Gary Abernathy, the editor and publisher of the Times Gazette of Hillsboro, Ohio, recently spent some time with ordinary evangelicals attending an evangelical family camp. He reports on what he found in an op-ed at the Washington Post.
Here is a taste:
Conversations with actual evangelical Christians at a recent gathering here — the Hillsboro Family Camp, where families have met annually since 1972 for four days of praise and worship — suggest a different picture. These voters — and almost all of them voted — see Trump’s flaws but perceive him as a fellow sinner willing to fight the forces of the establishment on their behalf.
Echoing the views of many present, one evangelist on hand told me Trump hasn’t let him down. The barrage of negative press hardly rattled him or most of his colleagues, who see the mainstream media as anything but friendly to their opinions and their faith.
“He has to fight all of them,” said the preacher, referring to the Democrats and the media.
Another minister told me he appreciates that Trump has no hesitation taking on “the reprobate left” that considers the president “an enemy of their established power system.”
Evangelicals do not always fit stereotypes. Among those attending the family camp were everyone from farmers, plumbers and carpenters to real-estate agents, doctors and lawyers. In the Hillsboro area, many leaders of evangelical churches serve on community boards and commissions.
Part of the decision by many evangelicals to support Trump for president was attributable to long-standing differences with liberal candidates over social issues. Evangelicals tend to share conservative positions on abortion, gun rights, border security and the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism,” as they usually make sure to phrase it. But more than anything, Trump’s specific pledges to the religious right got their attention.
So far, they think Trump has kept those promises. He has followed up with invitations to the White House, sought input on court appointments, stood firmly with Israel and signed an executive order expanding religious freedom in regard to political speech.
Another minister said he grows tired of hearing criticism of Trump on character issues. In the Bible and throughout history, “God uses rulers who aren’t themselves godly,” he said, pointing to the Old Testament example of David, a murderer and adulterer whom God later made king and eventually called “a man after my own heart.”
Read the rest here.
Recently I was chatting with an evangelical supporter of Donald Trump who was disgusted by Trump’s character flaws and tweets. But when it came to policy matters all of his negativity about the POTUS quickly disappeared. He was quick to praise Trump’s views on immigration and healthcare. He blamed all the racial strife in the county on Obama and defended Trump’s “both sides” comment. When I probed more deeply and asked him why he championed these positions, he mentioned something about Hillary and the need for “change” after the “disaster” Obama brought to this country. Finally he asked me, “why do YOU think I support Trump’s policies in these areas?” I said, ” I think you are afraid.” After a brief silence he asked me, “don’t you think that there is a lot of reasons to be fearful right now?”