More Al Mohler on Bill Clinton and Public Morality

By now, those who keep up on religion and politics are aware that president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and nominee to be the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Al Mohler, has endorsed Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Mohler did not endorse Trump in 2016. In fact, he criticized Trump and cast his opposition as being consistent with his criticism of Bill Clinton on moral grounds. After citing an article decrying Clinton’s morals, Mohler said in 2016:

I cite that article I wrote during the Clinton crisis to document arguments the importance of sexual morality and character to leadership. I read those words because I want to make certain I am consistent over time and not bending my argument to the political urgency of the moment. If I were to support, much less endorse, Donald Trump for president, I would actually have to go back and apologize to former President Bill Clinton. I would have to admit that my commentary on his scandals was wrong. I don’t believe I was. I don’t believe evangelicals who stood united that time were wrong.

Several commentators have pointed out Mohler’s flip flop in articles that are well worth reading: Jonathan Merritt, John Fea, David French.  My interest in this post is demonstrating just how far from his former position he has moved. During the Clinton years, Mohler was one of several evangelical leaders who took a very persistent stance that Bill Clinton’s character disqualified him from office. Here are some illustrations.

Lying Destroyed Credibility in 1998

In September 1998, Mohler was quoted as calling for Clinton’s resignation over the Lewinsky affair.

Mr. Mohler, the Southern Baptist theologian, has called for Clinton’s resignation, as have other leaders of Clinton’s own denomination.

“An apology requires moral credibility, and the president has destroyed that moral credibility,” he says. “Basically, he’s saying to the American people, ‘I lied to you, I lied repeatedly, I lied even most recently, but I am not lying now.’ That just does not wash.” (1)

At last count, Donald Trump has made 18,000 false or misleading statements during his term. Just recently, for instance, he saidAnybody that needs a test, gets a test. We—they’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful.” That wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now. Mohler was so incensed about Clinton’s lies in 1998. Now, after constant lies from Trump, Mohler endorses him. To quote Mohler, “that just does not wash.”

According to the Baptist Press, Mohler signed a statement in November 1998 which

called on Clinton to resign because restoring trust to the presidency “can only be accomplished by your relinquishing your office.”

Apparently, we no longer need to trust the president.

Character Mattered in 1999

On February 18, 1999, the Baptist Press reported that Mohler made his third appearance on “Larry King Live” to discuss, among other things, Clinton’s character. The article quoted Mohler at length:

“I think what we see here is a great culture war, the great moral divide in this country being made very apparent. … [People] saw the president’s sins, and the resulting consequences which should come of them, in entirely different worldviews. It was impossible for persons on one side of that divide to understand the other.

“I think we’re all losers here. … I think we’ve learned something new about the moral climate of America, something very disturbing.

“There is sin all around. No one has any right to act as if there is no sin in him,” Mohler said, reflecting comments from some of the other guests who noted the sick and dark condition of Americans’ hearts and souls.

“The issue is what do we as culture … rightly expect to be the moral standard whereby our leaders should live and be accountable to the American public?” Mohler asked.

“The real issue is the president’s character … [and] the way we have separated sin from consequences. That is fatal for a society. … We’re becoming very satisfied with an inconsequential understanding of moral evil.”

Mohler said later generations will be “greatly harmed” by some of the immoral messages afloat in American culture, including the message sent by the senators who acquitted Clinton.

Apparently, the president’s character is no longer an issue when the president is a Republican.

Core Evangelical Values in 2016

In 2016, Mohler questioned whether Trump supporters adhered to core evangelical values.

MOHLER: We have taken comfort in the fact that there have been millions and millions of us in America. And a part of that evidence has been the last several election cycles, with the evangelical vote being in the millions. And now we’re having to face the fact that, evidently, theologically-defined – defined by commitment to core evangelical values – there aren’t so many millions of us as we thought.

On CNN, Mohler told Don Lemon the election of 2016 was a disaster for evangelicals. He didn’t favor Hillary Clinton but had special criticism for Trump. Watch:

This quote is haunting: “When it comes to Donald Trump, evangelicals are going to have to ask a huge question: Is it worth destroying our moral credibility to support someone who is beneath the baseline level of human decency for anyone who should deserve our vote?” Apparently, it is worth it to Mohler to destroy what moral credibility evangelicals as a group have left to endorse Trump.

