Evangelical Christians, Religious Conservatives Have Faith Trump Will Deliver on His Promises

Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, helped mobilize Christian voters for Donald J. Trump. (Credit: Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)
Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, helped mobilize Christian voters for Donald J. Trump. (Credit: Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)

Donald J. Trump rarely goes to church, said he’s never sought forgiveness for his sins, and in his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning, never mentioned God.

Religion was almost invisible during the presidential campaign, and yet it is the missing piece in understanding Mr. Trump’s victory. The Christian right worked largely under the national media’s radar this year, but it helped deliver the presidency to a thrice-married mogul who bragged about groping women and has been accused by multiple women of actually doing it.

They were willing to forgive Mr. Trump’s personal transgressions because he stoked their fears that a Hillary Clinton administration would take away their religious liberties, use their tax dollars to fund late-term abortions at home and abroad, and expand the rights of gay and transgender people, political analysts said. Mr. Trump warned at rallies and at conservative Christian gatherings that he alone was their last hope to protect them against a changing culture, using the refrain, “This is your last chance.”

Now that he has won, evangelical leaders say they are confident Mr. Trump will deliver on the political promises he made to them. These include appointing a conservative to the Supreme Court, defunding Planned Parenthood, protecting businesses that refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings and rescinding the mandate in the Affordable Care Act that requires insurance coverage for birth control.

And with Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, an evangelical with a record of legislating against abortion and same-sex marriage, as vice president, Christian leaders say they feel reassured they will have access to the White House and a seat at the table.

“I am confident he will do as president what he said he would do as a candidate,” said Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, who helped mobilize Christian voters for Mr. Trump.

White evangelicals and Catholics voted for Mr. Trump at even higher rates than they voted for the last two Republican presidential nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.

“The wall of white Christian voters held,” said Robert P. Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute and author of “The End of White Christian America.”

White evangelicals make up 26 percent of the American electorate, and 81 percent of them voted for Mr. Trump, despite loud criticism by some in their ranks that he was racist, misogynistic and unfit for the presidency. Only 16 percent voted for Mrs. Clinton.

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SOURCE: The New York Times
Laurie Goodstein

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