The U.S. Senators who objected to the Electoral College results were almost all evangelicals

For the record, the following United States Senators objected to the Electoral College vote in Arizona last night:

Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Josh Hawley (R-MO)

Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)

Roger Marshall (R-KS)

John Kennedy (R-LA)

Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)

They are all Republicans. They are all Trump supporters. But they are also, in one form or another, evangelical Christians. Cruz is a Southern Baptist and a Christian nationalist. Hawley is a member of an Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Cindy Hyde-Smith is a Southern Baptist. Roger Marshall is a “non-denominational Christian” who has the support of the Christian Right Family Research Council, the organization run by court evangelical Tony Perkins. Tommy Tuberville attends a Church of Christ congregation. The former Auburn football coach believes that “God sent us Donald Trump.” John Kennedy is a founding member of North Cross United Methodist Church in Madisonville, Louisiana and is a big Billy Graham fan.

The following Senators objected to the Electoral College vote in Pennsylvania last night:

Josh Hawley (R-MO)

Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)

Roger Marshall (R-KS)

Rick Scott (R-FL)

Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)

Cindy Hyde Smith (R-MS)

John Kennedy objected to Arizona, but he did not object to Pennsylvania. Rick Scott and Cynthia Lummis did not object to Arizona, but did object to Pennsylvania.

Lummis is a Lutheran and has not made Christian faith a central part of her political identity. Scott is a founding member of Naples Community Church, an independent evangelical church that “affirms the necessity of the new birth.”

Of course there were many evangelical Senators, including Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Thune (R-SD), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) who did not object to the Electoral College votes. Other evangelical Senators, including Jim Lankford (R-OK), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), originally said that they would oppose the Pennsylvania results, but changed their minds after the insurrectionists broke into the U.S. Capitol.

Today Ted Cruz appealed to the Compromise of 1877. Why that isn’t such a good idea.

Earlier today, Ted Cruz invoked the election of the 1876 and the so-called “Compromise of 1877” as a model for dealing with supposed election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Watch:

Let’s set the record straight on what actually happened in the Election of 1876 and its immediate aftermath.

Samuel Tilden, a Democrat from New York, won the popular vote by 250,000 votes over Ohio Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. The GOP challenged the Electoral College votes. Tilden won 184 electoral votes (1 short of the 185 needed for victory) and Hayes won 165 votes. But 20 electoral votes were disputed. Three southern states, Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina sent two sets of electoral votes to Washington D.C. Who would get these electoral votes?

In January 1877, Congress created an Electoral Commission made-up of five senators, five representatives, and five Supreme Court justices. This is the commission Ted Cruz referenced in his speech today. Eight members of the commission were Republicans and seven members of the commission were Democrats. The commission voted on partisan lines and gave twenty electoral votes from Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina to Hayes. Democratic congressmen said they would try to block Hayes’s inauguration. This led to the so-called Compromise of 1877, an agreement that gave Hayes the presidency in exchange for a new transcontinental railroad running through Texas, a Southern cabinet member (Hayes appointed a postmaster general from Tennessee), the removal of northern troops from the South, and the right to deal with freed slaves without northern interference.

The Compromise of 1877 brought an end to the Reconstruction era, the post-Civil War movement that freed the slaves and gave them citizenship and the right to vote. The U.S. military, under the direction of the radical Republican Congress, enforced Reconstruction in the South. After Hayes took office, he removed U.S. troops from the South and gave the region “home rule.” In other words, the president abandoned the freed slaves and all those working for racial justice and Black civil rights. With the troops gone, Southern leaders started the work of “redeeming” the region. This meant that they stopped enforcing the 14th Amendment (Black citizenship), the 15th Amendment (the right to vote), and the Civil Rights Acts of 1866. Segregation and Jim Crow would follow. It would last until the 1960s and we are still dealing with its aftermath today.

As South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham said tonight on the floor of the Senate: “if you are looking for historical guidance, this [the Compromise of 1877] is not the one to pick.”

Let’s set the record straight on what Mike Pence can and cannot do at tomorrow’s certification of the Electoral College results

Donald Trump seems to believe that Mike Pence can overturn the votes of the Electoral College tomorrow when Congress certifies the results.

Here is Trump last night in Georgia:

And earlier today:

CNN is reporting that Trump and Pence had an unscheduled lunch today.

Is Trump right?

No.

Let’s start with the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1:

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President…

The Constitution says that the sitting Vice President does have a role in the certification process. His role is to open the results (presumably in envelopes) sent to him by the states. It is purely ceremonial.

Now let’s move on to the pertinent parts of the 12th Amendment.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;-The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;-The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President…

The 12th amendment requires electors to cast one electoral vote for president and one electoral vote for vice president. This was necessary after Thomas Jefferson and his VP running mate Aaron Burr both received the same number of electoral votes in the president election of 1800. Learn more about what happened here. Notice that the language related to the Vice President’s role in opening the certified votes does not change with the 12th Amendment. His job is to open envelopes. It is a role that is purely ceremonial.

The final document of note is the Electoral Count Act of 1887. This act was passed ten years after the controversial presidential election of 1876. It clarifies the role of the vice-president in the certification of the Electoral College votes. Here is the pertinent part of the act as codified in 3 U.S. Code 15:

Congress shall be in session on the sixth day of January succeeding every meeting of the electors. The Senate and House of Representatives shall meet in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the hour of 1 o’clock in the afternoon on that day, and the President of the Senate shall be their presiding officer. Two tellers shall be previously appointed on the part of the Senate and two on the part of the House of Representatives, to whom shall be handed, as they are opened by the President of the Senate, all the certificates and papers purporting to be certificates of the electoral votes, which certificates and papers shall be opened, presented, and acted upon in the alphabetical order of the States, beginning with the letter A; and said tellers, having then read the same in the presence and hearing of the two Houses, shall make a list of the votes as they shall appear from the said certificates; and the votes having been ascertained and counted according to the rules in this subchapter provided, the result of the same shall be delivered to the President of the Senate, who shall thereupon announce the state of the vote, which announcement shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons, if any, elected President and Vice President of the United States, and, together with a list of the votes, be entered on the Journals of the two Houses.

Here is Joe Biden doing his ceremonial duty on January 6, 2017:

Here is Al Gore certifying the election of George W. Bush. Very awkward, but necessary:

The rest of the Electoral Count Act explains the entire process of dealing with objections. The Vice President’s only role in dealing with objections (which several members of the House and Senate, including Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz will bring) is to “call” for written objections.

