By TOM GJELTEN
For more than 30 years, conservative evangelical Christians have been tied to the Republican Party. While the pattern seems to be holding this year, with most conservative white Christians supporting Donald Trump, some evangelical leaders are now questioning the logic behind the political alliance.
Prominent among them is Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant church group in the United States. In a recent lecturetitled “Can the Religious Right Be Saved?” Moore recalled the first time he noticed conservative Christian activists distributing voting guides at his church.
“Even as a teenager,” Moore said, “I could recognize that the issues chosen just happened to be the same as that year’s talking points from the Republican National Committee.” Christian political outreach, he said, had already moved beyond simple matters of faith.
“On many issues, there did seem to be a clear Christian position — on the abortion of unborn children, for instance, and on the need to stabilize families,” Moore noted. “But why was there a ‘Christian’ position outlined on congressional term limits and a balanced budget amendment and the line item veto?”
Forty or 50 years ago, liberal Christians were more likely than conservatives to be identified with specific political positions, largely because of their support of the civil rights or anti-war movements. White evangelical Christians began uniting behind the Republican Party with the emergence in 1980 of Moral Majority, a movement organized by evangelist Jerry Falwell in support of Ronald Reagan’s candidacy.