, Conservative Christian and reliable Beltway Republican stalactite, Michael Gerson. And he is terribly shocked and put out over how those people over there are behaving:
Oh, God — and I mean the entreaty seriously — the Trump/evangelical summit in New York was just as bad as some of us feared...Seldom has a group seemed more eager to be exploited...
Yet this event was not the tortured search for partial truths in a fallen world. It was a sad parody of Christian political involvement, summarizing all the faults and failures of the religious right...
We are reminded, second, that much of the religious right’s criticism of President Bill Clinton’s character was a ploy. Franklin Graham now argues that because Abraham lied, Moses disobeyed God and David committed adultery, Trump should get a pass, not just on his personal behavior but also on his deception, cruelty and appeal to bigotry. It is a non sequitur revealing the cynical subordination of faith to politics...
You see, Mr. Gerson is deeply concerned that these sellouts will give a black eye to his brand of noble Christian activism:
A powerful source of passion for social justice — a faith that once motivated abolitionism and various movements for civil and human rights — has been tamed and trivialized.
Hate to break it to you Michael, but the ancestors of the Christopaths who share your pew got no closer to "abolitionism" that rebel yellin' their heads off over Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens Cornerstone speech:
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science...May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system.
But Mr. Gerson's really jumps his denialism up into David Brooks territory right at the end where he acknowledges that Conservative Christians once made a similar error in judgement way back in the 1960s --
It is not the first time. During the civil rights movement in the 1960s, one of the main organs of white evangelical opinion, Christianity Today, defended “voluntary segregation,”...
-- and then completely o'erleaps the last half century and lands safely in the middle of this week --
It is happening again. Evangelical Christian leaders, motivated by political self-interest, are cozying up to a leader who has placed bigotry and malice at the center of American politics. They are defending the rights of their faith while dishonoring its essence.
-- without mentioning any of the truly egregious shit that was happening every day at the very ippy tippy top of the Republican party during the period when he was one of its most active members and influencers.
Egregious shit like this (from the NYT, 16 years ago):
In America; Looking for Votes . . .By BOB HERBERTPublished: February 10, 2000Wave goodbye to that fantasy of a more inclusive Republican Party.George W. Bush and John McCain have planted themselves on the wrong side of the Confederate flag issue. And last week, there was Mr. Bush in Greenville, S.C., happily touting ''our ideas, Republican ideas, conservative ideas'' at Bob Jones University, which maintains its perverse rules against the mingling of races and its disgusting hostility to the Catholic religion.Love is fine at B.J.U. as long as it doesn't cross the color line. Mr. Bush's brother and sister-in-law -- Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida, and his Mexican-born wife, Columba -- would have been condemned and expelled from Bob Jones for having dared to fall in love and marry...
What Mr. Gerson dare not say is that "Conservative Christians" are neither Conservative in any traditional sense, nor Christians and their political movement was always been an unholy abomination combining the sickening snake-oil piety of professional god-bothering con men who work the front of the room, and the millions of credulous chumps and self-righteous bigots who flock to the Church of St. Reagan because it promises to let them
...clothe [their] naked villanyWith odd old ends stol'n out of holy writ,And seem a saint, when most [they] play the devil.
(Pro-tip: Always steal from the best)
The reason Mr. Gerson is reduced to lying about the history of his Conservative Christian movement is the same reason he has been reduced to lying about the history of his Republican party -- for the entire duration of Mr. Gerson's professional life, they have both been just fucking awful. And having attached himself to fundamentally depraved causes and profited handsomely thereby for decades, Mr. Gerson simply cannot afford -- financially or psychologically -- to be honest about his own complicity in the horrors he helped to create and unleash.
Or, ironically, as Mr. Gerson writes about Trump:
It is like watching a man insult a mirror.