Thursday, November 1, 2018

America's Evangelicals and the 2018 Midterm Election

According to a post-2016 election analysis, Pew Research Centre found the following from exit polling data:

While it was rather surprising given the stance that evangelical Christians take on divorce, 81 percent of white, born-again, evangelical Americans supported the twice-divorced Donald Trump.  The big question is, will this support continue in the 2018 midterm elections?

According to Christian Post, there are at least three groups that are hoping to encourage conservative Christians to vote for Donald Trump's team, an issue that greatly concerns some of the Christian community since they believe that Democratic voters will turn out in droves to push the Republicans out of Congress.  Let's look at these groups in turn:

1.) Faith and Freedom Coalition or FFC: On the group's website, we find the following lead page:

Let's look at the listing of Donald Trump's accomplishments according to the Faith and Freedom Coalition that we never hear about in the media or what FFC terms "the fake news media" which focuses on "fake scandals":

a.) The Trump Economic Record

President Trump pushed Congress to enact the largest tax cuts for the American people since President Regan. He cut the top tax rate on business from 35 % to 21 % – to make America an attractive place to build a business again.

President Trump has signed more laws to slash unnecessary federal regulations and bureaucratic red tape than any President in American history. This slashing of regulations is saving American businesses more than $18 billion a year in costs.

President Trump has saved the American people $3 TRILLION over the next 10 years by withdrawing from the so-called Paris climate accord.

The economy under President Trump is growing twice as fast under President Trump as it was under Barack Obama.

The U.S. economy has created more than 3,700,000 new jobs under President Trump. And the unemployment rate in the manufacturing sector has dropped to a record low of just 2.6%.
More than $9 TRILLION in new wealth created under Trump.

Average hourly wages up. As a result, welfare rolls are decreasing as more Americans are getting off the sofa and going to work. Food stamp use has plunged to an 8-year low under President Trump.

Why is this happening?

Simple. Unlike Barack Obama, President Trump is not waking up every morning thinking up new ways to attack American businesses. Unlike the socialistic anti-capitalist Obama, President Trump is pro-business and pro-capitalism. As a result, we have returned to Reagan-levels of economic growth.

b.) Ending ObamaCare

When Congress was unable to get the votes to completely END ObamaCare, President Trump cancelled much of ObamaCare on his own. Specifically, President Trump.

Ended the billions of dollars in illegal taxpayer subsidies for insurance companies.

Made it easier for lower and middle income folks to buy health insurance by allowing people to buy plans off the exchanges that are half the cost of the ObamaCare Bronze plans.

Announced the IRS will no longer fine people who don’t have health insurance because, if they can’t afford the health insurance, they probably can’t afford the fines either.

Ended the outrageous Obama requirement that you must purchase health insurance that includes coverage for abortions.

c.) Securing America’s Borders

Illegal border crossings have dropped 35 % under President Trump. In fact, illegal aliens are now leaving America on their own. President Trump is doubling the number of border patrol officers.

d.) Stopping Our Government from Punishing Christians for Their Faith

President Trump’s issued an Executive Order prohibiting the U.S. government from discriminating against Christians or punishing expressions of faith, affirming First Amendment protections for religious freedom. This Executive Order also requires the U.S. government to vigorously protect and defend religious freedom and public expressions of religious faith.

This Executive Order ends the Obama Administration’s illegal misuse of the Justice Department and other federal agencies to prosecute and persecute Christians who express their faith."

FFC also claims that Donald Trump has destroyed ISIS and made America's military strong again, transformed America's courts by appointing solid, conservative Constitutionalists to the judiciary and protected the right to life by denying funding to international organizations that fund or perform abortions.

According to FFC, on October 12th, its volunteers had reached 1,716,840 voters of faith by visiting over one million homes of voters that have been identified as either evangelicals or Roman Catholics or have self-identified as pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-family.  FFC has also reached 13. 4 million voters with voter education mail, placed 22 million digital ads on social media platforms and distributed 30 million voter guides in 117,000 American churches.  Their goal is to achieve the largest turnout of evangelical and pro-life Catholic voters in a mid-term election in the modern era.

