Evangelical Christians celebrate and urge unity; others wary
May 12, 2017
Paula White: Donald Trump’s Victory Reminds Us of What Unites Us
May 12, 2017

Some celebrated and congratulated the victor. Others prayed and called for unity. It was clear early on that evangelical Christians had been key to Donald Trump’s stunning upset.

Meanwhile, others including atheists and Muslims reacted in shock, and vowed to defend against what one group termed “unconstitutional and undemocratic actions.”

According to exit polls, 81 percent of white evangelicals and born-again Christians cast their ballots for the reality TV star-turned-Republican presidential candidate.

It was a higher figure than voted for Mitt Romney (79 percent) in 2012, John McCain (73 percent) four years before that, or George Bush (79 percent) in 2004.

The exit polls conducted by Edison Research was based on 24,500 interviews across 350 polling stations. It showed the Catholic vote favoured Trump by a 52-45% margin, a 9 per cent jump for in the Republican vote since 2012. Protestant or other Christian religions went 58-39 in favour of Trump, up 4 per cent, while the Jewish vote was heavily in favour of Clinton, 71-24%, up 8 per cent from 2012.

“The triumph of Donald Trump may signal ‘the last hurrah’ of white male evangelicals in America, or it may mean that their influence is once again on the rise. We will have to wait and see,” Tony Campolo, former spiritual advisor to President Bill Clinton, told Christian Today.

“But there is no question that his victory was largely due to their support.”

Here’s how prominent evangelical Christians and others responded to the 2016 presidential election results as they became clear over night.

Paula White

White is Trump’s spiritual advisor, a member of his evangelical advisory board and pastor of the New Destiny Christian Center in Florida. She issued this written statement:

“Far more than what divides us, this election has revealed what unites us. I have never seen such solidarity between evangelicals and catholics, pentecostals, charismatics and baptists. We were brought together with a mutual love for our country and through a mutual faith in God. The election started the conversation but what will come from these new and renewed relationships will have far more impact than anything that could be realized through the election of any politician. We aren’t ending this season so much entering a new one, ready to love the world together to a degree greater than we ever could alone.”

Samuel Rodriguez

Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, called the election results “Brexit 2.0” on Twitter.

In a longer written statement, he said:

“Now that the presidential election is finally behind us, our nation must put partisan politics and divisive rhetoric behind us as well. I look forward to working with the new administration. Instead of the agenda of the donkey or the elephant, Christians must be about the Lamb’s agenda. We can and we must continue the fight to reconcile Billy Graham’s message of righteousness with Dr. Martin Luther King’s march for justice. The moment we, as Christian voters, are co-opted by any given political party or ideology, we lose our legitimacy to speak truth to power. Looking ahead, now is the time to rise up as people of faith and as an independent voice that holds political leaders on both sides of the aisle accountable to policies that don’t aim left or right, but toward righteousness and justice, for all. Chief of which remains our concern for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, immigration reform and racial unity. We pray for the safe keeping of our democracy as we transition to the new Donald Trump administration and we pray that God will continue to bless and prosper our nation in the coming months and years ahead.”

David Silverman

David Silverman, president of American Atheists, tweeted Tuesday night, “This is why I fight. This makes the work more important. Separation of religion and gov is in serious danger. Help.”

Russell Moore

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has been one of Trump’s most outspoken evangelical critics.

Early Wednesday morning, Moore still urged Christians to pray for the president-elect in a blog post. And he said, “No matter what the racial and ethnic divisions in America, we can be churches that demonstrate and embody the reconciliation of the kingdom of God.”

“The most important lesson we should learn is that the church must stand against the way politics has become a religion, and religion has become politics,” he said.

Ronnie Floyd

Floyd — senior pastor of Cross Church in Arkansas, another member of Trump’s evangelical advisory board and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention — started Election Day with this tweet: “It is a great day in America: Pray, Vote, and Trust God.”

As results were announced, he issued this written statement:

“My sincere congratulations to Donald J. Trump as he has been elected the next president of the United States. I pray sincerely that God might grant wisdom to our new commander in chief to lead our nation in righteousness and toward peace and justice. This is a time to rebuild and to reconcile, to lock arms with our fellow Americans and work with our elected officials for a better future. We must remember that the task of protecting our rights to life and religious freedom is as much the responsibility of the average American as it is of the individual sitting in the oval office. May each of us then take upon ourselves this duty and work with elected officials at all levels of government to secure these rights for future generations. All along the way, may we seek the good of all Americans. Let us extend honor and love to all, and reserve our fear and worship only to God, who alone deserves to be our source of ultimate hope and security.”

John Fea

In response to an ABC News exit poll showing Trump captured 81 percent of the evangelical vote, Fea, professor of American history and chair of the history department at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, tweeted, “If this is evangelicalism–I am out.”

Others shared similar sentiments.