In the end, there is nothing Pence can do to change the election results at tomorrow’s certification ceremony. It may take some time because of the objections, but Congress will certify the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and Biden will be inaugurated on January 20.

ADDENDUM (8:37pm): Apparently Pence is going to do the right thing.

George Will: Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, et al. “are the Constitution’s most dangerous domestic enemies”

Yesterday conservative columnist George Will blasted the GOP senators who will object to the vote of the Electoral College on January 6 (tomorrow). My favorite line from the piece: “Hawley–has there ever been such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment?” (the link is to a piece by Michael Gerson).

Here is a taste:

For many years, some people insisted that a vast conspiracy, not a lone gunman, masterminded the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy near the grassy knoll in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza. To these people, the complete absence of evidence proved the conspiracy’s sophistication. They were demented. Today’s senatorial Grassy Knollers — Hawley, with Cruz and others panting to catch up — are worse. They are cynical.

They know that every one of the almost 60 Trump challenges to the election has been rebuffed in state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court, involving more than 90 judges, nominated by presidents of both parties. But for scores of millions of mesmerized Trump Republicans, who think the absence of evidence is the most sinister evidence, this proves that the courts, too, are tentacles of the “deep state.” Hawley and Cruz, both of whom clerked for chief justices of the Supreme Court, hope to be wafted into the White House by gusts of such paranoia.

As does Vice President Pence, who says about Hawley et al.: Me, too. To fathom Pence’s canine devotion to Trump, watch a video from June 7, 2018. Seated next to Trump in a meeting, Pence saw Trump take his water bottle off the table and place it on the floor. So, Pence did likewise. Google the 22-second video. It is a sufficient Pence biography.

Read the rest here.

As someone who studies American Christianity, it is worth noting that Hawley and Cruz are evangelical Christians. Hawley is an Evangelical Presbyterian and Ted Cruz is a Southern Baptist.

We are back from break. What happened?

Vacation is over. What did I miss? Here is a small taste of what has happened in American politics over the last ten days:

  • A bomb exploded in Nashville on Christmas morning. We are learning more every day about the suicide bomber. Fortunately, no one other than the bomber himself was killed. As far as I know, Trump did not comment publicly on the bombing. He played golf.
  • Trump refused to sign the Consolidated Appropriation Act. It included $900 billion for COVID-19 relief, including a $600 check for Americans making under $75,000 a year. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin negotiated the bill on the president’s behalf while Trump was busy trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s major problem with the bill was the $600 dollar COVID relief check for individual Americans. Trump wanted to give Americans $2000.
  • Trump eventually signed the Consolidated Appropriation Act on December 27. Because he signed it one week late, many Americans did not receive unemployment compensation during the final week of 2021. Why didn’t Trump sign it? It is hard to tell. But he was probably upset with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell for declaring that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. While Trump held his personal grudge, millions of Americans went without federal help during the Christmas holiday. The president played golf.
  • Meanwhile, Democrats and some Republicans supported Trump’s claim to raise the sum of the relief checks to $2000. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, Georgia GOP Senators fighting for their political lives in tomorrow’s Georgia run-off, supported the president. But McConnell did his best to make sure that the American people would only get $600
  • Just before we went on break, Trump vetoed the Defense Authorization Act. This bill, which is the standard act to fund the military, had bipartisan support. In fact, this bill has passed with bipartisan support since 1961. Trump vetoed the bill because it included provisions for renaming military bases named after Confederate leaders. He also claimed it protected social media companies. On December 28, the House of Representatives overturned Trump’s veto by a vote of veto 322-87. On January 1, 2021, the Senate overturned the veto 81-13. It was the first time in the Trump presidency that Congress overturned one of his vetoes.
  • On the same day the Senate overturned Trump’s veto on the Defense Authorization Act, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley said that he would object to the 2020 Electoral College vote when the Senate meets to certify it on Wednesday. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, upon hearing about Hawley’s stunt, called it a “dangerous ploy” and added: “Let’s be clear here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage.” The next day, GOP senators Marcia Blackburn (TN), Mike Braun (IN), Ted Cruz (TX), Steve Daines (MT) Ron Johnson (WI), John Kennedy (LA), and James Lankford (OK) said they would join Hawley. So did Senators-Elect Bill Hagerty (TN), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Roger Marshall (KS), and Tommy Tuberville (AL). Cruz’s office issued a press release. Let’s be clear. This protest will not change the election results. Both houses of Congress will certify the votes of the Electoral College and Joe Biden will be inaugurated President of the United States on January 20, 2021. It will now just take a few additional hours. Read Peter Wehner’s recent article at The Atlantic if you want to understand what is really going on here.
  • If my calculations are correct, 22,715 people died of COVID-19 since my last blog post.
  • Yesterday, January 3, 2021, The Washington Post released part of a phone call between Trump and Brad Raffensberger, Georgia’s GOP secretary of state. The President urged Raffensberger to “find” 11,780 Trump votes in Georgia. Trump threatened Raffensberger by telling him that if he did not find the votes he might face “criminal” charges. Here is a clip from their one hour conversation:

Listen to the entire phone call here.

So what have Trump’s court evangelicals had to say over the holiday break? I will cover that in my next post, which will appear later this morning. Stay tuned.

Eric Metaxas and Charlie Kirk talk “voter fraud” (and other court evangelical news)

Over fifteen million cases and 292,000 deaths.

COVID-19 continues to rage in the United States. Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to give meaning to the phrase “lame duck president.” He is concentrating on last ditch efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

On Wednesday, Trump and seventeen GOP states filed a motion to join a lawsuit brought to the Supreme Court by controversial Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The suit would invalidate 2020 election ballots in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case (a very long shot), Trump wants Ted Cruz to argue it. Cruz has apparently agreed to do it. Things have certainly changed in four years.

By the way, evangelical Nebraska GOP senator Ben Sasse thinks Paxton is looking for a pardon from Trump.

Now that the context is set, let’s see what the court evangelicals are saying:

Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church says the pandemic is “fake” and he will not take a vaccine. When asked to define a “pandemic,” Locke said “COVID is not it.”

Eric Metaxas’s Christmas Show is back again this year:

Liberty University Falkirk Center fellows Metaxas and Charlie Kirk got together yesterday:

Metaxas says that “God acts in history” and he has acted on the side of Trump. He believes that only “mature” Christians understand this. In other words, if you are a serious (“mature”) Christian, you will know that Trump won the election. Metaxas, of course, is one of those mature Christians. He also says that since he “knows” Trump won the election it doesn’t really matter what we can prove in court. Anyone who disagrees is not only “arrogant,” but is working on behalf of evil and spitting “on the grave of George Washington.” (The “arrogance” of Metaxas’s claim to know the mind of God is astounding. He claims that God told him and some friends whom he trusts that Trump will have a second term).

