I Wish I Could Make All Evangelical Voters –

I wish that I had the power to compel all those ‘conservative’ Evangelical voters (not just the dozens or more related to me) to spend one week of all waking hours observing Trump in everything he does – and then having all those same voters do the same with Biden.

I sincerely believe Trump’s hard core unshakable supporters would fall from 39-42% to about 19-22% of voters. I further believe that all sincere believers would abandon Trump by the end of that week and most would do so before two days are up. The ones who remain would be the (am I coining this phrase?) “Secular Christians” who believe they were born Christian the way they were born white. Non-practicing and insincere with no belief system other than if there is a god he loves him some good ol’ USA!!!

In the case of Biden, I would have to assure many of the ones I know they would not have to watch the parts where he and his friends either rape babies and children or drink their blood. In both cases they would be flies on the wall who could observe without being observed. They would neither be allowed nor forced to spend any time in Mike Pence’s hair under any circumstances.

I know they should be able to deduce these things – and if they are not swayed by what has happened so far, nothing can sway them. But I believe if they had firsthand knowledge – they would have to believe it no matter what Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and all the others say.

As someone who grew up and spent much of my life in a conservative evangelical surrounding, I rather doubt that this will have the effect you want. By this point, pretty much every evangelical voter who could be turned away from Trump by the means you suggest, has already turned away from him. The remaining remnant (still a huge remnant, if that word can be used), won’t be dissuaded.

Evangelicals for Trump are motivated by 2 powerful factors:

  1. They care much more about results than character (sure, everyone does to some extent, but Trumpers especially so);

  2. Almost any ‘bad’ character can be ignored, overlooked or even regarded as a virtue, if it’s done by a ‘good’ guy. There is plenty of Biblical precedent for this; David is regarded as a good king despite adultery and murder. (Although the difference is that David repented). And they also tout figures like King Cyrus, who although being a heathen pagan king, was helpful to the Israelites - so Cyrus and Trump are allowed an ‘out’ for bad behavior since they’re not held to the same standard as a real good person.

I highly doubt two days of observation of Trump and Biden will change their minds. If anything, it may further harden their support of Trump. Their ears will perk up every time Trump says something conservative sounding, and Biden says something liberal sounding.

I 100% agree with @Temporary_Name. I am a Chrisitan, though I distance from Evangelical due to…well, :waves around at America right now:

I would divide Christian Trump supporters into two groups:

  1. Those who avoid seeing him, hearing him, and reading his tweets. They remain amazingly ignorant of who he really is and still see him as a George Bush or Mitt Romney type guy. My parents are like this. I think they are brainwashed because my Dad remembers Trump before this presidency, but he still thinks Trump is…a Republican President(which he really isn’t).

  2. Those who see him, read his tweets, and listen to him…and they love it. These are the hypocrites. What can I say? If you have accused Christians of being hypocrites, it turns out you were not far off. Many are. They love his ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and even his racism.

It’s been a painful time in the church and while I would like to believe a time is coming where the church will apologize for its role in Trumpism, it doesn’t seem to be any time soon.

I’m an evangelical and I didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton in 2016. Neither had good character. The same problem exists in 2020. I’m a hypocrite if I vote for Trump or Biden.

I believe I understand you completely, and I disagree as much as I agree with you. More than once in a Bible Study or Sunday School setting I have made the argument that Uriah SHOULD be the man after God’s own heart, not David; the faithful husband and soldier is by far the more respectable person. But I do accept your point that an all powerful God could use an imperfect servant.

