Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Last Temptation of the Evangelical Right

I generally hold to the obviously heterodox view that, contextually speaking, Donald Trump is the most liberal president the USA has ever had (though Barack Obama was more liberal on some social issues like the environment and transgender rights, and Jimmy Carter was more liberal on some foreign policy issues like international human rights). It is therefore interesting that his biggest supporters would be some of the furthest right sectors of US society, such as the religious right and the racialist right. Imagine Hugh Hefner or Larry Flynt running for president in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s with followers of George Wallace, Jerry Falwell, or Pat Robertson as their biggest backers., and you have a rough analogy to the present situation. This article by a neocon evangelical and former member of the Bush administration explains why. During the George W. Bush era, I said that Dubya did not govern any further to the right than LBJ, and Trump is much further to the left.

By Michael Gerson

The Atlantic

ne of the most extraordinary things about our current politics—really, one of the most extraordinary developments of recent political history—is the loyal adherence of religious conservatives to Donald Trump. The president won four-fifths of the votes of white evangelical Christians. This was a higher level of support than either Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush, an outspoken evangelical himself, ever received.


2 replies »

  1. I claim no affiliation with evangelicals Whatever the truth about evangelicals, he describes a large religious group in terms of naivete, ignorance and gullibility. It’s a condescending, dishonest and unabashedly left wing article.

    The author generously concedes that sexual conduct is important, but says evangelicals don’t know it’s relative worth. This is a person who criticizes them for their reluctance to accept darwinian evolution. He has it completely upside-down: the mode of sexual reproduction is essential to human evolution. Compared to it, the rest of politics is relatively fleeting in it’s significance. (A fact which guides the far right.)

    It says that anti-abortion is politically tied at the hip with “dehumanization of migrants”. (To the left, the right to enter America is more self evident than the right to life.)

    Is it really delusional of many evangelicals to “view their rights as fragile, their institutions as threatened, and their dignity as assailed”?

    The author himself calls America a remarkably free country. Why is that remarkable? The Founding fathers knew they were not creating institutions which were impervious to human nature. Rights required robust protections because they are fragile. The dignity of Christian values is assailed by a political class and media which despises them – as this publication illustrates so aptly.

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