Most of my readers will probably not know who David French is. But he is a very smart guy and a great writer for National Review. I read virtually everything he writes. But sadly, French is as lost as Amelia Earhart when it comes to Donald Trump.
French was one of the original Never-Trumpers, and despite the fact that his club is getting so small they could meet in a corner booth at Denny’s, he keeps flailing away at Trump, seeking to shred whatever he thinks is left of the president’s reputation. And according to French, Franklin Graham “illustrates the collapsing Evangelical public witness.”
French is taking a Louisville Slugger to Franklin Graham for having the audacity to challenge presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to repent of his sexual sin, the sin of sodomy, and get right with God (see here and here). French accuses Graham of hypocrisy because he isn’t calling out Donald Trump on a daily basis for his sexual indiscretions of more than a decade ago.
French seems to think that this is what the gospel requires - that we get a sinner in a chokehold and beat his head on the pavement, even if he committed his sin 12 years ago, repented of it, and hasn’t repeated it since.
Franklin Graham, who knows more about this than David French does, has affirmed that Trump has apologized to his wife and made things right with her.
But French apparently believes the evangelical thing to do is never let him up off the mat. Mr. French needs to let us know when the statute of limitations runs out on sinner-bashing. God’s word to Trump is, “I have buried your sin in the depths of the sea.” French’s word to Trump, “You may be done dealing with God about your sin, but you are not done dealing with me.”
What’s worse is that French adopts an attitude of sanctimonious superiority about the whole thing. His pride and arrogance have sadly blinded him to his own staggering hypocrisy. He sees himself as someone who, like Nathan confronting David, is speaking truth to power and he feels quite self-righteous about it all.
Meanwhile, French apparently has not a word to say about the ongoing sin of Mr. Buttigieg, who is quite proud and unashamed of his unrepentant sin and even flaunts it on the cover of Time Magazine. French has nothing to say about Buttigieg’s sin, despite the fact the Bible calls it an abomination, something that is contrary to nature, something which prompted God to obliterate two entire cities in the ancient world, and something which will send Buttigieg to hell if he doesn’t humble himself before God. Mr. French, if you want to be an evangelical who speaks truth to power, you may want to start with Mayor Pete.
Otherwise, you are condemning the repentant and giving a pass to the guilty.
At one point, French tries to skewer Graham with this question: “What would Nathan, who dramatically confronted David over his infidelity and murder, say?” I fear that French will hear those words spoken one day. While a triumphant smile breaks over his face he suddenly discovers that Nathan is pointing his long bony finger at him and not at Trump.
A caller to my program last week reminded us that Jesus taught that we will be judged by the standard we use to judge others (Matthew 7:2). David French, by his actions, apparently is choosing to be condemned and pummeled without letup for things he did decades ago. As an evangelical, he seems sadly deluded about the teachings of the Savior about sin and judgment.
I don’t know everything that Rev. Graham has said about the president’s liaisons from the past, but it is impossible that he would ever justify them or excuse them. I myself have never called Trump’s actions of 12 years ago anything but tawdry, sordid, and reprehensible.
But as the Bible says, “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). That may be a lesson David French needs to learn.