The “growth” in white evangelicals is the Church of Trump

From the very beginning of the white Evangelical embrace of Donald Trump, there have been a series of raging debates about how that embrace would affect the church. Will the about-face on, say, the importance of character in politicians alienate people from the church? Will the policy gains from a Republican president be “worth” the partisan anger?

But here’s a question that wasn’t asked quite enough. Will Evangelical devotion to Trump change the nature of Evangelicalism itself? Studying American religion is a complex exercise, one that requires sorting through vast amounts of data. It can sometimes be difficult to draw hard-and-fast conclusions, but here’s one that seems a bit surprising:

Between 2016 and 2020, white Evangelicalism grew, and it likely grew because of Donald Trump…

…What seems to be happening at scale isn’t so much the growth of white Evangelicalism as a religious movement, but rather the near-culmination of the decades-long transformation of white Evangelicalism from a mainly religious movement into a Republican political cause.

Why do I say the transformation is political and not religious? A key metric here is church attendance. An increasing number of self-described Evangelicals go to church rarely or not at all. The numbers are remarkable…

I suppose the questions raised will be resolved in a classic American manner. Follow the money! It ain’t rolling into the coffers of long-established evangelical churches. No brick-and-mortar surrounding a safe filled with a Sunday morning take. I imagine most of this newly-minted godly geedus reaches the leaders of various Trumpublican flocks via a PO Box or any one of a kajillion-electron-money-factories online.

Thanks, nicknielsensc

3 thoughts on “The “growth” in white evangelicals is the Church of Trump

  1. Puzzling Evidence says:

    “Trump Yells at Elite GOP Donors: I’m Not Into Golden Showers” https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-yells-im-not-into-golden-showers-at-elite-gop-donors
    Washington Post: During the NRSC [National Republican Senatorial Committee] conference in Palm Beach on Thursday: “Unprompted, he [Trump] brought up an unsubstantiated claim he had interactions with prostitutes in Moscow before he ran for president.
    “I’m not into golden showers,” he told the crowd. “You know the great thing, our great first lady — ‘That one,’ she said, ‘I don’t believe that one.’ ”
    After extensively praising Chinese President Xi Jinping for his intellect and touting his good relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he also returned to his long-standing hatred of windmills, referencing a new plan by the Biden administration to expand the number of offshore wind turbines. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-gop-fraud-claims/2021/10/14/f37887fe-2cfc-11ec-985d-3150f7e106b2_story.html

  2. Trivia says:

    1983: Marsh v. Chambers https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/cases/marsh-v-chambers–2
    By a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that government funding for chaplains by state legislatures was constitutional because of the “unique history” of the United States. The federal government in 1791 had authorized a hired chaplain for Congress precisely three days before the ratification of the Bill of Rights, which codified the First Amendment as U.S. Law. The case was brought to the Supreme Court after Nebraska state Senator Ernie Chambers sued on the grounds that opening prayer before the session by a state-sponsored chaplain was a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

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