Will Evangelicals Rally Around Trump in 2020?

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The Washington Post has published a long-form piece by writer Elizabeth Bruenig on Trump and evangelicals. Her work is based on some shoe-leather reporting in Texas during Easter weekend, 2019.  Bruenig talked to court evangelical Robert Jeffress, evangelicals at a small Baptist church, progressive Christians, and members of her own family.

Here is a taste:

However he reached them, Trump has undoubtedly made greater inroads with his evangelical adherents. Jeffress predicted an even bigger win for Trump among evangelicals this time around, surpassing his record-setting success last time; all of the Farmersville Christians were prepared to vote for him in 2020, as was Joe Aguilar. Much depends on the many months between now and the general election, but I would no longer underestimate the possibility that evangelicals will turn out in stronger numbers for a second Trump term than they did in 2016, partly to ensure another Supreme Court pick and partly because the backlash against them has cemented so much of what they already suspected about liberals’ attitudes.

Which raises a series of imponderables: Is there a way to reverse hostilities between the two cultures in a way that might provoke a truce? It is hard to see. Is it even possible to return to a style of evangelical politics that favored “family values” candidates and a Billy Graham-like engagement with the world, all with an eye toward revival and persuasion? It is hard to imagine.

Or was a truly evangelicalpolitics — with an eye toward cultural transformation — less effective than the defensive evangelical politics of today, which seems focused on achieving protective accommodations against a broader, more liberal national culture? Was the former always destined to collapse into the latter? And will the evangelical politics of the post-Bush era continue to favor the rise of figures such as Trump, who are willing to dispense with any hint of personal Christian virtue while promising to pause the decline of evangelical fortunes — whatever it takes? And if hostilities can’t be reduced and a detente can’t be reached, are the evangelicals who foretell the apocalypse really wrong?

Read the entire piece here.

17 thoughts on “Will Evangelicals Rally Around Trump in 2020?

  1. Christian,

    I don’t believe you can find a quote from the current pope in which he says that Trump is “…a NAZI enemy of Christ God.” Please furnish a citation.

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  2. The Catholics who continue to support Trump do so in open defiance of the Pope, who has repeatedly condemned Trump and has even recently declared Trump a Nazi enemy of Christ God. I frequently question the catholicity of American Catholicism, and I actually expect that there is going to be a schism between the American “Catholic” Church and the rest of the Catholic Church. I would most definitely choose the Pope! Yet, Orthodox nationalism is as ugly as its Liturgy is beautiful! Increasingly, the only option I see is to move!

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  3. James,

    Yes several Nazis were non-practising Catholics, eventually excommunicated for their war crimes and genocides, though not Hitler as a diplomatic consideration only. My consideration of support for Nazis as a function of ecclesiastical ties is supported by a break-down of the 1932 German election by region, where one can clearly see that Catholic regions rejected Hitler in masse and Protestant regions voted in favor of Hitler in masse.

    Yes, one part of my point was the the German Lutherans did vote for Hitler, though they had much more of an excuse than do American Evangelicals. Germans Lutherans though- and your point of higher criticism greatly feeds into my point, is that German Lutheranism became twisted into a nationalist ideology where Lord Jesus Christ was mostly forgotten, and then the German Lutheran Church very willingly participated in its own apostasy and worshipped Nazi deities: Odin, Thor, etc.

    But now, according to Catholic friends I have from Bavaria, the German Lutheran Church teaches secularism, and hasn’t learned the lessons from its liberal higher criticism- sadly enough.

    Another point that American people miss is that the Evangelical lower criticism is perfectly capable of being twisted in the same perverted way that Liberal higher criticism is. People can say Bible, Bible, Bible- read a verse here, a verse there, and a few other verses over yonder in order to make a teaching which is completely contradictory to what the Bible actually does teach; then the day will come when Evangelicals will open up the Bible and be totally repulsed at what they read, and most will reject Christianity altogether and become atheists or pagans though a few will realize that the Bible speaks Truth and they will reject their Evangelical Jihad preachers and embrace Catholicism or Orthodoxy.

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  4. Paul, I can tell that you’re a Protestant to have such thoughts about Christianity. However, Christianity is an objectively defined religion and a monarchical religion with Lord Jesus Christ as the Eternal Kaiser- objectively defined by Apostolic Tradition where the New Testament is their written record, objectively defined through Ecumenical Councils, objectively defined through the Holy Fathers, objectively defined through the Popes and Canonical Orthodox Patriarchs. Anything that deviates from this pattern is not Christianity.

    Not sorry, but Evangelicalism owned and controlled by Freemasons, and this alone disqualifies Evangelicalism from being legitimate Christianity. Freemasonry is a naturalistic, sceptical religion which denies as an ideological claim that any objective truth can exist in religion, and individuals are ultimately arbiters of their own personal truth and everything in the religious sphere is relative- except their Grand Architect who is nebulous and a itself a matter of personal interpretation. Nothing can be further from the truth than Freemasonry, and it is a travesty and farce that Evangelicalism- out of its petty hatred of Catholicism allowed itself to be subverted by Freemasonry!

