The 2016 elections and President-elect Donald Trump's victory sent a message to establishment Republicans that evangelical Christian faith leaders have been trying to convey to the GOP for decades: Running on biblical, founding principles will win.
Now, a poll released by the Family Research Council puts real numbers behind what we all witnessed last Tuesday.
The FRC's poll, conducted by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, showed that nearly 60 percent of Trump voters were impacted to vote for the GOP nominee because the party's platform reflected "strong positions on unborn human life and religious liberty." Two-thirds of those surveyed also said that "government should leave people free to follow their beliefs about marriage between one man and one woman as they live their daily lives at work and in the way they run their businesses."
The survey also found a solid majority support the ability of churches and nonprofits "to speak freely on all issues, including on behalf or in opposition to any candidate for public office." Trump campaigned for the repeal of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt organizations from participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.
An effort to do just that is already underway in Congress. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) have introduced the Free Speech Fairness Act of 2016 to restore the free speech rights of pastors and tax-exempt organization leaders.
"The Republican Party's platform positions on unborn human life and religious liberty was the bridge between Donald Trump and Christian conservatives," said FRC President Tony Perkins, who also served on the Platform Committee at the Republican National Convention. "Nearly 60 percent of Trump voters were more likely to vote for him because the platform is very clear on life and religious liberty.
"It was the party platform that brokered the deal between Trump and Christian conservatives—a deal that was sealed in the final debate when Trump vividly described a partial-birth abortion and pledged to appoint pro-life justices. The Republican Party platform played a key role in bringing Christian conservatives and Trump together."
Now it is up to those evangelical Christians to keep the administration's feet to the fire to ensure those promises are kept.
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