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Religious Anxiety over Same-Sex Marriage Driving Christian Trump Vote?

Adolf Hitler rode economic anxiety to control of the Reichstag and the Chancellor’s office. Donald Trump plays some tunes on that fiddle, but there’s also a deep cultural strain to his siren song of tsarism.

KELO-TV is running a series of AP articles on the psyche (psychosis?) of the electorate. One of those stories includes this observation from jittery Kentucky pastor Richie Clenenden, which explains how anxiety over the legalization of same-sex marriage may lure conservative Christians into voting for the unconservative, unChristian Republican nominee:

Clendenen said he saw “a lot of fear, a lot of anger” in his church after the Supreme Court ruling. He said it made him feel that Christians like him had been pushed to the edge of a cliff.

“It has become the keystone issue,” he said, sitting in his office, where photos of his father and grandfather, both preachers, are on display. “I never thought we’d be in the place we are today. I never thought that the values I’ve held my whole life would bring us to a point where we were alienated or suppressed.”

Trump uses rhetoric that has resonance for Christian conservatives who fear their teachings on marriage will soon be outlawed as hate speech.

“We’re going to protect Christianity and I can say that,” Trump has said. “I don’t have to be politically correct” [Rachel Zoll, “Evangelicals Feel Alienated, Anxious Amid Declining Clout,” AP via KELO-TV, 2016.06.09].

When Trump says that last sentence, he affirms the position anxious Christians like Clenenden want to take. Trump models for anxious Christians the untriangulated, unfiltered, uncompromising firmness they want to pose against the culture they think wants to shut their churches down.

The ironic thing here is that Trump represents the say-anything, do-anything, buy-anything culture that Christianity should fight. Donald Trump’s amoral materialism, manifested in the Republican Party’s willingness to sacrifice all values to the sole power-clinging excuse of “Anyone but Hillary,” is a far greater threat to Christianity and family values than same-sex marriage, Merrick Garland, or any other element of the Democratic agenda.

But when people feel “pushed to the edge of a cliff,” they don’t always think that deeply. They react. They harken to the voice that resonates with their immediate fears. And they vote for people like Hitler and Trump.

Related Reading: Evangelical Christian Alan Noble isn’t excusifying for Trump. Harkening to my statement about Trump’s amoral materialism, Noble says, “the concept of sovereign individualism, which dramatically shapes so much of our consumer and political culture, is a threat to human flourishing.” He disqualifies Trump as “a deceptive, infantile, racist demagogue with no political principles aside from his own self-interest.” Noble can’t justify voting for Clinton, either; thus he recommends voting third-party or abstaining from the Presidential vote, focusing on down-ticket races, and building a new conservative Christian movement as the paths of Christian integrity.


  1. Donald Pay 2016-06-09

    Think about how gutless these people have to be to surrender their faith to Trump.

  2. Richard Schriever 2016-06-09

    Best do some reading up on neo-liberalism. These articles will explain a lot in much more depth. Is it conspiracy theory? No, it’s an ideology that has been brewing for decades. Clinton and Trump both represent the neo-liberal crest.

  3. M.K. 2016-06-09

    Trump is pandering to a certain group of people; no question about that. It is the dark side of people that most won’t talk about. They say one thing; and think another. Most of it driven by fear; and then hate. It is frightening.

  4. Steve Hickey 2016-06-09

    It’s quite a kick watching US politics from my UK vantage point. Germany is back peddling and dealing with serious problems from immigration policies many there now regret – makes Trumps mostly misconstrued comments look not so bad. Riots on the streets in France. Brexit. Hillary is seen as safer but bought and corrupt, a proven colonialist and wall streeter. And you keep stooping to Godwin’s level? The sky didn’t fall like we thought with Obama. It won’t fall with Trump. What will happen, IMHO, is the central bankers will turn everything on its head soon. God gives us who we deserve.

  5. Robin Friday 2016-06-09

    I see a lot of fear, a lot of anger everywhere. Some people grow up and make their own decisions and leave the trappings of childhood behind, or confirm and adopt them as their own. Other people cling to the beliefs as they were trained in childhood and youth as if they were a log in the ocean which, if they let go, they would surely die. Some people add a circling shark to that metaphor. Accepting any person or belief different than their own, even just listening or considering, is the circling shark.

  6. mike from iowa 2016-06-09

    Trump’s mostly misconstrued comments? Scottish kool-aid must be more potent than the US wingnut kind.

  7. Steve Sibson 2016-06-09

    The ones that are really misconstrued are those who will vote for a “bought and corrupt, a proven colonialist and wall streeter” just because she is female.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2016-06-09

    Did unsuccessful say something?

  9. Darin Larson 2016-06-09

    Trumps’ mostly misconstrued comments? You mean he’s not actually a racist and everything is going to be great? Paul Ryan misconstrued Trump’s comments? Trump’s really a heck of a guy? Was Hitler misconstrued as well?

  10. Darin Larson 2016-06-09

    If these are the misconstrued comments before Trump gets elected, just think of all the misconstrued comments from Trump after he becomes president and he’s no longer pandering for votes.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-09

    The only misconstrual of Trump’s comments comes from the folks voting for him who cheer the fact that “he says what he means” and then don’t blush when they tell us that Trump’s words don’t really mean what they pretty clearly say.

  12. Rorschach 2016-06-09

    Perhaps Trump is the antichrist that evangelicals are desperately hoping will bring about the end times.

  13. O 2016-06-09

    In political discussion, ““We’re going to protect Christianity . . .” usually comes after picking-and-choosing which elements of christianity to protect.

    I guess saving the sanctity of marriage is by embracing the candidate who is with wife number three after two divorces. A Gingrich VP will lock down the sanctity of marriage concerned.

  14. leslie 2016-06-09

    or, hickey, one might say based on the evidence that Obama was the best thing the nation, the world could have hoped for, and Hillary will double down and swing this ship into cooler, democratic waters. your people have been dunning the rest of us for decades and millions of war-torn people have paid the price for you. maybe you can join the 1% while there and cheer on trump from afar. goodluck. in the mean time we’ll fight off your party’s payday lenders.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2016-06-09

    republicans are fleeing Trump because of his misconstrued comments.
    The latest republican, Susan Collins of Maine, is giving strong consideration to a Hillary endorsement.
    Should I list more republicans that are tired and afraid of Trump’s misconstrued comments?

  16. Richard Schriever 2016-06-10

    Hickey – the bankers have already turned everything on its head. You are truly deluded if you imagine your socio/economic standing to be right side up. You may not have noticed because it has been a decades-long process. BTW – is “up” the same direction in Scotland as it is in SD? (remember – the earth is not flat) For that matter, is “up” the same direction in Scotland right now, that it was when you wrote that comment? (a vision of an orbital vortex may assist in your answer).

  17. Private Richard 2016-06-10

    THE BIBLE SAYS: “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.”
    1 John 2:9

    Too bad many so-called Christians, when they vote, vote republican. If they could just be convinced to vote democrat, maybe we could get some good representation in the U.S House and Senate from this great state of South Dakota. Of course there would still be the Hillary problem, and they could not vote for her because she is evil and they would have to vote for Trump who is a self-proclaimed “good Christian.” I’m getting confused again about who to vote for come fall.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-10

    Trump/Gingrich vs. Clinton/Warren—perfect, O!

    For what it’s worth, the Obamas seem to have exemplified solid Christian family values throughout Barack’s two terms in the White House.

  19. Private Richard 2016-06-10

    Agreed. And republicans call him Muslim (nothing against non-radical Muslims here). Jeez!!! Their depravity/hypocrisy is astounding.

  20. Steve Sibson 2016-06-10

    “Obamas seem to have exemplified solid Christian family values”

    Exactly the opposite.

  21. Steve Sibson 2016-06-10

    “Trump/Gingrich vs. Clinton/Warren”

    Clinton and Gingrich both work for the same global economic elites. That means we have no choice in November but to continue to feed wealth to those who already have most of it. You can covet that wealth all you want, but there is no stopping them.

  22. mike from iowa 2016-06-10

    What makes me suspect we will receive an earful of the gospel according to Saint Sibby?

  23. Good Sense 2016-06-10

    “”” What makes me suspect we will receive an earful of the gospel according to Saint Sibby? “””

    The same things when we receive an earful from the lugnuts from Iowa.

  24. mike from iowa 2016-06-10

    Oh Non-Sense. Got a little man crush on the Sibbinator, do you?

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-10

    Family values: no scandals, no affairs, not even some brother Billy drinking too much beer. Barack and Michelle appear to have a solid marriage, they affirm their love decorously yet unashamedly and unambiguously, and they appear to have raised two smart daughters. Good, decent people whom I’d be proud to have over for dinner.

    And neither their marriage nor mine appears to have been undermined by same-sex couples enjoying legal matrimony.

  26. Ed 2016-06-11

    Right on, Cory. Couldn’t have said it any better myself.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-11

    Thanks, Ed! We need to be on the lookout for candidates like Trump who ride a wave of emotion and wishes rather than real policies and meaningful statements.

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