Opinion

OPINION: Trump and the Church

By Claude-Braxton Barnhill

According to the non-partisan Pew Research Center, in the 2016 presidential election, 58 percent of all Protestant Christians in the country voted for Donald Trump to be president. This might not be a surprise to those who are aware that according to the same source between the years 2000-2016, 54-59 percent of the same demographic voted for the Republican candidate in each election. What makes the amount of Protestant Christians, and believers in general, that voted for the Republican candidate particularly surprising this year is the blatant anti-Christian rhetoric of Donald Trump. He downplayed what many call his own admittance of sexual assault when he was caught on a recording casually saying he uninvitingly grabs women in their personal areas, openly mocked and mimicked a physically disabled reporter and proposed banning people from the country based solely on their religion. According to Politifact, which has been a political fact-checking website for ten years, 21 percent of Trump’s statements were mostly false, and 33 percent of them were completely false. This is deeply troubling because according to the same source, only 5 percent of his statements were deemed to be completely true during his 2016 election campaign. Of course, most politicians are known for lying, but Trump’s consistent, flagrant and overwhelmingly casual disregard of the truth was and still is deeply alarming. Donald Trump has been caught lying about things as trivial as how many people showed up to his presidential inauguration. Humans, in general, are complex and can have various things in society they identify themselves with. For those that identify as Christian and Republican, after eight years of a president from the Democratic party, there was a lot on the line this election. What good, responsible conservative could honestly risk losing the election to another Democrat? Despite the obvious immoral behavior of Donald Trump, I believe 58 percent of Protestant Christians voted for him based on two primary factors. One, his shallow, vague promise to “Make America Great Again” outweighed all of his evident moral poverty. Or two, the identities of these Christian Republicans were based more on being a benefit to the Republican party than promoting actual Christian values in this society. For a guy that always wants his country to improve and understands the concept of having a multi-faceted identity, either or any excuse for voting for Donald Trump, in my opinion, would seem irrelevant to those that follow Jesus Christ.

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