2.) Family Policy Alliance (formerly known as Focus on the Family Action): On the group's website, we find the following lead page:

Family Policy Alliance claims that every $3.67 that it receives in donations will rally a pro-family voter to the polls.  Family Policy Alliance claims the following successes:

Here is a brief video explaining who Family Policy Alliance is:

Not only does Family Policy Alliance want Americans to vote for its approved candidates, through its Statesman Academy, it actually trains future potential politicians who will be equipped to fight for family values from within government.

3.) Family Research Council or FRC:  FRC touts itself as a "pro-marriage and pro-life organization.  FRC's Vision Statement reads as follows:

"Family Research Council's vision is a culture in which all human life is valued, families flourish and religious liberty thrives."

Its mission is:

" advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview."

Interestingly, in contrast to the two aforementioned evangelical organizations, Family Research Council is somewhat less upfront about its enthusiasm for Donald Trump despite the presence of the following video on the lead in page of its website which promotes how America has thrived under the current administration, the theme of its upcoming "The Event 2018" which will be held at Woodland Park in Colorado:

This event is being held to bring Christians together "for the sake of America" and to ask God to keep America moving in the right direction and, by right, I assume that they mean conservative.

On the blog of its legislative affiliate, FRC Action, we find the following:

"Andrew Brunson is not hesitating to fulfill his pastoral duties, even after just returning home from Turkey after two years of imprisonment. The pastor visited the Oval Office on October 13, asking the President if he could pray for him. “I need it probably more than anyone else in this room, so that would be very nice, thank you,” the President replied.

Brunson’s prayer follows: “Lord God, I ask that you pour out your Holy Spirit on President Trump. That you give him supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him. I ask that you give him wisdom on how to lead this country into righteousness. I ask that you give him perseverance and endurance and courage to stand for truth. I ask that you protect him from slander from enemies, from those who would undermine. I ask that you make him a great leader for this country. Fill him with your wisdom and strength and perseverance, and we bless him. May he be a great blessing to our country. In Jesus’ name, we bless you. Amen.”

Brunson’s wife Norine, also offered condolence in prayer, “I pray that the spirit of the Lord rest on the president. The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. Amen.

On the FRC blog, we find this:

"Though it is popular to conceive of the Republican party as “anti-poor” and opposed to minorities, these conceptions are not as neatly supported as many in the media would have us believe. Earlier this year Republican lawmakers voted almost unanimously to advance legislation designed to reduce recidivism through vocational training and education courses. House Republicans (262 of them) joined 134 Democrats in advancing this legislation. According to the NAACP, African-Americans and Hispanics make up 32 percent of the general population but 56 percent of those incarcerated. Thus, efforts to reform the criminal justice system represent positive steps forward in addressing problems that disproportionately affect minority communities. Further, not only is the current unemployment rate of 3.7 percent the lowest since 1969, the African American unemployment rate hit an all-time low of 5.9 percent in May 2018; in September, black teen unemployment fell to 19.3 percent, another all-time low. While the factors contributing to this picture are many, the fact remains that under Republican national leadership, more minorities are getting jobs.

On the issue of poverty, no doubt many individual Republicans and Democrats care for the poor (though many others might use the issue to their own political gain). It is simply misleading to conflate the parties’ different economic philosophies with moral indifference—a conflation which widely contributes to popular conceptions of all Republicans as “against the poor.” The fact that conservatives believe in the efficacy of limited government and free markets in addressing poverty does not indicate apathy toward marginalized communities. On the contrary, conservatives believe that the best conditions for economic flourishing are created when the government’s authority is decentralized. The Bible does not endorse a specific economic system—though it does favor some while disfavoring others; the commandment against stealing shows respect for private property as does the Old Testament’s regard for inheritances. At any rate, there is room for disagreement on how to address such issues biblically....

In short, if theologically conservative Christians appear aligned with the Republican Party, it is only because Democrats have forced them there by taking positions on moral issues that oppose the Bible’s explicit teaching."

As you can see from this posting, evangelical Christians are taking an active role in this election, defending their political party of choice and backing the Trump presidency despite the best efforts of the "fake news" media and the hosts of late night television.  It seems that even with the Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal allegations/accusations, the Christian right is perfectly willing to vote for a candidate that their church leadership would normally regard as morally flawed.

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