The Religious Reich is having the best time ever with Trump in office. Even more than they would have if the Republicans had elected one of their own. Peter Montgomery in The American Prospect reports:
Not only is Trump a reckless and divisive president who shows contempt for anyone who crosses him and who has energized a white nationalist movement that could wreak havoc on American political and social culture for a long time to come—he’s also the best thing that’s ever happened to the religious right.
To be fair, there was a logical foundation for believing that Trump would be less of a culture warrior than a president who is a conservative evangelical. Pence has a long anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ record. And there is a basis for the argument that Trump is so incompetent that a Mike Pence or a Ted Cruz might have been more successful dealing with Congress.
But it is hard to imagine the religious right doing any better under a President Pence or President Cruz than they are with President Trump. But because the president is the crass, amoral, prideful, and dishonest huckster Trump, rather than a faith-on-their-sleeve true believer like Pence or Cruz, the religious right has been able to have to wield an outsized influence on national policy while avoiding the kind of scrutiny that would come if they were working with one of their own in the White House.
When they think “one of their own,” they’re not thinking about someone who shares their religious convictions; they’re thinking about someone who knows how to run a good con and pluck the pigeons. Religious hucksters like Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Jim Bakker see in Trump a fellow con artist and one they admire because he was able to pull off his swindle without having to hide behind a veil of piety and false prophecy. He was even able to get away without paying taxes, the same as they do, but without having to come up with the religious angle.
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out who’s using religion more cynically, Trump or his right-wing religious boosters. Trump’s evangelical advisers have been sticking with him even as corporate CEOs started walking away after Trump gave political cover to white nationalists. As long as President Trump is giving them what they want, the religious right continues to explain away his dishonesty, cruelty, and recklessness, and even portrays his political opponents as enemies of God. “Values voters,” indeed.
The most maddening thing about this collection of god-botherers and pompous, arrogant, and cynical fraudsters is that when the walls come a-tumbling down around Trump and his gang, they’ll all walk away without a scratch, claiming they were doing God’s work to try to rescue the country through any means possible and that human failings are just another challenge for the faithful. And they’ll raise a ton of money off of it.