Trump Manipulates Evangelicals

Sean Hannah, Columnist

As Trump continues to make his meteoric rise, one question plagues me and surely many others: Why is he able to brainwash so many Evangelical Christians with hateful speech when the New Testament of the Bible promotes love above all else? To me, the answer lies in his ability to disguise hate, sexism and racism in actions and ideas that demonstrate his care for Americans. Trump has developed this widespread attitude by framing himself as a tough-loving man simply protecting his country from a hostile outside world. His idea of justice means punishing outside forces instead of limiting the strength of the powerful majority groups within our nation that have historically perpetuated the marginalization and mistreatment of minorities.
Evangelical Christianity emphasizes love and a mission to spread the word of God, so it is blatantly ironic that Trump’s supporters are so ready to accept his proposed laws that limit Mexican and Muslim immigration. However, it is not always easy to see that Trump’s beliefs come from a place of hate and exaggerated fear. As a leading candidate and popular icon, his claim that Mexican prisons are dumping their prisoners into the United States is convincing because of his highly elevated and honored position. Plus, after asserting the existence of threats originating in countries like Mexico and China, he often mentions how much he loves their people. This makes it seem like he would not enforce these laws if he did not have to, rather he is simply being realistic and acknowledging that he cannot let another country’s leaders outsmart us. However, Trump’s beliefs are problematic because many of these groups of immigrants are only small percentages within their larger religious and ethnic enclaves; limiting the immigration of these groups as a whole breeds racism on both sides.
Another theme that Evangelists champion is justice for everyone, a belief inspired by the charity Jesus extended to marginalized groups such as women and the poor. Even though Trump wants to deport tens of thousands of immigrants, he makes it seem as if justice will be served by punishing undocumented people. When he talks about Mexican immigration, he relates it to America’s murder rate and loss of jobs. A black man who lives in an inner-city neighborhood had his son killed by a Mexican undocumented immigrant who did not even stay in jail for over a year. He asserts that Mexican mafia has killed numerous black people. Instead of discussing the themes of an inadequate police system, rampant financial and educational inequality and a justice system that ignores black lives, they proceed to aim their rage at Mexicans, viewing justice as the deportation of undocumented Mexicans and the prohibition of Muslim immigration to America. This does not give justice to anyone, but simply worsens life for more people. We would still have issues like high murder rates and a broken justice system in Trump’s society because to create true justice we must fix the flawed institutions of this country.
Evangelical Christians want to be on the winning side of the cultural wars. In an increasingly liberal and diverse nation where American courts are approving gay marriage and more immigrants are entering America, white Evangelists are becoming a minority racially and morally. Economically, many of them are feeling threatened as the economy moves towards white collar and technological positions. They are finding themselves struggling financially and reaching unsuccessfully for the American dream. Our black president made even more people uncomfortable by being so different form the historical norm. Trump and his old-fashioned beliefs represent a search of regularity, a return to a glorified past rather than an alienating future.