A survey released today by the Pew Research Center has a seemingly obvious headline: “White Evangelicals See Trump as Fighting for Their Beliefs, Though Many Have Mixed Feelings About His Personal Conduct.”
That’s not new. Plenty of white evangelicals have shifted from demanding the president be sufficiently Christian (which President Obama could never be, in their minds) to saying the president doesn’t need to be Christian at all as long as he does whatever conservative Christians want (which Donald Trump is happy to do in order to remain in power). They’ll eagerly dismiss pussy-grabbing, hush money payments, affairs, putting kids in cages, hurting the poor, nepotism, grifting, and gross incompetence in exchange for all the federal judges they can swallow.
If they just admitted Trump is a monster, but that they’re getting what they want out of it so they’re willing to put up with him, I could at least understand it.
But what surprised me is that’s not at all what the numbers show.
The survey found that white evangelicals are fully brainwashed into thinking Trump is the New Messiah.
For example, the survey asked: “How well does ‘morally upstanding’ describe Donald Trump?” 32% of all Americans said it’s a fair description. That’s even less than the people who support Trump no matter what he does, suggesting at least some Americans recognize the hypocrisy.
Yet among white evangelicals, an astonishing 61% think Trump is a moral guy.
It gets worse. Is Trump honest? 36% say that’s accurate — those people are wrong — but 69% of white evangelicals think he’s telling them the truth!
That’s how deluded they are. I mean, I’ve come to accept that most religious people freely accept powerful people lying to them, but apparently 16,000+ lies (so far) have just gone in one ear and out the other.64% of white evangelicals also believed that Trump was somewhat religious or very religious. Shows you just how little it takes for Trump to convince Christians he’s one of them. His actions — always contrary to the supposed values of Christianity — never matter to them.
It also wont surprise you that 83% of white evangelicals think Trump is “intelligent” while only 40% say he’s “even-tempered” (compared to 19% of non-religious Americans).
I didn’t think it was possible to drink that much Kool-Aid.
The survey also revealed some not-so-shocking results, too. When it comes to the Bible, for example, 49% of all Americans think the Christian book should have at least some influence on our laws… but that number jumps to 89% when you ask white evangelicals.
What if there’s a conflict? Then the Bible should win, say 68% of those Christians.
They really do want a theocracy.
The big takeaway for me is that these white Christians have fallen under Trump’s spell. It’s not just transactional; it’s pathological. I don’t know if there’s a solid line connecting blindly accepting lies in church and blindly accepting whatever Trump says, but it’s at least dotted.
Democrats should also realize that those people are unreachable. There’s no reason to ever cozy up to white evangelical Christians because they’re long gone. Liberals are better off getting progressive Christians, Secular Americans, and religious minorities on their side by appealing to our shared sense of church/state separation and doing our best to take care of the most vulnerable people in society.
It’s incredible that white Christians spent decades wearing the hat of “family values,” but when they finally get all the power they ever wanted, the values disappeared entirely and they fully caved in to a man who doesn’t give a damn about them, lives in opposition to their stated beliefs, and knows exactly how to wrap them around his little fingers.
(Top image via Shutterstock)