Churches and Families Are Divided over Trump, Russell Moore Says: 'They’re Afraid' to Talk about Him

Michael Foust | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: May 16, 2023
Churches and Families Are Divided over Trump, Russell Moore Says: 'They’re Afraid' to Talk about Him

Churches and Families Are Divided over Trump, Russell Moore Says: 'They’re Afraid' to Talk about Him

Christianity Today editor-in-chief Russell Moore told NBC Sunday that churches and families remain divided over Donald Trump. He also said he hopes another Republican candidate will step forward and "talk about the importance of character."

"Evangelical Christianity emphasizes that the internal affects the external, and the fact that a person's character in private, has everything to do with his or her character in public," Moore said, referencing the impeachment of Bill Clinton in the late 1990s as well as the character of Trump. "That has always been the case, and that's always been the issue here is: Does character matter, or does it not?"

Moore made the comments on NBC's Meet the Press, where host Chuck Todd asked Moore if evangelicals are "all-in" in their support of Trump.

"Well, I think that's probably true with the politically activated, politically energized base. [But] I don't think that's true of everyone," Moore said. "And that's one of the reasons why we see churches divided. We see families divided. One of the most dismaying aspects of the Trump years is the fact that Donald Trump is at the center of everything. Almost every congregation that I know is either divided or tense about these sorts of political, political controversies coming out of the Trump years. Almost every family that I know has people who don't speak to each other anymore about this personality and this figure.

"And I think there are a lot of people, including conservative evangelicals like me, who are looking at this and saying, 'Are we really going to do this again? Haven't we seen this already? Do we really want to repeat it?' And I suppose that will be the question for the rest of the year."

Moore said he is concerned about the fallout from Trump's reaction to the Access Hollywood tapes and his reaction to a jury finding him liable for sexual abuse. Trump discussed both last week during a CNN town hall.

"Well, think about the teenage girl in a church somewhere who's being abused by her youth pastor wondering whether to come forward," Moore said. "And she hears not only that, but when the victim is ridiculed by a presidential candidate in front of a crowd, the response is laughter. That has devastating implications."

Moore indicated he wants a Republican presidential candidate to speak out against Trump.

"I think someone needs to step forward and talk about the importance of character and talk about the importance of having someone who can be trusted to have the nuclear codes," Moore said. "I mean it – we really need someone to step forward and say, 'Let's remember what's at stake here.' We're not just choosing what kind of entertainment we're going to have for the next six years. We're talking about the direction of the country and we're talking about what our children are seeing and, and potentially will replicate. If you have an entire generation who only grow up seeing this, what's going to happen? We need somebody who will make that case and say it. And right now, among candidates, among elected officials, sometimes even among church officials, there's fear. No one wants to speak to this because they're afraid of what will happen to them. The stakes are too high."

Photo courtsey: ©Getty Images/Tasos Katopodis/Stringer

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist PressChristianity TodayThe Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Churches and Families Are Divided over Trump, Russell Moore Says: 'They’re Afraid' to Talk about Him