Why Trump doesn’t align with Evangelical Christianity

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Dan Hassler

Hassler outside of his church

If you heard that I am an Evangelical Christian, and a conservative, you may expect me to be a Trump supporter. However, his repeated lying, childish behavior, alleged misconduct towards women, and support of and refusal to condemn conspiracy theories do not line up with my values and what Christianity is about.

The term “evangelical” now seems to be associated with Trump in the minds of many Americans. A Google search for “evangelical trump” will bring up results like “Nothing Will Make White Evangelicals Ditch Trump” (The Washington Post) and “Why Donald Trump Still Appeals To So Many Evangelicals” (The Conversation).

The reality is, despite the way the media portrays an association between them, the term evangelical has nothing to do with Trump. Oxford Languages defines evangelical as “according to the teaching of the gospel or the Christian religion (“Gospel” meaning “good news”).

While evangelicals are often (but not always) conservative politically, their conservatism does not necessitate support of everyone who claims to share those values, especially those who conduct themselves in a manner not worthy of being celebrated, or even accepted, by evangelicals.

The Bible says, “And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Deuteronomy 5:20). This is the ninth commandment in the 10 commandments, and says that you should not lie. Scripture teaches that God values integrity and therefore Christians have an obligation to tell the truth.

Trump regularly lies to the American people, an example being him claiming that he “won the popular vote [in 2016] if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Lying is never justified, and is especially damaging when he does it in a very public manner.

The Bible instructs us to love our neighbor; “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).

Trump insults his political opponents and regularly calls them childish names on Twitter, such as “Sleepy Joe.” Not only is this unprofessional, but it is un-Christlike.

The Bible tells us to “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18a). Trump also has a slew of sexual misconduct allegations against him, and has bragged about his inappropriate behavior towards women on a now infamous tape. He later referred to these comments as “locker room talk.” Evangelicals who are quick to point out sexual immorality in Hollywood should be careful not to overlook or minimize his sinful behavior.

Trump has also made questionable statements about QAnon, a baseless conspiracy theory. About the supporters of the conspiracy theory, “I’ve heard these are people that love our country,” he said during a press briefing (Wall Street Journal). The conspiracy theory, which incites fear by claiming that a group of top-ranking democrats is operating a child sex-trafficking ring, puts trust in Trump since they claim he is working to fight against this group. Scripture teaches us to not be anxious or fear. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phillippians 4:6). It also teaches this wisdom: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3). We are not to fear and we are to trust God. Evangelicals should have a serious problem with the fact that the President refuses to condemn a conspiracy theory that promotes fear and trust in Trump, not peace and trust in God.

I do not claim to be perfect at any of the things I mention that the Bible teaches, I’m far from it. However, Trump doesn’t seem very willing to even attempt to follow these things. I hope that my fellow Evangelicals and conservatives can recognize that Trump’s behavior is contrary to our beliefs and we should not turn a blind eye to it. We can be conservative without supporting Trump.

In writing this, I do not intend to portray Evangelicals who support Trump as bad people. However, I would caution that, since his behavior is contrary to the teachings of Jesus, we should not offer him our unconditional support or seek to defend his immoral actions. I will also point out to anybody who is not currently an evangelical that Trump is not what evangelicalism is about.

Hopefully, moving forward, evangelicals will embrace integrity and civility. Evangelicalism is following Christ, regardless of who is in the White House.

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