Evangelical voters have been a vital part of the Republican coalition since the 1970s. Republicans simply cannot win without them, as the 1992 and 2008 presidential elections demonstrated. But many of them have been torn over former President Trump. Things like this don’t help.
Oh this is so very on brand for cpac
— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@MollyJongFast) February 26, 2021
Evangelicals acknowledge Trump’s strong pro-life stance and other traditional cultural views. That’s why they have been staunch Trump supporters. But some among them abhor the former president’s character. I have a close friend, an evangelical pastor of a large southern church, who detests Trump so much he could not vote for him, even though this pastor is very pro-life. He is in the minority with evangelicals, but as a whole they are not blind to Trump’s past foibles and current persona.
As such, Pastor Robert Jeffress, the pastor of a Baptist megachurch in Dallas, cogently addresses what most evangelical voters are looking for in politics.
Jeffress: “Full disclosure: I do not identify as a Republican or Democrat, but as a Christian who votes according to my spiritual convictions. Nevertheless, like millions of evangelical and conservative Catholic believers, I tend to vote for Republican candidates because of the Republican party’s strong pro-life and pro-religious platform. Because I view politics as a pragmatic means to enact policies that are consistent with biblical principles, I am interested in who wins this predictable, post-election civil war that is raging between establishment Republicans and Donald Trump supporters for control of the GOP.”
Logical. As I’m a man who prefers that faith and politics do not mix, analytical faith leaders like this are a breath of fresh air.
“It’s normal for any political party to perform a political autopsy after a loss like Republicans experienced in November. However, it is also common for political parties to draw exactly the wrong conclusion from an election loss – just as Republicans did in 2008 and 2012. For evangelical Christians who submit to the authority of the Bible, there are a few political issues that clearly rise to the level of first principles. Abortion is that kind of issue. It involves the death of an innocent human life. Therefore, political compromise is not possible without moral compromise. The same cannot be said for secondary matters like immigration policy, environmental regulation, tax rates or health care. These are areas that call for pragmatism – listening to evidence, sharing ideas and coming up with a workable compromise.” Bingo. What does he think of Biden?
“After less than two months we are now witnessing what happens when a presidential administration comes to Washington with an agenda that is openly hostile to Christian principles. In a few strokes of a pen, President Biden has reinvigorated the international abortion industry with federal tax dollars. He has instructed his administration to redefine gender, and to treat anyone who disagrees as hostile and unreasonable.”
He’s superb on Biden. On Republican internal conflict? “Here’s the bottom line for both sides in the Republican civil war: neither the establishment wing nor the Trump wing can win any future election without the support of evangelical Christians. If you want that support, you need to understand that our loyalty will always be conditional. It’s not about power or personalities, it’s about fidelity to those eternal and unchanging principles rooted in Scripture.” The man knows his job. Bully for him.