What Williamson defends, at bottom, is a Christian exemption from universal moral claims. Gerson, writing in the Atlantic in April, worried that Trump was reducing evangelicals to “an interest group in need of protection and preferences.” Williamson embraces that reduction. “Christians have the same legitimate right as any other group in a liberal democratic society to pursue their own political interests as they understand them,” he writes. If they decide their interests lie in “continued support of Donald Trump,” Williamson seems fine with that. After all, he reasons, they’re operating in a “secular political system, the democratic realities of which necessitate various compromises and tradeoffs.”

Once Christians are liberated from moral scrutiny, they can abandon what Williamson derides as the progressive vision of Christianity: “a cult of niceness.” They can embrace, in his words, their healthy distrust of “politics-powered do-goodism.” In short, they can renounce virtue.