Historian Explains Why ‘Intellectually Lazy’ Christians Support Trump: ’If This Is Evangelicalism — I Am Out'

“Evangelical support for Donald Trump is also rooted in nostalgia for a bygone Christian golden age,” John Fea wrote.

Christian leaders praying over Donald Trump in the Oval Office (Photo: Screen capture)

John Fea, an evangelical historian and professor of American history on Sunday published an op-ed detailing why white evangelicals support Donald Trump, calling his fellow Christians “intellectually lazy” for backing the president.

“For the last year I have been thinking deeply about why so many of my fellow evangelical Christians support Donald Trump,” Fea wrote in USA Today.

Fea explained he’s wondered why white evangelical Christians are willing to accept Trump’s decision to separate children from their parents at the border or turn a blind eye to his alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels.

“What kind of power does Trump hold over men and women who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ?” Fea asked. “Evangelical support for Trump goes much deeper than simply a few Supreme Court justices.”

Fea described his experience during the 2016 election, when he learned that eight out of ten people at his Pennsylvania evangelical megachurch voted for Trump. “If this is evangelicalism — I am out,” Fea recalled tweeting.

“Ever since World War II, white evangelicals in the United States have waged a desperate and largely failing war against thickening walls of separation between church and state, the removal of Christianity from public schools, the growing ethnic and religious diversity of the country, the intrusion of the federal government into their everyday lives (especially as it pertains to desegregation and civil rights), and legalized abortion,” Fea wrote, arguing the “political playbook” used by conservative evangelicals like Jerry Falwell Sr. “divides rather than unites.”

“But these anxieties extend even deeper into the American past,” Fea argued. “They are the logical result of 300 years — from the Puritans to the American Revolution, and from nativism to fundamentalism — of evangelical fears about the direction in which their “Christian nation” was moving.”

“Evangelical support for Donald Trump is also rooted in nostalgia for a bygone Christian golden age,” Fea said. “Instead of doing the hard work necessary for engaging a more diverse society with the claims of Christian orthodoxy, evangelicals are intellectually lazy, preferring to respond to cultural change by trying to reclaim a world that is rapidly disappearing and has little chance of ever coming back.”

Read the full op-ed at USA Today.


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Elizabeth Preza is the Managing Editor of AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.