Religion News Service: “The Problem With the ‘Reluctant Trump’ Vote”

Trump and BIble

Regular readers of the blog will remember this piece from last week.  Religion News Service picked-up a slightly revised version.  Here is a taste:

(RNS) — In a much-discussed piece published last week (Feb. 10) by the National Review, Andrew Walker, an ethicist at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, challenges anti-Trump evangelicals to work harder at understanding why so many of their fellow believers voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and will vote for him again in 2020.

If anti-Trumpers would empathize more deeply with the motivations of evangelical Trump voters, Walker suggests, they would be less critical of the conservative Protestants who voted for this corrupt president.

I have spent a lot of time over the last three years thinking about the evangelical embrace of Trump. One of the regrets I had about the first edition of my 2018 book, “Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump,” was my failure to capture the diversity that exists among the 81% of white evangelicals who pulled a lever for the president in 2016.

In the postscript for the recently released paperback edition, I sought to correct this lack of nuance. As Walker reminds us, not all evangelical Trump voters attend the president’s rallies or wear “Make America Great Again” caps. The narrative of evangelicals’ support for the president is more complicated than the one peddled by journalists and pundits, who, as Walker pointed out, have little understanding of evangelical political culture.

Walker calls our attention to the “reluctant Trump voter” — the conservative evangelical who is appalled by Trump’s immorality, yet would rather vote for a pro-life candidate and defender of religious liberty over a pro-choice Democrat who is not sensitive to the religious freedom issues that concern evangelicals most. “Even the most convinced progressive,” Walker wrote, “should sympathize with religious conservatives who are concerned about federal law possibly turning against them.”

Read the rest here.