But to take your points one at a time, yes I agree the ends can justify the means is part of the thought and emotional process for this group. But in the case of Trump I will claim it is only an excuse and here is why: At least for those believers most familiar to me – intention IS important. (This will come into play more in week two than week one because I believe Biden sincerely tries to do the best thing in most cases – Trump never wants to do anything unless he himself [or his offspring] benefit from it.) I am betting on my belief of how Trump is at his very core and how he behaves in his everyday life, but I am sure most believers would be disgusted by Trump every hour of every day. They think he is a good, sincere man who believes in God - - - but is forced to “cut corners” or “compromise” because of the game. A weak moral character is only acceptable if you have good intentions for MOST sincere believers. Trump does not live up to even that standard (but I believe Biden would – they might not like the specific policies Biden is pushing, but I bet they would admire how he goes about fulfilling those goals).

Second, an unworthy vessel being used by God is familiar to these voters (and I believe we all sincerely love some people in this group). But many of these voters believe America was founded as a Christian Nation, after they spent a week watching Trump up close and personal I would ask: “Is this really the best that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can do in a population of 300 million souls?” Trump has delivered the conservative judges and no doubt many believe he fulfilled God’s plan in doing so. But seeing how underhanded and immoral he is would, I believe, be enough to change their minds.

The people I know would start off making defenses for Trump and creating elaborate justifications. But after two days of hearing and seeing who he really is – I believe they will admit he is a disappointment. None of my friends or family are Proud Boys or anything like them. They are just brain washed sincere people who would need to see for themselves. Also, they are as brainwashed about Biden as they are about Trump. I truly believe any remaining Trump supporters after seeing him conduct his business for a full week would not be good church going believers at all. They would be people who never attend church, couldn’t name more than three or four people from the bible, and have no sincere faith at all (like I said in the OP – they believe they were born into Christianity). Additionally, I believe they may admire Biden’s sincerity and manner of proceeding even if they do not care for his policies.

And yet you fight like hell to defend Trump and bash Biden(who’s a far better man than Trump could even dream of being).

How sincerely I wish there were more believers like you.** You and I both know there are those who would learn and make the right decision if they could just see the truth for themselves. I would like to add a third group to your hypothesis. I would make your number two into group three and place a group between those two.

Your group two (which I will refer to as group three for the remainder of this post at least) is not composed entirely of sincere believers as you or I would know them. I believe those are the non-Christian, or Christian In Name Only supporters. (CINO’s?) They are really not as hypocritical as they may seem because they are not coming from a place of morality and righteousness. They are coming from a secular view of American Christendom, a cultural non-religious place. Christian is just a label they place upon themselves (or don’t care about at all) these are where the militias, racism, and xenophobia are mostly centered in my opinion.

In between those two groups I believe there is one of true believers who do know Trump and are okay with him. They either believe God is using an imperfect vessel, or they believe the ends justify his questionable means. (I know a few like this too.) They are justifying Trump now, and I could not predict if they would continue to or not if they saw with their own eyes how Trump is when he thinks no one at all is watching. Of course, they are all on a scale somewhere; they are individuals, not a monolith. And I have no doubt if there are three groups, we might all draw the lines between them at different points.

I am glad we agree if they could only see for themselves, they would make better decisions. (Not because it reflects my own decision – because it is objectively more moral and correct.) And while I feel your pain with the church at large, some bright spots shine through. The foundation of Evangelical thought, Christianity Today and the founder‘s (Billy Graham) granddaughter both endorsed Biden. I know of other Christian sources which denounced Trump but none of them come to mind just now. It is not exactly Bonheoffer and the Nazi’s, but it isn’t nothing either.

**Mahaloth, I recommended these two books in another thread, but think you may find them interesting and supportive.
JESUS AND JOHN WAYNE (How White Evangelicals Corrupted A Faith And Fractured A Nation) By: Kristin Kobes DuMez And:
UNHOLY (Why Evangelicals Worship At The Altar Of Donald Trump) By: Sarah Posner
I believe sometime in the future they will come to define this era in America.

I believe I was already self describing as an atheist* during the 2016 election, but I didn’t vote for either presidential candidate myself in that cycle. This year I actually like Biden and I am happy, eager even to vote for him. I am not sure what you have against Biden, but it seems to me that getting Trump out of office before he ruins even more of our country should be a priority for everyone.

