This question has stayed with me almost my entire adult life: Why do evangelicals vote for Republicans?
I spent time in my mid-20s thinking about what I believed faith-wise and where I stood politics-wise. I realized that I was just as much a believer in God in my adult life as I was in my youth. But I grew up in a conservative family that voted for Republicans, and the more I thought about it the more I realized that conservative politics are terribly at odds with Christianity.
I found myself wondering, what does Christianity have to do with:
- … zero gun control?
- … corporate tax cuts?
- … corporate money in elections?
- … disproportionate spending on defense?
- … voter suppression?
- … limited government?
- … closed borders?
- … racism?
Some Christians are Speaking Out
I was encouraged to see this story in the New York Times written by Tim Keller, who is pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. He writes: “… while believers can register under a party affiliation and be active in politics, they should not identify the Christian church or faith with a political party as the only Christian one.”
He wrote what I’ve been thinking for the past 12 years.
And then I was equally as encouraged to see this New York Times story about evangelicals supporting Beto O’Rourke for United States Senate. The story includes this key passage: “When I look at Cruz, I think he sees Republican politics. When I look at Beto, I think he sees vulnerable people who need to be supported.”
Again, someone said exactly what I’ve been thinking!
New Film: ‘In God We Trump’
The story about evangelicals for Beto makes reference to Robert Jeffress, who is the outspoken pastor of First Baptist Dallas — and one of Donald Trump’s biggest evangelical supporters.
Jeffress and his stances on certain issues have always concerned me. They’ve felt so judgmental and so devoid of love. Christianity is always a balance of truth and love, and I think we as American Christians have traded in love for a focus on an extremely narrow (and sometimes corrupted) version of Biblical truth.
Given what I know of Jeffress, I wasn’t surprised to see him highlighted in the new documentary “In God We Trump.” Check out the trailer below:
Vox interviewed filmmaker Christopher Maloney about the documentary. He described feeling much the same way I felt right after the 2016 election:
“Right after the election, I was kind of like a lot of people: in a state of grief. I started trying to process what had happened and how it had happened. And the thing that I was most upset about was how he had gotten so much Christian support because, having grown up in that world and still considering myself a Christian, that was something that I didn’t understand about a community that I thought I knew. So just for my own edification, I started trying to figure out how the connection between evangelicals and Trump had formed, and what they got out of it.”
The Biggest Problem With Reversing This Trend
I know SO many evangelicals who vote Republican as a default. I used to do the same thing — until I took a closer look at the issues and at the politicians.
And that’s the biggest problem: evangelicals who vote Republican as a default. I try to talk to evangelical friends about Democratic candidates, and they want me to make some sort of big pitch/sell — which I can do. But, when it comes to Republicans, they desire no such scrutiny.
I went through a period from 2006 to 2008 when I decided it was time to scrutinize both parties. The more I learned, the more drawn I was to Democrats. If I could wish anything for 2018 and beyond, it’s that Christians would quit voting reflexively for Republicans and start giving both sides the scrutiny they deserve.