Advertise On EU-Digest

Anual Advertising Rates

10/18/16

US Presidential Elections:Trump candidacy eveals political rifts among evangelicals - by Laurie Goodstein

 When Jen Hatmaker speaks to stadiums full of Christian women, she regales them with stories about her five children and her garden back in Austin, Texas — and stays away from politics. But recently she took to Facebook and Instagram to blast Donald Trump as a "national disgrace," and remind her legions of followers that there are other names on the ballot in November.

"Trump has consistently normalized violence, sexual deviance, bigotry and hate speech," she said in an email interview. "I wouldn't accept this from my seventh-grade son, much less from a potential leader of the free world."

In the nearly four decades since Jerry Falwell Sr. founded a group called the Moral Majority, evangelical Christians have been the Republican Party's most unified and reliable voting bloc in November presidential elections. The leaders of what came to be known as the religious right were kingmakers and household names, like Pat Robertson, James C. Dobson, Ralph Reed.

But this year, Hatmaker's outraged post was one small sign of the splintering of the evangelical bloc and a possible portent of the changes ahead. While most of the religious right's aging old guard has chosen to stand by Trump, its judgment and authority are being challenged by an increasingly assertive crop of younger leaders, minorities and women such as Hatmaker.

"Those men have never spoken for me or, frankly, anyone I know," said Hatmaker, the author of popular inspirational Christian books. "The fracture within our own Christian family may be irreparable."

The fault lines among evangelicals that the election of 2016 has exposed — among generations, ethnic groups and sexes — are likely to reshape national politics for years to come, conservative Christian leaders and analysts said in interviews last week. Arguments that were once private are now public, and agendas are no longer clear.

"The idea of a monolithic evangelical voting constituency is no longer applicable in the American electorate," said Samuel Rodriguez Jr., the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who represents about 40,000 congregations and declined to join his friends and allies on Trump's evangelical advisory board.

The big names who sit atop organizations that function largely as lobbying groups and mobilization squads for the Republican Party have stuck with Trump despite the lewd comments he made in a 2005 recording, even though he was never their preferred candidate. He wooed them and convinced them that he would appoint Supreme Court justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia, the conservative who died suddenly in February. To these pragmatic players, the election boiled down to only two issues, both that could be solved with Supreme Court appointments: stopping abortion and ensuring legal protections for religious conservatives who object to same-sex marriage.

Read more:Trump reveals rifts among evangelicals that could shape politics for years - Alaska Dispatch News

No comments: