This Friday and Saturday, January 29-30, Evangelicals 4 Justice (E4J) are hosting a ZOOM conference on Race, Gender, and Christian Nationalism to discuss the Impact of Trumpism on Evangelicals.
They’ve invited me to weigh in on the impact of Trumpism on Evangelicals, specifically on “the inroads of Trumpism with white women.”
White, evangelical women have been a significant voting block for Donald J. Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. That has a lot of people both here and abroad scratching their heads. In her 2019 article, “Donald Trump: Why White Evangelical Women Support Him,” University of Cambridge Researcher in Sociology Katie Gaddini raises the obvious conundrum this way:
“As is well known by now, in the November 2016 presidential election, 80% of white evangelicals voted for Trump. That constituted the largest ‘evangelical vote’ in nearly two decades. If scholars, journalists and the general public have puzzled over why so many white evangelicals would vote for someone whose language and behaviour [sic] violated key tenets of the Christian faith, the question of why evangelical women voted for him is even more puzzling—especially given Trump’s long track record of alleged sexual misconduct and derogatory comments about women.”
Of course I have my own thoughts on the subject. But I’ve been asked to address a wider group on how Trump won such strong support from white, evangelical women. I’m interested in your thoughts on the subject. For working definitions:
Christian Nationalism is the belief that America was founded as a white Christian nation and the commitment to defend the country against perceived threats against the original white Christian American identity our Founding Fathers envisioned.
Trumpism includes the political ideology, governing style, political movement, and methods for acquiring and keeping power associated with the U.S 45th president, Donald Trump, and his political base. Trumpism started developing predominantly during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. It denotes a populist political method that suggests nationalistic answers to political, economic, and social problems.
Regardless of how (or if) you voted in the past two presidential elections, or if you are evangelical or not, if you are white and female, I’m interested in your thoughts. This isn’t about your political views. It’s not a scientific or statistical survey, and I won’t be identifying respondents.
Instead, I want to understand how Trump’s presidency and ascendency of Christian nationalism impacted you as a woman.
So here are the questions:
- How would you describe yourself? Evangelical, non-evangelical, ex-evangelical?
- What political/cultural/religious concerns were foremost in your mind as you evaluated Trump as a prospective U.S. president?
- What were the pros and/or cons of him as a candidate?
- What was the decisive issue (or issues) in your decision to vote for or against him in 2016?
- How, if at all, did your voting preference for president change during his tenure as president?
- Explain any concerns you have that your faith and religious freedoms are under threat and by whom?
- How did the Access Hollywood tape impact your decision regarding voting for Trump?
- Describe how white evangelical leaders and evangelical voter support for Trump has impacted your faith.
- How did Trump and Trumpism change or solidify your identity as an evangelical?
- Any extra thoughts?
To respond, cut and paste the questions into an email, and send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org I need to hear back by Thursday, January 28.
Please don’t hold back!
To register for the ZOOM conference: http://bit.ly/E4JVoices
I am so happy to be asked this question. From his nomination (actually before) I was struck by his lack of character. It was common knowledge that he is not trustworthy, not honest, an actor, a narcissistâ¦and it put me (a then identifying Evangelical Woman) in a tough spot. I register as independent, and have voted across all party lines my whole life. I vote for the person, not the party. In this case, I really had to deal with peer pressure (by the way, I was 64 at the time) from my Evangelical friends. When I shared that I could not vote for him, I was shunnedâ¦and ridiculed. The perception was that I was Pro-choice and that made me a âliberalâ (a very pejorative term in those circles). To them the abortion issue was the only thing to be considered. It forced me to Scriptureâ¦and the other things we are not supposed to do. (Good reading!). Now, Scripture is not new to me, I have an MDiv from GCTS, am ABD on my DMin in Women in Leadership, and pastor a small church here in NHâ¦Scripture is my foundation. I had to reconsider a lot of things and make some hard choices. Character won, and I lost friends who could not (and still cannot) find grace to extend to someone with a different perspective. It hurt and continues to hurt.
Mr. Trumpâs Presidency divided my congregation. It impacted my ability to minister to people. He drove many of us into caves to escape the onslaught of hatred from those who claim to know Jesus. I did ask one of those âfriendsâ and the response was that it is not loving to let people murder their babies. So I guess that one issue makes it OK to hate people, to storm the Capitol, to split churches and families (including mine).
Mr. Trump has had a profound impact on my life. I pray for him. I believe he is a sick, perhaps possessed, man. He needs to be held to account, but what he really needs is the safety of the confines of a padded cell and some superior psychiatric help.
Yes, this is just my experience and my opinion, but he has done more to restrict the advance of the dignity and influence of all women than just about any other man of influence, including those that signed the Danvers Statement. His influence will be felt for a very long time, often in the pain women (and men) feel as the division he caused continues to bleed and fester like the disease it is.
Thank you for this opportunity. I bet you get thousands of responses. I am praying for your wisdom and discernment as you prepare and present. God with God.
Rev. Linda Overall
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Thank you for your response. Truly helpful as I prepare. Responses are coming in on the survey inbox. I’m going to copy yours there as well. -CJ
> Hi Carolyn –
1 How would you describe yourself? Evangelical, non-evangelical, ex-evangelical? I am becoming ex-evangelical. I am 61 yr. old white female, enrolled at Multnomah University. 2 What political/cultural/religious concerns were foremost in your mind as you evaluated Trump as a prospective U.S. president? Trump is an abusive, misogynistic, racist, narcissistic, fear-mongering white, con-man in the most influential position charge of our country/world. 3 What were the pros and/or cons of him as a candidate? Cons: Trump manipulated people by speaking to their fears; they were going to lose something. He did not care about the poor, minorities or the invironment. Pros: His economic policies made some improvements, tax cuts and increased jobs. 4 What was the decisive issue (or issues) in your decision to vote for or against him in 2016? The culmination of waving a Bible, hate, lies, and instability he brought to the country. 5 How, if at all, did your voting preference for president change during his tenure as president? I am a registered republican. 6 Explain any concerns you have that your faith and religious freedoms are under threat and by whom? My religious freedoms are to under any threat. 7 How did the Access Hollywood tape impact your decision regarding voting for Trump? The tape made my skill crawl; it reopened sexual harassment and assault wounds. 8 Describe how white evangelical leaders and evangelical voter support for Trump has impacted your faith. I am truly shocked by the cult-like following of the evangelical leaders and their members. 9 How did Trump and Trumpism change or solidify your identity as an evangelical? I cringe to be aligned with the evangelicals. I am purposefully separating myself the Trump/evangelical church. I do not understand the acceptance of hate, the rejection of Black Lives Matter, and the following of conspiracy from the pulpit to the congregation.
Any extra thoughts? I believe the American evangelical church has reached a breaking point. At first, the politicization and Trump worship broke my heart; now, it is an abomination in full bloom. Does “You shall have no other God’s before me” no longer apply? That, plus the ever denying of white privilege and women’s rights (veiled by the complementarian stance), no longer have me desiring to be a portion of the effort to reconcile the differences, but instead urges me to pursue something better and not look back. Whatever became of “love your neighbor as yourself?” COVID has exposed the church, and it has been found wanting.
Thanks for listening. Täni Jansen
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