The New York Times has an excellent article explaining why white evangelicals overwhelmingly support Trump. The gist of the piece is that these folks are willing to overlook Trump’s obvious character deficiencies because he promised that “Christianity will have power” if he is in office. The reporters point to a pivotal speech Trump gave shortly before the 2016 election:
“I will tell you, Christianity is under tremendous siege, whether we want to talk about it or we don’t want to talk about it,” Mr. Trump said.
Christians make up the overwhelming majority of the country, he said. And then he slowed slightly to stress each next word: “And yet we don’t exert the power that we should have.”
If he were elected president, he promised, that would change. He raised a finger.
“Christianity will have power,” he said. “If I’m there, you’re going to have plenty of power, you don’t need anybody else. You’re going to have somebody representing you very, very well. Remember that.”
The reporters interview a number of citizens in a small town in Iowa, and reading their comments made me realize why I haven’t attended a church service since Trump was elected. He has ruined the meaning of Christianity for me. For these folks Christianity seems to involve some kind of exclusionary worldview. Equality and justice are a zero-sum game: equal justice for Blacks means discrimination of white people; acceptance of LGBTQ community means persecution of white Christians. After all, the Lord sent a white man with a beard — just like them — as Savior. Having a Black man in the White House meant “losing their freedoms,”
“Obama wanted to take my assault rifle, he wanted to take out all the high-capacity magazines,” Mr. Schouten said. “It just —”
“— felt like your freedoms kept getting taken from you,” said Heather’s husband, Paul, finishing the sentence for him.
And the thought of a woman in the White House is abhorrent — even for the women interviewed here:
“If you are a hard-working Caucasian-American, your rights are being limited because you are seen as against all the races or against women,” she said. “Or there are people who think that because we have conservative values and we value the family and I value submitting to my husband, I must be against women’s rights.”
Her voice grew strong. “I would say it takes a stronger woman to submit to a man than to want to rule over him. And I would argue that point to the death,” she said.
She felt freer as she spoke.“Mike Pence is a wonderful gentleman,” she said. “This is probably a very bad analogy, but I’d say he is like the very supportive, submissive wife to Trump. He does the hard work, and the husband gets the glory.”
These people are convinced that Trump will win a landslide victory in November. Everywhere they look they see Trump yard signs and banners. But it’s just possible that the Lord has other plans this time and their world will once again be shaken to the core.