The Court Evangelicals in Today’s Washington Post

Trump Jeffress

Here is a taste of my piece “Trump threatens to change the course of American Christianity.”

If you want to understand white evangelicalism in the age of Trump, you need to know Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas.

Jeffress is not a household name in the United States, known mainly in Southern Baptist circles. But he has recently gained national attention as a “court evangelical” — my term for a Christian who, like the attendants and advisers who frequented the courts of monarchs, seeks influence through regular visits to the White House.

The court evangelicals are changing the religious landscape in the United States. The Trump presidency is only six months old, but it is already beginning to alter long-standing spiritual alignments. It seems as though Christians are not changing Trump, but rather that Trump could be changing Christianity.

Historians will write about this moment in terms of both continuity and change. On one hand, court evangelicals are part of a familiar story. For nearly half a century, evangelicals have sought to influence the direction of the country and its laws through politics. But Trump has forced them to embrace a pragmatism that could damage the gospel around the world, and force many Christians to rethink their religious identities and affiliations.

Read the rest here.

3 thoughts on “The Court Evangelicals in Today’s Washington Post

  1. In reading your article, I’m left with the impression that you think everyone that voted for Trump did so enthusiastically. If that’s the case, you forgot about Hillary. A very large amount of voters, both for him and for her, voted for the lesser of 2 evils, and they meant it when they said evils. I’m willing to bet it was most voters, in fact. Heck, even the 3rd Party candidates had their massive flaws. The lesson of 2016 isn’t that (insert group here) is so power hungry they’d vote for the Devil to further their agenda. It’s that next time the parties should at least choose halfway decent candidates.


  2. For this liberal intellectual Jew, Jeffress and Falwell (and Trump) are starting with three strikes, and
    I’m fine with the thought that they are probably saying the same thing about folks like me. I think that in some ways the folks most gobsmacked by what has happened are probably white evangelicals like you horrified by Jeffress, Trump, et al,


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