Liberty University and Jerry Falwell Jr. threaten to sue one reporter but there are many more stories
Samuel Rodriguez and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Evangelicals may be turning on Trump very gradually

This is a very common topic that comes up in conversations. Here is an article from today and my comments that I made on a Facebook post by Elesha Coffman who was quoted in the article. 


Comments on this article: 

Evangelicals have stuck by Trump. But polls hint at trouble ahead.
Backlash from Trump's Syria decision has left him scurrying to shore up a critical element of his base.


10/24/2019 05:15 AM EDT



I thought Elesha Coffman's comments in the article were good. Yes, we can't predict the future or detect the mood of the country, so polling is useful and the polls cited were the most relevant ones.

From where I sit in the evangelical academic world, I see very little defense of President Trump besides the handful of Trump apologists who were not particularly respected prior to Trump coming on the scene: Robert Jeffress, Eric Metaxas, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., Jack Graham, Ralph Reed, Johnnie Moore, James Dobson, Richard Land, Robert Gagnon. And I see a daily barrage of strong criticism of Trump (regarding refugees, Syria, Ukraine, bullying, cruelty, lies, greed, suspicious foreign policy decision-making, corruption, bad associates, secrecy, obstruction of justice, racism, misogyny, sexual immorality, environmental destruction, nepotism, laziness, and incompetence).

But when it comes to a vote between a Republican and a Democrat, there is a tradition of evangelicals voting Republican. Evangelicals (some of whom are only watching Fox News, and many more who are not following the news closely at all but rather playing video games, bingeing TV shows, or following sports) know they have some moral rationale for voting Republican because of "late term abortion" (which 43 states already ban) and "religious liberty;" but they are also influenced by a nostalgia for the way things were (which is related to racism and misogyny and nationalism) so that Democratic candidates are unpalatable.

Might this change and Republican-leaning people denounce Trump even if they lean conservative (like David French, Michael Gerson, David Brooks, George Conway, Bill Kristol, George Will, Mitt Romney, Jeff Flake, John McCain, John Kasich, Evan McMullin), or go farther and even vote Democrat?

There is a tradition of not talking about "politics" in evangelical circles (besides the occasional reference to abortion) so there is a lot of silence among evangelical leaders, academics, and pastors even when they are appalled by what they see Trump say and do. I wish more would speak out in classrooms, pulpits, podcasts, social media, articles, blogs, magazines, wherever. They can start by expounding on principles (that Trump transgresses). Then as they grow in courage to denouncing specific words and actions of Trump. It is good to be careful with what we say but when an action or statement is unambiguously wrong, people should speak up.


See a similar Tweet thread from yesterday