Many Conservative Christians Accept Trump’s Moral Flaws
Many conservative Christians were once reluctant to endorse Donald Trump,but things have changed.Now even after a number of women have accused him of sexual misconduct,polls show some 65% of conservative Christians support him.
“I am not excusing him, okay?But I’m not, I don’t see why they condemn him when a lot of the men does probably worse than him, you know.”
“Sometimes he says more than he should, but to me,he’s a man that, I think, he has goals and values that align with mine.”
For many of these voters one issue is dominant.
“The only person that said anything that is really important to me is Donald Trump as far as trying to ban abortion.”
But there are also many Christian women who are offended by Trump and plan to vote for Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t believe the things he is saying;I don’t think there, I don’t think he is respecting women.”
At a recent Rice University forum, academics who focus on religion and politics discussed the presidential race.
Professor Diane Winston says many Christians look past Trump’s moral failings.
“He supports some of their basic social and political positions.So he may be immoral, but he has a moral agenda.”
The biggest split among evangelicals she noted is racial.
“According to most polls, between 60 and 70 percent of white evangelicals are going to vote for Trump.Most evangelicals of color are going to vote for Clinton.”
Moral questions have become less rigid among white evangelicals according to a recent studyby the Brookings Institution.In 2011, only 30 percent of them believed personal morality was separate from ethics in public office, whereas the most recent polls show 72 percent believe that.
Religious leaders have been pulled along by their congregants,who are reacting to a number of societal changes and economic conditions.
Patton Dodd, a researcher from San Antonio,says Trump’s celebrity status has also helped him with these voters.
“They don’t just listen to what their pastors say and, you know, behave accordingly. They are also interested in pop culture like everyone else is.”
How this plays out in the election will not be known until the votes are counted and the analysis of the results begins.
Greg Flakus, VOA news, Houston