April 16, 2024 Editor

Thoughts on: Donald Trump’s Christian Soldiers

The MAGA church and white evangelical Christian voters.

Peter DreierActivism

April 15, 2024

image above: The evangelical Left Behind series sold over 40,000,000 books — greater than the population of Canada (39,039,032). I can only add: tragic.

Portrait of an American exercising his constitutional rights

“The next six months is (sic) going to be intense,” Kari Lake, a Republican candidate for Senate in Arizona, said at a rally over the weekend, as the New York Times reported. She told listeners to get ready: “We are going to put on the armor of God. And maybe strap on a Glock on the side of us just in case.”Analysis by , April 17, 2024. Of course, just in case, Kari. . .  just in case God fails, guns always come through. . . Kari’s ultimate god is the Almighty Gun.
WN: Disgustingly tragic, indeed is also the litany of white evangelical support adduced in the article highlighted below, for all manner of anti-Christ policies, beliefs, and attitudes that contradict Jesus. An example:

. . . the Rapture Guns and Knives [store] in North Lakeland, Florida [was created] to serve “your gun and knife needs til Jesus comes.” Its Facebook page describes it as a “Christian-owned Gun and Knife store,” and its motto is “Walking by faith with steel in our hands.

One can say with immense irony that the only “steel in hands” reference in the New Testament was when Jesus was being brutally nailed to the cross. . . But Jesus said in that context:

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 23:34)

I rather doubt that verse is posted on any wall of the Rapture Guns and Knives store or for that matter on the walls of many white evangelical homes of the kind described in the highlighted article below. . . (One might ask: Who are the anti-Christian “liberals” in this case? Amongst this crowd, it seems a rarity that they believe the doctrine of verbal inspiration of Scripture actually applies to the words of Jesus himself!)

A family member believes that “more guns mean less crime” is Gospel truth, and claims about America and his country Canada that, as the Rapture Guns and Knives owner says:

“Our country is being taken away from us. And if we don’t do something about it, it’ll be gone.

Near the end of the article, one reads:

The number of white evangelical Christians is shrinking, particularly among young people. . . Meanwhile, the proportion of white evangelicals in the population has steadily declined, from 23 percent to 13.6 percent, according to PRRI [Public Religion Research Institute].

In light of what is highlighted in the article mentioned below, though I am a deeply committed Christian, with reference to the above quote, I must cry out with a hearty Amen! And my wish is to see that percentage continue to fall through “de-evangelism” or true Christian conversion over the ensuing years. Again, I must say: Amen!

excerpts:

How important are white evangelical Christians to Donald Trump’s political fate and to the MAGA movement he inspired?

Like Trump, white evangelicals have a persecution complex. Seventy percent of white evangelicals—though only 47 percent of all Americans—believe that life has become harder in the United States for people with strong religious faith.

In both the 2016 and 2020 presidential cycles nearly half of Trump’s voters were white evangelical Christians—by far the most reliable bloc of voters in his electoral coalition.

In 2016, 135.5 million voters cast ballots for president. According to exit polls, 26 percent of them—35.2 million voters—identified themselves as white evangelical or born-again Christians. Trump got 80 percent of their votes—a total of 28.2 million voters. That accounts for 45 percent of the 62.6 million votes he received.

Four years later, 158.4 million Americans voted for president. The exit polls reveal that 28 percent of them—44.4 million voters—were white evangelical/born-again Christians. Among them, 76 percent voted for Trump. That’s 33.7 million white evangelical votes for Trump—45.4 percent of his total of 74.2 million votes.

In fact, 61 percent of white evangelicals believe that discrimination against white Americans has become as big a problem as discrimination against racial minorities.
“White evangelicals are self-isolating, because they believe that the rest of the world is evil,” explained Paul Djupe, a political scientist at Denison University in Ohio. “There’s a parallel society among evangelicals that doesn’t intersect with the rest of the world. They not only go to church together. They also go to evangelical plumbers, hair stylists, and others who provide services.“

Being a white evangelical is as much a political identity as a religious one, noted Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University. Sixty percent of white evangelicals today believe that the Republican Party is friendly toward religion, but only 8 percent think that the Democratic Party is on the side of religion.

A 2023 survey discovered that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of white evangelicals qualify as either Christian nationalists (29 percent) or sympathizers (35 percent). Three-quarters (78 percent) believe that America is in danger of losing its culture and identity.

This transformation has evolved since the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan embraced the evangelical movement and they embraced him, led by religious and political entrepreneurs like the Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Rev. Pat Robertson. According to Burge, white evangelicals are not “reluctant Republicans” who need to be actively recruited to vote and to cast their ballots for GOP candidates. They are “thoroughly Republican.” This trend has intensified since Trump first ran for president in 2015, as white evangelicals increasingly identify with the MAGA movement and its apocalyptic views and racial resentments. This is borne out by numerous social science studies and survey data.

Almost four in 10 (39 percent) white evangelicals favor an immigration border policy that separates children from their parents and charges parents as criminals when they enter the country without permission. Fewer than one in four (23 percent) of Americans share this belief.
The MAGA world and white evangelicals are tied together by many ultraconservative beliefs, including attitudes about family and gender, that makes them outliers in American society. Black, Hispanic, and Asian evangelicals are more conservative than their non-evangelical counterparts but not as blindly right-wing or pro-Trump as white evangelicals.

The idea that white evangelical Christians have strong loyalties to “God and guns” is borne out by social science research.

Not surprisingly, white evangelicals view themselves as victims in a culture war that involves religion, politics, race, education, gender roles, economics, and individual liberties. This is compounded by the reality that the number of white Christians has fallen precipitously, from 73 percent of the population in 1972 to 46 percent in 2021. They feel betrayed, and left behind by the major shifts in American society.

Even more ominous, today almost a quarter of Americans (23 percent) agree that “because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country”—an increase from 15 percent in 2021. Among white evangelicals, 31 percent share that view—more than any other religious or demographic group. Support for violence is even higher among white evangelicals who believe the election was stolen. That attitude bore fruit during the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capital.

Please click on: Donald Trump’s Christian Soldiers

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Editor

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.