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Wednesday 09 November 2016

Christians Against Trump?!

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 29th October 2016

It is almost amusing to watch the US Christian Right and its overseas satellites contort into knots when it comes to the vexed subject of Donald Trump.

As far as I can make out, there seem to be two predominant camps of conservative Christian/anti-LGBT opinion when it comes to the question of the current Republican presidential candidate. One of them is cold, hard realpolitik and pragmatism. Donald Trump is the chosen Republican standard bearer for this contemporary election campaign. His primary concerns may not be particular imperatives for conservative Christians, like immigration and trade protectionism, but he has conservative Catholic, fundamentalist Protestant and anti-abortion "advisory boards' that support him when it comes to their constituency. Added to which, his Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence is a conservative Christian supporter of 'religious liberty' anti-LGBTI service provider discrimination laws, Trump wants to ban abortion and has promised to stack the US Supreme Court to accomplish that under the guise of litmus tests and anyway, Donald Trump is not Hillary Clinton, who has become the font of all evil and the newly designated "Antichrist" supporter of LGBTI rights, feminism and social liberalism. Trump sycophants include most of the core US Christian Right activists like the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, former Focus on the Family head James Dobson and other frontliners.

As for evangelical and fundamentalist opponents of Donald Trump, they are concentrated into two groups. One consists of liberal evangelicals with distinguished track records of opposing the nuclear arms race, institutional racism and inner city US poverty, as well as capital punishment and US support for repressive overseas regimes. These people would never contemplate voting Republican and range from Democrat to US Green voters. As spirited opponents of corporate capitalism, they probably found Donald Trump particularly abhorrent. Most black and Latino evangelicals support the Democrats for much the same reasons.

However, the other source of opposition to Donald Trump is altogether more surprising- dissident conservative evangelicals. Some of them are reconstructed enough to realise that Trump's anti-immigant racism, religious sectarianism, anti-Chinese xenophobia, religious sectarianism and misogyny are not their concerns and might sabotage the future development of the US conservative evangelical constituency- even if they'd never contemplate voting Democrat. These people have three options left to them- one is voting for Congressional Republicans with a 'good' anti-liberal voting record and public statements, or else vote for the Libertarian or Constitution Parties.

Meanwhile, overseas, its satellites are divided. The UK Christian Right is preoccupied with Brexit and its consequences. The Canadian Christian Right is ignoring events and personalities to its immediate south as it fights the Trudeau administration, but their concerns are divergent, given the significance of the euthanasia debate more recently afterCarter v Canadadecriminalised assisted suicide in 2015. Similarly, the Australian Christian Right is preoccupied with the marriage equality debate. As for Family First, it seems all over the place if its Forums on the Family are any indication. Deprived of the chief source of its propaganda, tactics and strategy as the US Christian Right fights itself over the morality and political allegiances of Donald Trump, Family First is parroting its mentors. It is ignoring the negative content about Trump's misogyny and alleged serial sexual harrassment and instead finger waving at Hillary Clinton over her social liberalism, support for abortion rights, transgender rights and marriage equality. All to no avail, as those issues have been sidelined during this campaign. Therefore, with a Clinton White House, Democrat Senate and perhaps House of Representatives given a significant enough contagion effect, this may be the beginning of an issue famine for the likes of Family First and the rest of the anti-LGBT New Zealand Christian Right. One can but hope.


Almie Rose: "Christian women defy leaders to condemn Trump" Attn: 19.10.2016:Experts Are Coming Forward to Question Trump's 'Christian' Ways

David Gibson: "Donald Trump a lost soul who must repent: Southern Baptist Leader" Religion Dispatch Service: 05.06.2016:http://www.attn. com/stories/12174/christian- women-sign-petition-to- condemn-trump

Wayne Grudem: "Trump's Moral Character and the Election"Townhall:09.10.2016:http://townhall. com/columnists/ waynegrudem/2016/10/09/trumps- moral-character-and-the- election-n2229846

Harry Farley: "Philip Yancey: Trump stands against everything Christianity believes" Christian Today: 26.09.2016:http://www. yancey.trump.stands.against. everything.christianity. believes/96353.htm

Seth Nelson:"Christians must speak out against Donald Trump" Al.Com: 16.10.2016: opinion/index.ssf/2016/10/ christians_must_speak_out _agai.html

Craig Young - 29th October 2016

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