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The New American
The New American
22 Jul 2023
Luis Miguel

NextImg:Despite Attacks on Character, Trump's Christian Support Remains Strong
AP Images
Article audio sponsored by The John Birch Society

Despite the efforts of Donald Trump’s opponents to separate him from the important blocs of conservative and evangelical Christians, his support among those groups has only become more firm.

As the Associated Press reports, Trump’s Christian support has solidified thanks to the results of his presidency — particularly moving the Supreme Court to the right, with the resultant repeal of Roe v. Wade. Thus, despite the scandals that have followed him, most prominently the allegations of sexual abuse propagated by the mainstream media, Trump has ascended to front-runner status in the Republican presidential primary.

Trump has embraced the evangelical and conservative Christian base. “No president has ever fought for Christians as hard as I have,” he said at the Faith & Freedom gala in Washington in June.

In a Des Moines Register Iowa Poll published in March, it was found that Trump was favorably viewed by 58 percent of evangelicals — a number that far surpasses the 19 percent support he had among this demographic prior to the 2016 caucuses.

Robert Franklin, a professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta and a Trump critic, said that the ongoing persecution of Trump fuels Christians’ support for him even if his personal life does not immaculately line up with Christian morality.

“The more he complains of persecution, the more people dig in to support him, and for a few, fight for him and make personal sacrifices (of money and freedom) for his advancement,” Franklin told AP, adding that many Christians draw a parallel between Trump and the biblical Persian King Cyrus the Great, who allowed Jews to return to the land of Israel following their exile.

“This is a powerful trope, the bad man who makes good things possible, and is hence praised as a hero,” said Franklin. “Unfortunately, under this narrative, Trump can literally do no wrong. His wrong is right. No other politician gets that kind of pass.”

Another Trump critic, Catholic scholar and author Robert Millies, said: “I am certain that many Christians in the MAGA movement earnestly believe Trump has been ‘anointed’ for this purpose — to bring about certain political outcomes they desire.”

And Rev. Peter Daly, a retired Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, said Christian support for Trump “has nothing to do with being Christian. It’s the politics of grievance.”

On the other hand, many faith leaders are fervent in their continued support for Trump.

As AP notes:

Robert Jeffress, pastor of an evangelical megachurch in Dallas, has been a staunch supporter of Trump since his first campaign for president and is sticking by him even as rivals like South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former Vice President Mike Pence tout their Christian faith.

“Conservative Christians continue to overwhelmingly support Donald Trump because of his biblical policies, not his personal piety,” Jeffress told The Associated Press via email. “They are smart enough to know the difference between choosing a president and choosing a pastor.”

… In rural southwest Missouri, pastor Mike Leake of Calvary of Neosho — a Southern Baptist church — says support for Trump within the mostly conservative congregation seems to strengthen the more he is criticized and investigated.

“It further convinces them of their rhetoric that there is a leftist plot to undermine our nation,” Leake said. “So if everybody from the Left hates Trump, well, he must be on to something.”

Thus far, Trump’s support has remained firm enough to keep him ahead of the next-most popular contender for the Republican nomination — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Tensions between the Trump and DeSantis camps remain high, but the governor of Florida has not yet been able to break the Trump wall in Republican primary polling.

DeSantis’ entry into the primary was highly anticipated, as he was expected to be the only candidate who could pose a genuine threat to Donald Trump. While DeSantis has managed to lead the non-Trump field, he still trails the 45th president in nationwide and state polls.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Trump’s support is at 52.4 percent, while DeSantis is down by more than 30 points, at 21.5 percent.

And in further bad news for DeSantis, his reputation as the second-loudest voice in the room may be diminishing: A recently published Echelon Insights poll found that businessman Vivek Ramaswamy is gaining ground. According to that poll, Trump is at 66 percent, DeSantis is at 52 percent, and Ramaswamy is at 40 percent. This is a gain for Ramaswamy, who per the same pollster was in fourth place behind former Vice President Mike Pence back in May.

If anything, Trump’s continued support among conservative Christians demonstrates two important facts about contemporary American politics: The mainstream media no longer has the power it once did to destroy non-establishment figures (the attacks on Trump’s character might have been sufficient to ruin his chances at winning the Christian vote in past generations), and Christians are becoming much more assertive in their desire to see biblical morality effectively implemented in policy.