George Yancey Asks, What is the Endgame for Evangelicals’ Support of Donald Trump?

Members of the clergy lay hands and pray over Donald Trump in September at the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Okay, I want to discuss something that is vexing to me. I try to understand where people are coming from. But I must admit that I fail to fully comprehend why there is continual evangelical support of Trump.

When I argued with my evangelical friends about their support of Trump I received many answers from them for why they were willing to provide such support. But one of the most common reasons given to me was that they were afraid of Clinton. One of the common statements I heard was that they knew Clinton was going to come after them. But Trump would leave them alone. Indeed, I must say that the way Clinton ran her campaign only fed into such fears.

Okay, so I get why some Christians voted for Trump. I think they are wrong, but for them it can be a matter of the lesser evil. Trump was the lesser of unpleasant choices. I understand because the choices were unpleasant for me as well. If a gun were put to my head and I had to pick one of the two, then I would have gone for Clinton. But that does not mean that I do not appreciate how loathsome of an option she would have represented. Fortunately for me, I found the American Solidarity Party, and I will probably stay with them until at least one of our political parties becomes sane.

So I am not vexed by the choice of many evangelicals to vote for Trump. I think it wrongheaded but I get why they did it. What vexes me is their continued support for Trump. Evangelicals have been his biggest supporters in his policies and seem to be the most loyal to him. They have ignored his immoralities and shortcomings in ways they clearly would not have done for Democrats. It is a blind loyalty that he is unworthy to receive.

My general inclination is that this is part of the same strategy to use political power to gain protection from Christianophobia that led them to support Trump in the first place. No one has to tell me of the reality of Christianophobia in the United States. I have done more academic work on this subject than any other researcher. So I do not begrudge Christians taking steps to deal with this type of bigotry. But if we are going to take steps, then they should be smart steps. The continued support of Trump is not a smart step.

One could argue that voting Trump into office may have delayed providing some Christianophobes power for at least a few years. But the continued linking of our Christian faith to Trump will eventually provide them with more power. This support will call our legitimacy into question which will provide those with Christianophobia the license they need to block Christians from the public square. Rather than using this temporary period of relief to prepare for a time after Trump, many Christians are merely digging a bigger hole for themselves with their blind support for him. And selfishly, they are creating that hole even for Christians like myself who do not like Trump.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, George Yancey