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Why American Evangelical Christians See Trump as Their Protector ?

Photo: Drew Angerer Getty Images via Agence France-Presse Donald Trump delivered remarks at a gathering of the Faith and Freedom coalition, which brings together evangelical Christians, on June 24, 2023.

Huw Griffith – Agence France-Presse in Los Angeles

11:13 a.m.

  • United States

Donald Trump has been a casino owner, married three times and civilly convicted of sexual assault, but has for years remained an unlikely role model for evangelical Christians, a key electorate in the United States.< /p>

Many of these fervent believers see the former president, who offered them a major victory in their fight against abortion, as the best option for the November election.

Some are even convinced that he was appointed by God to prevent America from falling into damnation.

By speaking to a group of religious radio stations on Thursday, the Republican will once again seek to cultivate the attention of evangelical America.

The love story between Donald Trump and this community, which represents more than a quarter of the American electorate, was not a foregone conclusion.

When Donald Trump first launched the race for the White House in 2015, the Republican, with a claimed taste for transgression and provocation, did not necessarily have much to offer to the country's religious right.

But the former reality TV star managed to secure support, notably by proposing to appoint anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court, a favorite theme for this segment of the electorate. And by choosing as vice-president Mike Pence, a former radio host, ultraconservative and devout Christian.

When Americans went to the polls in November 2016, 77% of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, according to Pew Research. Support that increased to 84% in the 2020 election.

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“He understands them”

But with the end of the constitutional guarantee of the right to abortion decided in 2022 by a Supreme Court where Donald Trump appointed three conservative judges, what does this electorate still hope for from a man not known for spend your Sunday mornings at church ?

According to journalist Tim Alberta, the evangelical right fears being in a situation of mortal danger within a country which is today much less in its image.

“If you consider the fact that the culture wars have swung so sharply against them and the country is changing so dramatically in such a short period of time, you begin to understand why there is this fear, this anxiety.” , he highlighted during a series of interviews for his book “The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory,” which deals with support from the evangelical right to Donald Trump.

“If you believe that the barbarians are at our gates, then you say to yourself: 'Maybe we need a barbarian to protect us,'” he summarizes.

For this community, which represents only 14.5% of the population but 28% of voters, the fact that the real estate tycoon is not religious does not matter. They feel he is on their side.

“People feel like he understands them. Even if certain aspects of his life don't fit their lifestyle or their morals, they feel like he understands them,” Troy Miller, head of National Religious Broadcasters, who invited Mr. Trump to address the body on Thursday.

Christian nationalism

For an outside observer, it may seem surprising that the non-religious Donald Trump is far preferred to practicing Christians – Joe Biden is a devout Catholic but, according to Pew Research, he only attracts 14% support among white evangelicals.

Even those who belong to the evangelical movement on the Republican side are losing out in face-offs with the billionaire: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott have all two failed in the party primary process and are now lining up behind the ex-president.

For Tim Alberta, this support finds its roots in a Christian nationalism that mixed biblical notions of paradise with the very idea of ​​America.

“There are millions of people in this country who truly believe, deep in their flesh, that America…has a special relationship with God,” he said . “Therefore, fighting for America is fighting for God.”

“And this guy, Donald Trump, who shares none of your values… is ready to go to war for you,” summarizes the journalist.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116