By Nancy LeTourneau
Paul Ewell, a business professor and dean at Virginia Wesleyan University, wrote on Facebook recently that anyone who supported Biden for president is “ignorant, anti-American and anti-Christian.” Donald Trump was so impressed with the sentiment that he retweeted the quote with a one word commentary: “Progress!”
We have, of course, become somewhat immune to that kind of divisiveness from the president. But when we hear it from the dean of a Christian college on social media, or as we saw when Franklin Graham and radio talk show host Eric Metaxas agree that those who oppose the president are succumbing to a demonic influence, the sentiment isn’t isolated to a few individuals among white evangelicals.
This Manichean view of the 2020 election is what drove roughly 80 percent of white evangelical Christians to vote for Trump. Their political alignment with the right means that 40 percent of Trump voters identify as white evangelical Christians, even though they represent only 15 percent of the population.
Diana Butler Bass, an American historian of Christianity, wrote that this melding of religion and politics has “hardened into forms of identity that seem intractable at the moment.” She went on to point out how voting for Republicans has been equated with theology.
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