Christians Should Not Vote For Donald Trump
- JOHN DAVENPORT | Special to LNP | LancasterOnline
Op-ed columnist John Davenport Fordham University
Lancaster is my hometown.
Like many people in Pennsylvania, I am religious I love the rich earth, respect hard work and honesty, and hope my children will inherit a better world. But things are not moving in that direction, and that is mainly because the Republican Party has decided that no strategy is too immoral if it helps it win. Mondays confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court shows this: After preventing President Barack Obama from appointing a third justice in eight years, Republicans forced through a third nominee by President Donald Trump in four years. All sense of fair play is gone.
In the New Testament, St. Paul teaches that it is a mortal sin to do evil that good may come of it, or use fundamentally unjust methods to reach a good end. Yet many Christians who claim to follow this teaching may vote for Trump primarily as a means to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, enabling states to ban abortion. I respect people who defend life in all its forms. But would you kill other innocent people or torture children in order to get the Supreme Court to do what you want? Would you lie and cheat and steal to get the outcome you desire? Once we take this approach, rather than seeking a fair national compromise, we destroy faith in our system.
When we make a devils bargain, the devil always wins.
For Trump Conservative Catholics Are The New Evangelicals
The loss of white Catholic votes for Trump in the Upper Midwest may have been somewhat offset, however, by an apparent increase in Hispanic Catholic support for Trump in places like Florida.
A notable fact in 2016 was that exit polls showed about 80% of white evangelical Christians supported Trump in spite of his unfamiliarity with the Bible, his divorces, his vulgar rhetoric and his association with porn stars. Trump’s reputation in moral terms hasn’t changed all that much during his time in office, but there is little evidence of slippage among these faith voters.
Surveys of early voters and exit polls this year showed between 76 and 81% of white evangelical and “born again” voters supporting Trump, according to the National Election Pool and AP/Votecast.
“We essentially have White evangelicals, somewhere around 8 in 10, supporting the president, standing by their candidate, standing by their man,” says Jones.
Pundits and politicians are most interested in those voter groups who are up for grabs. From that point of view, white evangelical Christians may no longer warrant close attention.
The Republican Party Still Has A Carrot Up Its Sleeve For Evangelical Voters Abortion
Ms Duford said abortion is the key issue the evangelical vote hinges on and calls the Republican Party’s support of the pro-life position a “carrot they dangle in front of the evangelical community, and they’ve done it for decades”.
She is pro-life, but it means more to her than being anti-abortion. She and her husband have fostered eight children in their home, and adopted one child through the foster system.
“I wish the Democratic Party would value life inside the womb more than they do, but at the same time I wish the Republican Party would value life outside the womb more than they do,” she said.
“In order to be pro-life, you need to be pro-adoption, you need to be pro-foster care, you need to be anti-death penalty, you need to worry about feeding the homeless, you need to worry about poverty, you need to worry about healthcare, you need to worry about racism all of these things point to the dignity of life.”
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Why Would Christians Vote For Trump: Coren
Donald Trump is a winner. Not that hes likely to win the election but his style, approach and entire persona are about winning. Glamour, strength, ostentatious wealth and raw, callow gratification, be it in terms of power, sex or material.
Jesus Christ, on the other hand, was a loser. Turning the other cheek, charity, sacrifice, leaps of empathy, solidarity with the poor, barking with the underdog and the final clawing humiliation of a criminals agonizing death on a cross.
So at first glance its a little difficult to understand how millions of evangelicals and conservative Roman Catholics can still be committed to Trump and ignore or justify his repugnant actions. Right-wing Christians even form much of his inner circle, and there are Christian Republicans who argue a victory for Hillary Clinton will be a triumph for the Antichrist.
But back briefly to Jesus the Loser. That claim will shock and offend some people but the divine paradox of the despised rural Jewish preacher in occupied Palestine is that the world can only be properly understood if it is first turned upside down. There is absolutely nothing conservative but everything revolutionary about what Jesus the Loser said and did.
I can understand resistance to the Clintons and people feeling disenfranchised and uncertain, but for the life of me I cannot understand Christians voting for Trump. Stick with Jesus the Loser. Thats the way to win.
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‘unholy’ Examines The Alliance Between White Evangelicals And Trump
In some of the recent polling data that you found before the election, eight in 10 white evangelicals said that they would vote for Trump. Given Trump’s very particular biography and demeanor, his appeal among white evangelicals is confusing for a lot of us who are not part of that world. So why have they embraced him so enthusiastically?
I think I’ve probably spent more time answering this question over the last four years than maybe any other question in my career. It is perplexing. And the reason it is perplexing is that this group has defined itself as so-called values voters, right. That’s the internal history there. But there are two things here.They have supported Republican candidates, no matter who they were, going all the way back to Reagan. So is not atypical. Now, it was notable that reached 81 percent in the exit polls in 2016, which was even higher than what George W. Bush got. And he was kind of one of their own, who himself identified as evangelical.
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Why Don’t Evangelicals Like Trump
Second, I have to tell you that the evangelicals are not falling over themselves for Donald Trump en masse.
With some 16 million members, the Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant body, and it is solidly evangelical and largely Republican.
The Southern Baptist Convention has a political lobbying arm called the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. The head of the commission, Reverend Dr Russell Moore, has been severely critical of Donald Trump and Trump’s supporters in the religious right.
Moore opposed Trump’s racism and sexism from the beginning. So much so that Trump sent out a tweet criticising Moore as “a nasty guy with no heart”.
It would be unimaginable for Republican nominees such as John McCain or Mitt Romney, who both had ambivalent relationships with evangelicals, to have put out such a negative statement about the representative of the nation’s largest evangelical church.
A few weeks ago, Russell Moore’s Erasmus lecture tackled the question, “Can the religious right be saved?” believing it to have been compromised by its support for Donald Trump.
He was damning in his indictment of the religious right, saying: “The Religious Right turns out to be the people the Religious Right warned us about.”
After the shock result of Trump’s victory, Moore wrote on his website about his concern for ethnic minorities in the US, saying:
An Astonishing 99% Of Conservative Christians Showed Up To Vote This Year
Conservative Christians showed up en masse to vote in the 2020 election, a new survey conducted by George Barnas team has discovered. Polling people immediately after the November 3rd election, Barna found that not only did conservative Christians show up to vote at a greater rate than any other demographic in the U.S., they also supported President Trump nearly unanimously.
Donald Trump would have lost by a landslide had a significant slice of the voting populaceconservative Christians who are active both spiritually and politicallynot turned out and voted for him in overwhelming numbers, a press release from Arizona Christian Universitys Cultural Research Center states.
Barna dubbed the group SAGE Consan acronym for Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians. Among this group, 99 percent turned out to vote, compared to 66 percent of eligible voters in America who cast a ballot this year. SAGE Cons almost unanimously voted to keep Trump in office with 97 percent of the group casting their vote for him.
As Barnas press release on the survey results explains, while SAGE Cons has yet to make it to household-word status, they represent a very significant voting bloc in the United States:
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What Is The Evangelical Movement
The evangelical movement emerged in the mid-twentieth century as a coalition of Christians who held to the fundamentals of the faith, but wanted to escape the anti-intellectualism and separation ethos of fundamentalist denominations.
Evangelicals were for the most part quite apolitical, until the 60s and 70s when they were galvanized into the religious right, first, over anti-segregation laws, and then in response to Roe v Wade, which legalised abortion across the US.
The election as president of the quiet church-goer Jimmy Carter signalled the power of the evangelical voting bloc, with Time magazine declaring 1976 to be “The Year of the Evangelical”.
The evangelical vote was then effectively harnessed by the Reagan and Bush campaigns, which made evangelicals a permanent fixture of the Republican Party.
However, since the 1990s, the evangelical movement has fragmented into conservative and progressive wings become ethnically broader with many Black, Hispanic, and Asian evangelical churches and developed into various factions that do not play well with each other.
