By SAVANNAH ROBERTS
Last weekend, President Trump travelled to a baptist church in Lee County, Alabama to raise spirits after a series of disastrous hurricanes hit the area. During the commencement, Trump pulled out a pen and began signing bibles. This act of celebrity speaks to the manipulation of the Evangelical voter by President Trump and the GOP.
Trump’s most favorite book is the bible, but when asked to recite his favorite verse, he was unable to recall one. Donald Trump is a fake Christian. He pretends to be in love with the Evangelical community while he stirs contention in the hearts of everyone else. Donald Trump is well known for his infamous recorded “grab them by the pussy” comment, his adulterous habit of cheating on his wives and for deferring prayers onto Vice President Mike Pence. His second favorite book is his autobiography, “The Art of the Deal.” Isn’t he humble?
81 percent of Evangelical voters voted for Trump in 2016. Why? Because Trump uses manipulative rhetoric intended to scare people into believing him. “Look at Syria. If you’re Christian, they’re chopping off heads. You look at the different places. Christianity is under siege,” Trump said, on the campaign trail in 2016. Perhaps those actions are anti-Christian, except we don’t live in Syria. This example is still a tactic that the GOP uses to scare Evangelicals into trading a “love thy neighbor” attitude for their “eye for an eye” mentality.
Fear mongering is a part of how the GOP exploits Christian voters.
The GOP also uses single-issue platforms in order to herd Christian lambs into specific political pastures. Abortion is the biggest platform that Republicans use to grow their Evangelical following. According to a 2018 Pew study, about 6 in 10 Evangelical Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. The Republican Party believes that the 14th amendment–which grants citizenship to all people born in the U.S.–should apply to unborn children.
Republicans might believe in the pro-life movement, but it’s not at the top of their agenda in any way. Another Pew Research study conducted in 2019 found that Republicans highest priority is terrorism and the economy. All of this only further proves that Republicans are undermining and polarizing valued beliefs of Christian voters by pretending to care about abortion more than they actually do.
Another way the GOP exploits Christian voters into voting right wing is by opposing gay marriage, and instead supporting the union between one man and one woman. Unsurprisingly, though no less disappointing, Evangelicals have the same belief: God created and intended for marriage to be between a man and a woman. The Republican party believes that marriage between man and woman should be enshrined by the Constitution of the United States. This notion helps explain the religious opposition that America saw in 2015 after gay marriage was legalized.
Since then, Evangelical groups in Texas have challenged the Civil Rights Act and believe that religious businesses reserve the right to turn away members of the LGBTQ+ community on the basis of religion. Additionally, West Virginia GOP lawmaker and Delegate Eric Porterfield compared LGBTQ+ members to “a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan, without wearing hoods with their antics of hate.”
Hate the gays? Vote Republican.
Trump manipulates his audience by standing his ground at rallies and by using offensive language that he knowingly will provoke emotion amongst his target audiences–whether what he says is true or moral.. Trump signs bibles to show the Evangelicals that he cares about Christianity–while revealing that he is not above signing his name in the same book as Jesus’.
Let us not forget the separation of church and state–and yet, the church and “Christian values” are used to aide the GOP’s strongest angle for voters, aside from blatantly spewed hate and disregard for the freedom of choice. Autographing bibles just goes to show that the Republican stronghold over the average Christian voter is tighter than ever.