In the Dark Ages, the Catholic Church taught salvation was possible through good works. This practice quickly evolved into a philosophy of selling “indulgences.” Purchasing an indulgence allowed a person to commit a sin, and the indulgence counteracted the sin. The purchase price depended on the size of the sin. Needless to say, this philosophy gave the rich a great deal of room for sinning.
Modern day American evangelicals have taken a similar approach in their politics, and there is little doubt they have set a precedent for their behavior in the future. If a politician supports their political positions, that politician is given a license to sin. Their sins are not important, their political positions are. Lying to the general public is perfectly acceptable, so long as anti-abortion laws and anti-LGBT laws are promised and the separation of church and state is weakened.
A PRRI/Brookings poll taken in 2016 showed 72 percent of American evangelicals believed immoral leaders could give up their self-centered behavior and govern ethically. The poll was validated by 81 percent of white evangelicals in 2017, who voted for Donald Trump, a man who bragged about sexual harassment and sexual assault, and who has ripped people off by way of “Trump University.” They unthinkingly (?) voted for a twice divorced man who supports gambling and deceit. They genuinely believe an immoral leader will not take bribes or manipulate the laws to further his or her own self-interests (or that these behaviors simply aren’t very important).
This is, in part, due to a shift which took place in the 1970s, with evangelicals giving up themes of helping the poor, and replacing them with a strong emphasis on personal prosperity. They now believe a wealthy person is an example of success, and that God wants his worshipers to be healthy, wealthy, and successful. The only problem is, they provide no guidelines for achieving great wealth. And if someone has to sin to achieve great wealth, as long as they are members of the church, and purchasing appropriate indulgences, I mean making appropriate donations, evangelical churches are okay with this.
Evangelicals are fast reaching the point when they must ask if themselves if they are still Christians. The answer to that question depends on their beliefs. Do they believe in helping others, or are they more about helping themselves, and maintaining a life-style of over-abundance at the expense of the planet and the poor?