Did Roger Stone Really Find Jesus?

He’s the perfect example of the problem with cheap grace.

Regardless of what you think about the allegation that Roger Stone was the Trump campaign emissary to Wikileaks, no one would ever claim that he is anything but a despicable person. As the editors of the National Review wrote, “No one would think of letting Roger Stone anywhere near any serious responsibility, and even the Trump campaign in 2016 had the sense to keep him at arm’s length.”

In case you aren’t familiar with his past, I suggest watching the documentary Get Me Roger Stone, which is available on Netflix.

But now all of the sudden, Stone has found Jesus. Apparently while awaiting sentencing on his conviction for lying to investigators and witness tampering, he attended a Franklin Graham rally and became a Christian. After Trump commuted his sentence, Stone made an appearance on the Christian Broadcast Network and was interviewed by David Brody.

That was good enough for court evangelical Ralph Reed, who tweeted, “I am grateful Roger Stone found faith in Christ and is free. His prosecution was an abuse of power. He should never have been charged.”

I am reminded of what theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about cheap grace.

Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost!

Roger Stone (and Donald Trump) are perfect examples of how a belief in cheap grace sets white evangelical Christians up to be easy prey for con men (and women). All someone has to do is claim to have accepted Jesus as their savior and nothing else is required. Someone like Roger Stone is welcomed into the fold without ever having to name any of the despicable things they’ve done, much less be held accountable. They don’t have to commit to changing their ways or even say that they’ll try to be a better person.

At one point during his interview with Brody, Stone suggests that he’s already changed because he isn’t interested in seeking vengeance against those who prosecuted and convicted him. That was right before he called them “satanic.”

I am personally someone who believes in redemption. But a spiritual encounter with God would, by nature, lead to a period of soul-searching, self-reflection, prayer, and humility—not an interview on national television that provides the opportunity to attack one’s opponents. Even Richard Nixon’s hatchet man, Charles Colson, had the good sense to devote himself to prison ministry after claiming to have found Jesus.

It is not my job to judge the state of Roger Stone’s soul. But I don’t ever want to be part of a religion that welcomes him with open arms—no questions asked.

Donate Now to the Washington Monthly and your gift will be doubled

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.