Source: Huffington Post
President-elect Donald Trump zealously courted American evangelicals during his campaign ― setting up private meetings, putting together an advisory committee composed of top leaders, and repeatedly playing into evangelicals’ fear that Christianity in America is growing weaker.
On election day, it paid off.
Despite his divorces, his shifting positions on abortion, and his disparaging attitude towards women, Muslims, Latinos, refugees, and the disabled, white evangelical Protestants stuck by their man. According to FiveThirtyEight, exit polls showed that white evangelicals chose Trump by a wide margin ― 81 percent to 16 percent. The last time they showed up so strongly for a Republican presidential candidate was 2004, when they chose President George Bush over John Kerry by a margin of 78 percent to 21 percent.
In surveys conducted before the election, no religious group backed the Republican candidate as strongly as white evangelical Protestants ― two-thirds (66 percent) of white evangelical Protestant voters reported they were at least leaning towards supporting Trump.
But a closer look at this group and at those who claim the identity of “evangelical” reveals a divide that could have consequences for the future of Christianity in America.
On one hand, evangelical leaders who were part of Trump’s evangelical advisory committee were hopeful after hearing about his victory.
Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, was part of that committee, although he’s criticized Trump in the past. He told The Huffington Post that he believes evangelicals were motivated to vote in unprecedented numbers because of Hillary Clinton’s record on abortion. He also saw Trump’s victory as part of God’s plan for America ― a divine intervention that he hopes will encourage Americans to turn back from their “increasing immorality.” For him, it’s a sign that “accounts of the death of the Christian evangelical right are premature.”