David Jeremiah

Jeremiah — founder of Turning Point, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in California and another member of Trump’s evangelical advisory board — issued this written statement:

“I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory. This presidential election has been a moment in history when God has reminded us that our ultimate citizenship is indeed in heaven, and not on earth. While we love America, as Christians we are sojourners and pilgrims, and like the heroes of our faith we are looking for a better country beyond this earthly one, to the heavenly city God has prepared for us. Let us then continue walking by faith, not by sight, placing our trust in God’s eternal promises and not in the fleeting machinations of men. We commit to pray for the new Trump administration. We pray that God might have mercy on our nation and that our leaders might know and fear Him, for as the Scriptures say, blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. This is a time when we must hold fast to our calling to be good citizens and to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, pointing those around us toward our hope in Christ and breathing life wherever there is despair. Presidents come and go, but our God remains forever and he will be on his throne on November 9 as he was on November 8 and as he will be for all of eternity.”

Robert Jeffress

Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and a member of Trump’s evangelical advisory board, tweeted a photo of himself at the Trump victory party Tuesday night in New York City.

In a short video message posted online immediately after Trump’s victory speech early Wednesday morning, Jeffress said, “No matter how you feel about the outcome of this election, I hope you’ll join me in praying for my friend President-elect Donald Trump.”

“For those who didn’t choose to vote for President-elect Donald Trump and may carry a measure of uncertainty about the future, there’s no need to fear and no reason to be discouraged. In Daniel, chapter 2, it’s clear that God alone establishes our leaders. As Christians, our hope does not reside in kings, presidents or any authority other than God and God alone.”

Tony Campolo

Campolo, former spiritual advisor to President Bill Clinton, said in an interview with Christian Today:

“The triumph of Donald Trump may signal ‘the last hurrah’ of white male evangelicals in America, or it may mean that their influence is once again on the rise. We will have to wait and see.

“But there is no question that his victory was largely due to their support. His victory is likely to get evangelicals to do some soul searching as to who they are, and why they were swept up in supporting a man whose rhetoric played upon fear of immigrants, fear of Muslims, an anti-scientific disbelief in global warming, overt racism and sexist attitudes that are contrary to scripture.”

Rachel Held Evans

The popular Christian author and blogger wore a pantsuit to the polls Tuesday, posting on Facebook that her vote for Hillary Clinton “wasn’t a difficult choice, and I’m not embarrassed about it.”

In her tweets throughout the day, Evans chastised both Trump and the white evangelicals who voted for him:

“God is still on the throne. And Donald Trump still shouldn’t be president. Both of these things can be true,” she tweeted.

And, “White Evangelicals, you just made Donald Trump the most powerful man in the world. Don’t you dare complain about being persecuted.”

Pope Francis

The Vatican’s highest ranking diplomat, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, congratulated Trump and said the Catholic leadership was praying “that God enlightens him and supports him in the service of his country of course, but also in the service of well-being and peace in the world.”

Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, said he hoped Trump would modify the hardline immigration policy he advocated in his campaign rhetoric, but noted that “from what I have heard Donald Trump has already expressed himself in terms of a leader.”

Pope Francis provoked a political storm in February returning from a visit to Mexico when he said Trump was “not Christian” for pledging to build a border wall between the US and Mexico.

David Harris

David Harris of the global Jewish advocacy organization AJC lamented the “bigotry and exclusion” expressed during the campaign, which included anti-Jewish hate speech on the part of some of the more vociferous Trump supporters.

“America’s diversity must be defended against any further attempts to demonize or stigmatize on the basis of ethnicity, race, gender or faith,” he said in a statement.

Harris added that the top priority now is to “address the wounds of an extraordinarily divisive contest.”

Muslim Advocates

The national legal advocacy and educational organization posted on its website:

“Throughout this election, Muslim Advocates has repeatedly expressed grave concern about undemocratic and unconstitutional policies proposed by candidates – from banning Muslims from the U.S. to vilifying Mexican Americans to threatening journalists and political opponents with unilateral executive action and imprisonment. These policies violate the very foundation of our democracy and threaten every American’s right to freedom, justice and equality. If President-elect Trump wants to bring America together and be a leader for all Americans, he will need to disavow these dangerous proposals and ideas.

“Today, we stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans who reject racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism and division. Muslim Advocates will use every legal tool available to protect our country against unconstitutional and undemocratic actions.”

Jim Daly

Daly, president of Focus on the Family, issued this statement early Wednesday morning:

“As a Christian who believes in the ultimate sovereignty of God, I have to believe He allows our circumstances to fulfill His plans. As the prophet Daniel said, “He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” The nation has spoken. I pray that God grants us the grace and wisdom to seek His heart for all people made in His image, the preborn, the elderly, progressive and conservative, each one of us. I am reminded His son Jesus Christ died for all. May those of us who trust in Him express our faith by bringing His peace to a world filled with chaos.”

Jesus Christ

OK, so Jesus Christ isn’t actually on Twitter. But @JesusofNaz316 is. And the often wryly humorous Twitter account turned serious late Tuesday night as the results of the election came in.

“Feel the shock tonight. Pray,” the account tweeted. “Then tomorrow join hands and work for justice, welcome the stranger, stand with the oppressed, and hope.”

Original post can be read here: http://www.catholicregister.org/home/international/item/23548-evangelical-and-catholic-vote-favoured-trump

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