Metaxas seems to believe he is Dietrich Bonhoeffer and all those who reject this conspiracy theory are the Germans who stood-by and watched Hitler rise to power. At one point, Kirk asks Metaxas what he thinks will happen with the election fraud cases currently in the courts and Metaxas says he is “too ignorant of the details to answer that question in any substantive way.” Unbelievable.

This stuff goes on for 40 minutes. At one point Metaxas says he believes that God will intervene on behalf of Trump, the criminals will go to jail, and the country will heal. Kirk, on the other hand, says he is preparing for war no matter what happens with the election results.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, Kirk suggests that recent leaks about the prosecution of Hunter Biden came from the Kamala Harris camp. Kirk never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like–all in the name of Jesus.

Kirk, the founder of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, continues the “election fraud” fight:

A woman believes that Jenna Ellis, Trump lawyer and Liberty University Falkirk Center fellow, is “sharing the word of God.” A part of me feels sorry for Ellis. She is a young lawyer with very little experience who the Trump is using because so few experienced lawyers are willing to touch these election fraud cases. Ambition is a powerful temptation.

Ellis quotes Robert Gagnon on “holiness”:

And this:

The Falkirk Center, the new center of evangelical Trumpism in America, just celebrated its one-year anniversary by telling people concerned about COVID-19 that they are “wasting their lives in fear of death.” Wait, doesn’t Liberty University have COVID restrictions? Don’t let Liberty University control its students’ lives! 🙂

Lance Wallnau says millions of Christians–a Christian populist movement–is “taking on the devil” and stopping Satan from gaining control of America. The Texas case is all part of God’s plan. God works in mysterious ways. Wallnau’s video has 277K views and 20k comments.

Journalism is dead, except at the Christian Broadcasting Network:

Court evangelical journalist David Brody’s claim about the death of journalism is rich in light of the fact that he is getting his understanding of constitutional republicanism from Lara Trump:

The speaker list for the December 12 “Jericho March” in Washington D.C. includes: Michelle Bachmann, Michael Flynn, Mike “My Pillow Guy” Lindell, Eric Metaxas, Abby Johnson, Cindy Jacobs, Fr Frank Pavone, Kelly Kullberg, and Dennis Prager.

Johnnie Moore is praying for health care workers, but he says nothing about the president who seems to be ignoring COVID-19 and his fellow evangelicals who oppose masks and social distancing. Is this what a “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer” would do?

Tony Perkins is on board with this crazy Texas lawsuit. He can’t “wrap his head” around how people are ignoring all the election fraud. Perkins should take it up with state legislatures (GOP and Democratic) and the Supreme Court (with three Trump appointees). His guest, Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson, thinks that the Court will take this case. Perkins says he “trusts” Johnson’s judgement. Johnson knows this case has no chance. He is blatantly lying to Perkins. If he is not lying, he is delusional.

Actually, John Hagee, history does not repeat itself and prophecies of a Trump victory in the 2020 election will not come true:

Franklin Graham is pushing the voter fraud narrative:

Court evangelical Eric Metaxas: Why are we talking about COVID (269K dead) when the election fraud is the new 9-11?

Yesterday Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press that his office has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” Then a DOJ spokesperson qualified Barr’s statement and Trump retweeted it:

The number of GOP members of congress acknowledging a Biden victory is growing. Today Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he will discuss an additional economic stimulus package with “the new administration.” Texas Senator John Cornyn said that “the verdict was rendered, and I think that’s becoming clearer by the minute.” Missouri Senator Roy Blunt does not think the election was rigged. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia have certified the election.

So how many court evangelicals are still hanging on?

Jenna Ellis, a member of Trump’s legal team and a spokesperson for Liberty University’ Falkirk Center, is not only hanging on, she’s doubling down. Here are some of her recent tweets and retweets:

Dozens:

Ellis dabbles in American history:

So much to parse here. Let me suggest a few things. First, a Trump lawyer is talking about “Truth” (with a capital “T”). Second, imagine what historians will write about Donald Trump and Jenna Ellis. Third, Jenna Ellis has not read much history of late. Most of the victors were white men. Today historians are writing a lot of good history about the oppressed and marginalized–historical actors who are definitely “worthy” of such coverage despite the fact that they did not have power when they were alive. Fourth, the Declaration of Independence does not say that truth “comes from the God of the Bible.” I”ll stop there.

Ellis and Giuliani trash William Barr’s aforementioned claim, but do it “with all due respect”:

Charlie Kirk, the founder of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, is also doubling down on fraud claims:

Today Kirk appeared on the radio program of Eric Metaxas, his fellow Christian conspiracy theorist, court evangelical, and Liberty University spokesperson. Metaxas says that the Democrats are “domestic enemies” and compares them to the terrorist attacks on 9-11. He also wonders why so many people are talking about coronavirus (over a quarter million dead) when they should be screaming about this election fraud case. Here is the exact quote:

Not enough people are taking this seriously. This is like 9-11, but everyone goes “well, so what.” I don’t really understand how domestic enemies taking over the greatest nation in the history of the world would not be the only news show. When I hear people talk COVID restrictions I think, “are you people out of your mind, why are you talking about that. A meteor just his Washington D.C. and you’re talking about that crap.”

Metaxas once again compares efforts at stopping supposed voter fraud to rescuing a child from a rapist. “If we don’t fight to the death” against the Democrats stealing this election, Metaxas says , “we lose our souls.”

Watch:

Earlier in the show, Metaxas goes full Alex Jones Infowars:

Lance Wallanu, known for hawking coins, is trying to sell books:

The Fourth Turning:

Court evangelical journalist David Brody is holding out hope:

Jack Hibbs, pastor of a Calvary Chapel congregation in California, retweeted this:

Interesting:

James Robison is still pushing the election fraud narrative. Here is a taste of his recent piece at The Stream:

In light of the prosperity and benevolence of our nation, respected spokesmen have said, “Second only to the birth of Jesus Christ was the birth of America.” Nothing can actually compare to the birth of Christ, but the miraculous birth of America is undeniable. In light of our present election dilemma, if truth does not prevail, the future is dismal. It can easily prove to be the certain end of hope, peace, security, stability, and life, with all the blessings freedom makes possible. Freedom as we have known it will be tragically limited, not only here at home but around the world. This does not have to happen on our watch—it must not happen!

Prior to the 2016 election, FBI agents and others within government actually set in motion methods by which they would defeat, impeach, and do whatever was necessary to destroy Trump, if and when he won the election. It’s hard to believe that some bureaucratic agencies established to help protect freedom would become agencies of a horrific assault on freedom. The individuals and agencies committed to overthrowing the election results found whole-hearted, unwavering support by what seems like 90 percent of all national media sources. They refused to report or acknowledge many undeniably positive achievements during President Trump’s entire term. It is difficult to imagine something happening like this in America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

What the Christian Right, court evangelicals, and GOP said about Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland

In a previous post on whether Trump should pick the next Supreme Court justice I wrote:

Politics is not about integrity, ethics, or standing by one’s word. It is about power. And let’s not pretend that the Democrats wouldn’t do the same thing if they were in the GOP’s shoes right now. Plague on all their houses!

In 2016, the Senate would not allow Merrick Garland, president Barack Obama’s SCOTUS pick, a hearing and vote because the GOP members in the Senate, led by Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, believed that the next president should choose the next justice.

What did the court evangelicals say about McConnell’s decision in 2016?

Ralph Reed and his Faith & Freedom Coalition issued a statement on March 21, 2016:

We strongly oppose Judge Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  We urge the U.S. Senate to await the final judgment of the American people rendered in the 2016 election before acting on any nomination to the highest court.  We will undertake a muscular and ambitious grassroots effort in the states of key U.S. Senators to defeat the Garland nomination and prevent President Obama from shifting the balance of the court for a generation.”

Here is Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council:

In the end, the Senate’s position isn’t about the person — it’s about the principle. “The only reason that they’re complaining about a hearing on the nominee is because they want to make the process as political as possible,” Grassley said. “And that goes to the heart of the matter. We’re not going to politicize this process in the middle of a presidential election year.” The other 10 GOP members of his committee have already made up their minds. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) couldn’t have been clearer when he said, “We’re not going to confirm anyone. Period.” But America’s law professor-in-chief still insists: “In putting forward a nominee today, I am fulfilling my constitutional duty. I’m doing my job. I hope that our senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee. That’s what the Constitution dictates…”

Wrong again. As scholars like Noah Feldman remind him, “Here’s what the Constitution says about filling Supreme Court vacancies: nothing.” Yet, as they’ve done with abortion and same-sex marriage, liberals are quite content to point to its invisible ink to suit their narrative. The reality is, President Obama has the right to nominate a replacement for Justice Scalia, just as the Senate has a right to ignore it. This is exactly what the Americans people wanted when it elected a GOP majority: a Senate that would rein in the president’s unchecked powers. Now they have it. And on the biggest decision in a generation, we can all be grateful its leaders are doing their part.

I am sure, based on the above statement, Perkins sees no hypocrisy in McConnell’s decision to give Trump’s nominee a hearing in an election year.

Let’s see if Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse will meet with Trump’s appointee. He refused to meet with Garland in 2016. And what about all those “principled constitutionalists” (like Ted Cruz) who would not give Garland a hearing in 2016, but will support Trump’s nominee?

The Huffington Post has collected the comments of several GOP senators in 2016 about Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland. Here are some of those comments:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa: “Given that we are in the midst of the presidential election process, we believe that the American people should seize the opportunity to weigh in on whom they trust to nominate the next person for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: “As I have repeatedly stated, the election cycle is well underway, and the precedent of the Senate is not to confirm a nominee at this stage in the process. I strongly support giving the American people a voice in choosing the next Supreme Court nominee by electing a new president.” 

Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina: “It is essential to the institution of the Senate and to the very health of our republic to not launch our nation into a partisan, divisive confirmation battle during the very same time the American people are casting their ballots to elect our next president.”

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas: “It has been 80 years since a Supreme Court vacancy was nominated and confirmed in an election year. There is a long tradition that you don’t do this in an election year.”

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida: “I don’t think we should be moving forward with a nominee in the last year of this president’s term. I would say that even if it was a Republican president.”

Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado: “I think we’re too close to the election. The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision.”

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah: “We think that the American people need a chance to weigh in on this issue, on who will fill that seat. They’ll have that chance this November, and they ought to have that chance.” 

Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania: “With the U.S. Supreme Court’s balance at stake, and with the presidential election fewer than eight months away, it is wise to give the American people a more direct voice in the selection and confirmation of the next justice.”

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota: “Since the next presidential election is already underway, the next president should make this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”

Michelle Obama’s DNC convention speech was deeply Christian

After the first night of the Democratic National Convention I tuned into Fox News. Laura Ingraham was on the air and, as might be expected, she was trashing the convention. I stopped watching after about forty minutes of analysis from Eric Trump, Ted Cruz, and other conservative pundits.

Cruz actually said that the reason the Democrats are pushing for mail-in-ballots and the funding of the United States Postal Service is because they know it leads to voter fraud.  Cruz has no evidence for this claim. Nor is there any evidence to suggest mail-in-voting leads to voter fraud. But I digress.

Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell was also on Ingraham’s show. He is a very patient man.

I was struck by the fact that none of the conservative, pro-Trump pundits mentioned Michelle Obama’s speech. They just couldn’t touch it.

Watch it:

Though Obama only mentioned “faith” and “God” a couple of times, this was a deeply Christian speech.

  • She talked about the inherent dignity of human beings.
  • She talked about truth.
  • She talked about the character of a leader.
  • She talked about health care.
  • She talked about care for the environment
  • She talked about racial justice
  • She talked about the evil of racism and white supremacy
  • She talked about empathy
  • She talked about caring for others
  • She talked about raising children with a strong moral foundation
  • She talked about the coarseness of our culture under Trump
  • She talked about selfishness
  • She talked about greed
  • She talked military violence
  • She talked about using the Bible for a photo-op
  • She talked about being a mother.
  • She talked about being a neighbor
  • She talked about meekness
  • She talked about confronting “viciousness” and “cruelty”
  • She talked about finding common ground based on the value of all human beings
  • She talked about the need to speak truth to power
  • She talked about family
  • She talked about compassion
  • She talked about grief

After covering Trump’s court evangelicals for the last four years, it was nice to hear such a Christian speech in this kind of public venue. I left the speech encouraged in my faith and hopeful for America’s future. Thank you Michelle Obama.

Monday night court evangelical roundup

Trump-Bachmann-Pence-religious-right

What have Trump’s evangelicals been saying since our last update?

