The sight of black evangelical pastors stretching hands onto a stone-faced Donald Trump to pray for him in the Oval Office represents a haunting portrait to so many African-Americans.
Even if we put aside the anemic lack of black people within the Republican party, Trump is a uniquely disliked man by African-Americans – only something around 8% have a positive view of him.
But the biggest Republican tool of political marketing targeted at blacks has always been Christianity-informed conservative values.
Modern-day American conservatism itself, forgive the oversimplification, is political Christianity. With a majority of African-Americans identifying with one strand or other of the faith, one would think they would find natural affinity with Republicans and conservatives.
The blame for this not happening certainly lies with the insistence on the part of America’s right-wing party to embrace white identity politics.
With the crowning of Donald Trump as the party’s de facto and philosophical leader, the Republican party has become an organizational picture of Trump’s whims and beliefs.
It is not as if Trump’s whims and beliefs respectfully incorporate the dignity of African-Americans. For him, that demographic is a political territory to be won, not a collection of human beings with a painful American past.
So why are some black Christian leaders so loving and worshipful of a man who does not? Here’s why
Anti-abortion position inter alia
The pull for most African-American pastors who have joined Trump’s black outreach is as a result of them seeing him as a vehicle to actualize their conservative (Christian) values.
Even though abortion seems to be the flagship issue, black Trump-loving pastors have also found a connection with him on the vaguely-defined issue of patriotism.
Trump also tells them he is a Bible-believing Christian and although they know he is imperfect, the allure of someone who performs their values is too strong to ignore.
The feeling that Democrats have taken black people for granted
The history of black political awareness and activism cannot be written without due recognizance of what the black church has contributed.
The black church has for decades played a vanguard role as the organization that brings together the people for the political causes that matter. Many black civil rights leaders were preachers.
In some way, Trump’s team of black pastors believes they can tell when they have been taken for granted by the Democratic party’s political establishment.
An awakening is therefore needed and that makes Trump and Republicans a viable option.
Proximity to power has always been attractive
No matter what you think of the spirited defense some of these pastors have put up for Trump, you cannot dismiss the point that they know what is in it for them to be close to power.
We may currently not know the fine details of the benefits of going to the White House and laying hands on the president. But for these pastors, the photos are worth more than they could pay for advertisements.
And then there are the campaign committees these pastors are asked to join. That is not money many will be in a hurry to overlook.