Character Still Mattered in 2018

Mohler probably needs to apologize twice to Clinton because as late as June 2018, he was banging on Clinton for his morals. In a column reacting to Clinton’s inadequate answer about his lack of apology to Monica Lewinsky, Mohler wrote:

That’s the twisted, convoluted, moral world that many of us remember from the 1990s and the play out of the sordid affairs concerning Bill Clinton as president of the United States. I bring it up today on The Briefing simply because of this. We need to remember that this kind of action has consequences, and the consequences continue.

I could go on but I think the point is made that Al Mohler has used Bill Clinton as a punching bag since the late 1990s, was consistent when judging Trump at first, but has now flipped. He owes more than Bill Clinton an apology. He owes every Christian who listened to him an apology.

As David French pointed out in his excellent commentary, Mohler’s endorsement comes as Donald Trump presides over a dismal performance as president during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we speak, Trump is undermining his own COVID-19 task force by encouraging civil disobedience among his supporters. Instead of telling his supporters to go by the social distance guidelines, he tweeted for them to “Liberate” their states. Trump’s unfaithfulness may no longer involve women, but it has consequences nonetheless.

After all is said, the only thing I get out of Mohler’s turnabout is that he has done what he said he didn’t want to do – bend his “argument to the political urgency of the moment.”


114 thoughts on “More Al Mohler on Bill Clinton and Public Morality”

  1. Voting is immoral.
    “A ballot is just a substitute for a bullet. If your vote isn’t backed by a bullet, it is meaningless. Without the bullet, people could ignore the election outcome. Voting would be pointless. Democracy has violence at its very core!” ~Muir Matteson, “The Nonviolent Zone”

      1. “Grown men do not need leaders.” – Edward Abbey
        “Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves.” Herbert Marcuse

        1. You’re going to quote Edward Abbey really a guy who wanted to tell others about the environment was he then trying to “lead” others into accepting his thinking, the quote is an emotional appeal and lacks any substance. Love to see how happy he would be without a government which has organised military and other such things which protect the society.

          The second quote is terrible, both however lack understanding that electing a person to govern aspects of public life and how to manage a country so that the majority of people can thrive is hardly voting for a master or that the people who put that person there are now servants or slaves.
          Interesting you went with two atheists trying to convince a Christian that he needs no King. it is the same old lie from the serpent, “…and you will be like God…”

          1. Oops. Sorry, I was under the impression that you voted for politicians.
            Which “God” do you serve?

          2. The one and only true and living God.

            Since when is voting got anything to do with slavery? What do you mean by the word politician? The demonising of people in order to garner support for some other random belief system is really quite weak a strategy, in formal debate it would be considered ad hominem.

          3. Saying that a “God” exists without providing any evidence is the weakest strategy.
            Do you not even know what a politician is?

          4. a good argument from the scientific data is what is commonly known as the kalam cosmological argument it goes something like this 1. everything that begins to exist has a cause 2. the universe began to exist 3. thus the universe has a cause — after that you interrogate what properties would that cause need for instance the cause would have to be timeless, causeless, immaterial, spaceless, powerful, personal and these characteristics are what theists have always had in mind when they think about God. Robert Jastrow wrote”

            “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of
            reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of
            ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself
            over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have
            been sitting there for centuries.”” So you want evidence I give you science and the universe can you please provide me with evidence for atheism.

          5. Nice story. If you were to present that at a trial/hearing your opposition would object to it because it’s hearsay. The arbiter would sustain the objection.
            Everything that exists consists of matter and energy, therefore, it’s not that difficult to prove the existence of something.
            If gods existed, stories trying to bullshit people wouldn’t exist. The evidence for gods would be as easy to come by as the evidence for everything else that has been proven to exist.

          6. are you mad, the universe is not hearsay, the scientific data is not hearsay. You are prof for the Biblical data – The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them – go read “the case for Christ” –

          7. Blah, blah, blah. What does your god think about you voting for politicians who do things that you know are immoral if you do them?

          8. Ed – I rather suspect PG’s god does/says/thinks exactly as he/she (PG) tells it (PG’s god) – rather like his/her dog … if he/she has one. To be fair to PG, that’s not unusual: it’s one of the easiest things in the world to fall into tailoring God to one’s own preferences and perceived requirements.

  2. Hey Dr. Warren, Trump may not have absolute authority on when to open the country bet neither to the governors. The cure can’t be worse than the cure, tyrannical government isn’t the answer. That’s why Trump said Liberate to some states.

    1. What tyrannical government? Only Trump has said he has the absolute power over when the country reopens, but I guess we shouldn’t hold the president to the same standards as the governors?

      We are in the midst of an international health crisis. The protesters have been fed on a steady diet of ignorance and misinformation from their Fox News / right-wing media bubble. Most of them don’t even believe the coronavirus is real, or as bad as the flu. Who in their right mind should listen to them?

      If the rest of the nation ends up like New York because they reopened too soon, hundreds of thousands of people will die. How could the cure be any worse than that?

  3. Apparently, Bill Clinton’s actual unforgivable sin was being a Democrat. As Mohler amply demonstrates, there are no unforgivable sins for Republicans. Christians who follow Mohler’s teachings should be ashamed of him–and of themselves.

    1. “the media” he means FoxNews (i.e. that is who he cited at the beginning of his propaganda video).

      but do keep pointing out how this pandemic was mishandled. Because people will remember that Trump was in charge and he kept saying it wasn’t a problem.

        1. it isn’t about the few things Trump did, it is about all the things he didn’t do. Like acknowledge the threat this virus posed to the US. Like pay attention to the warnings from the intelligence agencies that it could be a huge problem is the US. Like ordering/stockpiling medical supplies do deal with a pandemic.

          Just trying to point out the few things Trump got right and ignoring all the things he got wrong isn’t going to work.

          but do keep pointing out how this pandemic was mishandled. Because people will remember that Trump was in charge and he kept saying it wasn’t a problem.

        2. it isn’t about the few things Trump did, it is about all the things he didn’t do. Like acknowledge the threat this virus posed to the US. Like pay attention to the warnings from the intelligence agencies that it could be a huge problem in the US. Like ordering/stockpiling medical supplies to deal with a pandemic.

          Just trying to point out the few things Trump got right and ignoring all the things he got wrong isn’t going to work.

          but do keep pointing out how this pandemic was mishandled. Because people will remember that Trump was in charge and he kept saying it wasn’t a problem.

          1. It all makes sense if you take the basic assumption that Trump is so self-centered that nothing exists for him except What I Want, What I Say, What I See in the Mirror, What’s In It For ME. In a way, that book title mentioned above says it all — this is an adult with the personality and emotional makeup of a three-year-old. A three-year-old who has never heard the word “No”.

  4. It is all and only about who Mohler thinks will grant his wish of no abortion anywhere for any reason, and allow constant punishment, discrimination and oppression of LGBTQ folks.

  5. I never cared about who Clinton slept with, and I don’t care about who Trump sleeps with. Morals with regards to sexual relationships were never a concern for me and they still aren’t.

    Previously, I didn’t have a problem with 1-issue voters. I.e. people who decided because the candidate was pro-life/pro-choice, pro-gun-control/anti-gun-control (pro-gun?), pro/anti government health care, civil rights stances etc. Trump was the 1st president where I considered the overall competency to be a major factor, where his overall incompetence would outweigh any other factors.

  6. Things have changed, I suppose, for Mohler. He now looks at a man who is a liar; thief; cheat; con artist; racist; bigot; woman hating sexual pervert who publicly lusts for his own child; sadistic bully; functional illiterate; coward and chicken hawk; quisling – and says, “Those are desirable qualities in a person a Christian should look up to.”

  7. I’ve been saying it for years. Politics trumps religion every time. It’s really not any more complicated than that. Mohler would rather an incompetent unqualified amoral authoritarian Republican be president than any Democrat, no matter who is nominated.

    1. Not EVERY time, Tacitus. There are still some of us evangelicals who will never…NEVER…bow the knee to a person like Trump. NEVER, if that wasn’t clear enough.

      1. That is heartening Byron. I am glad that your kind still exists. Best to you.

    2. because all the democratic nominess love killing babies, stealing property and other such things against the 10 commandments perhaps you’ve heard of them.

