‘I’m a very proud Christian’: Trump courts religious right

‘I’m a very proud Christian’: Trump courts religious right
‘I’m a very proud Christian’: Trump courts religious right

Hello and welcome to the details of ‘I’m a very proud Christian’: courts religious right and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Donald Trump received a warm welcome yesterday when he appeared before an audience of evangelical broadcasters, delivering a campaign-style speech littered with professions of faith and pledges to protect Christians. — AFP pic

LOS ANGELES, Feb 23 — Donald Trump received a warm welcome yesterday when he appeared before an audience of evangelical broadcasters, delivering a campaign-style speech littered with professions of faith and pledges to protect Christians.

The casino-owning playboy, who has been accused of paying hush money to a porn star, is wildly popular with the religious right in the United States, despite a life story at odds with their apparent values.

But for many of them, he is on a mission from God to save America from becoming a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.

And yesterday, he gave them what they wanted.

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“I come before you as a friend and an ally and a fellow believer to ask for your help and your support and your prayers for this country,” he told a meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters group.

“We need your prayers most importantly, and I make you a simple promise: In my first term I fought for Christians harder than any president has ever done before.

“And I will fight even harder for Christians with four more years in the White House.”

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Trump turned up for the speech in Tennessee over 90 minutes late, and initially appeared tired as he took the stage, but quickly warmed to his themes.

Those were mostly familiar: a crisis at the US southern border, crime in Democrat-run cities and his own legal woes, where he faces dozens of criminal charges including for his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

But in a nod to his audience, the former reality TV star made a number of detours referencing faith and religion.

“We’ve got an incompetent president who doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing,” he told the crowd. “He will not lead us to the Promised Land.”

“The left is trying to shame Christians; they try to shame us. Us,” he said, pausing for emphasis. “I’m a very proud Christian, actually.”

Trump’s relationship with the religious right was not intuitive when he rode his golden escalator into the presidential race in 2015.

But he delivered on his pledge to appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court, whose 2022 overturning of Roe vs. Wade gave evangelical Christians a win they have wanted for five decades.

The bloc — who account for just 14.5 per cent of the population but 28 per cent of voters — have been a lock for Trump ever since.

“I think abortion is in many ways the entry point, I think it’s almost fair to characterise it as a gateway drug,” said Tim Alberta, who has written extensively on the evangelical right.

But beyond that, the community feels under siege in a country that is far less white, far less religious and much more tolerant of different lifestyles than in decades past.

And Trump the scrappy, mud-slinging fighter is just what it feels it needs in the face of this onslaught.

“If you believe that the Barbarians are at the gates, then you think to yourself: ‘Maybe we need a Barbarian to protect us.’ That’s the evangelical relationship with Donald Trump in a nutshell,” said Alberta.

‘Defend religious liberty’

Yesterday, Trump pledged he would stand guard over their citadel.

“When I return to the White House, I will once again aggressively defend religious liberty,” he said.

“We will protect Christians in our schools and our military and our government.

“No one will be touching the cross of Christ under the Trump administration. I swear to you, that will never happen.”

Kevin Roberts, president of Heritage Action for America, who spoke at the gathering before Trump, urged those present to turn out for him in the November presidential election.

“I know some mentioned misgivings about our 45th and hopefully our 47th President,” he said.

“As Christians, of course, we can’t judge another man. As citizens, though, we have to judge political candidates.

“Of course, we should not turn a blind eye to the flaws of any of our leaders. But this November we’re choosing a president, not a pastor.” — AFP

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