For many pundits, by the mid-noughties, the evangelicals were a spent force, the demographics had changed, America was less white and less religious. How wrong they were! The evangelicals were dormant, but not gone.
Christians Cannot In Good Conscience Vote For Trump
‘Trumps adoration of materialism and grandeur is as far from the Jesus manifesto as its possible to be.’
The old adage about never mixing religion and politics is about as inane as it is ubiquitous. In North America, its applied mainly to Christianity, but Christianity is political, and has to be, because it was founded by a man who roared against injustice, and spoke of a better, more equal, and more communal world. Jesus may not have been primarily an activist he was crucified not for his politics, but for claiming to be the son of God but to worship and believe in him is to embrace his teachings.
Which is why I, an ordained cleric, have no hesitation in urging anyone who has a vote in the U.S. presidential election to cast it for Joe Biden rather than Donald Trump. Not that Biden is perfect far from it but Trump is in so many ways the antithesis of the Gospel values and virtues that should permeate Christianity. I speak not for my denomination, not my diocese, and not my church. I speak for myself, however, and I am utterly convinced that I speak for Godly truth.
This is not about Republican or Democrat, nor even about specific policies, but about what is, in the broadest sense, good, and in the broadest sense, not. The politicians can make their own case, but I, as a follower of Jesus, must make mine.
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Why The Change Of Heart
When Trump was campaigning in 2016, many Christians conceded that while they didnt approve of his crude personality or his immoral lifestyle, they believed his policies such as his promises to protect religious freedom and his commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade were more in line with their religious beliefs than those of Hillary Clinton.
Were electing a president, not a pastor, was a common refrain.
Evangelical Christians in the U.S. are not a monolithic voting blocthat supports conservative candidates. There has always been a politically progressive contingent among evangelicalism. Jim Wallis, founder of the left-leaning evangelical magazine Sojourners, for example, served as a member of President Obamas Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Community Partnerships. Unsurprisingly, progressive evangelical voters have been critical of the presidents character as well as his policies.
But what appears to have changed of late is that some politically conservative evangelicals those who prioritize abortion restrictions, opposition to same-sex marriage and religious freedom agree less than they did in 2016 that Trump deserves their vote.
In this reading, the Bible does not have a category for a good leader with bad personal character. Nor does it seem to imagine that a nation can remain untainted by the perceived moral failures of its leaders.
‘i Was Told That I Needed To Become A Republican If I Was Going To Be A Christian’
Lisa Sharon Harper outed herself as a Democrat in her 2008 book, Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican or Democrat, but she hasn’t always been one.
“The people who introduced me to God and Jesus and faith were white evangelicals,” said the 51-year-old Christian author and speaker, and founder of a social justice organisation in the US.
“Within a year, I was told that I needed to become a Republican if I was going to be a Christian.”
It was the early 80s, around the same time Moral Majority a political organisation in the US with strong ties to the religious right and Republican Party was gaining momentum.
The group opposed movements they believed undermined traditional Christian moral values, such as civil rights, women’s liberty, same-sex marriage, and the teaching of evolution.
Ms Harper was only 14 years old when she became a Christian, and not allowed to vote yet. But in 1984, she tried to convince her mum to vote for the Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan.
“There was no way she was going to do that,” Ms Harper said.
“She was part of the civil rights movement, and she understood something I really did not understand then the religious right actually came to be as a counter movement to the gains of people of colour.”
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Explaining The Religious Vote For Trump
New research by LSU sociologists indicate it wasnt Christian nationalism that drove churchgoers Trump vote in 2016. Rather, surprisingly, Christian nationalism was important among non-churchgoers.
The researchers were not surprised to see how Christian nationalism drove a big part of the so-called religious vote for Trump in 2016, but quite surprised to see that the connection was so strong for voters who dont attend church, compared to those who do.
Stroope and Rackin suggest the 2016 Christian nationalist vote for Trump was buoyed by the religiously disconnected, or unchurched.
LSU sociologists Samuel Stroope and Heather Rackin cannot dismiss the possibility of Christian nationalism becoming an even stronger driver of American politics in the future.