February 01, 2018
The mainstream media has had a lot to say lately about evangelicals and President Trump. You may recall last fall when they openly mocked me and other evangelical leaders for praying over President Trump in the Oval Office and then sneered the president's enthusiastic reception at the Values Voter Summit. The media's frustration continues to swell as the relationship between the president and evangelicals grows stronger as he fulfills more and more promises. Pollster George Barna finds that support for President Trump remains at a strong 68 percent approval and that among the SAGE CON category of adults (Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservative Christians), 51 percent say the president has "done better than they expected."
Last week I explained to Politico why so many evangelicals came around to supporting President Trump, and the media reaction was swift. Editorial pages along with MSNBC/CNN pundits began recycling charges of "evangelical hypocrisy" -- clearly hoping to drive a wedge between the president and evangelicals. Some even suggested that giving any kind of support to President Trump might "push followers away" from churches. Following the State of the Union address, the Baptist Press took on this very issue -- asking the presidents of five Baptist state conventions whether views of President Trump have "distracted or divided" their congregations. While these Baptist leaders admitted to a "diversity of opinions" among churchgoers, they were unanimous in saying that the president is "no barrier to church unity."
As Stephen Rummage of the Florida Baptist Convention and pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., noted, "Bell Shoals is united in praying for President Trump as he leads our nation. I have found that, while members of our church recognize flaws in President Trump, they are also very supportive for actions he has taken that are consistent with Christian values, such as protecting the unborn and promoting religious liberty." Pastor Mike Stone of the Georgia Baptist Convention said, "there has been no distraction in our congregation, largely because our corporate focus is on issues rather than politics."
Exactly. As I've said repeatedly, influence is a two-way street. Tuesday night's powerful State of the Union address is a prime example of how evangelicals have brought the president along on the values and policies that are critical to making America a good and prosperous nation.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.