A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Evangelicals support Trump; I don’t get it

I turned on my phone. I opened twitter. I scrolled down. I turned off my phone. 

I sat perfectly still, despite the outraged thoughts racing through my brain. I was stunned. On August 21, 2019, President Trump tweeted a thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for his “very nice words.” 

The President’s tweet quoted Root referring to Trump as “the best President for Israel in the history of the world,” “the King of Israel,” and “the second coming of Christ.” Root converted from Judaism to Evangelical Christianity, and now hosts a Christian radio show called the Wayne Allyn Root show. Evangelical Christians believe it is important to tell others the good news about how Jesus can save us from our sins.

As a Christian, I feel personally offended that he would compare Trump to Jesus in even the slightest way, especially because of his platform on the public radio. Root’s words left me shocked and angered, but I am completely outraged and astounded when I think about the large support Trump receives from other Evangelical voters. 

Oddly, Trump’s group of Evangelical supporters is not just made up of outliers with uncommon opinions. Exit polls from the 2016 election show 80% of Evangelical voters supported Trump.

The group of Evangelicals who voted for Trump are regular church-goers, but also major leaders. Jerry Falwell Jr., president of the evangelical Liberty University, strongly supports Trump. Falwell passionately defended Trump when others have shared angry tweets about him, promoted him at Liberty University, and fought to convince people that Trump is the right person for the job. 

In an interview with the Washington Post, Falwell denied that Trump could do anything to endanger his support. Falwell expressed his disbelief that Trump would do “anything that’s not good for the country.” Falwell also says Trump is a “good moral person.” While Trump has repeatedly proven the opposite, Falwell openly and wholeheartedly supports the President, and leads an Evangelical institution. As a well-known Christian, he can easily persuade more Christians to fall into the same, nonsensical footsteps. 

Although Trump has support from so many Evangelicals, his actions often strongly defy many of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus says “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” If Trump wants to be cheated on, lied to, and insulted, then he is following this teaching excellently. He calls Chrissy Teigen “filthy mouthed.” He calls John Legend “boring.” He calls Joe Biden “crazy Joe.” He calls Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” Obviously, Trump would not want to be treated the way he treats others. Almost daily, Trump ignores Christ’s teachings. 

Another of Jesus’ teachings says “Love your enemies.” Trump’s natural enemies are the Democrats. Trump does not love Democrats. He sees them as people to beat, not to compromise with. Trump tweeted “Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!” He also says “Crooked Hillary is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop… Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!” 

He has also attacked specific leaders of the Democratic party. He referred to Jon Tester as a “piece of garbage,” and Joe Donnelly as “Mexico Joe.” Trump does not respect, let alone love, his enemies. These are just some of the many times he has attacked Democrats, not for their policies, but on a much more personal level.

Jesus says the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” If anyone argues that Trump lives his life in accordance to this commandment, they are wrong. Trump constantly lies, cheats, and deceives, so he must not love God with all of his heart, soul, and mind. Living with God filling all of you means living a life closer to how Jesus lived his life. 

Trump’s life hardly compares to Jesus’ life. Trump said that Hurricane Dorian would pass through some areas of Alabama. He could have made an honest mistake when he said that, but he later tried to support that mistake with a true lie. Trump took a map from the National Weather Service that predicted the path of the hurricane, and he added an extra bubble to include Alabama, so he could make his mistake more convincing. The extra bubble was no mistake, but a clear lie. 

So many more of Trump’s actions set him apart from Jesus. How could a person who lives a life like Trump’s love God with all himself? To put it simply, he can’t.

As a Christian myself, I am astonished by the strong support Trump receives from Evangelical Christians. I thought Christianity was a good and joyful thing, but when I look at the support they give Trump, I question where it has gone wrong. How could I be a part of something that endorses a man like Trump? 

My faith means peace and love, but Trump seems to be disrupting peace and hating people wherever he goes. My faith means hope and acceptance, but Trump based his presidential campaign largely on fear of illegal immigrants and physical separation between us and them. Somehow, others who are a part of my same faith appreciate Trump’s character, actions, and policies. 

I couldn’t begin to imagine why.