  8. It’s an election year! And the pseudo-christian white supremacists are terrified of losing, because they know that it’s ‘game over’ for them if they do …

  9. It’s an election year! And the pseudo-christian white supremacists are terrified of losing, because they know that it’s ‘game over’ for them if they do …

    1. Evangelicals and others who read the Bible similarly (OT Law-centered) are much more pro-justice (as in ‘eye for an eye’) than pro-life. Whether or not that’s the same ethic Jesus taught and modeled I leave as an exercise for the reader.

    2. Evangelicals and others who read the Bible similarly (OT Law-centered) are much more pro-justice (as in ‘eye for an eye’) than pro-life. Whether or not that’s the same ethic Jesus taught and modeled I leave as an exercise for the reader.

      1. Being “pro-justice” is a fine thing, so long as it is tempered with reason and mercy. “An eye for an eye” was a great improvement on much of the justice of the day–and later days, when a child could be hanged for stealing a loaf of bread–in that it demanded punishment in proportion to the crime. So often, among fundamentalists of whatever religion, including Christianity, their demand for “justice” is a demand for punishment that looks more like vengeance.

    1. What about OBS? Trump and people like you were saying he was born in Kenya or Indonesia. Unike Obama, there are very good and rational and objective reasons why Trump is the most incompetent, immoral and corrupt person to ever be US president.

      1. people like me, lol, you obviously have the intellect of a flee. and being the most of all those things and he is still better than Obummer. “Obama’s message was one of recovery, progress and hope. In December,
        though, he said he could understand why people would support the likes
        of Donald Trump if they were frustrated with stagnant wages and were
        unable to find good jobs.
        Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont who is fighting former
        secretary of state Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential
        nomination, also noted that economic hardship was one reason why Trump
        appealed to some voters.- - –

        Are you a globalist douchebag or just a douchebag.

        Obama was happy to allow America go to hell while bowing to Muslim leaders, your Islam the religion of peace spiel.
        I wonder why he didn’t hail the new administration when the unemployment rate dropped to levels he couldn’t achieve with his higher taxes and globalist bs.

          1. Your point “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”

        1. You know, if you’re going to insult people’s intelligence, you really need to learn to spell.

          1. you’re right, people of that type of intellect really require correct spelling of the word flea because they really cannot understand it otherwise, I mean those words sound so different, it would be impossible to understand, only super intellects, like yourself, could understand it isn’t that right. Perhaps you could help that poor person, maybe you could start by explaining the anatomy of a flea and work from there.

          1. You too, for a little remedial education and second grade spelling. Enjoy your tin foil shrouded existence, conspiracy freak. I suggest that you physically congregate with like minded folk as soon as possible. Will thin the herd.

          1. I do, but it seems by the fact that you used it as some form of refutation that you don’t.

          2. No, I wasn’t refuting any particular point you have made (although with you there is always plenty of scope for doing that!). You said something about Obama and Islam, so I’ve said something about Trump and a religious dictatorship (which happens to be ‘islamic’).

            I’m glad you have read the article and know what it says.

          3. You seem to have mistaken Trump for the limp wristed Obama, they as the article clearly states are an ally. Obama was playing patty cake with sworn enemies of the US and not only but also betraying allies like Israel. Don’t waste time being ignorant go learn something.

          4. I never mentioned President Obama; the article is about Trump and Saudi Arabia.

          5. You really are rather foul-mouthed for someone who claims to be a Christian. Maybe you have problems with anger management? I do understand that in some circles your behaviour might be considered ‘normal’ (much of the political dialectic in the age of Trump is pretty crude and infantile after all), but …

          6. really you’re going to try and take the moral high ground after I call you out for being deceitful. you should next time try be more honest instead of trying to set me up on the OBS nonsense line of yours. Who the hell do you think you are fooling you deceitful evil person there is a special place waiting for you repent. Go ahead say something else stupid now, I’m done with you.

          7. Does Trump’s creeping and crawling to the Saudis upset you? Is that why you are even more rude and bad tempered than usual?

            But seriously, you seem so full of anger (I’ve seen you being very rude to others as well as to me). I suggest that you get yourself sorted then come back and try to set out some sensible arguments to support your perspective.

            Another possibility is that, if you are not unbalanced by excessive anger, you are masquerading as a Christian in a deliberate attempt to discredit Christianity.

