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July 27, 2018

Evangelicals Stick With the Defender of Religious Liberty

In the minds of Christians across the country, Trump has been a champion for their values.

The Left is losing its collective mind these days. And why not? Just when they think President Donald Trump is cornered and his presidency ready to implode, his poll numbers inch upward. When the mainstream media sends its reporters into the “foreign” territory of the American heartland to see whether Trump’s support has waned, they’re chagrined to discover just the opposite: His base is hardening. But there’s one group among the president’s base that really irks the Left: evangelical Christians. With the tapes recording a discussion about an alleged Trump payoff off a Playboy model in the headlines these days, could evangelicals be ready to jump ship?

Nope. Trump continues to enjoy high poll numbers among those who identify as evangelicals. Why?

John Fea, chairman of the Department of History at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, seems to have it all figured out. In a recent (wrong) opinion penned for USA Today, Fea asked, “Why do so many evangelicals believe in Donald Trump? Because they privilege fear over hope, power over humility, and nostalgia over history.”

Fea characterizes evangelicals as “intellectually lazy” in waging a “failing war against thickening walls of separation between church and state, the removal of Christianity from public schools, the growing ethnic and religious diversity of the country, the intrusion of the federal government into their everyday lives (especially as it pertains to desegregation and civil rights), and legalized abortion.”

In truth, Fea wants (racist) evangelicals to succumb to the secular agenda instead of seeking to repel its corrosive effects on our culture. Instead of seeking new leadership to protect the sanctity of the unborn, promote the primacy of marriage between a man and a woman, and reject the Rainbow Mafia’s thought policing, evangelicals should celebrate the new world in which they find themselves.

That world, by the way, has left Christians vulnerable to crippling lawsuits and wrecked livelihoods for refusing to bake a same-sex wedding cake, for erecting a cross in the public square, and for reciting a prayer before a football game. Their First Amendment guarantee of religious liberty has, for years now, been under withering assault by intolerant leftist secularists.

For decades, Republicans at all levels of government gave campaign lip service to the hopes of Christians around the country only to turn their backs on those same voters once in office. Why, then, continue to elect these well-meaning but mild-mannered choirboys? Instead, why not throw in behind a serial philanderer who’s delivering the strongest pro-life message in our history and seating a conservative Supreme Court that will defend religious liberty for the next generation?

And just how has Trump backed up his rhetoric? Ralph Reed, head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, recently stated that Trump, in contrast to Hillary Clinton, “was strongly pro-life and released a list of conservative judges from whom he promised to select Antonin Scalia’s replacement.” Moreover, Reed continued, “He pledged to defund Planned Parenthood, move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, end the harassment of churches by the IRS, withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and defend religious freedom. He has kept every one of those promises.”

Evangelical Christians now sense a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance the principles and values of Christianity that are today being attacked from multiple angles. As a result, they’re willing to overlook the moral failings in their president’s personal life.

But it’s not only the leftist push against Christian traditions, mores, and values here at home that’s driving support for the president. It’s the broader objective of saving all people of faith from oppression in other parts of the world.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Susan Crabtree writes, “[Former U.S. Senator and Kansas Governor] Sam Brownback, who serves as the ambassador at large for religious freedom at the State Department, pledged a new U.S. government commitment to halting the persecution of religious minorities around the world and called on other countries to join the campaign.”

Some 80 countries sent representatives to the summit where Brownback spoke this week about worldwide religious persecution, particularly against Christians, and the need to spread the ideals of religious liberty beyond American borders. At the summit, Brownback asserted, “Religious freedom really, truly is for everyone. It’s a right given by God, and your presence is an encouragement to people of faith around the world that someone cares about their plight.” He added, “Unfortunately, a large majority of the world live in countries where the freedom to practice their own faith is extremely limited … and in some cases deadly.”

Moreover, Vice President Mike Pence spoke Thursday about religious liberty, which he called the “first freedom of everyone in the world.” He rousingly addressed threats to religious liberty in China, North Korea, Iran, Turkey, Europe, Nicaragua, and even here at home. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a declaration calling on governments around the world to defend that liberty. The document states, “Religious freedom is a far-reaching, universal, and profound human right that all peoples and nations of good will must defend around the globe.”

It should be no surprise that evangelicals continue to support a president who has delivered more than they ever could have imagined. Her childhood Methodist background notwithstanding, a President Hillary Clinton would have dealt a crushing blow to any hope of restoring (or even limiting the damage to) Judeo-Christian values in our country.

In the end, evangelicals are not the narrow-minded Bible-thumpers the media wants us to believe. They’re actually politically astute, and they know a winner when they see one. And in the minds of Christians across the country, President Trump has been a champion for the values and principles they believe in.

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