Mike Pence’s nephew hosted a court evangelical conversation with Paula White, Johnnie Moore and Samuel Rodriguez. This is an event sponsored by the Trump campaign. Watch:

At the 5:30 mark, Moore starts out with a lie. Joe Biden does not want to prosecute people for going to church. Moore is outraged that St. John’s Church in Washington D.C. was burned during the protests earlier this month. Please spare us the sermon, Johnnie. If this was any other moment, Moore, who likes to fashion himself a “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” would be attacking the rector of the church and its congregation for its liberal Protestant theology and commitment to social justice. (By the way, Bonhoeffer adhered to both liberal Protestantism and social justice. Moore’s Bonhoeffer comes directly out of the pages of Eric Metaxas’s popular, but debunked biography).

If you watch this video, you will see nothing but fear-mongering.

At one point in the conversation, Paula White says that Trump is fighting for the First Amendment and the Second Amendment. Since when was the right to bear arms a Christian concern? White claims that the Democratic Party platform says that it is a “party of the Godless.” Just to be clear, there is no such language in the platform. She also goes into what I call the “they are coming for our Bibles” mode. Here’s White: “We can basically kiss our churches goodbye, our houses of worship…we very well could be home churches at that.” As I wrote in Believe Me, this kind of fear-mongering reminds me of the Federalists during the election season of 1800 who thought Thomas Jefferson, if elected, would send his henchman into New York and New England to close churches and confiscate Bibles. (It didn’t happen. In fact, Jefferson was a champion of religious liberty). White believes that we are in a spiritual war for the soul of America. She mentions a conversation with Ben Carson in which the HUD Secretary told her that the forces of Satan are working to undermine Trump.

Moore defends Trump’s record on global religious freedom. Indeed, Trump seems to have made religious persecution abroad a priority. Only time will tell how successful this campaign has been or will be. But notice that Moore says nothing about the president’s approval of Muslim concentration camps in China. Why? Because Moore is not here to tell the whole truth about Trump as it relates to religious freedom. He is here to help Trump get re-elected. Or maybe talking about the religious persecution of Muslims in China won’t help Trump with white evangelical voters, many of whom still believe Obama was a Muslim. Most of Trump’s evangelical followers only talk about religious liberty when it relates to their own causes. Moore knows this.

Moore then attacks Democratic governors for trying to close churches during COVID-19. He has a lot of nerve. It was Democratic governors like Andrew Cuomo (and GOP Ohio governor Mike DeWine, among others) who showed leadership during the coronavirus while Trump was tweeting “liberate Michigan.”

Samuel Rodriguez basically says that if you vote for Trump, you are voting against the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

OK, that was hard to stomach. Let’s move on.

Moore is also tweeting. He is upset about today’s Supreme Court decision on abortion, especially Chief Justice John Roberts’s decision to join the liberal justices in blocking a Louisiana abortion law restricting abortion rights:

What does Moore mean when he says that this is the “Scalia-moment” of the 2020 campaign? Here is a passage from Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump:

Already hitting his stride with his base, [GOP presidential candidate Ted] Cruz gained a new talking point in mid-February, with Super Tuesday only a couple of weeks away. When conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly on a quail hunting trip in Texas, and it became clear that the Republican-controlled Senate would not provide a hearing for Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s appointee to replace Scalia, the presidential election of 2016 became a referendum on the future of the high court. Scalia was a champion of the social values that conservative evangelicals hold dear, and it was now clear that the newly elected president of the United States would appoint his successor.

Cruz seized the day. Two days after Scalia died and five days before the 2016 South Carolina primary, Cruz released a political ad in the hopes of capitalizing on evangelical fears about the justice’s replacement. With a picture of the Supreme Court building as a backdrop, the narrator said, “Life, marriage, religious liberty, the Second Amendment. We’re just one Supreme Court justice away from losing them all.” In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Cruz said that a vote for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump could lead American citizens to lose some of their rights. “We are one justice away from the Second Amendment being written out of the constitution altogether,” he said. “And if you vote for Donald Trump in this next election, you are voting for undermining our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.” Cruz pushed this appeal to evangelical fear even harder at a Republican Women’s Club meeting in Greenville, South Carolina. He told these Republican voters that the United States was “one justice away” from the “the Supreme Court mandating  unlimited abortion on demand,” and for good measure he added that it was only a matter of time before the federal government started using chisels to “remove the crosses and the Stars of David from the tombstones of our fallen soldiers.”

I wonder if the modern-day Dietrich Bonhoeffer has learned the right lesson from 2016? Some might say that the recent Bostock decision, and today’s Louisiana abortion decision, should teach evangelicals to stop relying on the Supreme Court to “reclaim” America, especially when such an approach to “Christian” politics requires them to get into bed with a president like Trump. But, alas, Moore would never even consider such a lesson because it does not conform to the Christian Right’s political playbook.

Meanwhile, Paula White is supernaturally praying for her Twitter followers:

I’m just curious. Is there  a way to “pray” for a non-“supernatural provision?” Sorry, I had to ask.

Jentezen is also upset about the SCOTUS decision:

Tony Perkins too:

I agree with the idea that every life is valuable, including unborn babies. But putting faith in SCOTUS and POTUS is not the answer.

Robert Jeffress is still basking in the idolatrous glow of yesterday’s Lord’s Day political rally at his church. Here is his retweet of Mike Pence:

A spokesperson for Liberty University’s Falkirk Center retweets Princeton University scholar Robert George. As you read this retweet, please remember that The Falkirk Center supports Donald Trump and Trump is a pathological liar:

She is also upset with John Roberts:

And this:

Sadly,  in light of what we have seen thus far from the Trump presidency as it relates to race and Confederate monuments, this “idiot activist” seems to be asking a reasonable question.

Charlie Kirk is also mad at John Roberts:

It looks like the court evangelicals are very upset about an abortion case in the Supreme Court, but they have said nothing about Trump’s racist tweet over the weekend. I guess this falls under the “I don’t like some of his tweets, but…” category.

John Zmirak, who is an editor at court evangelical James Robison’s website The Stream, is back on the Eric Metaxas Show. He is comparing Black Lives Matter to Jim Jones and Jonestown. The entire conversation, ironically, is about people blindly putting their trust in a strongman. Metaxas wastes no time in connecting Jonestown to today’s Democratic Party. A Christian Right bromance may be forming between these two guys.  Metaxas tells Zmirak: “we are so glad you are on the program today, thank the Lord.”

They also condemn Black Lives Matter. Zmirak calls BLM a “slogan, a “trademark,” and a “brilliant piece of marketing” that is “raising money off of white guilt.” Sounds a lot like another slogan, trademark and brilliant piece of marketing. This one is raising money off of white supremacy.

