Now that it has become almost a certainty that Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee, many voters will be forced to narrow their focus before November.
Dr. Alex McFarland, in an op-ed written for The New York Times earlier this year, predicted Christians would have to come to terms with a possible Trump presidency. The evangelical faith, he said, is built around the good news that spiritual salvation is possible through Jesus Christ.
"We strive to promote the wonderfully positive difference he makes in the lives of all who trust him," he wrote. "This does not mean that we expect perfection from America's political leaders. Piety and pragmatism are not mutually exclusive, but, by and large, America's current elected leaders and political and cultural elite have neither."
McFarland said the diminished condition of the U.S.—with low wages, job losses and stagnant opportunity—has given Christians incentive to "support an imperfect man," like Trump. He said they find the businessman electable, and they believe he loves America and is willing to stand up for what has made it so remarkable in the past.
"To put it simply, many evangelicals are supporting Trump not because he is the best Christian, but because he is the leader best suited to defend them," he wrote. "Trump's candidacy and popularity are a referendum on the Ivory Tower elite, including those Christian leaders who want to dictate what the man in the pew must think.
"Many of them have responded viscerally to Trump, saying that he has led a lifestyle of narcissism and hedonism. But they are not being honest about human nature or the pragmatic needs of their flock. They are demanding 'theological perfectionism' at a time when evangelical Americans, who also must be responsive to economic hardship, are sick and tired of career politicians who don't seem to understand the value of a dollar."
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