We are living in interesting times. We are witnessing moral erosion in governments. But no-one anticipated that Evangelical leaders would steep so low as to justify infidelity in the guise of political policy or material acquisition. I will lay parity to three issues: Rising moral turpitude in the Age of Trump; Evangelical secularism; and Corruption unrestrained.
Rising Moral Turpitude In The Age Of Trump
In any epoch, where great privilege is given, great responsibility is demanded. In the old ages, Babylon, Greece, Rome, British and now American empires, those who conquered the world also had a great responsibility to influence behavior. But even at its vilest echelon, leaders of empires and mighty nations knew that their example was necessary to the sanity, stability and vitality of their nations.
Powerful leaders, such as presidents of the United States, do not just say, do or react to things. Whatever they say, do or decide has, directly or indirectly, impact on their people and the world at large. In the past, America has prided in electing men who, admittedly have been weak, but who were expected (in fact) to display great moral stamina in the governance of their people’s affairs. They were expected to stand on principles, respect the Rule of Law and lead their people with unquestionable integrity. Trump is eroding all these, slowly and surely. The American president has failed to stand on principles, is brutalizing press freedom, cannot admit to his own moral foibles, has uttered degrading and racist statements against minority groups, women and immigrants, and has taken advantage of a materialistic evangelical church in America. For sure, this may fulfill some political point, but in the end, the world is at risk of demagoguism and lost moral vivacity.
Jesus said that the love of money, not money itself, is the root of all evil. Wasn’t he right? Generally, the Evangelical church is becoming more secular and devoid of moral gravitas than in any age. The working mantra in many an Evangelical church is hypocrisy. It is deficient in strong leaders who cannot be tossed to and from by the wild winds of enticements. All these leaders are preoccupied with is “money.” money for this, money for the kingdom, money for material “blessings.” They are willing to support politicians who promise them free money or who will “align their policy according to the Bible.” This last issue is very deceptive. A politician ought only to recite “The Lord’s Prayer” or declare he is anti-abortion or anti-same-sex marriage, and these leaders will be bought. The result is that they will shut their eyes to the moral short-comings of the politician and accept all of his incendiary and tribal politics as truth. They will justify his election as the will of God (but they will not accept all those previous presidents and politicians before him as God’s choices, too).
The marriage of the first two points will only strengthen corruption, especially in economically struggling and politically undemocratic nations. Why, because America (in its own weaknesses) is generally seen as a moral leader in the world. With its being weak on morality under Trump, authoritarians all over the world will justify their own behaviors. They will abuse the law, discard principles, undermine justice, erode morality and engage in corrupt practices. They will not fear reprisal, because the United States are themselves under siege. Why again, because the Christian voice which has sanitized morality and provided fidelity to politics is wanting. Church leaders are more interested in “making money” than in Christ-like leadership. Church leaders are lukewarm, complicity, unforgiving (unless the forgiveness will create them opportunities with political echelons), and in the name of God, are stealing their congregants’ wealth and savings!
I posit that the worst culprit of this moral erosion and corruption will be Africa. The West, and to some extent, South-East Asia, may be able to weather this moral tsunami. The West will manage Trumpism, because they have strong institutions and growing free voice, but Africa may not.
By Charles Mwewa.
Author of The Struggles of My People and The Burden of Zambia.