*If you have not read Franky Schaeffer’s book CRAZY FOR GOD, I highly recommend it. I had already stepped back from more heterodox denominations to more orthodox and liturgical services by the time I read it, and soon after I examined myself and determined I had little faith or I would live differently.

I read the second one, but not the first one. I will push one recommendation to you as well.

The Power Worshipers by Katherine Stewart

So long as the magater/trumper/general Republican crowd continues to believe that there is nothing and no-one more evil and/or worse than the worst of the Republicans, the OP’s suggestion will remain an exercise in futility.

Thank you! I am reading the introduction through the link right now, I certainly want to read this book.

As for my recommendations UNHOLY is by a Christian writer in the sense that is a writer about Christian topics. John Wayne, is by a woman who is a believer herself. It is both more sympathetic, and more “What happened to my faith” realistic (but I am still near the beginning of Unholy- it may develop differently than I am seeing now). Thank you again for new reading opportunity.

Tried to edit my reply but it was too late.

Oh, I forgot why I actually started this post. DuMez makes a very precise history of Fundamentalism and Evangelical terminology and how believers applied it to themselves. I found it very helpful, perhaps you might also. (Although I would not be surprised if are better versed than I was in the subject.)

I am sorry, I am not following this post.
I was speaking of good sincere people of faith who have been tricked into believing a false narrative by right wing media. My point is that if they could observe the candidates in their natural habitats, they would be forced to admit they were misled and reached bad conclusions. Many of my friends and family choose to believe unreliable sources and most but perhaps not all, are smart enough to recognize the truth when it smacks them in the face.

People I speak with often believe Joe Biden is a flaming liberal, hell bent on bringing Socialism to America. They also believe Trump is a good and righteous man who is attacked by communists and gays who want their ways to become mainstream at the cost of Godly policy. They believe ALL of the founding fathers were devout and practicing Christians and before they formed this great Christian nation all immigrants were seeking religious freedom like the Mayflower pilgrims.

I contend that if they observe Trump in his natural state, it may not correct their view of history – but it sure may cause them to doubt Trump’s religious bona fides.

I am not talking about flag waving morons with no moral ties to Christendom but instead belong to militias and white supremacist groups. They are not the same groups in my experience.

I am not talking about militia types. I am talking about the same types you are. Your contention is not based on reality, IMHO. It’s more wishful thinking.

I read the entire introduction and I’m starting on the first chapter. This book is terrifying but it kind of rings true already. If she is right, they are weaponizing believers without the believers realizing they are being used. They are using the congregants own beliefs, desire to be moral, and even fears to turn them into a zombie army. The believers think they are serving The Master, while really they are just serving an earthly master. That level of manipulation and corruption really scares me.

It never occurred to me that this was a top down movement; I always assumed it was a bottom up, grass roots type of movement toward morality similar to what happened during the Eisenhower administration. I can’t wait to read this book.

Based upon what I understand from your first post in this thread, and this one, your contention seems to be that first hand experience would have no affect because these people are too deeply dug into their position to change no matter what evidence is presented. You must have extensive experience and insight into the demographic to be so sure my contention is unfounded. I see you are a scientist, do you mind if I ask what your field of study is?

Although this interesting discussion is more fine-grained and informed than what I have to offer, I would like to make a general observation about human nature here. People by and large would rather do and think almost anything, no matter how bizarre and twisted it appears from the outside, rather than abandon the beliefs of their community, that center their lives and give it meaning.

It is difficult to understand why people put their faith in immoral leaders, yet it happens continually. I have seen up close what people go through when confronted with the collapse of their faith in a beloved and trusted leader, particularly one who was seen to be a savior, a godly man. It is extremely painful. Devastating humiliation, grief, abandonment, anger, a loss of even a sense of who you are and what the point of your life is – it’s no big mystery to me why people would rather accept any amount of cognitive dissonance than jump into that abyss of despairing brokenness.

