Donald Trump and evangelicals
Donald Trump has received strong support from evangelical Christians due to his strongly conservative and pro-Christian positions on social issues including abortion, religious liberty, and originalist federal judges. President Trump has pursued strong socially conservative policies and has chosen to surround himself with evangelical leaders, things which earned their support and outweighed his obvious moral shortcomings. Additionally, unlike Democrats and liberals, President Trump does not hate or hold a bigoted attitude toward theologically conservative Christianity.
Despite this, leftists, establishmentarians, and token conservatives continue to mock evangelicals for their support of the president's job performance. While liberal Christians attack other Christians for supporting Trump, those liberal Christians support candidates whose policies are almost completely inconsistent with Christianity, while most of Trump's policies are consistent. Liberals promoted Christianity Today's opposition to Trump despite the magazine itself being politically left-leaning and unrepresentative of theologically conservative evangelical Christians.
The U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was appointed by Trump, is a judge who has ruled in favor of religious liberty in his past decisions. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was also nominated to the court by Trump, gave a favorable ruling in the Hobby Lobby case in respect to religious liberty. See also: Morale of the atheist movement
Trump has praised Christian conservatives such as Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Robert Jeffress, among others. Due to his political views, which respect religious liberty for Christians, including their right to hold to their beliefs and conscience, Trump was endorsed by these evangelicals as well as other conservative evangelical Christian leaders. Commentator John Nolte described the reason for evangelical and Christian support for Trump:
|“||To begin with, as Tucker Carlson so memorably put it, after eight years of Christians having their religious freedoms under assault during the Obama-era, we are looking for a bodyguard, not a saint. And let us not forget that many of the saints were not saints, but rather complicated, fallen, and difficult people who fell short in all kinds of ways.||”|
According to exit polling for the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Trump won 81% of evangelical Christians compared to 16% for Clinton, a record high and even more than George W. Bush won in 2004. Although some commentators disputed the accuracy of such exit polling methods, the polls still showed strong support for Trump from evangelicals. This is largely due to Trump's conservative policies that align well with the Bible, including opposition to abortion.
According to researcher George Barna in his book The Day Christians Changed America, evangelical Christian conservatives played a very important role in Trump's victory, particularly a group which he labeled "SAGE Cons" – Christian conservatives who practice their faith and have theologically orthodox evangelical views – which had a 91% turnout rate and voted for Trump over Clinton by a 93%–1% margin. While not exclusively studying evangelicals, a study in the journal Sociology of Religion in 2018 found that support for conservative Christian values played a key role in Trump's election.
President Trump pursued many positions on abortion, religious liberty, and transgenderism important to evangelical Christian voters (see: Donald Trump achievements: Religious liberty and LGBT and Donald Trump achievements: Abortion). Tony Perkins stated that evangelical support for Trump was "conditional" on him keeping the promises he made to them during his 2016 election campaign.
President Trump has also stated many times that "in America we don’t worship government, we worship God" (see Donald Trump achievements: Miscellaneous achievements).
Evangelical Christians continued to strongly support President Trump due to these policies. In an April 2017 survey conducted by Pew Research Center of white self-described evangelicals, those who attended church at least once a month were significantly more likely to "strongly approve" Trump's job performance. They stood with President Trump, as seen in August 2017 when nearly every evangelical advisor to the president remained in their positions after Trump made politically incorrect comments related to a rally (he spoke favorably about the character of some of the people who did not want a Confederate statue to be removed from a public place), while business and arts advisors resigned over the controversy and establishment Republicans criticized him. According to an April 2018 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, evangelical support for President Trump reached a record high, at 75%.
- Donald Trump's religious views
- Donald Trump and American atheists
- Growth of evangelical Christianity
- President Donald J. Trump Stands Up For Religious Freedom In The United States, WhiteHouse.gov, May 3, 2018
- Brown, Michael L. (November 5, 2018). 11 ways evangelicals can explain their support for Trump. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
- Brown, Michael L. (November 5, 2018). Why evangelicals will vote for Trump’s agenda in 2018. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
- Starnes, Todd (October 22, 2019). Why Christians must defend President Trump. The Washington Times. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- Metaxas, Eric (January 7, 2020). The Christian Case for Trump. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
- Multiple references:
- Brown, Michael L. (February 28, 2018). Christians aren’t hypocritical for supporting Trump. Here’s why. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Chumley, Cheryl K. (February 3, 2018). Trump has evangelicals — get over it. The Washington Times. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Jordahl, Steve (December 29, 2017). Apologist: Evangelical support for Trump isn't hypocritical. OneNewsNow. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Farah, Joseph (January 23, 2018). Are evangelicals 'moral relativists' for Trump support? WND. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Prager, Dennis (February 6, 2018). A Defense of Evangelicals Who Support Trump. National Review. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Freiburger, Calvin (July 27, 2018). No, religious conservatives haven’t ‘sold their souls’ by working with Donald Trump. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
- Carlson, Tucker (December 24, 2019). Tucker Carlson: The real reason so many Christians are willing to support Trump. Fox News. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
- Brown, Michael L. (November 5, 2018). What would America look like if all Christians voted liberal? LifeSiteNews. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
- Multiple references:
- Ellis, Jenna (December 19, 2019). Christianity Today does not speak for most evangelical Christians with call for Trump removal. Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
- Chumley, Cheryl K. (December 20, 2019). Christianity Today all wrong on Trump. The Washington Times. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
- Berry, Susan (December 20, 2019). Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins: Trump Condemner Christianity Today Has ‘PC Worldview’. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
