Last night, The Daily Beast published evidence that Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker, a “proud pro-life Christian,” had literally written a check to a woman he impregnated so she could have an abortion. That happened months after he had an out-of-wedlock child with another woman—a detail that the woman who obtained the abortion did not know. Which means Walker now has four children with four different mothers in addition to what conservative Christians would call a fifth child that he helped murder. And those are just the children we know about.
This is the guy that the Christian Right will overwhelmingly support in order to defeat an actual pastor, Raphael Warnock, who happens to be a Democrat.
“Herschel Walker will be a most effective champion for unborn babies and their mothers in Washington and he has demonstrated the passion and perseverance it takes to win the critically important Georgia Senate race,” said Carol Tobias, the president of National Right to Life, whose group endorsed Walker over his Republican primary opponents in April.
Walker claims he is a devout Christian, and he often invokes his faith to justify his anti-abortion position, including on the campaign trail.
“To say that it is OK for a woman to kill her baby when [God] said ‘Thou shall not kill.’ And I said, you know, I can’t, I can’t square it,” Walker said at a conservative Christian values roundtable this August. “I can’t get around that.”
The saddest thing about this story is that Herschel Walker paying for an abortion shouldn’t even be a story! Abortions are okay and, in a sane political environment, he could easily explain that the procedure was necessary because he was in no position to care for another child. But the sheer hypocrisy and lies coming from the Republican in arguably the most pivotal Senate race in the country means Walker’s actions deserve all the scrutiny they’re getting. He’s pushed the right-wing line about how all abortion is evil, and no exceptions should be permitted for people who need them, yet when he needed a woman to get one, he immediately lunged for his checkbook.
Remember that Walker has other demons in his closet, too. One of his ex-wives said Walker put a gun to her head and said to her, “I’m going to blow your f’ing brains out.” He also separately threatened to kill her and her new boyfriend. He lied about his success in the business world, making far far less than he bragged about publicly. He only registered to vote in Georgia a year ago. He barely votes, period. His current wife allegedly committed voting fraud by voting in a state she didn’t live in. He also happens to be one of the dumbest people in public life who admitted weeks ago, “I’m not that smart.”
And yet Walker has full support from Christian nationalists like evangelist Franklin Graham, who said of him last year even after we knew about many of these demons, “He’s an outspoken Christian, he stands up for conservative values, and he’s got a lot of common sense.”
That’s why you can bet the abortion bombshell won’t affect Walker’s standing among conservative Christians. They’re not about to walk away from Herschel Walker because of his hypocrisy on abortion, much less their own belief that he was complicit in murder.
They don’t care because honesty doesn’t matter to them. They’re conservative Christians. They’re addicted to power, not decency. They would rather elect a Republican buffoon who continues to embarrass himself than get behind a liberal pastor who is inspired by his Christian faith to fight for civil rights. That’s how much white evangelicals are scraping the bottom of the barrel right now.
It doesn’t matter what conservative Christians say their principles are, because those principles become optional if they get in the way of achieving power. It’s why, between 2011 and 2016, white evangelicals who were willing to forgive a politician’s personal indiscretions rose from 30% to 72%.
The entire damn movement is no different from Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler, who went from urging people in 2016 to vote against Donald Trump because he would become the “Great Evangelical Embarrassment”… to implying last month that Christians who don’t vote for Republican candidates are “unfaithful” to God.
Trump was a thrice-married racist who paid hush money to porn stars he was having affairs with when his current wife was pregnant with his fifth child, and white evangelicals couldn’t get enough of him. When he was in office, causing global chaos, trashing immigrants and refugees, and ignoring science in the midst of a pandemic, they were in too deep. White evangelicals were more accurately defined by Trumpian cruelty than anything connected to Jesus.
They’ll do the same damn thing with Herschel Walker even as his own right-wing son says he’s “done” with his dad, saying that Walker “left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence.”
The Christians who claim to have the moral high ground on account of their faith would have cut Herschel Walker loose a long time ago. They’re not going to, even now, because they will lunge for any rationalization that lets them get away with it. They’ll say this was public knowledge (it was not). They’ll say they’re voting for a politician, not a pastor, despite their perpetual outrage whenever Democratic politicians don’t adhere to right-wing moral standards. It’s what the Republican Party is doing already, suggesting that digging into “what has or hasn’t happened in Herschel Walker’s past” is automatically an attack.
With Trump, though, those Christian nationalists said Trump’s myriad flaws were outweighed by things like his inevitably anti-abortion Supreme Court picks. That argument can’t be made for Herschel Walker, whose flaws wouldn’t be counter-balanced by anything of value if Senate Democrats retain their majority.
That means conservative Christians will likely continue defending and supporting Walker even though it brings them no tangible benefit and only serves to further harm their own reputation.
Their fealty to the Republican Party, rather than the Bible, has never been more obvious.