Trump, Republicans and White Evangelicals form a powerful trio
According to new analysis from the Pew Research Center, “evangelical” no longer means born again; it means republican. Of course, evangelicals have kissed the Republican Party since the late 1970s, but, according to the analysis, more white Americans adopted the evangelical etiquette between 2016 and 2020, years which include the presidential campaigns of former President Donald Trump and his stay in the White House.
Basically, evangelical is more a political label than a religious one.
When it comes to this, evangelical is more a political label than a religious one. People who adhere to the label use it to signal that they are against immigration, science and abortion and to signal the belief that discussions of racism in America are against their idea of America. .
The Pew survey shows that Trump garnered even more support from evangelicals in 2020 than he did in 2016. Between 2016 and 2020, 16% of people who did not identify as evangelicals in 2016 identified themselves as evangelicals in 2016. identified that way by 2020. Interestingly, that 16% did not vote for Trump in 2016. In 2020, of the 78% of white evangelical voters who voted for Trump, 18% of them were Trump converts – evangelicals who did not support him in 2016.
The Pew Survey is not the only evidence indicating this hardening of American evangelism. A PRRI survey notes that while the majority of Americans blame the insurgency on white supremacist groups, Trump and conservative media platforms, conservatives and evangelicals do not believe they are the culprits. On the contrary, 57% of white evangelical Protestants believe that liberal left-wing groups such as antifa are responsible for the January 6 riots, and 68% of white evangelicals polled believe Trump is a “true patriot.”
All this shows that evangelism is not an exclusively religious group, but a predominantly white religious group strongly linked to Asset, the Republican Party and specific ideas on race, kind, morality and America.
In my delivered “White Evangelical Racism, the Politics of Morality in America,” I argue that evangelicalism is not only about cultural whiteness, but also political whiteness. White evangelicals support candidates who espouse both political and moral views that merge with their own. Recent books by Robert p jones, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, and Andrew Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry also note the roles of whiteness in religion, masculinity and nationalism for evangelicals.
While this may surprise evangelicals (including Baptist theologian Russell Moore) who have been defend their religious movement against Trumpism, the point is that Trumpism and Evangelicalism are complementary to each other.
Evangelicals are engaged in a political renewal.
There are many reasons that could be attributed to the fact that more people are calling themselves evangelical, but it is certainly not because of a great religious revival. Evangelicals are engaged in a political revival, steeped in racism, anti-immigrant sentiments, sexual morality and misplaced nostalgia.
Consider the things in 2021 that contributed to this politicization: January 6 insurrection, the Abortion in Texas, anti-vaccines movement, the anti-criticism of racial theory, and anti-immigration sentiment around Afghan nationals and other groups. Any of these would have pushed evangelicals into political action, but now it’s a virtual feeding frenzy for enthusiastic politicians and evangelical leaders hoping for money, power and a status by embracing those feelings and fears among their supporters.
These polls tell us the trajectory that Republican politicians will use to fuel their evangelical base in the 2022 and 2024 election cycles. Now those who do not know the theological beliefs of evangelism identify as such, there should be no confusion about what evangelism really is in America: a full-fledged religious political movement whose allegiance is to Republican Party issues and whiteness.