Issac Bailey

What do Myrtle Beach-area faith leaders have to say about Trump’s bigotry?

The GOP, the major American political party most closely associated with conservative Christianity, is about to name an open bigot as its presidential nominee for 2016.

He received more votes from evangelical Christians than any other candidate.

He received roughly half the vote in Horry County in a crowded field during the S.C. primary.

A short list of Trump’s long flirtation with bigotry:

His history includes claims by those who worked for him that Trump believes black people have a lazy trait.

He was twice sued by the Justice Department for discriminating against potential black tenants in his rental units.

Trump associated Native Americans with crime when he was trying to beat back a competitive casino bid.

Trump helped gin up the racial angst that sent five young black men to prison for a rape they did not commit - then complained when New York settled with them after their innocence had been proven.

Trump has singled out a particular religious group, Muslims, to ban from entering the U.S.

He launched his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and murderers.

He played footsie with white supremacists, claiming he didn’t even know David Duke.

He was the most prominent leader of the racist birther movement against President Barack Obama.

He declared that a judge with Mexican heritage can’t be impartial.

Sen. Lindsey Graham has told fellow Republicans to rescind their endorsement of Trump because love of country has to trump hatred of Hillary Clinton.

Sen. Tim Scott has called Trump’s words racially toxic.

What do Myrtle Beach area pastors have to say, considering that many people in their flocks have giddily backed a man trying to make open bigotry acceptable in the 21st century?

Every pastor in the area should be held to account. They need to tell us if they have spoken from their pulpits with the same concern about Trump the way many of them chose to do when our gay brothers and sisters were allowed to legally love each other in marriage.

No one should be sitting comfortably on the fence, least of all those claiming to be our moral leaders.

This is no longer about politics. This is about much - much - more, about what kind of country we want to be as we inch ever closer to majority-minority status.

If you believe Trump is being criticized only because of run-away political-correctness, say that, then explain why you believe everything he’s said and proposed falls short of bigotry, including advocating for war crimes that include bullets dipped in pig’s blood.

If you want to believe that his supporters - those singing about Jesus from your pews on Sunday mornings - are only following him because they are rightly frustrated and angry about a society leaving them behind, ask yourself why the family members of the Charleston 9 massacre victims, including Conway’s Marjorie McIver, found a way to use their faith to forgive and call for unity in their darkest hour while your parishioners decided to support a bigot to express their frustrations.

There were plenty of “moral leaders” who sat on their hands during the Civil Rights era and lived to regret it.

This is another test for our supposed moral leaders.

Will they accept the challenge, excuse the open bigotry on display, name it for what it is, or cowardly remain silent?

Bailey is editorial page coordinator for The Sun News.