Ryan Helfenbein is Vice President of Communication and Public Engagement at Liberty University and Executive Director of the Falkirk Center for Faith & Liberty. In a recent piece at the Alt-right Breitbart News, Helfenbein praises Al Mohler’s recent announcement that he will be voting for Trump in 2020.
Here is a taste of his op-ed:
It’s time for evangelicals to unite and strengthen the things that remain in our country, especially in the present cultural and political battle. Dr. Mohler articulated clearly that the current political platforms of the two major parties are in such opposition and so divisive that, for a person with a consistent worldview, there is no equivocation between either party.
To most evangelicals’ surprise, the former playboy billionaire and New Yorker now represents a firm ideological alignment with the Judeo-Christian underpinning of our nation and the constitutional vision upon which it was founded. He has earned this new reputation just as he did the former.
And for any Christian who takes the pro-life cause seriously, there is no questioning Donald Trump’s commitment. Add to that the necessary defenses of religious liberty, traditional values, school choice, economic freedom, and national security – and you have, for evangelicals, what amounts to a choice that is impossible not to make.
Today, the anti-Trump hatred on the left is no longer about his past moral failings or his public persona. It has instead become synonymous with contempt for the conservative movement he now represents.
Trump is the effigy of the left for freedom-loving people everywhere. Evangelicals would be wise to take notice at a moment when the weight of the 2020 election is almost incalculable.
So, for all the evangelical Christians who once vowed “never Trump,” it’s time to come together and bury differences to defend freedom. We must stand firm in our faith and in solidarity with one another, for the sake of our neighbors, our children, and the future of American liberty.
Read the rest here.
Back in 2017, I wrote a piece in The Washington Post arguing that the presidency of Donald Trump will change American Christianity. Here is what I wrote back then:
The court evangelicals are changing the religious landscape in the United States. The Trump presidency is only six months old, but it is already beginning to alter long-standing spiritual alignments. It seems as though Christians are not changing Trump, but rather that Trump could be changing Christianity.
Historians will write about this moment in terms of both continuity and change. On one hand, court evangelicals are part of a familiar story. For nearly half a century, evangelicals have sought to influence the direction of the country and its laws through politics. But Trump has forced them to embrace a pragmatism that could damage the gospel around the world, and force many Christians to rethink their religious identities and affiliations.
Later in the piece I wrote this:
Trump is different.
His campaign and presidency has shed light on a troubling wing of American evangelicalism willing to embrace nationalism, populism, fear of outsiders and anger. The leaders of this wing trade their evangelical witness for a mess of political pottage and a Supreme Court nomination.
Not all evangelicals are on board, of course. Most black evangelicals are horrified by Trump’s failure to understand their history and his willingness to serve as a hero of the alt-right movement.
The 20 percent of white evangelicals who did not vote for Trump — many of whom are conservative politically and theologically — now seem to have a lot more in common with mainline Protestants. Some in my own circles have expressed a desire to leave their evangelical churches in search of a more authentic form of Christianity.
Other evangelicals are experiencing a crisis of faith as they look around in their white congregations on Sunday morning and realize that so many fellow Christians were willing to turn a blind eye to all that Trump represents.
If the court evangelicals were students of history, they have learned the wrong lesson from evangelical political engagement of the 1970s and 1980s. Trump’s presidency — with its tweets and promises of power — requires evangelical leaders to speak truth to power, not to be seduced by it.
We now have a representative of an institution that claims to be the largest Christian university in the world publishing pro-Donald Trump political pieces in a publication known for these headlines:
“There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews”
“Science Proves It: Fat-Shaming Works”
“Gay Rights Make Us Dumber, It’s Time to Get Back in the Closet”
“Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?”
“Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield”
“Trump 100% Vindicated: CBS Reports ‘Swarm’ on Rooftops Celebrating 9/11”
“Hoist it High and Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage”
“Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”
“Obama’s Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: ‘Born in Kenya and Raised in Indonesia and Hawaii”
“Donald Trump’s Criticisms of Mass Mexican Immigration Barely Scratch the Surface”
“6 Reasons Pamela Geller’s Muhammad Cartoon Contest is No Different From Selma”
“Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew”
“The Solution to Online Harassment is Simple: Women Should Log Off”
And now this piece by from a Vice-President at a school that claims it is the largest Christian University in the world: “Former Never Trump Evangelicals United Behind Trump“