Over the last several months I have had some good conversations (and some not so good conversations) with a few dozen of the 81% of American evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump. The more I listen to these evangelical Trump supporters the more I realize that they are divided over the new President’s policies regarding trade, job creation, and even Obamacare. While some of them mentioned their support of Trump’s policies on these issues, it was clear that they are secondary.
Here is what unites them:
Abortion: Trump evangelicals believe that a Trump presidency is their best chance to overturn Roe v. Wade. So far they are ecstatic about Trump’s support for last Friday’s March for Life and his efforts to end funding for international organizations that perform abortions. They will no doubt cheer Trump’s forthcoming Supreme Court justice nominee.
These evangelicals limit their understanding of “pro-life” to the issue of abortion. So, for example, they do not see Trump’s recent executive order banning refugees to be a “life” issue. Many of them are outraged that protesters are making such a big deal over Trump’s decision to stop the flow of Muslim refugees into the country when thousands and thousands of babies are being killed in the womb each year
Religious Liberty: Trump evangelicals are thrilled that the President is aware that thousands of Christians being persecuted for their faith around the world. I imagine Christian colleges are, for the most part, breathing a sigh of relief over the fact that they will no longer be discriminated against when it comes to federal and other types of funding.
So far we have heard very little from these evangelicals about extending religious liberties to Muslim refugees. As evangelical Washington Post columnist and Trump critic Michael Gerson recently wrote, “In the long run, religious liberty is weakened in every case when it is weakened in any case. On this matter, hypocrisy is a form of self-harm.”
Fear: Evangelicals want their country back. Trump will not only make America great again, but he will protect them against internal and external threats. Most Trump evangelicals I talk with love his recent executive order banning refugees from Muslim countries. Man of them don’t want Muslims in America. Some of them still think that Barack Obama is a Muslim. They believe Muslim terrorists pose a threat to their lives, even though they are more likely to be killed by a moving train, flammable clothing, or cows than a Muslim terrorist.
Trump is delivering “big league” for his evangelical voters. He is keeping his promises. It looks as if the 81% will not be going away anytime soon.