From Trump’s evangelicals to witches to Roy Moore: how religion shaped 2017

Jan 4, 2018

By Tara Isabella Burton

When it comes to religious issues in America, 2017 has been remarkable. Donald Trump, one of the most counterintuitively evangelical-backed presidential candidates in history, winning the white evangelical vote 4-1 despite being a twice-divorced, foul-mouthed billionaire New Yorker who’s bragged about his ability to sexually accost women and has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women. He took office in January, faith communities — from Christian evangelicals to Muslims to the spiritual but not religious — have been reckoning with the aftermath ever since.

In my first year at Vox, I’ve covered a range of religion stories — from witches casting spells against Trump to controversial debates over the alt-right at the annual Southern Baptist Convention conference. In that time, I’ve noticed a few distinct, related patterns emerging. Most notably, Christian nationalism is getting stronger — even as that nationalism has both caused divisions within the evangelical community and led to wider politico-religious divisions in America, cleaving white evangelicals, from, well, everybody else.

If we take away any lessons from the narratives of American religion in 2017, they should be these.

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