Archives For Politics 2016

The Briefing

Has Trump found religion in the Oval Office?
President Donald Trump has increasingly infused references to God into his prepared remarks — calling on God to bless all the world after launching strikes in Syria, asking God to bless the newest Supreme Court justice, invoking the Lord to argue in favor of a war on opioids. Language like that has the Christian conservatives who helped lift Trump to the White House nodding their heads in approval. But others who have long followed Trump are skeptical that the president has found religion in the Oval Office.

Study: Evangelicals left churches over Trump
A number of Christians left their churches following last November’s election won by President Trump, including 10% of evangelicals who reported leaving their houses of worship before last December, a new study has found. The study found those most likely to leave their churches were Trump supporters who felt their clergy didn’t support him and those who opposed Trump and believed their church leaders strongly supported the billionaire real estate mogul.

Sounding the alarm on transgender regret
Robert Wenman was four years into being a “full-time” transgender woman in Ontario, Canada, when a police officer asked him: “You got all your legal rights by now. Why don’t you just enjoy life as a woman?” The question left the then-LGBT activist stuttering: Here he was, training a group of law enforcers on transgender rights, yet he couldn’t answer a basic question: Why? Why was he still campaigning, still fighting?

‘Bible Answer Man’ converts to Orthodoxy
On Palm Sunday, Hank Hanegraaff and his wife entered into Orthodox Christianity at St. Niktarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, NC. The former Protestant is well known among evangelicals as the Bible Answer Man. Since 1989, Hanegraaff has been answering questions on Christianity, denominations, and the Bible on a nationally syndicated radio broadcast.

Anticipation growing for SBC Phoenix 2017
Apparent interest in the Southern Baptist Convention’s upcoming annual meeting has necessitated an increase in hotel room availability for attendees the second consecutive year. The SBC Executive Committee has reserved an additional 500 rooms for the 2017 meeting June 13-14 in Phoenix. The previously reserved block of rooms was fully booked as early as March.

Sources: Politico, The Christian Post, World Magazine, Christianity Today, Baptist Press

The BriefingExplaining the evangelical vote for Trump or Clinton
Last week, Donald Trump said that if evangelicals vote, he would win the 2016 presidential election. But while he commands a clear lead over Hillary Clinton for their support, surveys also show American evangelicals are much more divided this year compared to previous elections. Recent survey findings show how evangelicals are voting in 2016 and why.

High court accepts transgender case
The Supreme Court announced Oct. 28 it will review a lower court opinion regarding the right of a student to use the public school restroom that matches her gender identity rather than her biological sex. Oral arguments in the case likely will take place in early 2017, and an opinion is expected before the court adjourns next summer.

Danger follows Christian refugees to Germany
The situation of Christian refugees in German shelters is “unbearable” according to an updated report released this month and co-authored by Open Doors Germany. The report documents 743 cases of discrimination, death threats, and physical assaults against Christians by Muslim refugees between February and May of this year and claims the findings are only “the tip of the iceberg.”

Hatmaker books pulled over LGBT views
LifeWay Christian Resources has discontinued resources featuring bestselling Bible study author Jen Hatmaker just days after she voiced approval of gay marriage and the gay lifestyle. The Southern Baptist Convention entity has published several resources by the popular speaker and reality television star, including the bestselling B&H Publishing book, “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.”

The remarkable Billy Graham
Evangelist Billy Graham turned 98 November 7. Graham’s most obvious legacy is the three million men and women who registered commitments for Christ at his crusades. Graham’s legacy has also taken forms that are hard to measure but important to remember. We see them especially in the realms of evangelical beliefs, everyday life, American politics, and Christian hope.

Sources: Christianity Today, Baptist Press, World Magazine, Baptist Press, Christianity Today

Faith-based Veeps

ib2newseditor —  July 29, 2016

Presidential nominees choose running mates with more evangelical appeal

Pence and KaineHeading into the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, one unanswered question was how—and if—Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would seek to galvanize the support of evangelical voters. Both candidates’ picks for vice president, made immediately before their parties’ conventions, could be seen as a way to reach out to Christian voters who have felt under-represented this campaign season.

Trump named Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, as his running mate. Taking the stage in Cleveland, Pence declared, “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” He peppered his acceptance speech with phrases familiar to Christians: “I have faith that God can still heal our land” and “Pray daily for a wise and discerning heart.”
The governor, who grew up Catholic, gave his life to Jesus Christ as a college student in 1978, he told CBN News in 2010. He and his wife, Karen, attend College Park Church in Indianapolis, and Pence describes himself as an “evangelical Catholic.”

Pence came under fire last year when he signed the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. Critics claimed the bill discriminated against the LGBT community, while supporters claimed it protected the rights of religious believers to practice their faith. Corporations, major sporting events, and individuals threatened to boycott the state. A few days later, Pence signed an amendment to the bill which also protected sexual orientation and gender identity rights, causing some conservatives to question his commitment to religious freedom.

At the Republican National Convention, in what some saw as an appeal to evangelicals, Trump pledged he and Pence would do away with the Johnson Amendment, which became part of the U.S. tax code in 1954. Then-Senator Lyndon Johnson proposed the measure, which restricts tax-exempt religious organizations, including churches, from endorsing or opposing political candidates under penalty of losing their tax-exempt status.

The Democratic nominee for President, Hillary Clinton, also introduced her running mate prior to her party’s national convention. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine has attended St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Richmond for nearly 30 years, and also has done mission work in Honduras. The former Virginia governor sings in the choir at his predominately African-American church.

Kaine has used biblical terminology to express his displeasure at the Senate’s recent failure to pass stricter gun laws. He told 60 Minutes, “The chamber was ringed with the family members from Sandy Hook, with Virginia Tech family members sitting with them and helping them. There’s a phrase in the letter to the Hebrews that talks about being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. We were surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, but we couldn’t do the right thing.”

Kaine’s stance on abortion could be troubling to Christian voters. He told CNN in July that his view on abortion is traditionally Catholic, meaning pro-life, “but I am very strongly supportive that women should make these decisions and government shouldn’t intrude. I’m a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions. In government, we have enough things to worry about. We don’t need to make people’s reproductive decisions for them.”

Uneasy alliances
With just four months until the general election, a new Pew poll shows Trump has a commanding lead among white evangelicals, 78% of whom say they will vote for him, compared to 17% who support Clinton.

Black Protestant voters overwhelmingly say they support Clinton—89%, compared to 8% for Trump. Hispanic Catholics also support Clinton (77%) over Trump (16%).
Pew found voters in general are not pleased with their choices for president: 42% said it would be difficult to choose between the candidates because neither one would make a good president.

Voter motivation is also a key issue in the 2016 election, Pew found. Of the 78% of white evangelicals who support Trump, 45% said their decision was “mainly a vote against Clinton,” compared to 30% who said it was “mainly a vote for Trump.”

The survey comes after Trump’s meeting in June with nearly 1,000 evangelicals, including many Southern Baptists. At least eight Southern Baptists now serve on his evangelical advisory panel.

– Lisa Sergent