Pew Research: White Evangelical Churchgoers Continue to Support Trump

Trump Beleive me

Over at The Huffington Post, religion writer Carol Kuruvilla has a piece on the recent Pew Research report on white evangelicals and Donald Trump.  The piece includes analysis from Daniel K. Williams, Janelle Wong, and yours truly.

Here is a taste:

John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College and the author of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, told HuffPost he’s not surprised that white evangelicals’ support has remained firm more than two years into Trump’s presidency. As long as Trump continues to deliver on issues important to white evangelicals ― appointing conservative federal judges, defending religious liberty, and keeping the economy strong ― Fea believes this support will continue.

“While I am sure some white evangelicals have turned away in light of his constant lies, divisive tweets, race-baiting, and national emergency declaration, most white evangelicals are indistinguishable from the Republican Party, which continues to support Trump heavily,” Fea wrote in an email. 

“As an evangelical myself, the difference between 78% and 69% is generally meaningless. The number is still too large,” Fea added.

Pew’s recent analysis also suggested that white evangelicals who regularly attend church tend to be more supportive of Trump than less frequent attendees. This was also true of white Catholics. On the other hand, white mainline Protestants tended to have more mixed views about the president.

Read the entire piece here.

22 thoughts on “Pew Research: White Evangelical Churchgoers Continue to Support Trump

  1. Alex,

    That is a thorny question, and a brief quip from me will hardly do it justice. Sin has a simple definition and can also be defined in more complex manners.

    Let’s put it into historical perspective. Answering you would have been easier up through the 1960s when both major political parties still maintained an official veneer of Judeo-Christian respectability, even if it was largely nominal. Today, however, we are dealing with one major party which essentially defies the traditional moral foundations of the country and seeks to replace them with the autonomy of the “divinized” self.

    “Sin” can be willful or can be classified by lesser degrees. Voting for a radical abortion candidate isn’t as egregious as actually taking the life of another. Voting for a candidate who tacitly promotes pornography doesn’t rise to the level of actually reading and selling the stuff; neither does it conform to God’s will. Voting for a candidate who prosecutes an unjust war doesn’t rise to the level of a man actually fermenting an unjust war. Finally, because your conscience did not snag you for voting for a particular candidate does not imply that your vote wasn’t sinful. I am not a Roman Catholic but I recommend you take a look at paragraphs 1849 through 1876 of the CCC as a starting point. It does a good job of introducing the major challenges here.

    Again, however, keep in mind that this matter is something which Christians have only recently faced. The majority of Christians who have ever lived probably didn’t even have the franchise. All Christians today have to be discerning about the deleterious effects their votes will have on their fellow man.

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  2. When you point out the very obvious shortcomings and lies of Trump to many of his supporters they refuse to acknowledge them. They are right there in front of them like the obviously dead parrot in the skit.

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  3. “It is possible for a Christian to make unwise and unspiritual choices”

    Are you trying to say it’s a sin to vote for a national Dem candidate?

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  4. Alex,
    It is possible for a Christian to make unwise and unspiritual choices, but ultimately only God knows where you stand before Him. I don’t know you well enough to even speculate about it.

    James

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  5. Rich,
    I can understand why Trump’s personality alienates some voters even while his policies are generally favorable to people of faith. I cannot, however, understand how a Christian could ever vote for any of the national DEM candidates. Their policies simply don’t allow it.

    James

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  6. Nothing much is required to be original, or unique.
    What matters is having integrity, honesty, and character. If every politician on earth were corrupt and self serving that gives no reason to admire one of them who is especially so.
    I am reminded of the old “Dead Parrot” sketch by Monty Python. One ripped off owner of an obviously dead parrot is trying to return it to the pet store but the store clerk refuses to admit that this stiff as a board bird is deceased.

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  7. This evangelical, church going white person does not, has not and never will support Trump. It is possible I won’t support any Democratic candidates for president either.

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  8. Jeff,
    Granted——Trump is an original, but all of them pander to their bases in unseemly ways.
    Of course, part of Trump’s appeal is his originality. Even his foes cannot stop covering him!
    James

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  9. Alex,

    That was an interesting quote and I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.

    Actually, there is nothing extreme or tree-huggerish in the statement. Mrs. Thatcher stresses primarily the free markets as the way to make change. This is a far cry from the statists in certain U.S. jurisdictions who are banning plastic straws, shopping bags, and automobile usage.

    Mrs. Thatcher also praises the value and integrity of private corporations producing goods and services. This is a far cry from people like the NYC City Council who attempted to sue Exxon for global warming. Didn’t the S.F. City authorities also try to do this? We can also throw in the extremists who tried to block the Keystone Pipeline and only ended up trashing the area. I could give other examples, Alex, but to equate Lady Thatcher to the current crop of American Luddites is unwarranted.
    James

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  10. “The good economy and energy independence … appeal to everyone save the extreme environmental types”

    I object. And I will quote my favorite* female politician:
    *I do object to her pro-choice position

    “Of all the challenges faced by the world community … one has grown clearer than any other in both urgency and importance—I refer to the threat to our global environment.

