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Christians in Trump’s US


Christians in Trump’s US

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EVANGELICALS AND CATHOLICS make up the largest religious (Christian) bloc in the United States, and we now know that the majority of this bloc voted for Donald Trump.

The number of evangelicals was boosted by the 81 per cent of Whites who did so. Among white Catholics 60 per cent voted for Trump and 37 per cent for Hillary Clinton. Overall, 52 per cent of Catholics voted for Trump and 45 per cent for Clinton.

It would seem, at first glance, that Trump’s victory among (white) Christians was based on his white supremacist political rhetoric and programme.

However, we must not ignore the fact that a great many evangelicals and Catholics who voted for Trump had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

The Afro-American philosopher, Professor Cornel West, argued on CNN recently that it would be a mistake to see it all in racial terms; that, in fact, class was a very important factor. Unlike Trump and Bernie Sanders, Clinton had failed to “connect” with working class Blacks and Whites.

This position is supported by the fact that 72 per cent of Americans who voted believed that “the economy is rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful”.

Further, many Christians of all races and classes (along with Trump) shared the very widespread opposition to President Obama’s (and Clinton’s) militant support for the so-called health care mandate that forced Catholic and other denominational hospitals and religious orders/institutes to include abortion and contraceptives in the insurance coverage for their workers.

In fact, under President Obama, the federal government has issued thousands of regulations which forced people to violate their consciences by cooperating not only with abortion, but also with same-sex marriage (which resulted in the closure of many Christian adoption agencies), with sterilisation procedures, with the recently invented “right” of people, including children, to determine their gender, even on a daily basis.

Clinton’s loss didn’t come out of the blue. In the last few years Democrats have lost almost a thousand state legislature seats, a dozen gubernatorial races, 69 seats in the House and 13 in the Senate.

The truth is that whoever won the election, the victory could have been described as a disaster. However, having chosen the Trump disaster, American evangelicals and Catholics now have the responsibility to constantly remind him (and the Republicans) of the limitations of his election mandate, and to publicly reject his authoritarian, bigoted populist leadership style. His populist demagoguery seriously subverts the very democracy that permits it.

And this is why I think Christians should support and join the daily demonstrations now taking place in America, and also any other peaceful and legitimate actions taken by civil society in the future.

For, just as the mere moral denunciation of attacks on conscience is not an adequate political response, so too the mere moral denunciation of xenophobia, racism, misogyny and vulgar bigotry cannot be seen as a sufficient political response for Christians.