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  5. Paul,

    You seem to be implying that religious truth cannot be defined. That might work in certain limited circles but it’s tough to sustain functionally.

    James

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  6. Thanks to James I now know that liberal theologians caused the Holocaust!

    At the same time, I take issue with Mr. Schmemenn’s point that pro-Trump evangelicals are not Christian. I’m sympathetic to his larger point, but I don’t think it is for any of us to decide who is a Christian. I take issue with James’ repeated offensive comments about how anybody who believes differently than he does is not a Christian.

    Christianity is whatever people say it is at any given point in time. It has morphed repeatedly over the centuries.

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  7. Christian,

    Many of the significant NAZIS were nominally Roman Catholic. Didn’t Joe Goebbels get excommunicated or at least criticized by the RCC for marrying a Protestant? Hitler got his start in Bavaria, arguably the most Catholic part of the country.

    Contrary to your simplistic analysis German support for National Socialism had less to do with ecclesiastical ties than with other cultural, economic, and political factors. Protestants, Catholics, atheists, agnostics, Odinists, and humanists alike were brought under Hitler’s destructive spell.

    It is possible to argue that higher criticism of the Bible in the German academy did more to shake the foundations of traditional faith than anything. Certainly, a lot of this pioneering research was done by Lutheran scholars, but they were not evangelicals in the current American sense. You are mixing apples and oranges.

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  8. Lets not forget in 2016 evangelicals probably talked about Hillary Clinton more than Donald Trump. It was really common for evangelicals I know to say ‘Trump is the worst candidate, second only to Hillary’. Or they would say their vote was a Never Hillary vote. I mean, the Evangelicals I know whom were most vocal about their vote for Trump believed Hillary Clinton was literally a murderer. I’m not saying most evangelicals think Hillary is a murderer, but none of them even questioned it when such statements were made. So if they do vote for Trump in 2020 it will either be for entirely different reasons, or it will mean they had been lying the whole time AND they were voting for Trump for reasons they were ashamed of.

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  9. You forget that Nazi Donnie Trump also has the White Nationalist terrorist traitors remaining on his side. Oh wait, aren’t the Evangelicals merely White Nationalists at prayer pretending to be Christians attempting to deceive if possible even the Elect in Europe and North America?

    P.S. I know you’re a good man and not at all a White Nationalist Dr. Fea, and I know many of the readers of this blog are good Protestants actually committed to Christ God and concerned about the direction of their churches, like you are. I view Evangelicalism as a lost cause.

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  10. Evangelicalism is NOT Christian, NEVER has been Christian, NEVER will be Christian, and WILL BE the APOSTATE fake religion of Antichrist.

    I expect Evangelicals to ho running down enthusiastically the same path the German Lutherans did through the 1930s and 1940s, singing songs of praise to Nazi deities Odin and Thor and Hitler, giving the Sieg Heil to their new Führer Nazi Donnie Trump, adorning their empty crosses with swastikas, if not replacing the cross with the swastika altogether!

    I grew up Protestant, and even as a kid I understood the German Lutheran sellout to Nazism, and I also even as a kid that American Protestants would eventually commit a treason even worse than the first.

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  11. John,

    I don’t know how you can affirm Paul’s statement that “Evangelicals are all Trump has left.” I know of traditional Catholics, Jews, and Eastern Orthodox who strongly support Trump. This is not even to mention all those with no religious ties who support Trump. Didn’t a major Democrat refer to them as “deplorable” or something similar?

    James

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  12. Sheridan,

    The power of the courts is now being used by Christians for one main reason. They have seen how the left successfully used the judiciary to gain victories unlikely at the ballot box. Sadly, the Christians now are playing “catch up” ball. I have to give the secular left credit for recognizing the value of judicial activism. They were out in front of believers on this one.

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  13. Sheridan: In *Believe Me* I think I compared the evangelical embrace of Trump as something akin to Pickett’s Charge. The battle is over, but we need to make one final assault.

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  14. The mere fact that evangelicals are now supporting a man who is the antithesis of everything they claim to believe in, is evidence that they know they are losing the culture wars and they are terrified. The only reason they are supporting Trump is because they want him to use the power of government to turn the tide in their favor. That is why the Supreme Court justices are high on their priority list. The evangelicals have been unable win the culture wars through persuasion, so their last ditch effort is to “win” the culture wars by coercion.

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  15. Seriously? Of course they will. Evangelicals are all Trump has left. His most faithful demographic group. He is giving them what they want and they are generally ecstatic.

    It’s well past time to stop making distinctions between religion and politics. Both are forms of culture that can’t be separated. Christianity is a bad influence on people. Full stop.

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