- Piper, Everett (December 20, 2019). Christianity Today versus Donald Trump. The Washington Times. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
- Bomberger, Ryan (December 20, 2019). Leading evangelical magazine demands Trump’s removal for ‘immoral behavior’. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
- Bohon, Dave (December 21, 2019). Evangelical Leaders Respond to “Christianity Today” Anti-Trump Editorial. The New American. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
- Leahy, Michael Patrick (December 22, 2019). Evangelical Leaders Confront Christianity Today for Magazine’s ‘Entirely Partisan, Legally Dubious’ Support for Trump Impeachment. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
- Morton, Victor (December 22, 2019). Evangelical leaders condemn Christianity Today's anti-Trump editorial. The Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
- Roberts, Katabella (December 23, 2019). Evangelical Leaders Condemn ‘Christianity Today’ For Questioning Their Christian Witness. The Epoch Times. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
- McGhee, Kaylee (December 23, 2019). Should evangelical Christians support Trump in 2020? Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
- Daly, Jim (December 23, 2019). Jim Daly: Christianity Today is wrong to want Trump removed – Here’s the evangelical argument in his favor. Fox News. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
- Brown, Jon (December 23, 2019). 'Just playing political games': Prominent evangelical Trump supporter explains opposition to Christianity Today. Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
- Pearce, Tim (December 23, 2019). Nearly 200 evangelical leaders blast Christianity Today over anti-Trump editorial. Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
- Bohon, Dave (December 23, 2019). Nearly 200 Christian Leaders Take Bold Stand for Trump. The New American. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
- Nance, Penny (December 28, 2019). Christianity Today has damaged the Christian witness in America. Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
- Thomas, Cal (December 30, 2019). When anti-Trump evangelicals get political. The Washington Times. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
- Swindell, Clyde (December 30, 2019). Christianity Today Embarrasses Evangelicals. Human Events. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
- These 6 Cases Show How Brett Kavanaugh Might Rule on Religious Freedom, Daily Signal, 2018
- Neil Gorsuch Has a Record of Protecting Religious Minorities, Time magazine, 2017
- Nolte, John (April 19, 2018). Stormy Fail: Trump’s Evangelical Support Hits Record High. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- O'Brien, Cortney (November 12, 2016). Evangelical Voters Showed Up Big Time For Trump. Townhall. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- Lovett, Ian (November 9, 2016). Evangelicals Back Donald Trump in Record Numbers, Despite Earlier Doubts. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- Showalter, Brandon (November 16, 2016). Did 81 Percent of Evangelicals Really Vote for Trump? Not So Fast, Some Say. The Christian Post. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- Multiple references:
- Leahy, Michael Patrick (December 24, 2017). George Barna: 8 Nov. 16 — The Day Christians Changed America. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- Jordahl, Steve (September 7, 2017). Nov. 8, 2016 – the day Christians put their foot down: Barna. OneNewsNow. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Barna, George (2017). The Day Christians Changed America: How Christian Conservatives put Trump in the White House and Redirected America's Future. Metainformation (eBook). ASIN: 0692905308.
- Williams, Thomas D. (April 16, 2018). Study: ‘Christian Nationalism’ Played Significant Role in 2016 U.S. Elections. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- 17 Reasons Why American Christians Celebrated in 2017. CBN News. December 31, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Brody File: Trump Gets A+ on 'Evangelical Report Card' for His First Year. CBN News. January 20, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Lima, Cristiano (January 25, 2018). Tony Perkins: Evangelical support for Trump 'conditional' on campaign promises. Politico. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Starr, Penny (March 1, 2018). EXCLUSIVE–Tony Perkins: Trump’s Commitment to Religious Liberty is Most Important Promise He’s Kept. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Multiple references:
- Boyer, Dave (December 6, 2017). Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital fulfills campaign promise broken by predecessors. The Washington Times. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
- Trump tweet touts Jerusalem move, taunts past presidents. Fox News. December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- Greenwood, Max (December 8, 2017). Trump posts video of past presidents’ statements on Israel embassy. The Hill. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- Quinn, Melissa (December 8, 2017). Trump boasts after Jerusalem decision: 'I fulfilled' promise 'others did not'. Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- Multiple references:
- Belin, Célia (December 15, 2017). Trump’s Jerusalem decision is a victory for Evangelical politics. Brookings Institution. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- 'Promise Made, Promise Kept': Evangelicals React to Trump's Plan to Recognize Jerusalem as Israeli Capital. CBN News. December 6, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Amos, Owen (January 5, 2018). Why do US evangelicals support Trump's Jerusalem policy? BBC News. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Smith, Gregory A. (April 26, 2017). Among white evangelicals, regular churchgoers are the most supportive of Trump. Pew Research Center. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Zoll, Rachel (August 18, 2017). Trump's evangelical advisers sticking with him amid fallout. Fox News (from the Associated Press). Retrieved August 19, 2017.
At least one evangelical member resigned, but the rate of resignations was still significantly lower than on other advisory councils:
- Greenwood, Max (August 18, 2017). Member of Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board resigns over 'conflict in values'. The Hill. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
- Chiacu, Doina; Lynch, Sarah N. (August 20, 2017). Prominent U.S. religious conservatives defend Trump after Charlottesville. Reuters. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- Brown, Michael (August 14, 2017). Evangelicals, Racists, and Trump. WND. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Multiple references:
- Thomsen, Jacqueline (April 19, 2018). Poll: White evangelical support for Trump at record high. The Hill. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- Harper, Jennifer (April 19, 2018). Evangelical support for Trump at ‘all-time high’. The Washington Times. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- Starr, Penny (April 10, 2018). Tony Perkins: NPR Produced Fake News About Evangelicals’ Concern with Trump’s Past. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- Bohon, Dave (April 18, 2018). Evangelical Leaders Critical of Trump Strategize at “Invitation Only” Meeting. The New American. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- Why Trump’s alliance with Evangelicals actually does make sense, LifeSiteNews, May 15, 2019.