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Why evangelicals love Trump



With all the sex scandals surrounding Trump, you’d think his “family-values” evangelical followers are losing faith in him. But no. “White evangelical support for President Trump [is] at an all-time high,” according to the respected PRRI survey, released on Wednesday. While Trump’s favorability rating among evangelicals never hit 50% during the primaries, it has now soared to 75%, an astonishingly high score given the avalanche of sordid news surrounding him.

Why do evangelicals, Pentecostals and other conservative Christians adore him? To answer this, it’s necessary to understand a few things about them.

Fundamental Christians are by far the heaviest of all religious groups led by the Baptists with a 30% obesity rate compared with Jews at 1%, Buddhists and Hindus at 0.7%.” That’s from a Fox News op-ed. I’m not picking on fat people, but obesity can have a serious impact on psychological health. The Psychiatric Times reports that ”overweight and obese persons are more likely than their normal-weight peers to have a variety of psychiatric disorders,” including depression, anxiety disorders, various phobias, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, alcohol addiction, paranoia and schizophrenia. These conditions may well interfere with evangelicals’ ability to think rationally.

Contributing to this intellectual confusion is the fact that evangelicals are the least educated of all religious groups in America. A Pew study found that, of America’s top 31 religious groups, Hindus, Unitarians and Jews have the highest percentage of college graduates (an average of 67.6%), while Baptists, the Church of God, the Assemblies of God, and the Churches of Christ have the lowest (average 13.5%).

This lack of education shows in the beliefs of evangelicals—beliefs based, not on science or fact, but on their interpretation of the bible. For example, By a wide margin, the evangelical leaders surveyed reject the idea that human beings and other living things have evolved over time due solely to natural processes,” according to another Pew Center study.

 It seems to me that evolution, as characterized by Darwin, is so established as scientific fact that anyone who disputes it is, in essence, declaring himself irrational and possibly, by some definitions, insane. I suppose evangelicals would disagree, but again, the non-belief in evolution in favor of a seven-days-of-creation theory is evidence of a lack of intellectual capacity. We have to take that into consideration when asking why evangelicals remain so stubbornly attached to Trump.

Additional factors come into play when we consider the mental stability of evangelicals. The most violent husbands in America are nominal evangelical Protestants,” states an article in—of all places—the religious publication Christianity Today. In many cases, it adds, religion is not protective against abuse.”

As if all the mental and physical health issues plaguing evangelicals weren’t enough, “The [U.S.] states in which evangelical Christians are most concentrated have the highest levels of poverty, unemployment, unwanted pregnancies, domestic violence, disease, and infant mortality [and] the lowest levels of academic achievement, household income, and life expectance,” according to The Economist magazine.

This dismal track record for evangelicals again strongly suggests that something is wrong with them: something unhealthy and certainly not good for American democracy.

My hunch is that the love affair between Trump and evangelicals is the result of the impairment of cerebral capacity among conservative Christians. People who cannot or will not think straight are unable to distinguish between fact and fantasy—unable, that is, to recognize blatant lies of the kind Trump routinely tells. They are thus easier to mentally manipulate than healthy, well-educated people, who generally insist on facts and evidence when making up their minds.

There’s one final problem with evangelicals and Trump, and that is the evangelical tendency to accept authoritarianism as a legitimate structure of governance. Right wing Christians cede to God and Jesus their heavenly affairs; they apparently cede to Donald Trump their worldly ones. This plays right into Trump’s hands: he would cherish an America in which he is answerable to no one—not Congress, not the Supreme Court, certainly not the Fourth Estate.

Trump’s tendency towards megalomania and autocracy is in my judgment a danger to us all, but evangelicals appear not to care. They’ve never been particularly fond of democracy; they prefer a top-down form of tyranny in which unquestioned obedience is expected. They’re getting a taste of it in Donald Trump, and they love what he’s feeding them.

Have a wonderful weekend!


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