The tribe of white evangelicals

From “The Seven Democratic Virtues: What You Can Do to Overcome Tribalism and Save Our Democracy” by Christopher Beem

Evangelicals are right to say that the United States has moved away from many of these beliefs and practices. Yet they go further; they believe that the cultured elite now spurns and denigrates anyone who still holds to those beliefs. They view this new world and conclude that Christians like themselves are the beleaguered ones in our society. In fact, in 2017, shortly after Trump’s first effort to institute a ban on Muslim immigration, a Public Religion Research Institute survey showed that Christian evangelicals believe that Christians face more discrimination than Muslims. They were the only religious group to say so. For the rest of the nation, this outlier status confirms that this group of Christian evangelicals is out of touch with reality. For evangelicals themselves, their isolation confirms that they are indeed under siege.

Because of this feeling, the tribe of white evangelicals identified with, and maintained unyielding support for Donald Trump. Ralph Reed, leader of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, had this to say about then-president Trump: “There has never been anyone who has defended us and who has fought for us, who we have loved more than Donald J. Trump. No one!” On the other hand, for those who understand Christianity differently, those who practice a different faith, those whose identity is denigrated by evangelicals (for example, who identify as LGBTQ), and those who are among the “nones” (since 2008, the fastest-growing faith designation in the United States – for all these people, the likelihood that they will be Democrats has increased markedly.

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