Why Do Evangelicals Support Trump
To the Editor:
A recent letter writer attempted to excuse evangelicals who support Trump. She quickly got into the weeds of misinformation and exposed an ignorance about science.
She acknowledged that Trump arguably is a most un-Christian, hate-filled man disdainful of the Ten Commandments and basic Christian principles. She then falsely claimed that Trump made the U.S. energy independent, brought companies back, and reduced unemployment. Energy independence and unemployment rates were largely inherited from the Obama administration. Bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. was more PR than actual change. Some of the large, over-publicized projects like the one in Wisconsin never materialized. Due to Trumps trade war tariffs, companies like Harley-Davidson had to move some production abroad. Since when are such economic issues Christian values?
Trumps major accomplishment was the tax cut largely benefiting the rich. Apparently, these evangelicals Bibles say the rich should get richer to get into heaven. The reality is that evangelicals who support Trump have sold their souls to worship the golden calf of political power.
White Evangelical Support For Trump Goes Beyond His Policies Supporters And Historians Say
When Donald Trump powered his way to presidential victory in 2016, defying the expectations of many polling experts, it quickly became evident that White, self-identifying born-again or evangelical Christian voters were among the most crucial components of his winning coalition.
On its face, it was not a natural fit: Mr. Trump seldom addressed his personal faith before his candidacy, is twice-divorced and has faced over two dozen accusations of sexual misconduct. Some at the time found the political marriage to be one of convenience. But the evangelical attraction to his candidacy extends far beyond ideological alignment, historians and evangelical supporters of Mr. Trump told CBS News.
“There was much less tension between family values, evangelicalism and the support for Trump that we were seeing because of a long-standing commitment to a kind of rugged, patriarchal leadership, a kind of a militant masculinity,” said Calvin University religious historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez. “For decades, evangelicalism has been writing and preaching that men needed to be strong, and that God made men to be strong, so that they could protect their families and their churches and their country. This was the kind of leader that they have been conditioned to look to.”
He Enjoys The Support Of Evangelical Leaders
When many evangelicals were not sure if they could support Trump in good conscience, evangelical leaders came out of the woodwork to rally around him. Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the influential First Baptist Dallas, appeared at rallies with Trump and expressed support for his agenda. Jerry Falwell, Jr., President of Liberty University, invited Trump to address the student body at Liberty and enthusiastically supported his campaign.
President Trump has also enjoyed the enthusiastic support of Reverend Franklin Graham since he won the Republican nomination. Graham even called for a day of prayer for the President in June of 2019 because no president has been attacked more than Trump has and because the only hope for him, and this nation is God.
While many evangelicals remain supportive of President Trump, a number were critical of Trump before the election and others have abandoned him since his time in office began.
Here are five reasons that some evangelicals do not support the President:
What My Friends Are Missing
But my well-intentioned friends are missing a few salient points.
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Trump manipulates through apocalyptic alarmism: If you dont support Trump, the America and Christianity we love will cease to exist. Consequently, they rationalize laying aside their principles to support an unprincipled man to advance those principles without seeing the incongruence.
Trump has an insatiable need to be the center of attention, so he stokes division to get more of it. Many church members now view each other as those who support or dont support Trump, not fellow believers.
When I was in campus ministry, we used to sing a song containing the line Theyll know we are Christians by our love. In the age of Trump, Christians are characterized by hatred of liberals, Democrats, immigrants or virtually anyone who doesnt support him.
Trumpism corrupts. We become like those we worship. Many Christians who voted for Trump in 2016 as the better of two bad alternatives now embrace him enthusiastically. In doing so, theyve unwittingly become characterized by his worst features. When they talk or post on social media, some can sound less like Christ and more like Trump.
While Trump may help them win some battles, theyll lose credibility in the process. Skeptics may henceforth be disinclined to consider Christianity because theyll think of hypocrisy when they think of evangelicals.
‘it Sounds Like You’re Describing Trump’
MyIowa seminar examined why emotional manipulators manipulate and how to escape their snares. Though I never made reference to current political figures, I noticed that person after person would come up to me and whisper, It sounds like youre describing Trump.
For some of my attendees, Donald Trump was the clearest example of manipulation that came to mind.
Im a white evangelical in a red state.Posting criticisms of Trump on my social media feed is like dangling ones feet in a piranha tank. Many of my church-going, Trump-supporting friends feel compelled to educate me about what Im missing when it comes to the president.
They suggest that perhaps Ive become so deranged by hatred for him I cant see straight. Perhaps Ive been watching too much CNN. Or maybe Ive been one of them all along.
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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.
Why Evangelicals Support Donald Trump
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WHO IS AN EVANGELICAL?The History of a Movement in CrisisBy Thomas S. KiddWhy Evangelicals Chose Political Power Over Christian ValuesBy Ben Howe
How 81 percent of evangelicals could have voted for Donald Trump, given his flouting of their traditional values, has been a question for many Americans since 2016. Thomas S. Kidd and Ben Howe, both evangelicals, try to answer this question in different ways.