    “We are seeing a vast increase in the amount of carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere. The annual increase is three billion tonnes: and half the carbon emitted since the Industrial Revolution still remains in the atmosphere.

    “The result is that change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto. Change to the sea around us, change to the atmosphere above, leading in turn to change in the world’s climate, which could alter the way we live in the most fundamental way of all.

    “Mr President, the evidence is there. The damage is being done. What do we, the International Community, do about it?

    “As well as the science, we need to get the economics right. That means first we must have continued economic growth in order to generate the wealth required to pay for the protection of the environment. But it must be growth which does not plunder the planet today and leave our children to deal with the consequences tomorrow.

    “And second, we must resist the simplistic tendency to blame modern multinational industry for the damage which is being done to the environment. Far from being the villains, it is on them that we rely to do the research and find the solutions.

    “As people’s consciousness of environmental needs rises, they are turning increasingly to … environmentally safe products. The market itself acts as a corrective the new products sell and those which caused environmental damage are disappearing from the shelves.

    “And by making these new products widely available, industry will make it possible for developing countries to avoid many of the mistakes which we older industrialized countries have made.

    “We should always remember that free markets are a means to an end. They would defeat their object if by their output they did more damage to the quality of life through pollution than the well-being they achieve by the production of goods and services.

    Margaret Thatcher
    Leader of the Conservative Party, Prime Minister of the UK, FMR scientist, “Extreme Environmental Type”, ***1989*** 30 years ago!!!!!

    You guys have created so much space to the left of you that Margret Thatcher sounds more like those “far left” “extreme environmental types” than anything the GOP is saying. And what she says makes a lot of sense.

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  11. Jeff,
    You are speaking as if ANY politician doesn’t do cunning, sly, and insincere things to appeal to his/her base. They all play the game in various manners. Unfortunately, that is what our system requires.
    James

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  12. Keep being a vindicative, crass, untruthful, unempathetic president. That doesn’t bother ’em much.
    Keep making judicial appointments of people they hope will rule what they think is conservatively and anti-abortion.
    Toss ’em a bone now and then by using the word “God” in a speech.
    Keep up with the occasional photo op prayer session surrounded by so called Christian leaders.

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  13. Unicorn,

    I do understand your terminology but hope I can get you to look at the word “casualty” in a more positive light. Finding a doctrinal and a spiritual equilibrium takes years. Youthful enthusiasm for and subsequent disappointment with the sensationalism of a Hal Lindsay can lead to the development of a wise and balanced theological perspective.

    Years ago I heard a very Godly older Christian gentleman, who lived through the 1930s, state that he once believed Mussolini to be the anti-Christ. Obviously, that turned out to be false. Yet this Christian Man became one of the finest teachers in the Church during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s. The key thing for all of us is to learn from past mistakes and excesses in belief.

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  14. Start searching for a Red Heifer and hint about backing the Israelis to Rebuild the Temple?
    Start playing with the Nuclear Football and making hints of Using It?

    (Yes, I am a casualty of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay.
    And its offspring attitude, “Christians For Nuclear War”.)

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  15. In a way, the Righteous Dems are playing into the Trumpistas hands and setting up a particulary odious corollary of the Cold War — The Red Scares. Dating back to the Palmer Raids of 1919 (panic reaction to the Bolsheviki seizing power in Russia and trying to export their Righteous Revolution) to Tailgunner Joe McCarthy to the John Birch Society. Just like the Dark Forces of Counter-Revolution(TM) were to the USSR, so the Vast Communist Conspiracy(TM) was to the extremists in the USA. Except last time there were control rods in the reactor damping out an Extremist meltdown.

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  16. Rick: I don’t think that’s going to be the strategy at all. With the D’s ongoing lurch to the far left — being driven by folks like AOC and the feverish base — and with D presidential candidates supporting things like the loony GND, abolishing ICE, eliminating private insurance, nationalizing large companies, embracing socialism — abortion will be far less of an issue than the radicalism of their overall agenda. Indeed, many commentators sympathetic to the progressive cause are already writing think pieces worrying that the I Heart Socialism crew is playing right into Trump’s hands. And I suspect they are correct.

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  17. Rick,
    I strongly disagree. The good economy and energy independence will be bigger. Those matters appeal to everyone save the extreme environmental types. Even atheists like a prospering economy.
    James

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  18. John,
    That’s a great photograph of Trump holding a framed copy of your book’s cover.

    If he were to invite you to the White House and solicited your critical advice on how to keep evangelicals on his side, what would you tell him?

    James

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  19. The GOP campaign strategy is easy to see: Make the election about abortion and nothing else. We’re already seeing it in action.

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