In another part of their conversation, Metaxas and Zmirak say that Black Lives Matter is wrong from a Christian point of view because all men and women are created in the image of God. In other words, anyone who wants to say that only Black lives matter is actually racist (reverse racism, as they say) because in God’s eyes “all lives matter.” I’ve heard this argument before. Here is a quick response:

Indeed, Christians believe that we are all created in the image of God. As the civil rights movement taught us, Christian faith offers plenty of theological resources to combat racism. Moreover, the Black Lives Matter movement is very diverse. Author Jemar Tisby makes some important points in this regard in Episode 48 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podast.

I am sure Metaxas and Zmirak are correct about some of the abuses of the Black Lives Matter movement. But notice what is going on here. Metaxas and Zmirak are really only interested in attacking the Black Lives Matter movement. Since the killing of George Floyd, Metaxas has not offered any sustained empathy or acknowledgement of the pain and suffering faced by African-Americans, either now or in our nation’s history. Yes, he had some black guests on the program, but they were invited on the show for the purpose of undermining Black Lives Matter and rejecting systemic racism. At this moment, when white evangelicals have a wonderful opportunity to think more deeply about the problems of race in America, Metaxas has chosen to divert attention away from these issues by going after the extreme fringes of a generally anti-racist movement.

In his second hour, Metaxas hosts a writer named Nick Adams, the author of a book titled Trump and Churchill: Defenders of Western Civilization. He runs an organization called The Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness. Adams makes it sound like Trump has some kind of agenda to save Western Civilization. This strikes me as very far-fetched since I don’t think Trump even knows what Western Civilization is. Metaxas, of course, loves his guest’s ideas, going as far to say, in reference to World War II (Churchill) and COVID-19 (Trump) that both men carried their respective nations through their “darkest hours.”

Until next time.

Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz’s prospective running mate in 2016, is voting for Joe Biden in 2020

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Here is Edward Isaac-Dovere at The Atlantic:

Republicans who say Donald Trump should lose in November but insist they won’t vote for Joe Biden aren’t being honest, Carly Fiorina argues.

Fiorina was a Republican candidate for president just four years ago, and was briefly Ted Cruz’s prospective running mate. Trump needs to go, she says—and that means she’s voting for Biden.

Fiorina is not going to keep quiet, write in another candidate, or vote third-party. “I’ve been very clear that I can’t support Donald Trump,” she told me, in an interview that can be heard in full on the latest episode of The Ticket. “And elections are binary choices.” She struggled with the decision, and whether to go public. But she said that this struggle is one Republicans need to have—including those who have rationalized supporting Trump despite their disagreements, because of some of his policies or judicial appointments.

Listen to the interview here.

When evangelicals put their faith and trust in presidents and Supreme Court justices

Gorsuch Trump

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States, in a 6-3 decision, held that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Trump-appointed justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion. Justice Samuel Alito wrote a dissenting opinion. So did Trump-appointed justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Politically, the story centers on Gorsuch. Let’s remember that many white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016 because they believed he would appoint conservative Supreme Court justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade and protect their religious liberties. When white evangelicals talk about religious liberties, the right to uphold views of traditional marriage and sexuality at their institutions, and still maintain their tax-exempt status and have access to federal funding programs, are at or near the top of the list.

For example, in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, I wrote:

Court evangelicals, for example, believe that a Trump administration will protect Christian colleges and universities from losing their religious exemptions, exemptions that allow them to receive federal money despite their religious opposition to the practice of homosexuality and gay marriage. One school that would have a lot to lose if these exemptions were to disappear is Liberty University. Jerry Falwell’s school does not allow faculty members who are gay, and it has taken strong stances against gay marriage and other related matters of sexual ethics. In 2015, Jerry Falwell Jr. no doubt has his eye on the controversy surrounding a bill in the California legislature that would remove Title IX religious exemptions for private liberal arts colleges that are opposed to gay marraige or refuse to hire gay faculty. The sponsors of the bill believed that such rules represented a form of discrimination against LGBTQ students attending those schools. Biola University, a liberal arts college in Los Angeles, along with several other California Christian colleges and universities, argued that the bill, if passed, would not only violate their religious liberties but would prevent low-income students in need of financial aid from attending their institutions.

The California bill had no bearing on federal funding or institutions outside California, but it still raised much fear among Christian colleges throughout the country. Liberty University students received $445 million in federal student loans, the highest today of any four-year university in Virginia and the eighth-highest in the nation. (The high ranking in both categories is due, in part, to the sheer size of the Liberty student body.) 

Many white evangelicals hoped that Trump would end these problems by appointing Supreme Court justices who would make sure that schools like Liberty, Biola, and dozens more Christian colleges, including my own institution, Messiah College, would get religious exemptions.

Again, here is Believe Me:

When conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly on a quail hunting trip in Texas, and it became clear  that the Republican-controlled Senate would not provide a hearing for Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s appointee to replace Scalia, the presidential election of 2016 became a referendum on the future of the high court. Scalia was a champion of the social values that conservative evangelicals hold dear, and it was now clear that the newly elected president of the United States would appoint his successor.

[Texas Senator Ted] Cruz seized the day. Two days after Scalia died and five days before the 2016 South Carolina primary, Cruz released a political ad in the hopes of capitalizing on evangelical fears about the justice’s replacement. With a picture of the Supreme Court building as a backdrop, the narrator said, “Life, marriage, religious liberty, the Second Amendment. We’re just one Supreme Court justice away from losing them all.” In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Cruz said that a vote for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump could lead American citizens to lose some of their rights. “We are one justice away from the Second Amendment being written out of the constitution altogether,” he said, “and if you vote for Donald Trump in this next election, you are voting for undermining our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.” Cruz pushed this appeal to evangelical fear even harder at a Republican Women’s Club meeting in Greenville, South Carolina. He told these Republicans voters that the United States was “one justice away” from “the Supreme Court mandating unlimited abortion on demand,” and for good measure he added that it was only a matter of time before the federal government started using chisels to “remove the crosses and the Stars of David from the tombstones of our fallen soldiers.”

“One justice away.” That  one justice was Neil Gorsuch.

Cruz, of course, did not get the nomination. But as a I argued in Believe Me, Trump watched him (along with Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and other Christian Right favorites) carefully in order to learn how to tap the white evangelical vote. Here is more from the book:

…Trump pulled out his most important move to win over conservative evangelicals who were still skeptical about his candidacy on May 18[,2020]. On that day, the soon-to-be-GOP nominee released the names of eleven judges whom he said he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court. It was a move straight out of the playbook. The list was put together with input from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think thank known for defending traditional marriage, opposing abortion, and fighting for the right of religious institutions to avoid government interference. On July 13, 2016, the Pew Research Center released a study showing that evangelicals were rallying to Trump, and it predicted that 78 percent of white evangelical voters would support him in November.

Neil Gorsuch was on that list.

Many court evangelicals are not happy with Gorsuch’s majority opinion:

Franklin Graham has responded here.

We will see how this all plays out politically, but there are still some serious religious liberty questions that need to be addressed in the wake of this Supreme Court decision. Stay tuned. In my next post on this subject, I will address the way other evangelicals and faith-based institutions are responding to this decision, particularly as it relates to religious liberty.

When Political Loyalty Trumps Moral Clarity

Impeachment Image

We are in the third day of the Donald Trump Senate impeachment trial.  Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has already gone on record saying that the entire trial is a “partisan charade.”

Other GOP Senators have also weighed-in:

Whether you call the Senators “jurors” or “judges,” something is not right about a Senator writing tweets like this during such an important trial.  This impeachment trial is not a hoax.  The Constitution says that the House of Representatives has the authority to impeach the president.  This has happened.  Some Senators may not like that this has happened, but it did.  Senators now have a responsibility to sit quietly, listen to evidence, and make a decision about whether or not to remove the president.

This impeachment trial is just the latest example of how political partisanship distorts critical thinking and basic morality.

I don’t see how any Senator can be confronted with the evidence we have heard over the last two days and not think that Donald Trump has done something immoral. We can debate whether or not what Trump did was an impeachable offense, but can we truly say that he acted in a morally upright way in this whole Ukraine mess?  Was this really a “perfect call?”

Why won’t these GOP Senators speak-up?  Why won’t they publicly admonish Trump for his blatant immoral behavior?  Why have they remained silent or commented on Trump’s immorality with phrases like “Well, that’s just his style” or “if it was me, I wouldn’t have used those words.”  Why do they take media opportunities to defend Trump?  I hope people like Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Cory Gardner, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, roy Blunt, Richard Burr, Rick Scott, Rob Portman, James Lankford, Pat Toomey, Tim Scott, John Thune, Bill Cassidy, and Lamar Alexander will answer these questions for me.  Mitt Romney is a Mormon.  Sasse, Rubio, Blunt, Lankford,, Tim Scott, Rick Scott, and Thune are evangelical Christians.

Most of these Senators can think critically and make decisions based on evidence.  Many of them have a sense of right and wrong.  But their critical faculties and moral capacities are held captive by political partisanship.  Party loyalty weakens independent thinking.  Party loyalty undermines moral clarity.

Milbank: Let’s Take Greenland by Force!

Greenland

Greenland is weak.  We can take it.

You gotta love Dana Milbank’s sarcasm here:

On Sunday, Trump confirmed that he would be interested in buying the territory from Denmark and that “we’ll talk to them” about it. “Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal,” Trump explained, reasoning that Denmark might be willing to part with the huge land mass because “they carry it at a great loss.”

The great Danes reacted indignantly. “Greenland is not for sale,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen proclaimed on a defensive visit to the island Sunday, calling the idea “an absurd discussion” and saying “I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”

Fighting words! There is only one proper response to such intransigence: The United States must take Greenland by force.

Greenland has no regular military, so we should be able to occupy every Nuuk and cranny of the place without much struggle. It’s possible, of course, that this attack on Danish territory would prompt a response by NATO under the alliance’s mutual-defense pact, but Trump has already defanged that alliance.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) foresaw such a moment, saying in 2016 during the GOP presidential nominating battle that “we’re liable to wake up one morning and Donald, if he were president, would have nuked Denmark.”

Read the rest here.

Penn Live: “It’s time to remember the central role slavery played in the making of America”

Virginia sign

This piece at today’s Penn Live/Harrisburg Patriot-News will look somewhat familiar to readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home.  A taste:

In August 1619, a shipment of “20 And odd Negroes” from Angola arrived at Point Comfort, Virginia. They got there because earlier in the year English pirates stole them from a Portuguese slave ship headed for Vera Cruz, Mexico, and sold them to the earliest Jamestown settlers in exchange for food.

While the story of these Africans is complicated, historians agree that the August 1619 shipment was the beginning of slavery in the English colonies of North America. On Sunday, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of slavery in the colonies, The New York Times released a series of essays and a website called “The 1619 Project.” The Times describes the project as a “major initiative” to “reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who were are.”

The 1619 Project is excellent. Some of our best scholars of African American history, slavery, and race have contributed articles. The racist legacy of slavery in America, they argue, has shaped everything from capitalism to health care, and traffic patterns to music. I hope that teachers will use it in their classrooms.

But not everyone is happy about the 1619 Project. Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh called it a “hoax” and a threat to “American greatness.” Texas Senator Ted Cruz told his Twitter followers that the project is a political attempt by the left to rewrite America’s history. He questioned the journalistic integrity of The Times

Read the rest here.

Nice Work Ted Cruz…Kinda

As readers of this blog now, I am not a big Ted Cruz fan.  I criticized him heavily during the 2016 campaign and also covered him in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.

But I am glad to see this:

Thanks, Ted Cruz!  Here is a Washington Post piece.

ADDENDUM:  These days I am just happy when a leading Republican calls out racism and white supremacy.  But as Al Mackey notes in the comments, let’s not pretend that Cruz’s references to Forrest as a delegate to the 1868 Democratic convention is not sending a subtle message rooted in the idea, popular among the Right today, that the Democrats continue to be the party of racism.  Kevin Kruse and others have debunked this view of history for its failure to recognize change over time.

The Evangelical Vote in Key 2018 Elections

Church voting

Last week we pointed out a few key races in the 2018 midterm elections where evangelicals might make a significant difference.  Over at New York Magazine, Ed Kilgore tells us how white evangelicals actually voted.  Here is a taste of his piece:

The perception that white Evangelicals are especially happy with Trump was reinforced by their voting behavior in some of the key 2018 Senate races where POTUS was heavily involved. In Indiana, where Trump campaigned twice during the last week of the midterms (alongside his conspicuously Evangelical Hoosier vice-president Mike Pence), white Evangelicals rose from 39 percent of the electorate in 2016 to 41 percent, and gave GOP Senate nominee Mike Braun 72 percent of their vote (three points higher than winning Republican candidate Todd Young in 2016). Braun won. In Missouri, Trump also made a late appearance for GOP Senate candidate Josh Hawley. The percentage of the electorate represented by white Evangelicals rose from 35 percent to 38 percent, and Hawley got 75 percentof it, a higher percentage than winning GOP candidate Roy Blunt in 2016. In Florida, Trump campaigned for Senate candidate Rick Scott and gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis. The white Evangelical share of the vote there rose by an amazing nine points, from 20 percent in 2016 to 29 percent this year. Scott won 80 percent of this elevated vote, and DeSantis won 77 percent (not quite as much as the otherworldly 84 percent won by Marco Rubio — a particular Evangelical favorite — during his easy 2016 win, but still an impressive showing).

