“DONALD TRUMP IS A WRECKING BALL TO THE SPIRIT OF political correctness.”
event that the same-sex marriage decision was for conservative white Christians,” he says. “It was so at the heart of their political engagement. They had pushed all their resources into the fight, and they lost decisively in courts and in public opinion.”
Among the many miracles Trump performed during his campaign was exploiting white conservative Christian fear. White Christians really are losing demographic ground, if not power. America won’t be theirs for much longer because they are a shrinking portion of the electorate. But, as Trump showed to astonishing effect, they still turn out to vote at higher rates than other, larger demographic groups. And that gives their views greater weight. In 2008, white evangelicals were 21 percent of the population but made up 26 percent of the vote, Jones says. In 2016, white evangelicals had slipped to 17 percent of the total population, but they still constituted 26 percent of voters. Jones calls the 2016 election their “time machine,” Christian fundamentalists’ chance to resurrect the public opinion of 2008, when just 40 percent of Americans supported gay marriage, not the 60 percent who do now.
America’s white Protestant fundamentalist Christians are dwindling, dying off like the dinosaurs God put on Earth alongside humans 6,000 years ago before he mysteriously decided to take them away. (And who cut them out of Genesis?) “Our best estimate is that 2024 will be the first election where we have an electorate that is less than majority white and Christian,” Jones says.
But that still leaves the question of how evangelicals were able to embrace Trump. In 2011, a poll asked respondents to agree or disagree with the statement that someone who commits an immoral act in private life could still perform well in a public position. Among white evangelicals, only three in 10 thought it was possible. In 2016, the pollsters asked the same question— and 71 percent of white evangelicals agreed. “White evangelical Protestants went from being the group least likely to agree that this was possible to being the most likely to agree,” Jones says. “In one way of thinking, Trump turned evangelical ethics on its head, because they had been based on principles. They let the ends justify the means: We need a Republican president, and it doesn’t matter how we get there.”
For many fundamentalists, Trump’s profligate dissembling and decades of dissipation are further proof that their Lord moves in mysterious ways. White evangelical supporters excuse Trump’s long history of immoral behavior by comparing him to various biblical heroes whose lives were less than exemplary but who nonetheless did God’s work. Lance Wallnau, author of a best-selling book about Trump called God’s Chaos
Candidate, has claimed God spoke to him and said, “Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness.”
Now comes the most presumptuous—perhaps even heretical—question a journalist could pose: What does God think of Trump, who, according to
The Washington Post, has already told over 1,000 lies since he moved into the Oval Office and is on a trajectory to hit 2,000 by the end of the year?
The same digital voice analysis that measured Trump’s comfort level when talking about God and the allegedly godless New York Times shows that when the president tells an obvious lie (a statement Politifact has determined is false) he is more relaxed than he is at most other times during his speeches and interviews.
That would seem to be a vexing problem for the faithful, since the Bible repeatedly associates lying with the devil. To cite just one of many examples in Scripture, John 8:44 (NIV) refers to Satan thusly: “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Now recall that millions of white conservative fundamentalists who take the Bible literally are awaiting the fulfillment of its prophesy about the apocalypse—the end of days—which will feature the rise of an evil force that will briefly rule the world. He goes by many names, among them the Prince of Lies.