New Research: White Evangelical Christians Have Widely Embraced Trump's Conspiracy Theories
No demographic group in America has aligned itself more closely to Donald Trump than white evangelical Christians, who make up about 20-25% of the electorate and a big chunk of the Republican "base." 75% of them supported Trump in November, down a bit from 2016, but not by much. We have joined many other commentators in noting that it's an odd relationship considering the former President's rather sorted history, but no revelations about his past marital indiscretions, proof of his incompetence, or penchant for lying and corruption can shake their support.
And new research by the American Enterprise Institute shows that many evangelicals are following Trump down the QAnon, election fraud rabbit hole.
NPR: "About 3 in 5 white evangelicals told the pollsters that Biden was not legitimately elected, that it was not accurate to say former President Donald Trump encouraged the attack on the Capitol, and that a Biden presidency has them feeling disappointed, angry or frightened."
Even the wacky QAnon conspiracy theory involving child eating, deep state Democrats has found a home among evangelicals.
Religion News Service: "27% of white evangelicals — the most of any religious group — believe the widely debunked QAnon conspiracy theory is completely or mostly accurate."
Many even seem to believe some of the more bizarre theories about the January attack on the Capital.
Religion News Service: "There was also significant support among white evangelicals for the claim that members of antifa, or anti-fascist activists, were “mostly responsible” for the attack on the U.S. Capitol — a discredited claim repeated by former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and conservative religious leaders such as the Rev. Franklin Graham. FBI officials have said there is “no indication” antifa played a role in the insurrection." "Even so, the story has had staying power in the minds of many Americans, including 49% of white evangelical Protestants who said the antifa claim was completely or mostly true."
So, is there reason to worry about such views from one of America's most influential religious organizations, a group that constitutes much of the Republican base? Perhaps. An uncomfortable number of evangelicals in the survey seem to believe that violence might be necessary to "protect America."
Religion News Service: "White evangelicals also stood apart from other religious groups when asked about the potential for violent action: 41% completely or somewhat agreed with the statement “if elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves even if it requires taking violent actions.”
Obviously, that doesn't mean that they are ready to take up arms, but it does suggest a level of frustration that will align them with populist demagogues in future elections. So, expect a lot more Marjorie Taylor Greenes and far fewer Mitt Romneys in the Republican Party. And that will make having rational, fact-based discussions about the nation's future a lot more difficult.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content