Did God allow Trump to be president

Evangelicals in the USA: As long as Trump delivers, he can be a sinner


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Without men like Daniel Pritchett, Donald Trump would not be US President. You made the choice for him. Now they want to ensure that Trump stays in office for as long as possible. Pritchett is a retiree in the small town of Staunton, Virginia. "I thank God every day that Donald Trump is our president," he says.

He actually does. For the thanksgiving prayer he goes to his local evangelical church. Anyone who visits him at the First Baptist Church receives a warm handshake. Pritchett carries a book of psalms in his breast pocket, and a "Trump Pence" sticker is stuck on the bumper of his Cadillac.

Pritchett does not correspond to the cliché of a Trump voter at all. He is not one of the supposedly left, furious losers of globalization. His life is good. He ran a supermarket in the city for 33 years, and at home tropical fish swim in the aquarium. In his free time, he packs lunches for school children and collects donations for the hospital or development projects in Africa and South America. In a few months Pritchett and his wife Betty will celebrate their golden wedding.

Even so, evangelicals like Pritchett are among the most important pillars of the US president. They make up around a quarter of the US population - and more than 80 percent of them voted for Trump. They stick with him to this day. While the approval rate of the president is bogging around 40 percent on average, it is 20 percentage points higher for evangelicals.

That makes the evangelicals the crucial building block of the Trump coalition among the people. Without their support, its historically poor poll numbers would plummet even further. Trump would be politically finished. That is why he ensnares the evangelicals at every opportunity. This Thursday is the next chance. At the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, the political and business elite meet with the Christian community. Trump is also there.

Trump is bringing the evangelicals back to power

It's a strange connection that has formed. On the one hand, there are around 60 million devout Christians who lead a pious life and who for decades have claimed that only men of impeccable character can be considered as presidents. On the other side is Donald Trump, a man with five children by three women, who spoke impassively about his adultery and is accused of sexual assault by at least 19 women. The "value voters" support the "pussy grabber". How does that fit together?

"Trump has promised the evangelicals to bring them back to the center of political and cultural power," says Neil J. Young. The historian researches religious rights and their connection to US politics. He describes a deep-seated disappointment in the Christian community.

In the past, the evangelicals were less and less able to achieve their political goals. Even under President George W. Bush, who carried out his faith, they would have made little progress. Instead, abortion is still legal and homosexual rights are further strengthened. Trump, on the other hand, not only promised the evangelicals to work for their goals - he did so, says Young.

The president appointed an arch-conservative judge to the Supreme Court and thus kept evangelicals hoping that abortions could be banned again in the foreseeable future. He filled his cabinet with numerous ministers who sympathize with the aims of the evangelical movement, and he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that was particularly important to the evangelicals.

In the face of these successes, many devout Christians like to overlook the personal missteps of the president. "As long as he delivers, he can do almost anything," said Young. However, this new flexibility does not benefit the reputation of the evangelicals. "Many Americans now consider them hypocrites," says the historian.