Mainline Protestants for Trump

Bethel Lutheran Church ELCA, Willmar

When it comes to Christians supporting the Trump presidency, evangelicals get all the attention.  But as Chris Gehrz notes in his recent Anxious Bench post, mainline Protestants are not immune to Trump love.  I don’t know of any “court mainliners,” but it seems like a pro-Trump sentiment is alive and well among Lutherans.  Here is a taste:

Consider the largest Protestant denomination in my part of the country: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). At its annual meeting earlier this month, the ELCA not only passed statements condemning patriarchy and white supremacy, but made national news for declaring itself a “sanctuary church body.” Hundreds of delegates joined Lutheran activists in marching a mile to the Milwaukee office of the federal office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where they held a prayer vigil and posted 9.5 theses on care for refugees and other immigrants. “We put the protest back in Protestant,” proclaimed some of the signs held by protestors. (And I don’t think they meant it like one of our blogging neighbors does.)

As religion reporter Emily McFarlan Miller had predicted, the 2019 ELCA assembly offered “a window into the issues important to many progressive Christians across the country.” But how many of the ELCA’s 3.5 million members are actually (politically) progressive?

Consider some of the numbers that political scientist Ryan Burge has been crunching from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES), which surveys over 64,000 Americans every two years. Not only do 49% of ELCA respondents in the 2018 CCES identify as Republican (vs. 42% as Democrats), but even more approve of Donald Trump: 52% of those Lutherans, 35% strongly. When Burge drilled down to look at religious behavior, he found that ELCA support for Trump was strongest among those who attended church most often and weakest among those who show up just once or twice a year.

Read the entire piece here.

3 thoughts on “Mainline Protestants for Trump

  1. The nasty legacy of Martin Luther lives on in America. While I love cultural Lutheranism, I have no love or sympathy for Martin Luther. I cannot say that I am in the least bit surprised in these figures.

    However, it spreads beyond Protestantism: many WHITE American Catholics are not immune to the Trump virus either, having forgotten that our Catholic forefathers were once targets of clarion calls to stochastic terrorism virtually identical to those of Nazi Trump’s.

    I fear that the American Christianity in its entirety is entirely degenerate and depraved, having been subverted wholesale by Judas Iscariot.

    I will NEVER abandon Lord Jesus Christ because of Judas Iscariot! However, I wonder if Judas Iscariot has taken over American Christianity to such an extent that I will need to abandon my homeland for another country, just to be able to follow Lord Jesus Christ.


  2. The Other Jeff,

    The big problem these ELCA leaders have is to defend their “prophetic” position in light of the fact that the original prophets actually believed in divine revelation as the breath of God. That is not a majority position within the ELCA clerical leadership.


  3. Although I would not have expected that statistical breakdown of the ELCA, it actually does make me even more impressed with their leadership, taking what turns out to be a prophetic stance even among their own congregations. (I say “prophetic” of course, because I am politically aligned with their decisions.)


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