Why do evangelical Christians support Donald Trump?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
The politics of Donald Trump may, at times, seem at odds with the morals of Christianity. While Jesus Christ preached about giving away all possessions to help the poor, for you will have riches in heaven, the president has amassed a large fortune, and delivered tax cuts that will primarily benefit the rich. The Messiah named "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" as one of the greatest Ten Commandments, but Trump wants to build a massive wall between him and his neighbours. When it came to forgiveness, Jesus said that you need to forgive your brother who sins against you - the president, instead, turns to Twitter to rant and attack those disagree with his views.
And yet, Trump is the figure that evangelical Christians have turned to as their representative in the political world. It appears to be not a match made in heaven, but it seemingly works.
The Financial Times calls the president "an odd vessel for evangelical hopes", noting that he is a divorced adulterer who ran a gambling empire - an industry that the hardline Christians ostensibly abhor. Despite this, he was backed by 81 per cent of white evangelical Christians - receiving more support than recent GOP candidates, Mitt Romney and John McCain, and previous Republican president George W Bush.
"Powerful, privileged, and immoral men seems to be a hallmark of the modern evangelical movement in the United States," the Huffington Post argues. With Republican figures, such as Trump and failed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, receiving their support, the Religious Right have sought to grab any weapon in their arsenal, even though the "abusive, arrogant and misogynistic men such as these are radically incongruent with the values of the Jesus they claim to worship".
The Religious Right have undergone rebranding and reforms multiple times in an attempt to seize power and privilege. These attempts have failed to work, until the alt-right movement joined forces with them. This new alt-right version of Christianity, however, views the Religious Right as "a vehicle for white supremacy", the New Republic writes. The politicised evangelicals have effectively become a subsidiary of the alt-right, "yoked to Trump's white nationalist agenda".
The evangelicals are not ignorant towards Trump's unsuitability in regards to their religious views, but they are being pragmatic to achieve their political goals. The Guardian's Josiah Hesse argues that they know he is not a real Christian, in the same way that recognised Ronald Reagan was not one of them - but he still became their political Moses - and George W Bush possibly lived an even more debauched life than Trump. He adds: "To evangelicals, pissing off liberals and defending unpopular opinions makes Trump appear more like one of them."
If Donald Trump does not necessarily live up to the Christian ideals, the evangelicals are willing to ignore this for their political gains - and, at the end of the day, his unchristian behaviour may result in the most Christian action of them all: they could always forgive the president.