In some states white Evangelicals were already so wildly pro-Republican in 2016 that matching or beating their performance in that landmark year was a nearly impossible goal. In Georgia’s very close gubernatorial election, white Evangelicals represented just over a third of the electorate, and gave 88 percent to Brian Kemp — four points less than the 92 percent Trump won in that demographic in 2016. In Texas’s very close Senate race, where white Evangelicals were just over a fourth of the electorate, Ted Cruz got 81 percent of this vote — again, four points less than Trump’s 85 percent in 2016. These are all astounding numbers for a group of people that spans every income and educational level, and a lot of religious denominational differences as well.

Read the entire piece here.

What Will White Evangelicals Do at the Polls Tomorrow?

Marsha

Marsha Blackburn has strong evangelical support in the Tennessee U.S. Senate race

I see a lot of online articles on this topic.  The answer is simple.  The overwhelming majority of those who identify with the term “evangelical” will vote for Republican candidates.

Here are a some close races where the white evangelical vote will be significant:

  • In Texas, there is some anecdotal evidence that some white evangelical women might vote for Beto O’Rourke in the state’s U.S. Senate race.  But this is just anecdotal evidence.  Most white evangelical women will vote for Ted Cruz.  Nevertheless, if enough white evangelicals break from Cruz and vote for Beto (even if the number is small), it could be enough to get Beto over the top in a very close race.
  • If Josh Hawley defeats Claire McCaskell in the Missouri Senate race, it will be because white evangelicals backed Hawley, an attender of an Evangelical Presbyterian congregation.  I should add that pseudo Christian Right historian David Barton played a role in this campaign.
  • In Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn is getting most of the evangelical vote in a tight U.S. Senate race.  Blackburn is a member of Presbyterian Church of America congregation in Nashville.
  • If Scott Walker wins another term gubernatorial term in Wisconsin, it will be because white evangelicals rallied to his side.
  • In Virginia’s 7th congressional district, incumbent David Brat, a Hope College and Princeton Theological Seminary graduate with a Ph.D. in economics from American University, is going to need white libertarian evangelicals to help him hold off Abigail Spanberger.
  • In North Carolina’s 13th congressional district, incumbent Ted Budd is getting a strong challenge from Kathy Manning.  Budd is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and attends Twin City Bible Church in Winston-Salem. (In February 2018, Budd introduced a resolution in Congress to honor Billy Graham).
  • In North Carolina’s 9th district, an open seat, Mark Harris, a Southern Baptist clergyman, graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and employee of Campus Crusade for Christ, is running against Democrat Dan McCready, a former U.S. Marine and Eagle Scout.  McCready is also a man of deep Christian faith who claims that he was “baptized in the water of the Euphrates River” during his military service in Iraq.  The race is a toss-up.
  • In the Florida governor’s race, Democrat Andrew Gillum has an evangelical running-mate.  Chris King attends an Evangelical Presbyterian Church, was active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was a member of Campus Crusade for Christ at Harvard, and once worked for progressive evangelical Jim Wallis.  (We covered him here).

Do you know of any other close races where the white evangelical vote might make a difference.  Tell us about it in the comments section.

Pro-Life Women for Beto O’Rourke

abortion

Earlier this month, New York Times religion reporter Elizabeth Dias did a story on evangelical women who are supporting Beto O’Rourke over Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate race.  One of the women quoted in that piece said “I care as much about babies at the border as I do about babies in the womb.”

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa is a pro-life feminist and founder of an organization called New Wave Feminists.  In an op-ed in yesterday’s Dallas Morning News she explains why she just voted for Beto, a pro-choice candidate.  Here is a taste of her piece:

I run a large pro-life feminist group, not just a pro-life group. We were the ones removed as sponsors from the Women’s March back in 2017 because of our stance against abortion rights. And that was a real shame because while I am 100 percent pro-life, I’m also 100 percent feminist, and I saw the way Trump treated women as an absolute deal-breaker. Sadly, we were one of the few pro-life groups that took this position. 

However, during that election I started to see, as an independent, just how deep the GOP had its hooks in the pro-life movement. I saw the way these politicians used unborn children’s lives to get out the vote but then oftentimes forgot about those lives soon after. I saw the way pro-lifers compromised so many of their own upstanding ethics and morals to elect a man thrice married, who bragged about his infidelities and predatory behavior. And why? So they could get their Supreme Court seats.

And then I watched as they got two of those seats, and how they boasted that all of their compromise had been worth it because we now have a “pro-life” advantage on the Supreme Court and could possibly overturn Roe vs. Wade. All the while, Sen. Susan Collins was explaining that she voted yes to Kavanaugh only because he assured her Roe was “settled law.”

This was the last straw for me. That’s when the blinders came all the way off. This idea of eliminating abortion by simply making it illegal is far too low of a bar to set. Abortion must become unthinkable and unnecessary if we want to eradicate it from our culture. And the only way that will happen is by creating a post-Roe culture while Roe still stands.

Read the entire piece here.

White Evangelical Women in Texas May Be Leaning Toward Beto O’Rourke

Beto
Here is Elizabeth Dias’s reporting at The New York Times:

After church on a recent Sunday, Emily Mooney smiled as she told her girlfriends about her public act of rebellion. She had slapped a “Beto for Senate’’ sticker on her S.U.V. and driven it to her family’s evangelical church.

But then, across the parking lot, deep in conservative, Bible-belt Texas, she spotted a sign of support: the same exact sticker endorsing Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat who is challenging Senator Ted Cruz.

“I was like, who is it?” she exclaimed. “Who in this church is doing this?”

Listening to Ms. Mooney’s story, the four other evangelical moms standing around a kitchen island began to buzz with excitement. All of them go to similarly conservative churches in Dallas. All are longtime Republican voters, solely because they oppose abortion rights. Only one broke ranks to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. But this November, they have all decided to vote for Mr. O’Rourke, the Democratic upstart who is on the front line of trying to upend politics in deep-red Texas.

Read the rest here.  The article also notes that many white evangelicals in Texas are not happy with the rhetoric coming from Dallas court evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress.