Although the majority of white Christian evangelicals have voted for Trump, the evangelical movement seems to be facing problems of division.
At first glance, the manner in which evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in one huge block makes it look like America’s white evangelicals are united. However, the cracks that were noticed among evangelicals have now become very pronounced.
Trump was either loved, or hated. And for evangelicals, this year’s elections were perhaps the most difficult. Although 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump, many of them admitted to doing so simply because they dislike Hillary Clinton more. Trump holds very extreme views about issues. On the one hand, his ideas against abortion, LGBTQ rights and secularism landed him straight into the good books of evangelicals. However, it is his views on other issues such as Muslims, people of color, immigrants, and other ethnic and religious minorities that disappointed some factions within the evangelical block. And when America realized that he is involved in sexual scandals, the few evangelicals that were disillusioned with Trump became more wary of voting for him. The leaked video of him talking in an obscene manner about women made matters worse for the Trump campaign.
This is where the first cracks made an appearance. A number of evangelical leaders, especially female evangelicals outright condemned him. Now, it seems that America has two types of white evangelicals- those for whom his seemingly misogynistic and racist behavior proved his incapability to lead, and those for whom he was still the better choice.
Clearly, the elections have shown most still thought of him as the lesser of the two evils. Clinton’s liberal views on issues that Christians have traditionally been against definitely made her the choice never to make for evangelicals, despite her being a proud Methodist, as opposed to Trump, who has shown a complete lack of knowledge of the Bible.
— olasimoju oladipo (@dypoh) November 10, 2016
Another problem that these elections have made obvious for the future of America’s evangelical movement is the lack of unity among evangelical leaders. Because it is not an institutional faith like the Catholic Church, the different churches have ended up bickering amongst themselves as to whom best represents the evangelical movement. Add to this the fact the ties between evangelicals and Republicans is reflective of a faith that is increasingly becoming political, as observed by Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Although these elections showed unity among evangelical voters, the fact remains that the movement is going to face a lot of challenges in the near future as racial, political and gender divides loom large for America’s evangelical Church.
- Huffington Post
- The Atlantic
- Washington Post – “The deep disgust for Hillary Clinton that drives so many evangelicals to support Trump”
- Washington Post – “Why Christians should not succumb to the apocalyptic language of the election”
- World Religion News – “CatholicVote Calls for Trump to Step Down; “disgusting and Indefensible” Comments on Women”
- World Religion News – “Is Trump Making Female Evangelicals Betray the Republican Party?”
- World Religion News – “23-year-old Hillary Clinton Interview Gives Insight About Her Faith”