Evangelicals, American History and Support for Donald Trump

Jeffress 2

The ideas and proposals I put forth in the last section of this piece I just published with History News Network are very important to me.    Thanks for considering them and sharing the piece with those who may need to read it.  I had hoped to publish this with a Christian, evangelical or conservative media outlet, but could not find any takers.  I am thankful to Rick Shenkman for running it.

A taste:

If the Christian Right, and by extension the 81% of evangelical voters who use its political playbook, are operating on such a weak historical foundation, why doesn’t someone correct their faulty views and dubious claims?

We do.

We have. 

But countering bad history with good history is not as easy as it sounds. David Barton and his fellow Christian nationalist purveyors of the past are well-funded by Christian conservatives who know that the views of the past they are peddling serve their political agenda. Barton has demonized Christian intellectuals and historians as sheep in wolves’ clothing. They may call themselves Christians on Sunday morning, but, according to Barton, their “world view” has been shaped by the secular universities where they earned their Ph.Ds. Thanks to Barton, many conservative evangelicals do not trust academic and professional historians—even academic and professional historians with whom they share a pew on Sunday mornings.

Read the entire piece here.

3 thoughts on “Evangelicals, American History and Support for Donald Trump

  1. Dr. Fea,

    Thanks for your work on your most recent book. I’m currently reading it and many of your points resonate strongly with my own thinking. I feel compelled to note one criticism, though. Throughout the book you make the same mistake that’s been repeated constantly since the 2016 election and it concerns the so-called “81% of evangelicals.” To give one example from your book, you recalled your experience attending church the Sunday after the election “thinking that there was a strong possibility…that eight out of every ten people in that sanctuary…had voted for the president-elect” (6).

    This claim is simply inaccurate, and it’s repeated in various forms throughout the book. The 81% figure refers to actual voters, not to the entire evangelical population. Although the exact figures are debatable, most estimates are that about 55-60% of eligible voters actually voted. Thus it would be far more accurate to say that 45-50% of your fellow church attendees voted for Trump (i.e., 81% of the 55-60% of eligible voters).



  2. I am sorry John that your writing is not received well by the evangelical community and even in the church of which you are a member. Your critics remind me of those who opposed Jeremiah’s preaching. God sustain you with his grace.


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