Is the GOP losing its religion?

Jun 7, 2016

By E.J. Dionne Jr.

In American politics, where has God gone?

Of course this is an inadequate way of posing the question. God is always present for believers, even if the political workings of the divine can be hard to discern. And religious people continue to occupy points all along the spectrum. Just ask Hillary Clinton about her Methodism.

But especially among Republicans, religious issues have taken a back seat in the party’s discourse and religious leaders are playing a diminished role in the 2016 campaign.

This was not how things started. Many had the remarkable experience during the primaries of hearing Ted Cruz declare to his followers: “Awaken the body of Christ that we might pull back from the abyss.” You can’t get much more religious than that.

But Cruz failed to awaken and unite religious conservatives, a reason that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee. The split this year among conservative evangelical Christians was profound.

On the one side were those, mainly Cruz supporters, still voting on abortion, same-sex marriage and other moral issues. On the other were those among the faithful so angry about the direction of the country and what they saw as the marginalization of conservative Christianity in public life that they opted for the strongman who could push back hard against their enemies.

Robert Jeffress, the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, spoke for the second group. “Most Americans know we are in a mess,” Jeffress declared, “and as they look at Donald Trump, they believe he is the one leader who can reverse the downward death spiral of this nation we love so dearly.”

Jeffress reflects a profound pessimism among conservative Christians that contrasts sharply with the movement’s hopeful spirit in its Reagan Era heyday.


Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

8 comments on “Is the GOP losing its religion?

  • @OP – link the Donald J. Trump Foundation contributed $100,000 in 2012 to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and in 2013 gave $10,000 each to the Family Leader, an influential Iowa evangelical group, and to Samaritan’s Purse.

    So he bought support from the delusional wish-thinkers, as so many loony right-wing politicians have done throughout history!

    Promising them a non-deliverable utopia, is nothing new!



    Report abuse

  • I generally vote republican, but I am unwilling to accept America as a theocracy. I have sent many emails to the Republican party telling them that it’s disturbing that republicans deny the constitution when it comes to the separation of church and state. Maybe they’ve gotten enough emails like mine to make them think about it. I hope so. I think they’ll go where the support is.



    Report abuse

  • @OP – But especially among Republicans, religious issues have taken a back seat in the party’s discourse and religious leaders are playing a diminished role in the 2016 campaign.

    Given that other aspiring candidates were god-besotted:-

    Ted Cruz declare to his followers: “Awaken the body of Christ that we might pull back from the abyss.”
    You can’t get much more religious than that.

    Trump campaigning at LIBERTY UNIVERSITY (That well known centre of creationist Xtianity and science denial), does not suggest this is so!

    It merely suggests his delusions are across a wider spectrum!



    Report abuse

  • 6
    fadeordraw says:

    As an outsider looking in, I agree with the commentary. You can’t have The Donald and god on the same ticket; indeed, the former appears to be presenting himself as the latter. Nevertheless, for this presidential election, a Christian god is at the back of the bus. Not as far back as we might want, but way further back than before.



    Report abuse

  • @OP – Robert Jeffress, the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, spoke for the second group. “Most Americans know we are in a mess,” Jeffress declared, “and as they look at Donald Trump, they believe he is the one leader who can reverse the downward death spiral of this nation we love so dearly.”

    However, it seems the sponsors from business with money, think differently: –
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-36584954
    Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has a huge advantage in campaign funds over Republican rival Donald Trump, figures show.

    Mrs Clinton’s campaign began June with $42m (£28m) in the bank; for Mr Trump it was $1.3m.

    The businessman has claimed to have self-funded his campaign, portraying himself as an outsider not linked to special interests.

    Since securing his party’s nomination, fundraising has intensified.

    His team have sought to quash concerns about finances, saying money is “pouring in”.

    The latest federal disclosures however show the Republican National Committee, which is likely to pick up any shortfall, began June with about $20m in the bank.

    By contrast, four years ago, when Mitt Romney was running for president, the figure stood at about $60m.

    In May, donors gave Mr Trump’s campaign just over $3m. Mr Trump lent another $2.2m, bringing his total loans over the past year to $46m.

    The advantage will enable Mrs Clinton to take on more staff and launch an onslaught of attack adverts against Mr Trump.

    There are some interesting graphs on the link!



    Report abuse

  • Meanwhile, – perhaps the USA and the religious right, could find better ways to spend $millions, than on political slanging matches, obstructing gun regulation, trying to sneak religion into science teaching, military adventures around the world, and politicians jet-setting around the country?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36599316
    The US has been warned about its high poverty rate in the International Monetary Fund’s annual assessment of the economy.

    The fund said about one in seven people were living in poverty and that it needed to be tackled urgently.

    It recommended raising the minimum wage and offering paid maternity leave to women to encourage them to work.

    But the stronger labour market meant that overall “the US economy is in good shape”, said the IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde. May’s unemployment figures showed the rate at an eight-year low of 4.7%.

    However Ms Lagarde warned that “not only does poverty create significant social strains, it also eats into labour force participation, and undermines the ability to invest in education and improve health outcomes”.

    “Our assessment is that, if left unchecked, these four forces – participation, productivity, polarisation and poverty – will corrode the underpinnings of growth and hold back gains in US living standards,” she added.

    The report called on the US to invest more in education, as well as implement better social programmes such as childcare to help poorer Americans get jobs.



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.