          8. What is your point, he isn’t completely pro-life but he definitely has a better stance, or at least from a policy perspective he does, than let it sit on a table and the doctor and “mother” will have a little powwow, or many of the other deranged stances in the democrat party leftist liberal lamebrain ether.


          10. Not please exactly. But it suggests to me that you might not be so sure about the desirability of another helping of Trump.

          11. no it doesn’t suggest anything, it seems you’re having trouble with mind projection. you should treat your TDS and STML. perhaps the MP will get better too.

          12. I think you are more unsure than you like to admit – and with good reason, of course: Trump, with his rudeness, lies and, errrrm, well, you know …, is hardly the natural choice for the serious Christian!

            I think people here would have greater respect for you if you were to admit to any uncertainty in respect of Trump’s suitability as president, and to express your views in a more logical and measured fashion.

      2. One polarity of OBS is always accompanies by the opposite polarity of TDS.

        There’s a book coming out about Trump called “Toddler-in-Chief”, and the title says it all.

    2. Since when did concern for truth and character become equated with TDS? If you’re going to support him no matter what, just say so and admit that truth and character mean nothing to you.

    3. Since when did concern for truth and character become equated with TDS? If you’re going to support him no matter what, just say so and admit that truth and character mean nothing to you.

    4. Where is the derangement? Everyone knows Trump is uniquely unfit for the office of the presidency, even you and Mohler. You only support him because you’d rather see this nation burn to the ground rather than let the Democrats win. That’s where the derangement lies — with you.

        1. Ask the folks who are sick and dying due to his stonewalling and incompetence whether the charges are made of straw. It’s easy to make trollish comments on a blog when it’s not your friends and family dying, or at risk of getting sick, due to his abyssal leadership. Do yourself and us a favor, take your toys and go home.

          1. Claiming the virus wasn’t a problem and otherwise denying (and not preparing for) the impending problems it was going to cause.

          2. Do you really want to compare videos? Do I really need to post the videos of Trump (not some supporter’s posting misleading comments after the fact) claiming it wasn’t a problem all the way up until mid-march?

          3. The term arose in 1861, during the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run), when General Thomas Jonathan Jackson rushed his troops forward to close a gap in the Confederate line. A fellow Confederate general pointed him out to his men: “There stands Jackson like a stone wall!”, giving Jackson the nickname by which he is known, which has enlarged to mean generally “standing firm against opposition, refusing to give way at all.”

          4. Actually the current meaning of ‘stonewalling’ means to refuse cooperate or evade questions. Generally being obstructive, which is a little more than just opposing something.

          5. You’re a moron that virus doesn’t check for blue, red, pink, yellow or green cards. Or who the President is.

          6. And the surgeon general just got put on the shelf for noting the disproportionate number of fatalities in the black community.

          7. Is that correct, you have the instruction given to him that he has been sidelined for that specific cause? or is it just MSM speculation again?

          8. “The White House has been scaling back U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams’ media appearances after he commented on the health disparity between white Americans and racial minorities with regards to the COVID-19 outbreak.

            Two unnamed officials told Politico that the White House had rejected numerous “high profile” (in Politico’s words) media invitations extended to Adams last week.

            The surgeon general has been absent from President Donald Trump’s daily press briefings on the coronavirus pandemic since Friday April 10, during which he spoke on the higher number of COVID-19 cases in black and Hispanic communities compared to that of whites.”

            Try not to be such an obsequious sycophant for a second and open your eyes.

          9. unnamed officials, how do you know they’re officials. Another day another nonsense speculation masquerading as news. The white house doesn’t do anything, if the administration has done something then there will be a paper trail, no paper = no trail = bs story, another little ball for the little snowflake kittens which hate the current Executive branch.

      1. There are two types of Trump Derangement Syndrome:
        Positive polarity (TDS+) like the red cross guy,
        and Negative polarity (TDS-).

        TDS+ has infected Christians in this country, to the point that TDS+ness is not only next to, it IS Godliness.

        And you will always find one polarity of Trump Derangement Syndrome where you find the opposite polarity of Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

        1. I call it “TIS”: Trump Infallibility Syndrome. But I really like your TDS+ and TDS- explanation. Goodness knows there are plenty on both sides.

          1. I like the polarity example as well.

            the problem is the mis-labeling, i.e. being too quick to judge simply because someone says something disagreeable.

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