Yesterday USA Today published a piece I wrote about Trump and evangelicals. The editors chose the following title: “White evangelicals fear the future and yearn for the past. Of course Trump is their hero.” The article draws heavily from the introduction to Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.
Here is a taste:
Donald Trump is about to name his second conservative Supreme Court justice now that Anthony Kennedy is retiring. Conservative evangelicals are celebrating. They have been waiting, to quote the Old Testament book of Esther, “for a time such as this.”
For the last year I have been thinking deeply about why so many of my fellow evangelical Christians support Donald Trump.
I have wondered why they backed his zero-tolerance immigration plan that separated families at the border. I have tried to make sense of why some of them give him a “mulligan” (to use Family Research Council President Tony Perkins’ now famous phrase) for his alleged adulterous affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels. Why did so many evangelicals remain silent, or offer tepid and qualified responses, when Trump equated white supremacists and their opponents in Charlottesville, Virginia last summer?
What kind of power does Trump hold over men and women who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ? Evangelical support for Trump goes much deeper than simply a few Supreme Court justices.
Read the entire piece here.
I am told that this piece will be in the print edition of USA Today later this week, but in the meantime, you can read “Evangelicals are the prize in S.C.” online at usatoday.com
Regular readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home will find little new here. I have been writing about these themes for the last several months.
Here is a taste:
…Whatever evangelical votes Kasich wins in South Carolina and beyond will be votes taken away from Rubio. The Florida senator has put together a religious liberty advisory board made up of scholars and religious leaders from the evangelical thinking class. This suggests that he is targeting suburban evangelicals who normally avoid Pentecostal prayer meetings and change the channel when televangelists show up on their big screens. They read religious opinion pieces in The Wall Street Journal and subscribe to Christianity Today.
These are evangelicals who send their kids to schools like Wheaton College (the alma mater of Eric Teetsel, Rubio’s Director of Faith Outreach) or Moody Bible Institute or even Liberty University (despite Jerry Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Trump). In South Carolina they relate more to the warm-hearted piety of Columbia International University (formerly Columbia Bible College) than the militant fundamentalism of Bob Jones University. These evangelicals attend churches with pastors who have seminary degrees from places like Fuller Theological Seminary,Dallas Theological Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Southern Seminary, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Read the entire column here.