Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pumps his fist at rally in Panama City, Fla. on Oct. 11, 2016. (Photo: Evan Vucci/AP via CP)Anyone wondering why evangelical voters have stuck by Donald Trump will find answers here. They can be summed up in five words: Abortion. Nationalism. Redemption. Hillary Clinton. One participant shakes her head when asked if she's heard that vulgar audio — where her candidate extols adultery and unsolicited vagina-grabbing. She believes he's sought salvation. A candidate who last year said he never asked God for forgiveness; couldn't cite a favoured Bible verse; still gloats about material wealth; boasts about charitable donations more often than he's listed making them; and skates around scriptural admonishments regarding sexual immodesty by bragging about his genital endowment, beauty-queen conquests, and penchant for replacing his aging wives — she believes he's changed.
'He's born-again now'
Son of legendary preacher holds rally
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'The very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool'One writer for, "Christianity Today," criticized both candidates this week. But he reserved particular venom for Trump, in a piece titled, "Speak Truth to Trump: Evangelicals... should not be silent about Donald Trump's blatant immorality.'' He said no public figure exhibits such idolatry, greed, sexual immorality, and pride. "He is, in short, the very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool," said the magazine's editorial director, Andy Crouch. ''Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbours ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord. They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us." Another writer at the magazine predicted: "(This is) the last spasm of energy from the Religious Right before its overdue death.”
"Hillary is absolutely unacceptable. She's willing to see any child murdered."A historian who's written four books on the history of religion in U.S. politics says this election is the culmination of a movement that started in the 1970s. Faith leaders like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson organized a cultural counter-revolution against changes of the 1960s, said Franklin Lambert of Purdue University. Over time the religious right, he said, became less "religious" than ''right'': ''So, pardon the pun, politics 'trumps' religion.'' So Trump wins votes even from the wary. At Tuesday's rally, Sharon McCall said she used to change the channel when Trump was on TV — that's how much she disliked him. She supported Ben Carson in the primaries. But she believes Trump will keep his promise to appoint conservative Supreme Court judges. As for that old video, she didn't sweat it.
Not sweating the video''That's just a hit job,'' McCall said. Priest is also preoccupied with the court. She's desperate for justices who will stop abortion. She believes so passionately in the issue that she was once arrested for a sit-in outside a clinic. Trump has vowed to appoint conservative judges. If conservatives doubted his sincerity, he attempted to mollify their skepticism earlier this year by releasing a list of his possible court picks. A few months later, he released a second list. It's still better than what his liberal opponent offers, Priest said. ''Hillary is absolutely unacceptable. She's willing to see any child murdered." She illustrated her point by citing a relative: ''(He says), I'm voting for Trump even if he shoots somebody. Because he's not Hillary.''