Journalists and television pundits often appear puzzled by the fact that so many American Evangelical Christians support President Trump and are very hesitant to criticize him. To them it seems inconsistent that these people ally themselves with a thrice married, philandering, rude, and often crude individual who often engages or has engaged in behavior at variance with the principles they espouse.
In attempting to explain it, I remind you of the reaction of Winston Churchill when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Churchill had been a severe critic of communism and the Soviet government from the very earliest days. Yet, when Germany attacked the USSR Churchill promised Stalin all possible assistance. When accused of inconsistency Churchill said, “If Hitler invaded hell he would have a few kind words to say about the Devil.”
Churchill considered Lucifer a less dangerous threat to Britain than Hitler. Today, those Evangelicals who support Trump obviously consider him less dangerous than his Democratic opponents.
Consider these facts:
- Evangelicals are almost universally pro-life. Trump endorses pro-life causes. There is not one prominent Democratic spokesman who identifies himself or herself as pro-life.
- Many Evangelicals are highly suspicious of any cession of national sovereignty to international organizations. They are particularly concerned because of the strong influence of Muslim states and other anti-Western elements in these multi-national bodies. Consider the United Nations General Assembly. Trump expresses nationalistic sentiments pleasing to Evangelicals, whereas many Democratic leaders are supportive of international organizations, courts and treaties that could impinge on America’s freedom of action in a number of areas.
- Evangelicals and Trump express strong support for border security and national defense. Democrats are deeply divided on the border issue, and prominent Democratic leaders frequently express more concern for the rights of illegal immigrants than for American citizens who suffer loss because of illegals. Democrats are also somewhat lukewarm in their support of the military.
- Trump has identified himself with the cause of “America First” and bringing jobs back to America. This stand means some restrictions on so-called free-trade, and it appeals to those American workers who have been hurt by foreign competition. Evangelicals make up a goodly percentage of that group. Establishment Republicans and many Democrats tend to favor international trade agreements that would further remove trade barriers.
- Trump has proven to be a firm friend of Israel. Some Democrats are soft in their support, and a few newly-elected party members are hostile toward the Jewish state. American Evangelicals are fervent in their support of Israel.
- Despite his sometimes objectionable words and actions, Trump has always expressed his firm appreciation of Evangelical leaders and the Evangelical Community, and he has pursued a number of policies that are very pleasing to conservative Christians. Leftist progressives often see Biblical literalists on the Christian right as purveyors of hate speech. After all, the Bible condemns homosexuality. There is little evidence of any affection between the most prominent Democratic politicians and Evangelicals.
Most Evangelicals prefer Donald Trump, warts and all, to any person currently vying for leadership of the Democratic Party.