Donald Trump met with a bunch of professional “Christian” lobbyists yesterday in a meeting that was closed off to the press. Sadly, we do not have video of him making these remarks, but a number of attendees, being the most leak-prone people on the face of the earth, have begun to talk about what Trump said and did. One passage in particular stuck out to me.

The confab was organized by a group called United in Purpose. According to their description of the meeting, Trump said the following:

The media has taken away your power, which is why Christianity is going down,” Trump added. “Whatever we can do, I will get rid of all those problems. The biggest problem for Christianity is that you don’t have the right to be yourselves. Even though ministers are people with power and influence, you just accept this. But you have a bigger lobby then any other demographic – you represent 85 percent of the population.”

Say what you will about Trump, but when he comes upon a group of professional lobbyists, he sure knows how to work them. He doesn’t talk to them about holiness or scripture or Christ, because he knows they aren’t really interested in those things. He talks to them about the loss of their own power and influence, which of course is the greatest concern for them.

Jesus himself had to deal with alleged religious leaders in his day who weren’t really concerned with godliness or holiness, but rather their own influence and standing in their communities, and they were called the Pharisees. Rather than cater to them or puff them up or promise them that he would restore or elevate their tarnished standing, he called them whitewashed tombs: pretty on the outside, but on the inside rotted and corrupt. One time, after showing the Pharisees to be hypocrites, Jesus’ apostles came to him and asked in astonishment: “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” Jesus responded to them, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

This is exactly what is happening with the “evangelical” “leaders” of this country who are actively climbing into bed with the most anti-Christian candidate this country has seen in the last century. The question of whether Trump is actually a man of faith or virtue is manifestly unimportant to them. The question is who will help them increase their own standing in the halls of power in Washington.

Look at this absurd promise from Trump:

Trump promises these things to the professional Christian lobbyists because he knows it works. He knows it is what their itching ears want to hear. He knows that all they really want is a seat at the table of power if he becomes elected.

The “evangelical” “leaders” who emerged from the meeting yesterday who were converted to Trump are worthy of neither the label “evangelical” nor “leader.” But perhaps they can call themselves “pharisees” if they need some consolation.