Kidd, a professor of history at Baylor University, finds an explanation in the history of the relationship between evangelicals and political power. It was, he tells us, a myth that the Puritans favored religious freedom for all. Rather, they wanted the freedom to practice their own religion and brought a relatively harsh form of religious establishment to Massachusetts and Connecticut. It was the evangelicals in the Great Awakenings the religious revivals in the 18th and 19th centuries who spread the idea of religious liberty John Locke inspired in them. After the Revolution, evangelicals, mainly Baptists and Methodists, adopted the principle of separation of church and state and helped James Madison and Thomas Jefferson enshrine it in the first amendment to the Constitution.
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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.”
Getting A Negative Reaction From Liberals
When I was a young evangelical Christian, I was eager to be oppressed for my faith. The Bible and my pastors had warned me to avoid worldly people celebrities, intellectuals, scientists, the media and liberals. Those were the ones who forbid us from praying in school while indoctrinating us with communism and evolution.
Jesus once said: Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. So I went out of my way to piss people off telling the goth kids they were prisoners of Satans lies, handing anti-abortion literature to the loose girls, and forcing science class to run late while I debated evolution with the teacher.
My entire identity became wrapped up in being disliked by a specific group of people, and they were happy to accommodate me. Trump has had no problem arousing hatred from those same worldly people, creating what appears to some like an imploding presidency, while others see a heroic martyr against liberalism.
To evangelicals, pissing off liberals and defending unpopular opinions makes Trump appear more like one of them
I never used to watch much, but when he started campaigning I was watching it, Eike said. Ive been thoroughly angry at the media. I was pleased to see him put them in their place. It was refreshing.
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Why Evangelicals Support Trumpand Why They Shouldnt
When Donald Trump came down that escalator in 2015, I had nothing but contempt for the man. I had heard him a couple of times delivering political commentary on Fox News and soon learned to go to CNN or MSNBC as soon as he came on . I had heard of his show The Apprentice, which also did not inspire much respect for him. I figured that he, like many nonpolitician presidential candidates, would be the candidate of the week for the Republicans and then we would get to the more serious candidates.
As his lead persisted in the Republican party through the winter early spring of 2016, I became more worried. I wanted two viable candidates for president. I used my Facebook page to deride Trump and tried to convince some of my conservative friends not to support him. When he won the nomination, it was disheartening to think that one of the major political parties would have such an incompetent candidate. I assumed he would lose but discouraged my Christian friends from voting for him. I even placed articles in The Stream, a conservative Christian online magazine largely favorable to Trump, to discourage Christian support. I knew my effort would have little influence, but I wanted to be able to tell my kids years later that I did my part in stopping Trump from becoming president.
Trump Says He Now Identifies As A Non
Says Rodriguez: A tweet cannot stop my destiny, but a law signed by the president or an executive order carries the potential to infringe upon my ability to preach the gospel raise my family with Christian values. … Tone and tweets cannot take away my rights, but executive orders can.
And it isnt as if Biden exactly lives up to Catholic moral teaching. Despite cynically posing as a Catholic, says Metaxas, Biden will do all he can to expand abortion into the ninth month of pregnancy, including appointing justices to keep such infanticide legal.
Despite critics claims, evangelical support isnt about compromising values for power. For most, its about carving through the electoral fog to find the candidate most likely to advance policies that best align with their beliefs compromises made by numerous other voting blocs in this country without inviting moral opprobrium or charges of hypocrisy.
Whether evangelical support is enough to propel Trump to re-election is a different question, of course. The polls look more unfavorable to the president than they did four years ago, including in some evangelical-heavy states. But the point is this: Evangelical support for Trump isnt irrational.
Billy Hallowell has been reporting on the evangelical community for more than two decades. He is the author of Playing With Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcism and Ghosts.
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How Would Jesus Vote
Ms Harper is voting for Democrats up and down the ticket in the 2020 US election, starting with Biden-Harris.
“I am a black evangelical, and that makes all the difference,” she said.
“The way that I vote is not ruled by white men it’s ruled by Jesus, who was a brown, colonised, Indigenous man.”
She believes Jesus’s highest priority is caring for the “the poorest, the most thirsty, the most hungry, the least deserving immigrant, the least deserving prisoner, the sick”.
Taylor Swift Isn’t The Only White Southern Christian Woman Not Voting For Trump
Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, several high-profile Christians and evangelical leaders have signalled a shift away from conservative political views.
At the end of 2019, the outgoing editor-in-chief of a popular evangelical magazine .
It raised the ire of the President, who tweeted: “A far left magazine would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President.”
Megachurch pastors like Rick Warren and Judah Smith have supported the Black Lives Matter movement on social media, only to face backlash in the comments.
Even America’s most famous Christian woman from Tennessee, Taylor Swift, has opened up about her political views, and her latest baking foray suggests she’s voting for Vice President Joe Biden.
“I knew from a pretty young age that Christians were supposed to be Republicans,” said Kaitlyn Schiess, a 26-year-old Masters student at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Back in 2016, Ms Schiess was an undergraduate student at Liberty College, one of the most conservative Christian institutions in America.
Mr Trump delivered the school’s opening convocation that year to a crowd of more than 10,000 students, where he mispronounced a book of the Bible during his speech.
Ms Schiess will not be voting for Mr Trump in 2020, and while her political views may differ from many Christians in America, she feels a responsibility to stay in the evangelical church.
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