They are a grieving community. After decades of equating growth with divine approval, they’re on the losing side of demographics and LGBT rights.
One of the biggest mysteries of Donald Trump’s presidency has been white evangelicals’ steadfast and enthusiastic support for him. Unlike Mormons, who saw a nearly 20-point fall-off in support for Trump compared to their typical support for Republican presidential candidates, white evangelicals’ support for Trump was in line with, and even slightly higher than, their 2004 support for fellow evangelical George W. Bush (81% vs. 78%, respectively), according to the exit polls.
And unlike Trump’s arts council and economic advisory councils, which saw so many resignations that the committees themselves dissolved, Trump’s evangelical advisory committee has seen just one resignation and is standing by their man.
While many may want to simply dismiss this turn of events as pure hypocrisy, anyone seeking understanding will want to look deeper. White evangelicals branded themselves as so-called “values voters.” That they could support Trump as strongly as Bush and more resolutely than arts and business leaders ought to serve as a signal that something dramatic has happened in the interim.
The key to understanding the puzzling white evangelical/Trump alliance is grasping the large-scale changes — most prominently the declining numbers of white Christians in the country — that have transformed the American religious landscape over the last decade. These tectonic shifts are detailed in a new report Wednesday…