I have a friend, one of the most intelligent and kind people I know, who has followed a series of spiritual gurus whom anyone outside of the community could see were selfish, abusive, loathsome jerks. She is finally, slowly, distancing herself from the community and those teachers (who engaged in acts of utter moral despicableness), after forty years of service to them. Forty fucking years.

If she could do that, I don’t have oodles of hope that true believers in Trump are going to have any interior revelations no matter what you force them to witness.

I understand this intellectually, but emotionally I don’t get the motivation. What do people get out of being loyal to a person rather than following a set of ideals? The Republican Party is currently running on this authoritarian mindset. Part of the problem is that the leaders are immoral. A bigger part of the problem, in my view, is that the followers put their faith in leaders, rather than ideas. This is why it doesn’t matter what Trump does, they will still follow him.

I’m tempted to say that authoritarian followers have some personality defect that those of us who aren’t authoritarians can’t understand at an emotional level. The only reason I won’t make that claim is because they would probably claim the opposite, that I’m the one with the defect, and I have no way to objectively prove them wrong. It would be like a rabbit trying to explain to a cat why carrots taste good, or a cat trying to explain to a rabbit why meat tastes good. They would just be talking past each other all day.

Thank you for this reply. I often forget how long my own evolution has been.

I tend to think in terms of I saw the light and I was just like them, literally cut from the same cloth (both in the manner of nature and nurture). If I did it, certainly they could do it. Upon reflection, you are correct about one thing at least – some of them are not strong enough to make any change on their own. They would need some level of support and one or two might need to see a tipping point where they are “with the crowd” no matter which position “the crowd” takes.

For me personally, I would see the truth like a moment of clarity and resolve to change. I was determined to pursue my own path and learn things from outside our little tight knit group dynamic. And I would change and adopt a different point of view. What I did forget was that often times two or three days later, maybe a week, I would awake back at my default setting with the same limitations and knee jerk reactions.

For a time, I had to almost think out loud to recall my change of heart and the reason for it. Almost like if I wasn’t actively considering the matter my brain would automatically revert to a previous state. It likely helped that among this network of people - I was the most sensitive to things like consistency of thought and hypocrisy. Bit I would consider all data and make a reasoned decision for myself and if need be stand against the crowd.

I am really certain those who raised me and our extended circle would do the same as I did - make true observations and change their view based upon reality. What I had not considered is that the change may be fleeting – that after a few days or week they would return to mean.

I guess real change would take time to accomplish. But I continue to believe that, at least the true believers in my circle, would recognize and act upon reality – even if it does not stick after the very first encounter.

One thing I do continue to believe is that many of them (and about half are more apolitical and far less invested in this election cycle than they should be in my opinion) many of them hold such outlandishly false views that they will have their eyes opened if they ever do look at reality. They will absolutely NOT be able to reconcile their preconceived notions with reality and they will choose reality in that moment. Where Velocity and Monty do have a point I had not even considered, the results are not likely to be permanent and universal after one experience (unless a majority share the same experience and agree together). Again thank you for helping me see this more fully.

A really great post.

Trump’s support, presumably, is strongest among non-college white males.

How often do you suppose these men tell their wives, “I’m sorry, Honey. I was simply wrong” ?

How often do they take in salient, new information, and then change their minds about important issues ?

How often do they ask thoughtful questions instead of trying to explain to others why they are right ?

How often do they seek out credible information from sources whose basic philosophies are antithetical to their own … in order to challenge their closely-held beliefs ?

How often do they endeavor activities that could loosely be called “self-improvement” projects ?

How readily do they admit mistakes, take ownership, lead with accountability, ask how they can do better ?

I’m not the least bit surprised that Trump’s standing with his real base has only been strengthened.

It really is a cult of personality, and a lot of information about people within those cults exists.

It … just … isn’t a reason for a whole lot of optimism right now :frowning: